Another Life: Chapter 5, Flight
While I sprinted away from my apartment, I looked back to see if the Lieutenant was following me, and in so doing, collided with an elderly woman. Thanks to the balance of her cane, I didn’t knock her to the ground, but her groceries ended up all over the sidewalk. “I’m so sorry!” I hastily grabbed her things and placed them back into her bag. “I should have looked where I was going.”
But she wasn’t looking at me. She was looking behind me. “Don’t worry, dear. In fact, I think you should come with me.” She took me by the arm in a surprisingly strong grip, and she pulled me across the street toward her home.
“But your things!”
“Never worry about them. They’re not important.”
I twisted round to get them and spotted the Lieutenant barging through my front door and toward us. I heard him yell, “Get back here!” as she pulled me into her brownstone.
My neighbor waved her cane at him and yelled back, “Go home, Mr. Gregory, before I call for the bobbies!” Then she slammed and locked the door behind us, leaving him on her doorstep. He tried the knob, but it would not yield. He pounded on the wood to no avail, and for a moment, I was worried he might try to smash the glass to gain entry. But my elderly defender picked up her phone to show him she meant business about the police, and he stormed off in frustration.
As I stammered an incoherent apology, my neighbor sat me down in her parlor and peered between her drapes. “He’s leaving. Best stay here for a spell, Claire. Are you hurt?” I shook my head, though I wasn’t really sure if that was the right answer, and she patted my hand reassuringly. “Let me make you a cup of tea.”
While she shuffled into her kitchen, I tried to slow my breathing and heart rate. What on earth had just happened? What was this life I’d made for myself? And who, exactly, was my fiance? Had he done this before? How had I responded? He had mentioned that I’d postponed our wedding. Was this why?