That night she sat down in front of her bed and waited. It was the third night she had done this. Because she had seen her once on accident, she had asked for her every night since.

It was Tuesday when it started.  She woke up around 3:30 am. Her oven timer was going off for no reason–shrieking like a screaming bell. The sound was shrill and louder than an alarm clock. You could not sleep through it even if you were dead tired; even if you were passed out, it’s ring would wake you. Had it not happened a few times already since she moved there, it would have scared her. Catarina was clumsy. In her haste, she often threw pots on the back burner to dry and flipped the switch without noticing. The cycle took eight hours to complete and then the shrieking began. The oven was old and mysterious and temperamental. She didn’t think too much of it and always hopped up quickly enough to turn it off.  She had tried once to wait and see if it would self-regulate and shut off itself, but it didn’t. It screamed. It screamed louder as the seconds passed. There was no sleeping through it.

Tuesday was no different. She threw the blankets off, traversed the ten feet to her kitchen with barely a step, and flipped the switch from right to left. With her sleepy eyes, she peered in the living room from the kitchen doorway.  As her fingers turned the switch to align perfectly iwth the number zero and the shrieking faded, Catarina saw the wall move. The right wall was pulsing slightly. The movement was subtle like a curtain billowing in a breeze. She was not mistaken though. It was moving. She saw a flitter of gold roam towards her and she stayed frozen in the kitchen. Catarina let her eyes adjust to the dark and stayed focus on the same spot; the spot that had fluttered without warning.  Along the wall slithered a constellation–a snake of tiny gold oscillated through the doorway and then she felt two hands behind her neck. Where there had just been no one, she felt two hands cover her eyes like a blindfold.


(introduction to the short story: “The Woman Who Walked out Walls”)


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