Serialized Fiction: Beyond the Threshold: Episode One

It was around the corner. Just a little farther. Elaine’s heart thumped aggressively against her chest, and a tremor pulsated throughout her body. Too far. She had gone too far, and her apartment, her comfort zone, was out of reach.

All she wanted was to mail one little letter. She should be able to do that. Where was her strength? The mailbox was within view, but her feet wouldn’t move. Her throat closed and she couldn’t breathe.

Inside. She needed to be inside. At least in her apartment she wouldn’t be afraid.

“Elaine, wait up,” Richard, the mail man, said. “How are you?”

She eyed the doorway and sighed. “I’m fine. I have a letter for you.”

His dark, green eyes screamed out at her as he took the envelope. “It’s good to see you out of the house.” He handed her the mail, but lingered before releasing his grip. “Would you like me to start leaving your mail in the mailbox?”

“No, I still would like it brought to me, if you don’t mind.” She appreciated that he never asked her why she needed the mail delivered to her doorstep. The few people in her life at least kept their curiosity to themselves.

“Tomorrow then.” Richard tipped his hat and smiled before trotting to his van in long swift strides. If she would let herself think about it, his firm muscles would have made her mouth water, but men were far from her agenda of things to do with the rest of her life.

Inside, she plopped on her old, saggy couch and curled into a ball. She was worthless. Incapable. She couldn’t even walk down the driveway to the mailbox. Tears poured down her cheeks blurring the bare walls around her. Would she ever find the courage to overcome her fears, or was she really the good-for-nothing she believed she was?

She lay there battling self-pity. How long before her wounds would heal? How long would her ex-husband’s abuse eat at her?

Hours later, a knock at the door pulled her up from the dark pit within.