(If you haven’t read The Door, you should do that now. This won’t make sense unless you’ve read that.)
Her head started to spin. He must be crazy, that’s the only explanation. Or…maybe she’s having a stroke, it could explain the headache that had now amped up to epic proportions. She started taking shallow breaths, trying to fight the rising panic within. Something was dreadfully wrong here. Goosebumps raced up and down her arms.
Instantly, she snapped at him, “DON’T call me Mom!”
Malcolm opened his mouth, clearly about to speak.
She cut him off. “No– I am not your mother. I don’t know what kind of sick joke this is, but it has gone on long enough. I’m not a mother, I don’t have kids, and when I left work an hour ago, it was 2013!”
Inspiration struck and she scrambled in the pocket of her coat, fishing for her iPhone. She knew if she could prove it, show him, somehow, then this would all make sense.
She slid the lock to open the phone, entered her password and….no service.
It’s like her phone has been wiped. None of her apps work, nothing will open, as if her phone became obsolete in moments.
Panic started to crawl up from inside. Like it was clawing its way out of her body. She knew, she could tell, she was about to lose it.
At that second, Malcolm took a step toward her, his arm extended and said, “okay, breathe, Mo-Olivia, just breathe”. She shied away from him. He’s a madman and no way is he putting his hands on her. Before she can do anything else, the garage door opens.
A sandy-haired little boy, with intense hazel eyes, popped his head out of the door and said in the sweetest voice imaginable, “Mommy, I’m hungry”.
Everyone froze. All three adults were staring at the boy.
Malcolm reacted first, stepping toward the door saying, “Oliver, bud, Mommy and I will be there in a minute, can you just play with your sister for a few more minutes while we talk to this nice lady?”
Just then, Oliver took note of the other occupant of the garage.
Olivia’s heart tripped when she looked at him. He was darling. There was no other word for it. He was also…familiar. That’s not at all possible, of course, but somehow it was if she knew this little boy. His face split into a lopsided smile, showing off the space where he was missing a tooth. “Hi!” he chirped, as if meeting a stranger in his garage was the best part of his day.
Olivia couldn’t help it, he was too adorable. For a moment, her ire melted and she felt more like herself. “Hello, Oliver” she replied with a grin of her own, “my name is Olivia.”
“That’s just like MY name!” came the reply. And it broke the tension in the room. You could feel the adults relax as they all three started to smile.
For just a minute, the world seemed to right itself. Olivia took a deep breath, no one could be a father to such a darling little boy and still be a crazed serial killer, at least that’s what she told herself. Miraculously, it seemed to work. The tension eased from her shoulders and the pounding in her skull started to ebb. She still didn’t know what on earth was happening, but now she was a little less afraid.
Finally, the woman spoke. She stepped toward the boy and reached for his hand. “Come on, Oliver, Mommy will make dinner while Daddy and Olivia have a nice talk” she said, with a glance over her shoulder at Malcolm. It seemed like she was giving him an order. Then, before either of them could speak, she disappeared inside the house with the boy. Before the door closed, Olivia heard his small voice asking, “Mommy, who broke all those eggs?”
“Look, Olivia, I don’t really understand what is happening here, and I know you don’t either, but it need you to know that I’m not going to hurt you.”
She stared at him in silence, trying to read the truth in his green eyes. Familiar eyes. No matter how she flipped it around in her brain, this situation just didn’t make any sense. However, now that her original panic had subsided, she was mainly feeling…curious. Whatever was happening, she couldn’t deny that she didn’t feel threatened by this man or his young family.
Another beat and she finally replied, “I don’t know what to say, the things you are claiming are crazy, but…” She trailed off, not really knowing where to go next. Frustrated by the feelings that confused her, she just shrugged and looked at him steadily.
Mac took a deep breath and spoke. “I have a suggestion, but I don’t want to scare you.” He waited and when she said nothing, he plunged on. “I want you to stay for dinner, so we can talk and try to figure this thing out. And,” he hesitated, “I want to call my brother.”
She sucked in a breath and made her decision. Mac saw the acceptance on her eyes and made the call. He knew his brother, his logical and down-to-earth brother was never going to believe this, which is why he needed to see it for himself. Gray answered with his customary “Yes?” and Mac simply requested that he come for dinner. He implied there was something they needed to talk about, but left it vague. Gray knew him well, so Mac kept it short and Gray said he was on his way.
Olivia listened to the call and wondered what this man’s brother would be like. She knew she was about to find out, but the wondering was easier than focusing on what was actually happening or not happening, as she secretly hoped.
The call concluded, Mac met her gaze and gestured in her direction. “Would you like to come in?”
A chill skittered down her spine as she nodded. Together the turned toward the door and took a step, ready to face whatever lay beyond that unassuming wooden door.
…To be continued…
(For the curious, I decided to publish another installment because Kelly liked it so much. As today is her birthday, I wrote this next excerpt for her. If you like it, let me know and I might do a few more.)