My stomach heaved. If there were anything left within me, it would have been on the floor. I looked up at Lisa and found her staring back down at me, a smile on her face, her eyes shining like stars in the dim light of the room. “Do you like it? I worked so hard on it?”
“Jesus, Lisa. Jesus.”
Her smile grew wider, split her face like a wound. “I know, right? I didn’t think I’d be able to pull this off. It only came to me a few days ago, but I just knew it was right. I just knew I had to make it happen. Bemastis was counting on me. Dr. Shiny was counting on me. Everyone was counting on me. I had to open the door.”
I glanced around the room, slowly backing up, never taking my eyes very far from Lisa’s face, from her hands. She had to have a knife on her somewhere. A box cutter. Something. She hadn’t done all of this with her bare hands. I swallowed, chose my words carefully. “It’s wonderful, Lisa. Really something. You did a great job opening the door.”
Her eyes went wide. Her nostrils flared. Her hands balled up at her sides. “You Philistine! That’s what you said about the dream board! That’s all you’ve ever said! You don’t see! You don’t see! Dr. Shiny said you wouldn’t see, but I told him you would, but you just don’t get it!
“This isn’t the door! This is just a lock! There’s locks everywhere, but he’s finding ways to open them, and he’s going to save the world!” She stepped away from the wall quick as a cat, and I surprised myself with how fast I turned and ran. I could hear her screaming from behind me, feel her clawing at my back. Even as I slammed the basement door behind me, even as I ran up the stairs, pushed my way past the people in my office, stumbled out of the lobby and into sunlight, I heard her screams. On the drive home, the nervous walk to my apartment door spent looking over my shoulders, the drawing of blinds and the deliberate choice to leave off the lights, I heard her voice in my head. She cursed me. She pleaded with me. She laughed. She cried. She whispered secrets from my past and promises of things to come and I knew no sleep
But then, maybe it wasn’t really happening
I’ve always been imaginative like that.