It really was a day like any other. Such a cliche way to describe it but there really is no other way. She was rushing to get all of her family ready for the day. Emma just would not eat her breakfast, and Brice was struggling to get Ella ready for the day, she refused to wear what they had set out for her, she was 6 and in a serious princess stage, the idea of her going anywhere in less than full princess regalia was repellent to her. Too much to do and way too little time.
She was rushing to get the dishes cleaned as she glanced out the window of their third floor condo. It was a gorgeous little slice of the American dream, a peaceful serene setting for them to scrimp and save up for their dream house. The yard of the complex was nestled against the end of a light forest, a sort of conservation area, a reprieve for nature in against the cold concrete, asphalt and steel of the new construction in the area. She enjoyed the times she would see a family of deer peak out of the woods, watch them as they frolic at the edge of the woods, laugh as they ate the carefully cultivated roses the complex grew to increase its attractiveness to the late twenty somethings that were the main inhabitants here. Today though was different.
She glanced out the window not paying attention to the world out there and she started to walk away from the sink and towards the dinette that was basically still in the kitchen, god she loves the open floor plan here. She started to walk when suddenly it clicked in her mind that she saw something out there that she could not or would not allow herself to identify, something that glaringly did not belong where it was.
She had to fight the urge to run into her room, like she would at the end of a long day when the last light in the hallway would go out and the feeling of impending doom would sink in, sometimes the only thing she felt kept her alive was the flashlight on her iPhone. That unexcapable feeling as darkness would envelop her, the instantaneous heightening of every other sense she has, the smallest sounds and creaks in the building would be amplified by a heightened imagination and there would alternately be a serial killer behind every door or some supernatural monster ready to pounce. The very worst of the night dread would be when she got to her bed and that age old fear of the monster that lives under the bed, a half expectation that there would be a hand that would reach out and grab her ankles and a terrifying wondering of what it would be if the hand actually reached out. Of course these odd irrational fears would manifest after she watched a scary movie or too many episodes of those ghost hunting shows, yet this feeling of dread was in the middle of the morning when the new day tends to wash away the fears of the restless night.
She turned back around and forced herself to walk back toward the window, every step she took back was exponentially harder until she was a step away from the window. The dread was almost like a physical force that was felt like it was trying to force her down. She got to the window and steeled herself to face the unknown thing that caused such a panic in her. She looked around and at first saw nothing, then the wind rustled and at the edge of the forest saw five yellow balloons tied to a tree. She deeply breathed in, catching and let her mind tell her that was all she had originally seen, releasing endorphins into her system that would calm her and let her go on with her life. That night when she finally slipped into dream land she had nightmares, her mind only then letting her truly process what she had seen, and in her nightmares she was chased by clowns.