A girl takes advice from an MP3 player on shuffle to get through her day
The light drizzle in the air felt good on my face as it slowly soaked into the few dry parts of my shirt. The day had been long, and the night was cold, but my parents were too busy catering to my older sister's needs to bother with picking me up from work. That was the order of things, though. It had been for some time. The only way I would be getting any rest would be to start walking before the news that I had worked sixteen hours and had a long walk ahead made it through my steel-toes shoes and my dishwater-soaked socks. I hit play on my clearance rack-worthy mp3 player and listened for a moment.
"Wheel in the Sky by Journey," I thought with a smile. "That's a good one."
The walk had been long and cold, but with my headphone singing in my ears, I could hardly feel any of the half-hour journey from one end of town to the other. I sighed in relief as I lumbered along down my street toward the tiny, grey house.
"Almost home," I whispered to myself, "then a bath, then dry clothes, and then bed time."
I stopped short of the walkway leading up to the porch. There were no cars parked out front, which would have been fine if my wallet with my house-key in it hadn't been stolen some days before. A sigh of frustration escaped my lips as Metallica screamed in my ears. I hurried up the walkway and onto the porch to try the door. It wouldn't be the first time everybody left without locking the house up, but the handle squeakily resisted my turns.
"Locked," I growled as I stood and stared at the door for a moment, trying to intimidate it into changing its mind. It didn't work, so I spun on my heels and lumbered down the stairs, singing along with the heavy metal chorus as it filled my ears with catchy guitar riffs and a gravelly voice.
"And then it comes to be that the soothing light at the end of your tunnel...is just a freight train coming your waaaaay. Yeah..."
I made my way around the house to the back door, and checked it. Also locked. I felt anger and annoyance bubbling up inside me, but it soon quelled as I remembered my ace in the hole. The cellar door leading out to the backyard was almost never locked. The inside door leading up the stairs to the kitchen was another story, but that was a worry for later. I stepped off the deck and looked down the rickety stairs at the cellar door below. They had been bricks lain into the ground leading down into short hall before the door, but now they were broken hunks of garbage strewn in a downward slope that ended in a mess of bicycles and yard waste. Dad hadn't yet gotten around to fixing them.
My headphones went silent for a moment as the shuffle mechanism chose a new track. I barely noticed as I took hold of the old, wooden handrail and placed one foot on what should have been the top stair. It rocked as I pressed only a fraction of my weight onto it.
"Vater Unser by Enomine," I thought as the Lord's Prayer was being chanted in German to a catchy techno beat in my headphones.
I stopped and took my foot off the broken stair. The odds of that song coming up on my mp3 player were 1/537. The odds of it coming up as I was about to do something dangerous were absolutely astronomical. A shiver chilled my spine as I desperately ran the numbers through my head, trying to convince myself that I was being silly, but I couldn't shake the fear that the numbers had brought.
"I'll go back to the front and wait for a bit," I thought, "And if they aren't back soon, maybe I'll just do it anyway."
Low and behold, my parents pulled up in their midnight blue Taurus as I made my way around to the front. My dad fell down those stairs the next day trying to get the hose from the cellar to spray down the deck. The tumble he took left him battered and bruised and afraid that he had broken his ankle.