For Halloween, I am giving you a couple of peeks at Pianissimo.
Corinne just sat down. She lit her scented candles and sat down on the couch to relax on a Friday night. Millie and Mollie were curled up sleeping on the far end of the couch. Just as she sat, Corinne saw a dark figure walk past the front door of the living room. She turned quickly, but saw nothing. It was dark out. Perhaps it was just the shadows of the leaves moving in the wind and street lamps. Slightly unsettled, Corinne turned her attention back to the large flat screen TV on the wall in front of her.
Some time had passed and Corinne half-heartedly watched her TV show when she thought she heard
something. Ignoring it, she focused completely on the television. She heard the noise again and it crescendoed. She tried to dismiss it, but the sound was relentless. She muted the television. It was then that she heard a man’s voice groaning. Corinne jumped up out of fear. She looked around. There was nothing she could grab to protect herself. Corinne jumped backwards onto the couch, grabbed her knees and sat huddled. Then she saw Darryl’s old recliner. There was a good hiding spot behind that: between the recliner and the wall. Moving as quickly and quietly as she could, Corinne’s feet skipped across the floor and she ducked behind the recliner. Not knowing what else to do, she hoped that she was somehow hiding from this man. As her heart raced, a tear escaped and rolled down her cheek.
Corinne was startled as she watched a dark figure appear, sprint towards the source of the groaning, and then disappear again.
Then there was silence. A loud, haunting, eerie silence. Tears continued to race down Corinne’s face.
Slowly and nervously, she stood up. She looked around. Everything seemed the same. The television
continued to play on mute.
Corinne tried to slow down her racing heart and inhale deeply. She was still shaken up, though. She
returned to her place on the couch. She grabbed Mollie and held her on her lap, hoping to gain some comfort.
Her clothes hung nicely in the closet. They looked so small, though. Her wardrobe didn’t even take up half of the closet. It’ll be different once Darryl is home. He will gladly use every last inch he can get out of that closet.
Corinne hummed along as she continued to hang up her clothes.
Corinne stopped dead. What was that? Who was that? Who was speaking to her? How could she hear
anyone speaking? This was unsettling, to say the least.
All she could do was stand in silence.
Seconds turned into moments turned into minutes.
What was going on? Who had just spoken?
Corinne heard it. Clear as a bell. Something, or someone, had said the word, ‘Chief.’ Who was it, though? And why did they say it?
The room was still silent. Even the cats were sleeping, she couldn’t even blame this on them.
What was going on? She couldn’t hear a thing now, but just a few minutes ago, someone spoke. They
spoke to her, or so it seemed. It didn’t make sense. Not at all.
Was she seriously losing her mind? Was this isolation becoming too much for her to bear? Did she need to see a therapist? She had never been like this before.
Maybe it was here. Maybe it was Louisville. Was it something here? Was there something in the water? Did this old house have some kind of a gas leak or something that was making her hallucinate? Corinne could not make sense of any of it. She felt as though she truly was losing her mind. Something wasn’t right. She didn’t know what it was, but something wasn’t right.
She took a couple of deep breaths and resumed hanging the last of her clothes. She shook her head continuously trying to make sense of it all.
Corinne bent down to take the canister out of the vacuum when something popped out in the corner of her eye. Startled, she turned her eyes towards it. Her heart began to race. Who or what was it? Why was there something there that she had never seen before. She was certain someone had broken into her house. She was petrified. She was out in the open. There was nowhere to run.
This person was there and they had to have some kind of motive. Who else would break into an old house where a single woman lived? What was their motive? Was it money for drugs? Was he a rapist? Some psychopathic killer?
Her heart began to race even more. Beads of sweat built up at her hair line. She felt hot, weak, scared,
nauseas, petrified. She was so frightened that she was frozen and unable to move. She closed her eyes, waiting for the worst, but praying for the best.
Time ticked away. Nothing. Had he not seen her yet? Or was he the type of person that enjoyed messing with people’s minds?
She kept her eyes closed and tried to keep her breaths deep and steady.
Corinne continued to wait. And wait. And wait some more. What was going on? Had he missed her? Did he rob the house and leave already? Was he coming up with some sick plan? What on earth was happening?
She eventually opened her eyes. She cautiously looked up and over. It was still a blur until she turned and faced it completely. It was not a person at all. It was her throw blanket. It hung over the edge of the counter in the hallway leading to the basement.
How on earth did that get there? She hadn’t put it there. It hadn’t fallen out of the laundry basket because she had just cleaned it a few days ago. One – or maybe both of the cats must have stolen the blanket and dragged it to hallway. Apparently they even tried to jump on the counter with it. Although not typically quitters, it must have been too hard to continue to pull the blanket any further.
Corinne sighed a huge sigh of relief. Her heart began to slow down to a normal pace. The sensation of heat that had washed over her was now dissipating. Moment by moment, she began to feel more human. Once she had truly calmed down, she couldn’t help but laugh at the antics of her girls. Leave it to them to keep her on her toes!
“Okay,” she said to herself in a breathy voice. “Time to get back to regular life.”
Happy Halloween and happy reading!!!