Sidney Williams ~ Decoherence

A solid knock sounded but didn’t seem urgent. Just three raps against my front door. I wasn’t expecting anyone and didn’t really know many people in my neighborhood. I’d only moved to town a few weeks earlier.

Who’d be coming to see me? After dark?

I put my book aside with a bit of trepidation. The local news anchors loved leading every night with a home invasion in one segment of their coverage area or another. That area was big enough that there always seemed to be one somewhere.

I looked out through the blinds on the narrow window beside the door. Even with the light on, I couldn’t make out much. I just got the vague shape of an angular man in a dark suit.

The house had come without a peep hole, and I hadn’t had one installed yet.

“Who’s there?” I asked, sliding the chain in place.

“Mr. Everett?”

How’d he know my name?

I opened the door just a crack, not even stretching the chain to its full length.

“My name is Everett,” I said. “What can I do for you?”

“I’m a 911 operator.”

“What, do you make house calls now?”

“I have…the…weirdest…story to tell you.”

The voice had a slow, deliberate cadence and gave just a hint of confusion.

“I’m not sure why you’d seek me out,” I said.

“It’s…it’ll become apparent.”

“I’m sorry. It’s late, and I don’t really have time to get into a story.”

“But I need to tell someone. I need to tell you.”

“If you’re a 911 operator, you know how crime’s been around town. Please, give me a call tomorrow. If you’re who you say you are, I’m sure you can find the number.”

“Mr. Everett…”

I closed the door, pressed in the lock button and twisted the shades closed.

The door rattled as he seemed to slap the wood on the other side.

“It’s important that you hear me out.”

I remained silent.

“You’ve got to listen to me.”

He pounded more and tried the knob. I watched the lever on my side bob in reaction, but the lock held.

“I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”

He hammered the door. “This may be important.” Bam, bam. “We may all be in danger. I’m worried about…possible outcomes.”

“If you don’t go away, I’m going to have to call the police.”

“Please. Listen to me.”

He slammed a fist into the door again.

I went back to my chair and fished around for my cell which had been resting at my side.

Pounding jolted the door, seeming to make it strain against the frame.
I keyed in 9-1-1.

After what felt like a long pause, the buzz of the dial tone issued, issued again, and then I got: “9-1-1, how may we help you?”

The voice was slow and awkwardly deliberate.

I hesitated only a second then said: “There’s a man at my door trying to get in.”

“Are you at 3674 Erwin Court?”

I wasn’t sure if the GPS on my phone would be that accurate, but I said: “That’s right.”

“Mr. Everett. I…have…the…weirdest…story to tell you. Why don’t you go let me in so we can talk?”


Sidney Williams is a former newspaper reporter who now teaches creative writing in Florida. His novels include When Darkness Falls, Night Brothers, Midnight Eyes and Azarius. His short fiction has appeared in a host of magazines and anthologies.


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