I published this on 10/31/2014 so I am not sure why WordPress decided to change it to a “scheduled” post… I am just trying to republish it. Carry on.
Based on Daily Prompt: Trio No. 3: A dark night, refrigerator and tears.
“Where is it?! It HAS to be here somewhere!”
My eyes made yet another frantic search around my bedroom. I had checked every surface and, on hands and knees, every square inch of flooring. I had emptied drawers. I had even looked in the moving boxes, thinking my ring had somehow fallen inside.
My ring had been missing for a week. That meant that I had been repeating this same search routine for seven days. Seven days of nothing but frustration.
“Trace your steps,” my husband piped in. “Where did you last see it?”
I threw him an exasperated look. Really? We had been through this countless times. I knew exactly where I had left it. Once my grandmother’s, the ring was my prized possession. I had taken it off at bedtime, like usual, and lovingly placed it in the padded ring box on my nightstand. The next morning, the box was empty.
“Damn it, Nick! For the hundredth time, I left it right there!” I yelled, gesturing toward the nightstand. “It just disappeared!”
“Nothing just disappears. We will find it. I’ll go check the bathroom again.” He rose from the bed and entered the hallway.
I looked around the room and decided to search the nightstand drawer. Again.
“OUCH! I thought I moved that box.” I heard Nick yell from the bathroom. “I KNOW I moved that box. Did you put it back in here?”
I peeked into the bathroom to see him standing next to the offending box, rubbing his shin. I remembered him moving the box into the office two days before. I shook my head and said, “No, I didn’t touch it. Come to think of it, I don’t remember it being in here this morning.”
He sighed. “This is getting out of control.” We looked at each other, not wanting to say anything more.
We had moved into the duplex about a month before. At first, when little things went missing or showed up in strange places, we attributed it to the disorganization. With boxes and things strewn about waiting for a new home, it would be easy to misplace an item. As it continued, we started to suspect each other. I wouldn’t put it past my dear husband to pull pranks to make me think I was losing my mind. Then about three weeks after moving in, we had dinner with our neighbors. We wanted to meet the people who lived on the other side of our walls.
An accountant and an elementary school teacher, they seemed like a nice couple. We ate and made small talk about jobs and hobbies before they started telling us about all of the weird things that they had experienced since moving into the duplex. Hearing footsteps in the hall when no one was there. Knocking noises. Slamming doors. Coming home to find furniture moved. Items gone missing.
Nick scoffed at their claims, branding them as paranoid. ‘Its all in their heads,’ he said. I, on the other hand, believed that their claims had validity. I had also heard the noises in the middle of the night. The spare bedroom was so cold, no matter how much I ran the heat. Boxes and other things had shown up where we hadn’t placed them. And then that night, after dinner with the neighbors, my ring disappeared.
As I stood in the bathroom and looked from my husband to the box that should have been in the office, tears started to slip from my eyes and roll down my cheeks.
Nick’s eyes softened and he took a step toward me. “Honey,…”
I sighed and wiped my eyes. “I just want my ring back,” I yelled into the empty hallway. “Its mine and I want it back!” I turned and huffed down the stairs to the living room.
The large bay window by the front door showed me that it had gotten quite dark. I closed the drapes and turned on the tv. Nick came softly down the stairs, watching me with a worried look on his face. ‘He probably thinks I’ve lost it,’ I thought.
I decided that I needed a beer. Or three. I padded down the hallway to the kitchen and flipped on the light. There was a pot on the stove that I was pretty sure was in the cabinet a couple of hours before and we hadn’t done any cooking. Make that four beers.
I opened the refrigerator and froze.
“Nick? Come here.”
He was by my side an instant later, still with a worried look.
I reached into the fridge and pulled out the padded ring box. The ring box that was upstairs on my nightstand only fifteen minutes earlier. The ring box that now contained my lost ring.
I held it up to him and looked him straight in the eye. I worked to keep my voice even. “Do you still think its all in their heads?”
He looked at the ring like it was a snake ready to strike him. He blew out a breath and ran his hand through his hair. “Yeah, I’ll call the landlord. We’re breaking the lease.”
A/N: Happy halloween! This is actually a true story. One of my best friends lived in that duplex with her husband. Its in Lakewood, Ohio. And yes, her missing ring really did show up in the refrigerator. I changed one part: they actually did stick it out for the full year of the lease (and she was very happy when they finally moved out!). They did experience all of the weird things I describe here, though not on a daily basis. It was frequent enough to be creepy but not frequent enough to send them running for the hills. And none of it seemed malicious.