The day started with a scream. Della woke drenched in sweat, panting heavily. She wasn’t surprised; she had spent the night in the old townhouse at East Dreamwood. As she bolted up, her hand went immediately to comfort her pet wolf, Boo Radley. They had a way of feeling each others emotions. When she was scared and anxious so was he.
Once her heart rate had calmed she reached for her phone on the bedside table. Just as she pushed the on button she remembered:
I forgot to call Sarah.
A feeling of dread settled over her. She geared herself up for the damage.
19 missed calls.
“Better call. No sense in putting it off.”
Ring. Ring. Ring. Click.
“Where. Have. You. Been?” Sarah’s voice crackled through the phone. “I have been so worried about you! How many times have I told you that you can’t do this to me! You nearly gave me a heart attack! You know Dawn drove all the way from Meadowbrook to come look for you!...”
Della tried to pay attention to her sister’s heated words, she knew they were said out of love, but having heard this speech a few times before she tuned out.
“Do you hear me? Get home this instant! You can use your time getting here to think of a good reason why you decided to stay out all night! No dilly-dallying!” Click.
Della left the the house and headed out into a misty morning. She had no need to call Boo Radley, he was already padding along beside her. Just before she turned on to Dreamwood Avenue, Boo Radley loped away into the woods, he knew no one would approve of their friendship, especially Sarah.
When she reached apartment 503 at Dreamwood Terrace she took a deep breath and exhaled as she turned the key in the lock. She fought the urge to squeeze her eyes shut, as if whatever was waiting for her on the other side could be avoided by “seeing no evil”. Dawn’s petite frame looked almost normal sitting at the small kitchen table, crammed into the front hallway. Della and Dawn exchanged a nod and a half smile as Della tried to slip past the kitchen into her room. Dawn was Sarah’s girlfriend and the sisters’ benefactor; she had gotten Sarah her job and bought the small apartment for them.
“Della,” came Sarah’s voice from behind her. Della cringed. She turned around to face her sister.
“Please don’t do that again,” her voice was tired and she was sitting on her bed rubbing her temples. “I just- I can’t lose you too,” Della stared at the ground. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore today. I just want to get some sleep before my shift at O'Harley's,” and with that Sarah closed her door.
As Della returned to her new room she looked out her dirty fivestory window. At least the weather matched her mood. She always felt gloomy around the holidays ever since…
When the lights went out at 7:00 PM, Della didn't notice. She was already in the midst of a dreamless sleep.