Thursday, February 21, 2019

Flash Fiction Friday, Week 8 - A Knock On The Door

The prompt this week was all about challenging a character, particularly with a blizzard, complete with freezing temperatures and high winds, leading to a whiteout. Life challenges us all, and my character has experienced a great loss, and faces making critical decisions. A massive snowstorm is on its way. Will it help her make the right decision?

A Knock On The Door

Barry will be sorry when they find me. They? Who are ‘they’? Come on, Sheila. There is no ‘they’. Some maintenance guy who checks on the cabins will find me, and think ‘oh damn, there goes my week’. Well, I’m sorry, maintenance guy, but it’s my soon-to-be ex-husband’s fault. Barry and I were married for 11, count ‘em, 11 years, and I find out he’s been fooling around with an 18-year old for months, and now he’s dumping me for her. Months? A fitness trainer at his club, no less. She prances around in a tank top and short shorts and suddenly, she’s the love of his life. I wonder how long she’ll hang around after she finds out that without his little blue pill, he’s only good for 2 or 3 minutes. He’s not loaded either, honey. All his talk about international deals and Deutsche Marks? He sells vacuum cleaners. He graduated from door-to-door to selling over the phone to hotels, but they’re still vacuum cleaners. Buckle up, baby girl. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.

I’ll finish my TV dinner, light a fire, and snuggle up under a comforter in this recliner. A few glasses of wine and a bottle of sleeping pills later, I’ll be free. No more pain, no more humiliation, and no more tomorrows. I’ll make sure he suffers plenty though. My note’s going to be a doozy. I need to make sure the door’s locked so it doesn’t blow open. That wind is getting stronger by the minute. I wouldn’t want snow to blow in and get the carpet and furniture all wet. This cabin is Carol and Bob’s pride and joy. If I let their things get ruined, they’d kill me. Kill me. Hah. Good one, Sheila.

What is going on out there? The windows are rattling. I’m going to close the drapes. Oh my God! I can’t see a thing out there but white. Where did this big storm come from? It wasn’t snowing at all when I got here, then there were some light flakes, and now a total whiteout? Great. I’ll be snowed in. I suppose that’s okay. It’s not like I’ll be going anywhere, and nobody will miss me. What the hell was that? I hope a tree didn’t fall on the roof. There it is again. Could that be a knock on the door? I wonder if I can even get it open. What the…

“Please, can I come in? I was out walking in the woods and I got lost.”

Some old lady out for a stroll in a blizzard?

“Of course. Hurry in because the wind’s even stronger. Help me shut this door.”

“Thank you so much, young lady. My cabin is at the bottom of the hill. I was out on the trail that runs through the woods, and the snow started coming down harder. I didn’t think too much of it, but then the wind came up and the sleet started. All at once, I couldn’t see anything. I got so scared, but thank God I found your cabin. I don’t know what I would have done if you weren’t here.”

“You’re up here all by yourself?”

“Yes. You?’

“Yes. I came up here to…I mean, the reason…I’m sorry. I must sound like some crazy person. I assure you, I’m not. It’s just that I recently split with my husband of 11 years, and I came up here to think. This is my friend’s cabin.”

“It really is a small world, dear. Forgive me for intruding on you with my problems, but I’m in the same situation. My husband left me for some young hussy. Thirty years down the drain. I promise you, I’m not crazy either, but I came up here to punish Jerome. The plan was to take my own life. But while I was out walking and thinking, I realized that if I went through with my plan, it wouldn’t be Jerome who suffered. He’d have his child bride to comfort him and he’d simply move on. And me? I’d be the one who lost everything. Know what I mean?”

And how.

“I shouldn’t have bothered you with all this, dearie. I’m really not crazy – just hurt and confused.”

“It’s okay. If you’re crazy, then so am I. I don’t know why I’m comfortable telling you this, but I came up here with the same purpose – to punish Barry by killing myself. But, you’re so right. Barry would move on with his teeny bopper groupie and I’d be the big loser. What do you say we have a glass of wine – sans sleeping pills, and call it a night. Maybe this storm will be over by morning, and I’ll scramble us up some eggs.”

“Sounds great, Sheila. I’ll get the fire started.”

“I’ll get the wine and some cheese and crackers.”

She called me Sheila. How’d she know my name? Huh…


“I never slept that soundly. How about you? Hello?”

The old lady was on the couch, but she’s gone, and the comforter’s back on the bed. How’d she do that without waking me up? Sneaky. Wait. Are my purse and car keys still here? Sure are. Right where I left them. Weird. Wonder what it’s like outside. Whew. Storm’s over and the sun’s out. I wonder if the door will open. Wait a minute. It’s still locked and bolted. What did she do – go out the window? Very weird.

It’s not too bad out here. I can shovel a path to the car. I should start it and let it run awhile. I’ll try to get to the road this afternoon. I hate to step out and ruin this perfectly smooth…it’s smooth. The snow is smooth all over out front. How can that be? Where’s the old lady’s footprints? Who…

You know what? I’m not going to try to figure anything out. Not today, anyway. Maybe tomorrow…


  1. I really like Sheila's voice in this story, makes me want to sit and have a drink with her and let her vent. Maybe that's all she needed form this mysterious neighbour. Did she imagine it all? Was it a ghost? We'll never know, but the important thing is Sheila survived.

    1. Sometimes help comes in the most unlikely ways. An elderly lady taking a walk in a blizzard who leaves no footprints? Was she a restless spirit or a figment of Sheila's imagination? Whoever, or whatever, she was, she helped Sheila through the night and beyond, and that is the most important thing in the end.

  2. Your description of Sheila's thought progress as she considered suicide seems a little eerily realistic to me. I could see it happening that way easily.

    When Sheila heard the other woman's story, I was thinking, "That's a weird coincidence." Then in the final few paragraphs, I leaned towards restless spirit being helpful. Or potentially, if someone reading it was religiously inclined, they might think guardian angel. I wonder if she'll show back up in Sheila's life later but this story feels pretty finished as is so we'll probably never know.

    1. Thanks for your comments, Ginger. It was wild that you mentioned a guardian angel because that's how I pictured the older lady. She had been there long ago, gone through the same situation, and received help from a friendly spirit. Currently a spirit herself, she saw a need and 'appeared' to Sheila to provide the same inspiration. Someday, maybe Sheila will help someone in the same way. Who can say...