I stood just feet away from the door and watched the knob turn and knew that I would die, violently and very soon.
Whoever or whatever was standing outside and about to open the door (Could I have forgotten to lock it?) would burst in and kill me in the spot — stab me, crush me, shoot me, devour me, incinerate me, or tear off my arm and shove it down my throat, causing me to choke to death on something that I would never have guessed that I’d choke to death on. Who saw this coming! I would say as I choked on my own arm. Or maybe it wouldn’t be a bloodthirsty drug addict or a seven-foot lobster monster or a fledgling cult member with everything to prove. Maybe instead it would just be death — personified and skeletal and robed — and he’d simply SuperPoke me and make everything turn white.
This all flashed by in about a second. The knob turned, but only slightly. I had locked it. But would the lock hold? The parade of grisly endings whizzed by again, competing for that second of my attention only with my realization that I know nothing about locks. How do locks work? Is it a latch? Aren’t pins involved? Could it be a tiny man with Popeye arms manually preventing two gears from cogging together because I asked him to do so when I turned the switch clockwise? (I know its not the last of these, but I imagine I would have arrived at this conclusion as a young child had I ever bothered to wonder about locks before tonight.) Could it really be that only a latch or pins or a tiny man is preventing my inside — which I perceive to be safe — from joining with the outside — which, at this hour, I perceive to be unsafe and populated with drug-addicted lobster cultists?
I had only gone to front door because I heard what sounded like someone trying to get in. That my hunch turned out to be correct was little for me, who would be dying violently and very soon. The glare of the courtyard lights put the shadow of something on the front door’s blinds and I wondered if that something could see me through them.
I won’t know. The shadow and its owner left.
Can I presume it was all a mistake? Not that it didn’t happen. It did happen. But possibly it only happened because someone confused my front door with their front door. A drunk, it could have been. Or the girl one door over, who dances at clubs professionally and might have been tired from her full shift of go-going. But then again I suppose I would have heard her eventually open her correct door.
I’ve never been so interested in locks as I am now.