The Death Of Me

I Pay My Respects To A Door

I trembled with rage.

No girl in some skimpy catsuit was allowed to just go into my house and steal my stuff and hurt my family. No. I wouldn’t let her.

But it seemed as if she would get away with doing that before I got the chance to not let her, because I saw her curved form disappear around the corner, slinking into the door frame.

Afraid that she was already inside, I leaped up so fast that I couldn’t even remember standing up, and I raced down the hall after her, scrambling along the wall and not even caring about my clumsy, sloppy movements that included limbs flopping all over the place. It probably looked like one of those old dance marathon shows from the ‘80’s, just arms and legs and heads all over the place. And it if it weren’t for the fact that tons of people were in danger, it might have even been comical to me, and not just the people who laughed at the conjured-up image of me doing that.

I heard a light knock on the door, and a pause. The pause seemed permanent; Cat was perfectly silent. There was no sound, no breathing. I imagined her ear pressed against the door, her pretty face scrunched into a scowl as she pursed her lips and listened with all her might.

There was no noise.

But then I heard a tremendous crack, a sound analogous to the one I had heard downstairs about twenty or thirty minutes ago, when these crazy burglars first came in. The noise had been the same one, that same unpleasant noise that makes you wince as something is broken into a dozen pieces.

It was the sound a door makes when it’s being broken down.

Before, downstairs in the lobby, it had seemed like it had taken about a minute or so to break down the door. But with Cat, I peered around the corner and saw her extracting her right foot from an enormous hole in the door, which lay flat on the ground. She pulled her heeled boot out of the rubble, calmly wiping the sawdust and splinters clinging to her shoes on her thigh, and something suddenly occurred to me: I realized not only that those spiky boots could do a lot more damage than I originally thought that they could, but that the girl herself could do a lot more damage than I originally thought she could.

After all, she had broken down a door in much less time than several burly guys had taken to break down a door of the same exact size, shape, and material. And all this was coming from a girl named Cat.

Having meticulously dusted off her shoes and thoroughly checked them- twice, I might add- for any more debris, Cat walked over through the door frame and across the door. I seethed; this was my door, the one that I knocked on after coming back on Friday nights from the vending machine down the hall to grab some popcorn for movie nights with my mom; the one that I had opened up for trick-or-treaters in our building on Halloween night after going trick-or-treating myself; the one that I had opened with my own house key more times than I could count. This door held meaning, it meant something to me. It was a part of my life in this apartment.

And here was this girl, strutting across it like it was a catwalk, and she was the star of the show, which she probably thought. Oh, and by the way, for those of you who were wondering: No, I did not mean to say Cat was walking on a catwalk, although that would have been pretty cool if I had.

I waited until Cat was definitely in the house, and then, very cautiously and carefully, and tiptoed across the door frame as quick as I could. I jumped into the apartment, and began to walk away. But then something stopped me, and I looked back.

The door looked so sad by itself, so lonely and melancholy. It was like something you might see in a war movie from the ‘90’s, like that one with Tom Hanks: Saving Private...Someone. The door lay there like a fallen soldier, its knob twisted in like a broken arm, and the ostentatious hole in the center of the door where Cat had kicked it in stared at me like a gaping bullet wound, the fatal injury to the heart that always kills of the hero.

I’d never thought about my door being a hero before, and I kind of hope I don’t ever again.

I allowed myself one last, lingering and respectful gaze at my front door before I whirled around and found myself in the kitchen. Our apartment is pretty small, so two steps can take you from one room to the next without straining yourself too hard.

I grew depressed standing here. The last time I had stood here had been roughly 24 hours ago, and yet it felt like a lifetime ago when I had watched like a creepy stalker as my parents cried over my death.

Blinking away invisible tears that threatened to surface, I looked around the tidy kitchen area, the stove to my right, and heard something. It sounded like that noise that mice make when they’re raiding your pantry (trust me, I have heard that sound way too many times for my taste). Only this sounded bigger; like more of a threat.

I looked towards the pantry and saw guess-who. (I bet you’ll never guess who it was!)

