The Crossword



The Crossword

Angela let out a groan at the sound of her alarm clock. Not because it had roused her from a peaceful sleep, but because she hadn't slept a wink at all. She was starting a new job this morning and nerves had kept her up all night.

She staggered into the kitchen to get the coffee started and then headed out the front door. At the end of her driveway lay the newspaper.

Her morning routine never varied. Put the coffee pot on, get the newspaper, work the crossword while waiting for the coffee to brew, have a cup of coffee, hop in the shower, get dressed and put make-up on, have another cup and a protein bar while finishing the crossword, and then head out the door.

Course, when you haven't slept, the routine is much less enjoyable. She contemplated skipping the crossword this morning as she doubted whether even espresso could help her think. She shrugged the idea off. If she couldn't handle a lousy crossword, then she might as well call in sick, as her new job promised to be much more brain-wrenching. No way she was doing that.

She sat down at the kitchen table and turned to the crossword. She listened to the drip, drip drip of the coffeemaker, wishing she could make it go faster, as she contemplated the clue for one across: "My So-Called Life role."

She counted the number of squares for one across and smiled as she penned the answer. Her own first name. 'What are the odds,' she thought.

A sudden loud bang sounded from outside and her head jerked in its direction. Glancing out the window, she saw an old car making its way up the street and realized it must have backfired.

Her eyes dropped back to the puzzle. For some reason, the clue for fifty-seven across seemed to jump out at her. It read, "Command to Fido." This time the answer was only four letters long. She penned in the answer as it came to her.

Stay.

The coffeemaker then made that distinctive gurgling sound that signaled the pot was ready. After pouring herself a cup, she sat down again. She continued working between sips. Once again, she found her attention being drawn to another completely random clue. This time it was thirty-two across. "There's no place like it."

The answer immediately appeared in her consciousness, along with a pronounced sense of unease. Her coffee was now forgotten.

'It's a freaky coincidence, sure,' she thought. 'But that's all it is. Right?'

She abandoned the paper and proceeded with the rest of her routine, performed at a much more hurried pace than unusual. She was eager to get out of the apartment as quickly as possible. She didn't even bother to put her coffee cup in the dishwasher before dashing out the front door…

+++

As noon approached, Dwayne was still in a foul mood. He honestly couldn't believe his new hire was a no call, no show. He'd tried her cell, but it went to voice mail. 'Unbelievable,' he thought as he sorted through the paperwork on his desk. 'And she'd seemed so professional in the interview.'

It wasn't until that night that his feelings towards her changed. Because the lead story on the evening news concerned a multi-car accident that had occurred on the interstate. And Angela was listed as one of the casualties.

Submitted July 15, 2018 at 06:13AM by Yeuh78


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