Five Minutes

by Rhee ©


‘We stand on 5 minutes and devour centuries. You are the sieve through which my anarchy strains, resolves itself into words. Behind the word is chaos. Each word is a stripe, a bar, but there are not and never will be enough bars to make the mesh’

- Henry Miller ‘Tropic of Cancer’

There is no answer to my knock. I waited and knocked again, this time louder. Closing the fly screen I stood back, expecting someone to open the door, they didn’t. Not known for my patience, I opened the screen again, balled my fist and drummed until paint started to flake off the door and cover my shoes like dandruff.

‘Come around’ she’d said sitting in the lab earlier that day ‘we’ll brainstorm.’ I barely know the girl, she didn’t seem bad, a little freaky perhaps, but she was kicking ass big time in the lab, and let’s face it – I wasn’t.

I tried the door once more, not really expecting an answer but doing it anyway. It was about 5.30pm. It’d be dark soon and the crickets would start chirping, the cicadas were already rattling their mindless tunes in the trees, the air was starting to cool. Mosquitoes would occasionally land on my exposed flesh, nasty little vampires that no amount of swatting or stamping seemed to deter.

Didn’t want to go home, didn’t want to go back to that suburban normality, not yet. Didn’t feel up to walking through the door to the six o’clock news, meat and three veg. Electricity bill, washing up and the essay I should have completed 2 nights ago. I leant over the railing to look through the window. Grimy glass pressed close to my face, squishing my nose and leaving a wet circle of condensation. Pointless, I couldn’t see anything anyway, too dark.

She’d assured me that there would be someone home, that there’s always someone in the house, ha! Bullshit. Decided to try the back door, more in an attempt to kill time hoping she would turn up than any real belief that there might be someone inside, but after all it was a big house and they could be in the back yard. Actually the house was bloody huge, old and menacing. All dark timber and dirty glass, the windows looked like empty eye sockets watching my every move. Erie

The human mind is an amazing place, my imagination kicking in and this place is suddenly the house from hell, shadows moving in my peripheral vision, all kinds of evil scenarios knocking about my brain, all completely unrealistic but scaring me all the same. A quiet rustle behind me and I almost jump out of my skin. Looking down it’s a shabby old tom cat, his grey eyes staring at me in comprehension, laughing at my timidness. I kicked at the cat, retribution for seeing my embarrassment, he was too agile, darted quick to the right and disappeared laughing into a nearby bush.

I started towards the back. The whole yard was overgrown and it briefly crossed my mind that if my yard were like this Id have council, the landlord and the EPA all screaming down the phone at me. Jungle like. The flower beds were weeds, actually the lawn was nothing but weeds. Wild ivy grew up the side of the house. I liked it. The whole scene had a brooding quality to it, a menacing silence like the horror movies my brother James is into. A stillness just before you see the killer creep up behind the victim with an axe, knowing that the shadow of the axe falling and the copious amounts of pig’s blood splattered on the wall will be the last you see of her. A delicious fear.

I made my way up the over grown drive, tree limbs hanging low so I had to protect my face. My sneakered foot found something soft, wet, and squelchy under the rubber soles. I looked down to see a dead bird, at least what I thought was a bird – so rotted and maggot infested I couldn’t be sure. I stepped back quick, bile rising in my throat.

Circling the dead – thing – I continued forward. Cobwebs hung from the eaves in long, thick ghostly strands, mostly unoccupied but occasionally I would catch a glimpse of hairy black legs or feel their malevolent gaze watching my every move. My skin started to prickle, a cold shiver danced up my spine and over my grave. This wasn’t my imagination any longer, this was real, this was starting to fucking scare me. I went on; knowing – feeling – something was watching me… delicious fear.

I passed a circle of mushrooms, the magic kind, the ones James liked so much but I could never come at because they tasted so bad. And still I followed the faded tyre tracks up the side of the house – God this house was big. Or was it me walking so slow? I picked up my pace. Pushing aside a clump of tree and found the end of the house. Blistered, faded varnish peeled from panelling, I didn’t want to touch it but I did, guiding myself around the corner through the weeds and into an equally overgrown, unkempt and scary backyard.

Climbing the steps to the back veranda, the screen door was hanging gaping on its bottom hinge, dry leaves and dead twigs scattered the scuffed wood. An old love seat stood discarded in the far corner. I didn’t like this house, not one bit. The lab was forgotten, I couldn’t even remember why I was here in the first place, the only thing driving me forward was the tangy taste of fear in my mouth, this annoying sense of curiosity to see what the interior was like.

I knocked again. No answer. I balled my fist and drummed again, still no answer. This was starting to shit me. The cat idled around the love seat. I knocked one final time, no answer. Well fuck this, I’m going home. And I did.



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