Cat was rummaging through the pantry, tossing random boxes of uncooked noodles and stale cookies onto the floor behind her. It appeared that she wasn’t being picky, but I wanted to yell at her “Hey! How ‘bout you be a little more careful with those boxes? And a little quieter?” She was making an awful lot of noise. In fact, I was shocked that my parents hadn’t appeared yet to see what all the ruckus was.

I assumed that Cat thought that nobody was home, and that my parents were either out of the house, or they were just in the master bedroom in the back.

Oh gods, please let them be gone, please let them be gone, please please please...

“What are you doing?”

That voice. I knew that voice. It was a voice that had comforted me on many other occasions. But this, unfortunately, was not one of those times.

“What are you doing?” my mother repeated.

I fixed my gaze onto the small, wiry form that stood in the doorway from the living room/den to the kitchen. Her hair was up in a messy ponytail looked awfully similar to a rat’s nest, or like maybe one of those squirrel-things had taken up an untidy residence on top of her brown mop of hair. She had two thick circles under her eyes, like she had barely slept through a the roughest night of her life- as I suspected it had been. Her lips were thin, pale, and devoid of all color, it seemed.

She looks so...weak, I thought with dismay. She wore the same grey sweatpants and dark blue hoodie that she’d had on when I saw her yesterday, and I was disappointed that she was wearing her “sad clothes” still.

See, I could remember a time from when I was younger, when a friend of my mom’s from work had recently died. After she first found out, I had come home from school (the first one in a long line of schools that I got kicked out of, by the way) and found her sitting on the couch by herself, crying with a clump of snotty tissues grouped on the cushion next to her and another one held to her face.

“Mom?” I’d said in my cute, innocent, little-kid voice. “Why are you crying?”

“Well, Percy,” she’d said, dropping the tissue and pulling me gently into her lap. “I just lost a really good friend of mine, and I won’t get her back.”

“Oh,” I’d said softly, not really grasping the whole idea. I’d fiddled with the strings on her dark blue hoodie. It had been new, and she’d loved it because it was so comfortable. “Isn’t this one of your favorite shirts?”

“Yes...”

“Then why are you wearing it right now? If you’re sad, it will just make the shirt sad, and then you won’t be happy anymore when you wear it.”

She’d looked down at her pants, which were grey cotton sweatpants. Then she’d smiled meekly at me, and I thought I’d seen a few of the tears in her eyes dry up just a little bit. “Well, sweetie, I guess these will just have to be my sad clothes from now on.”

I remembered that moment with her so vividly now, and I had no doubt in my mind that she had thought of me when she had put them on yesterday afternoon. I also didn’t doubt that she wouldn’t be wearing anything except for her “sad clothes” for a long, long time.

“Um...” said Cat, obviously struggling with a believable excuse for just what she was doing, rifling through some strange lady’s pantry. Clearly, she was unprepared for this scenario, and had believed that nobody was home. I watched the girl’s icy blue eyes dart around the room, as if she would find a good excuse plastered to the wall behind my mom, or that the right words would be dangling from the ceiling like a chandelier, swaying the same way Cat’s voice would wobble if she didn’t think of a good enough lie.

“Are you...are you stealing?” My mom filled the gap of silence again, her mourning obviously not clotting her vision her clouding her sharp mind. Her eyes narrowed, and she stepped backwards into the living room, starting to disappear behind the corner. I tried to spot where she was going, and then I spied my mom’s cell phone on the couch in there.

I bet she fell asleep from crying, I thought, my heart suddenly dipping with depression at the idea of my mom literally crying herself to sleep.

My spirits jumped back up though as I watched my mom leap towards the couch and grab her phone. She made a single swiping motion to the right with her thumb, clicked on something with the same finger, and quickly typed in a word or number with 3 letters or digits. I suspected that she had brought the screen to the “Emergency Call” page, and I almost cheered with joy. Always knowing the best way to handle a scenario like this. That was my mom, alright.

Her thumb was poised directly over where I thought the green “dial” button was, and I knew that she wouldn’t hesitate to call; in fact, I could see her finger move down to press the screen, almost in slow-motion, but she hadn’t yet clicked in when I heard a loud “click”.

I looked up, and the sight I saw made my heart jump out of my invisible skin.

Cat was standing in between me and my mother, her feet planted apart, and she held a gun in her head.

It was pointed at my mom.

“You press that button,” she said, “and I’ll blow your hand off.”
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