Mejica waited at the corner of the kitchen and the hallway for several more minutes, unmoving, before going back into the kitchen. Spud was pawing at the door, his little paws clicking on the glass. She let him in, and a nervous smile spread over her face when she saw that he was smiling in that way dog owners see in the faces of their pets.
“C’mere you silly sausage.” She scooped the plump dog up in her arms and cradled him like a baby, planting kisses on his nose. Eventually, he wriggled about enough that Mejica put him back down on the floor to waddle to whatever business fat dachshunds had to attend to.
“Take your medicine.”
Mejica stayed there in the kitchen though, and mulled over what the voice from the door had told her.
She laughed a cold laugh and shook her bangs.
“There’s no truth in it,” she reassured herself. “None. I’m not on any medicine.” Her eyes flicked to her vitamin cabinet and she remembered several half-filled orange pill containers. “Yeah, but those aren’t for crazy people. Those are for…” A knot of confusion, almost physically tangible, locked its cords around her brain in that moment, offering a chance for the spigot of doubt to open wide.
“No, depression and anxiety aren’t the same as being crazy. It’s normal and lots of people suffer from it.” But the doubts continued to creep.
Those things are normal, but are you sure your matter is normal?
She bit her lip and began twisting her fingers until her knuckles popped, one by one.
“The doctor did say that I seemed to have a pretty severe case of…” She grabbed her head and rubbed the heel of her palm into her temples until a sharp pain began to shoot across her head. “No! No, it’s still not true. Nothing that stupid door said is true.”
But it could be.
“No. No, because it said I have a sister, which is freaking stupid, cause I don’t have a sister. I would know that.” To prove it to herself, she grabbed her phone from her pajama pants pocket and clicked the lock button to light up the screen. She’d meant to open up her contacts, or access her photos, but her fingers froze when she saw her lock screen photo.
A sunny day at a vineyard, high noon and bright, bright green grape leaves everywhere in the background behind two figures: Mejica, in her big sunglasses and floppy sunhat, wearing her favourite powder blue tank top; and her arm wrapped around Cyndria, wearing matching sunglasses and floppy hat, and sporting that ruffle neck sea foam green blouse she loved.
“Cyndria,” she whispered. Her free hand went to cover her mouth. “Oh my God…”
She’s your best friend in the world, from the time you were both very young.
“Cyndi,” Mejica whispered again.
And what was it you called each other?
A nauseating fear burned her insides into ash instantly. The shaking in her body took an almost absurd level of severity; locking her fingers into unuseable claws that dropped her phone to the faux marble counter, chattering her knees until she couldn’t stand, blurring her vision and causing a waterfall of tears to fall from her eyes. She gasped and cried so hard she couldn’t breathe in, couldn’t take in air, and then the panic of not being able to breath raked across her insides, bringing a fresh wave of violent convulsions running up and down her spine until, with an ugly snort, she found her breath and gasped at the air, still crying and still shaking all over.
“Oh my God…” she whimpered, minutes later after the worst of the sobbing had settled. She was still crying, still nearly blind from the tears, but she found her feet and stood up, shakily. Clutching the counter, she took several deep breaths. “Oh my God, what did I do? What d-did I do? Oh my God, how did…” She looked up and walked to the corner of the kitchen and hallway, like a tangled marionette. She grabbed a hold of the wall and leaned against it, looking down the hallway. She had to wipe the thick tears from her eyes, but when she did, what she saw brought a new wave of sobs that threatened to topple her again.
There was no creeping blood-like liquid crawling up the door.
There were no mushrooms.
There was no moss.
The door was just a door, sitting in the middle of her hallway.
A shudder of fear passed through her, sitting in her lower intestine, and the immense guilt she felt nearly made her faint. But hand over hand, foot over foot, she stumbled down the hallway.
“Cyndria,” she called out, her voice shaking. “Cyndria, I’m so sorry. I didn’t… I’m… I didn’t know I… Cyndria, no…” She didn’t know what she was saying, didn’t know what to say, so she continued saying what few words she could, through her anguish, while she walked down the hallway. It felt like an hour, but Mejica made it that dozen feet to the hallway door. She leaned against the door frame and, still reeling and unsure of what to do, she knocked on the pale blue door.
There was a startled yelp. “Jiji? Jiji, please don’t hurt me anymore. I’m… I’m sorry.”
“Cyndi, no, I’m sor…” A wave of dizziness made her waver, almost losing her balance, so she grabbed the door handle to steady herself. “Cyndi, I’m sorry. I’m so so… I’m here, okay? I’m going to make things better.” Mejica turned the handle and opened the door, doing her walking-stumble into the room, too tired, too emotionally drained, too sleep deprived to notice that the door wasn’t locked
On the counter in the kitchen, her cellphone chimed with a message:
“Hey Goob what game you bringing to the brother/sister game nite? Wanna be on my team this time?”
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