I began this story about two years ago but never finished it, so I figured, “I haven’t posted anything since January. What the hey.” Here ya go.
We weren’t exactly born with the knowledge of our destiny inside us. No, we weren’t like the hero of some tale who is convinced of the fire inside him and, while he may not know the specifics, he knows his general purpose.
Not until we came together did we see it. We were going to save the world.
Matt had a crossbow, but he kept it in the storage closet in his loft, behind the large trash can he still had from his old place but had never gotten rid of. He had some extra chairs in there, too, so I never knew about it until after we got married and we moved in together.
I found it in a box in the garage while I was looking for one of my Buddha heads.
I wandered back into the house with it.
“Maaaaaatt…” I called.
He appeared around the corner from the stairwell, busy putting together his extra-long twin bed in one of the spare bedrooms, the bed of his former life as a single man.
“What is this?” I asked while holding up the crossbow. I already knew what it was, but I wondered why he had it.
“Oh,” he said, smiling. “It’s one of my thrift store finds.”
He had several of those, including a puke-green corduroy couch that sagged like an old crone in the middle and weighed as much as my Honda Civic.
“And why did you think you would ever need this?”
“Thrift store treasures are not always about need,” he answered (rather cryptically, I might add).
The trinkets I had once collected came to Matt’s attention when my dad dropped off a box he had found in the garage.
“I thought you might want these,” Dad said, handing over a box labeled “Antiques” while we stood in the parking lot behind my office building.
When I got home, I asked Matt to bring it in, as it was somewhat heavy.
“What’s in here?” he wanted to know.
I opened it and showed him the items I had collected for several years during what I referred to as my death metal phase.
I had scoured eBay for some rare finds and had often forked over a considerable sum for an object of my desire. I accumulated silver knives, bronze throwing stars, horned “brass” knuckles that were actually silver, daggers dulled by misuse, ancient-looking shears and a lot more.
These items were certainly antiques in that I was not their first owner and each had a story to tell. More than a certificate of authenticity, I appreciated the story behind a piece.
For instance, I had an ornately etched silver knife in a leather sheath that had reportedly been used in a fatal fight between two gypsies.
The eBay description of the horned silver knuckles read: “We found these in my grandmother’s things after she passed. Nobody in our family knows why she had them. Perhaps they, like my grandmother, have a mysterious past.”
I was delighted to acquire a part of a mystery.
We barely escaped our first brush with our intertwined destiny, Matt and I.
After a particularly long and mind-numbing Tuesday, I fell into bed in a stupor. Matt hadn’t been too far behind me, as he was asleep next to me when the cat went galloping across my head and woke me up a little after 9 p.m. I hissed at the cat to knock it off when I noticed a shadow over the window.
That’s odd, I thought. There’s not even a tree there.
It could have been a bird, I guessed, but it was rather large. Maybe one of the street lights had gone out.
I tried to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t get the image of that shadow out of my mind. It had looked like it had a head and shoulders, like a person. But that was just my overwrought brain, I thought.
I opened my eyes again and peered at it. The shadow was utterly still. It was certainly not a bird. Well, I’m already awake, I thought, so I got out of bed to look out the window. As soon as I began to move, the shadow moved, too. I stopped in my tracks.
“Matt,” I said in a loud whisper. No response. I slowly sat back on the bed, never taking my eyes off the shadow.
“Matt!” I said more loudly.
“Is everything OK?” he asked sleepily.
“There’s something at the window!” I said.
He started to get up.
“Don’t move!” I said. “It knows we’re here!”
“It?” he asked.
That’s when the glass shattered. I scrambled backward to Matt’s side of the bed while he stood. Whatever had been behind the window seemed to be moving into the room. Grabbing whatever I could get my hands on, I began throwing pillows at the dark shape, but it was large and moving in our direction. Was I crazy or could I hear ragged breathing? Someone was breaking into our home.
I didn’t want to die at the hands of this intruder.
Apparently, neither did Matt, because he threw an item he was able to find in the dark — the silver dagger. He told me later that he had been examining it and brought it upstairs to put away in the closet but, after seeing I was asleep, didn’t want to disturb me and left it in its sheath on his nightstand. He remembered it was there, groped for it in the dark and unsheathed it. Then he threw it at the figure.
What I believed was a person released a terrifying groan, haggard and deep. I continued to back away from it, eventually falling on the floor next to the bed. The intruder flailed and made horrible noises.
A light went on in the bedroom — Matt had run to the light switch — but my mind remained dark. I couldn’t make sense of what I was seeing.
The intruder could have been mistaken for homeless. He was dressed in tattered, dirty rags, and clumps of dirt clung to him. Sunk squarely in his chest was the silver dagger.
I clapped my hands over my mouth and moaned. Did we just kill a homeless person?
He had sunk to his knees on the carpet, and finally my eyes registered something else that seemed terribly off. He leered at me with dark yellow eyes and his mouth sagged open with what looked like dried blood trailing the corners along his lips.
He made a sudden lunge at me. I screamed and Matt pulled me back towards him. The intruder fell face-first on the floor and was still.
Though our first instincts had been to call 911, the intruder’s body had disintegrated into thin air. A crackling sound like static electricity building up preceded it. Then, as we watched, dark flakes floated from his skin into the air, slowly at first, but then more quickly. Finally, all that was left were the clothes.
“What is he? A frickin’ vampire or something?” I screamed hysterically.
Hours later, we were both sitting in the kitchen, trying to make sense of what had just happened. Though I hadn’t even believed my own word for the creature at first, I couldn’t understand what I’d seen otherwise.
Matt and I had debated about whether to call 911.
“And tell them what? That a man broke in, you threw a dagger at him and then he disintegrated?!?” I asked.
“We have to call somebody!” he had said.
We didn’t know what to do, but we spent many long hours considering it.
To be continued … ? To be continued? Yes. To be continued.