It has been weeks since Azi’s death. She did not die immediately, unfortunately, she was life lighted and transported to the nearest hospital. She did not live long afterwards. In the ICU, I got to speak to her only moments before she flatlined. I remember her cold breath on my neck as she spoke her final chilling words, “The answer to the riddle is time…” With that final statement her soul drifted out of her body to the ominous music of the screeching monitor.
Back to the now, since then I have been staying with my grandmother who I’ve always called “Gaga”. I locked myself in her guest room for two weeks, barely eating, barely moving, and always being terrified to close my eyes. A little insight to my grandmother is the fact that she is very superstitious, so when I told her what had happened she contacted a medium that she insisted I meet with. Totally against it at first, I eventually gave in after days of her constant nagging.
I walked to her house because I didn’t feel safe being behind the wheel or being in a car with someone else. I double checked the address written in the “Memo” app on my phone. “1111 Red Rail Street, New Brighton, Pennsylvania” I walked down the stone walkway outlining the street, checking signs, watching the house numbers, and trying not to have a panic attack. I looked up at the sign indicating that Red Rail Street was down the left of the four way street.
As I turned the corner I saw her house stood out from all of the other suburban houses. There was an angel garden to the left side of her yard, enclosed by a small white fence that highlighted the vibrant perennials that were planted within the small area. Green shrubs brought the whole ensemble together. The sight was breathtaking.
When my eyes met the house it was NOT at all what I had pictured. It was a dark brown-red brick two story house. The front porch was deteriorating, the window shutters barely hanging onto a hinge, the age worn, wooden window frames, the black front door, the porch roof shingles were terribly damaged, and the concrete steps were none too inviting either.
Approaching the front door, I double checked the metal address plaque nailed onto the right side of the main door. It was the correct place for certain.
I gripped the metal knocker and banged it against the hard oak door. The noise was loud enough to have surely been heard from the other nearby houses. A hand opened the door.
At the sight of the woman, I was not shocked, she looked as I had expected. She was middle-aged, brown; thin wavy hair, grey eyes, medium complexion dotted with sunspots, tall, wide framed, rectangular face, and thin; naturally pursed lips.
“I’ve been expecting you,” she stated simply with a soft smile. My face twisted into confusion at the sound of her voice, it sounded like that of a smoker’s, however she did not smell like cigarettes or anything close to nicotine. She smelled… warm.
She must have seen my facial expression and went on to further explanation, “Your grandmother told me you were coming, a um…” she paused for a moment, “bad string of events I was told.” I took note that she was not looking at me, but she was looking around me. “Yes ma’am, and I was hoping you could help me,” I explained.
I stepped forward and extended my hand to her holding $70.00, but she stepped back. I looked at her confused, “I’m sorry, did I come off to strong?” I inquired. She shook her head, “Don’t pay me, I’m not sure I can help you. You are dealing with something already out of control.” Fear rose through my body. This time it was me who stepped back. How did this woman know what I was dealing with? Gaga couldn’t have told her because she only knew half of it.
Seemingly, her eyes burned into mine as I stared up at the woman. “Come in,” she stepped aside and invitingly opened the door. I hesitantly walked inside. The house smelled and looked warm, like the woman, but it was cold. She stepped behind me and closed the door.
“It’s very cold in here,” I shivered a bit. She shrugged, “I suppose it is probably because of the thing you have attached to you.” I zipped up my jacket and asked startled, “Um, what do you mean?” She looked at me, “I mean, your little friend. Can’t you sense her?”
Shaking, I backed up and hit my hip off of the table sending a flash of pain through my upper thigh and right pelvis. I reached back and touched the side of my hip and noticed the goosebumps on my arms. I looked at them confused as if I was a toddler trying to fit a square peg in a round circle. I began to think maybe the woman, despite her weird demeanour, was right. Just then something brushed against my shoulder making me jump.
The old woman’s face twisted and she opened her jaw only to let out a high pitched shrieking noise. It near made my eardrums bleed. “STOPPPPP!” I screamed at her then was pinned to the ground by some unknown force. My head had hit the ground with such power that I blacked out.
My head was pounding, I could hear my own heartbeat ringing through every inch of my skull. My eyelids were heavy as they opened. It took a moment for my vision to be restored and when the blurriness cleared from my sight I saw the old woman. She was hanging from a rope with a chair toppled over beneath her. Her chest rested, unmoving. Behind her stood a pair of small childlike legs, then suddenly, they moved.
To be continued…