Carol noticed nothing, the image of a few bent window blinds storing itself cozily into her subconscious as she listened to her new favorite radio station.
♫ “You hate your boss at your job…” ♪
She sang along, though she didn’t hate her boss. Her boss was her husband. They were happily married, and had been for twenty-two years this November. No kids, of course. Carl hadn’t -well, maybe it really was Carol’s fault as he had suggested.
Miss Tight Skirts was expecting, probably from some discount store clerk. That’s where she got the ugly decorations from. Ugly decorations that could move…
No. Carol pushed the thought from her mind. Ceramics didn’t move, desks didn’t move, blinds didn’t -a black sedan pulled out into her lane and she had to jerk the steering wheel sharply to avoid impact. They honked at her and sped away into the night.
Her breathing almost matched her rapid heartbeat. This was the second time in one day she’d been scared enough to worry for her health. She tried to drive straight as she slowed her panicked breaths. Now, what had she been thinking about? Things looking at her?
♪ “Well, if you hear somebody knocking on your door / If you see something crawling across the floor / Baby, it’ll be me and I’ll be looking for you” ♪
Carol hadn’t heard the song; it sounded old, but still good. Catchy. Jerry Lee Lewis, perhaps… Her mother had kept a record.
Just then, a bright pair of headlights entered the road at her left side and she swerved to avoid yet another collision. “What is with the maniacs tonight?” she wondered aloud. She glanced over to at least glare at the driver. She couldn’t see anyone, so faced forward instead. Her mind did a double-take and she looked back.
It’s probably just a really short man or his seat’s set back really far, she told herself. The night was cloudy, too. The road was dark. She was tired. The driverless car drove off.
Carol slowed and turned onto her own suburban street, noting the tacky inflatable jack o’lanterns and grim reapers and Charlie Browns on her neighbors’ lawns. She’d forgotten Halloween was coming -in just one night, she realized. She’d have to pick up some candy and watch all the children. All the sweet children she’d never had to dress for Halloween nor take trick-or-treating.
Sighing, she drove up to their house. It was dark. Carl often forgot to leave the lights on for her, but he was never to bed this early. She opened the garage door and stopped in the driveway, engine idling.
Carl’s car was not there. The garage was as empty as a tomb.