Echo

This is how it happened:

I was in the dregs of a good nap and just this side of awake when the phone rang in the kitchen. I managed to stumble to my feet and find the door. Maybe if I had tried the knob with my other hand this would’ve gone differently. But I went for it with my left.

The hand still holding the phone.

I paused, looking between the phone in my hand and the door hiding the source of the impossible ring. I thumbed the button and put my ear to the receiver: dead. No dial tone, nothing.

The ringing stopped.

My dad spoke up, “Honey, I need you to get out here.”

I was wary at this point so I said, “Dad? Dad, what is it?”

“I need you to get out here.” His voice was firmer.

“Why?”

“I need you to get out here.”

I didn’t say anything.

Then Roger, my dog, started barking. Not knowing what the hell was happening and afraid that some weird burglar was out there, I called to him.

“Hush Rog! Off! Off!” Off being the command to get back in bed. Roger never disobeyed that command.

And then I noticed something else.

Roger was barking up a storm, but I couldn’t hear the sound of his paws on the wood floor. Rog is a jumper when he’s real excited, and he sounded pretty excited now.

Then my boss said, “I’m sorry, you need to get out here. You were scheduled today and if you don’t come in I’ll have to fire you.”

My whole body went cold.

“What the hell are you doing in my house, dude?” I screamed, “what the fuck is going on?”

Silence.

My mom: “honey, you okay? He’s gone now. Please come out.”

I dropped the phone. “Mom,” I sobbed. I wasn’t opening the door.

“Sweetie,” my granpa’s voice begged.

“Fuckface,” my brother snarled.

“Hey cutie,” my friend called.

I sat with my back against the door, arms pulled tight over my stomach.

“Go away!” I screamed. “go away go awayGOAWAYGOAWAY!!”

A knock. Not on my door, but on the hallway.

“This is the police,” a man’s voice said, “they’ve gone now. Please open up.”

My hand was actually halfway to the bolt before I thought twice and pulled it away.

The next voice sounded like Roger if you taught him to speak: “Let us in, let us in before we come in.”

I put my hands over my ears and chanted go away.

It felt like hours. It must’ve been hours, because the sun was low and orange by the time I heard the front door. Really the front door. I have never been so relieved.

Before I had a chance to call out to my family, I called out to them.

From the hall.

And, as I struggled with a door that stuck tight no matter how I pulled, I realized I didn’t need to come out anymore.

It had enough of my sounds

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