In the distance, the faint groan of an engine could be heard nearing the quiet residential street. As it approached, the headlights beamed through the window of a few houses creating light-reflecting patterns across the row of white houses. As it neared number 15, the car became slow in pace until it stopped completely. After a few minutes, a lady dressed head to toe in black got out of the car. A silver thread that was weaved through her jacket bounced off the street lights, while her jet black hair almost made it impossible for the human eye to make out her features. After a quick stroke of Ginger, she neared the front door. She was on a mission, and it was all soon to become very clear for one resident; Sophie. Asleep in her bed unknown to the commotion going on below her window, her life was about to change forever.
There it was again, a loud bang at the door. I wasn't sure if I was dreaming still, or there was someone trying to get my attention downstairs. I glanced over to the black electric clock on my bed side table. "3.15" beamed up at me with a green glow, and I was less than impressed. Who would come to someone's door at this time in the morning? Was it an intruder? I decide to ignore it and thought maybe it was a drunken neighbour returning from the pub. A bit unnerved, I shut my eyes and tried to go back to sleep. Not long after, it happened again. The noise of the banging door almost shook the house, and whoever it was out there was not giving up. I picked up my hair brush from the side, and slowly shuffled across the darkened room. Looking back now, it was hardly going to protect me from potentially what could have been anyone; dangerous or not. My dressing gown was draped over a chair by the door, and I quickly put it on getting tangled in the rush.
"Bang. Bang. Bang."
This person was not giving up. I shouted, unsure, "I am coming now!" I flicked on the light, and made my way downstairs. I cautiously peeped through the old and cracked peep hole in the door. I couldn't make out who it was. A women's voice suddenly startled me.
"Oh for Gods sake Sophie, open the door."
She sounded young but it was hard not to notice the urgency and authority in her voice. I did as I was told, still confused and half asleep. As I pulled the door towards me, there she stood. Her long black hair framed her soft face, with big green eyes looking back at me. She looked a lot older than me, but her face was kind. She was dressed head to toe in black, and behind her I could see Ginger looking at me, confused at the early morning intruder in his territory.
Lost for words, she pushed past me. Taken aback, I backed up against the wall. She undid her scarf.
"It's bloody freezing out there, Soph. Here- take my scarf. Go hang it up or something."
Her accent was one I was not familiar with. I stood there, with my mouth slightly open and confused as to what was going on. Who was she? How did she know my name? And more importantly, what was she doing in my house at 3 in the morning? She must have sensed my confusion. In a less abrupt tone, she started speaking again.
"Ah, you don't know who I am, do you?"
"Of course I don't," I said, a lot louder and more aggressive than I intended.
She looked at me, and I could see sympathy in her eyes. Why was she looking at me like that? Surely, at this moment in time, I should be the one feeling sympathy for this women dressed in black who was clearly mentally unhinged.
She looked me in the eyes and started to speak.
"I am your past. Sorry about the random visit, but you see, we don't really time these things. We can come at any minute of the day, or any moment. Your past is not something that is timed to pop up at your convenience."
I thought to myself I must have let a mad woman in my house, and how do I get her out. She could be dangerous. I quickly reached for the phone in the hallway, only to be greeted to her arm blocking my way.
"Don't," she told me. "Please, bear with me. There's no need for that. Let me explain."
She carried on speaking in a very matter of fact voice.
"Ask me anything you like. Anything. Even things that no one knows about you. Your deepest thoughts, your darkest secrets. I will have the answer. All I need is for you to listen to me. Once again, sorry for the random visit, Soph. But I am here for a reason. 'Bout time I intervened."
I obviously looked slightly worried.
"Look," she continued. "Can we sit down somewhere? I have some important things to teach you".
I lead her into the front room, turning on a lamp on the coffee table for light. She glanced around the room, then chose the big old dusty sofa by the window. Taking her boots off, which I noticed where worn in and full of holes, she ushered me to sit down opposite her. Reaching into her pocket, she pulled out a tattered piece of paper which had obviously seen better days. She placed on her glasses, which were perched on top of her head. Getting comfy in the old arm chair, she finally glanced up at me.
"Now then," she muttered, glancing down at the crumpled paper.
"Let us see what we have here."
I don't know who was more crazy- myself or this random women in my front room. But something was telling me to listen to what she had to say. Little did I know, I was about to go on the biggest journey of my life and things were about to change before my eyes.