“It’s in the house. I’m scared. I think it's in the house.”
“Where are you now?”
“In the bedroom. Light’s off. Yeah, it's locked. I’m scared. I think it's in the house. Shh. Wait. Oh God. It's at my door. It's him! He knows I'm here! He's calling my name from under the door. What do I do? Where do I go?
“Can you get out of there?”
“No. I can't. I'm too scared. What if he around the other window? What if he climbed up the balcony? He might catch me before I climbed down the balcony. I could give it a try. I don’t know where he is now. Shit. He’s not at the door anymore. I think he’s gone. I don’t see his shadow under the door anymore.”
“Get out of there.”
“No. No. He’s at the window! Help! Help me! He’s in…”
He stared at his phone. Noted the time. He might need it for evidence later.
What evidence? Who’s going to ask?
Then he heard it. A cutting silence. The sound of a held breath. He looked up. People were staring at him with terrible understanding. He didn't realize how loud he was. They swayed away from him like rows of grass in the wind. (It’s just the bus stopping.) He excused himself and squeezed out of the crowded bus. They avoided his gaze. The frantic excusemes. Bad news. He was all bad news.
What was he supposed to do? Go back to her house? Get an ojek and make sure she’s alright? Or find what’s left of her? Get implicated? But she’s – how could he say it? How could he explain himself?
It might have been a mistake. A misunderstanding. Or the neighbor’s TV. It might've been a hyperbolic imagination. And why would he need to explain himself to anyone? And about what?
He tried calling her again. Recorded. He tried calling her house. No answer. She lived alone. It was for his sake that she left the girls dormitory. For their quiet lunches and long Tuesday evenings.
So he stood there. Frightened. Furious. Frozen. All that moved, and that at chaotic speed, were the thoughts in his head, battling the paralysis of uncertainty. Eyes met his and accused him with the vilest of sins: Indecision. A cowardly indecision.
His phone rang. The screen a blur. It took him another blink to realize that it was Home. And he took another breath before sliding the lock to answer.
“Yes, my love.”
“Are you still far? I think the TV is broken.”
“Almost there, my darling.”
“Mommy wants to talk to you.”
“Could you pass by the ATM on your way? I forgot to pay the cable.”
“Of course. Anything else?”
“No, we’re alright. Are you still far?”
He paused before answering. Watching the approach of another bus. Stepping into the queue. “I’m almost home.”