There is a peephole in our front door. It wasn't always there; my mother recently demanded we get one, and my father did not hesitate to comply. She always wanted one, and to be honest, so did I. Neither of us are exceptionally eager to open the door without a clue who is knocking.

You see, my sister and I... we have this weird way of attracting creepers. Not your average, run-of-the-mill weirdos who just hit on you. I mean some really bizarre guys.

Want some examples?

My senior year of high school, I was taking classes at a community college. My dad happened to work at the bookstore there, so I just commuted with him. Anyway, one evening I was waiting for him to get off work. I was sitting at the snack bar reading some book—one of the Twilight books, I think—when this guy comes up and sits across from me. He starts up one of the weirdest conversations I have ever had. He asked me if I drank or smoked, to which I replied that I had never even tasted alcohol before. He proceeds to tell me not only that he drinks, but that he used to smoke pot and use other drugs, and that he once worshiped Satan. He also decided to throw in that he has ADD and autism. In the end, he asked for my number, to which I stammered out some excuse of wanting to get to know a guy before giving him that information. After he excused himself, I promptly shoved my books into my bag, and discreetly got the heck out of there. As a seventeen year old homeschool girl, the whole interaction left me understandably freaked out.

Again, a couple of years ago, another weirdo expressed interest. This guy was a coworker. It was a known fact that he was bipolar, and he was also infamous for getting rather friendly with the girls. Well, one day at work he was noticeably flirty with me, so I got the feeling something would happen soon. Sure enough, a few days later, I got a message from him right on my Facebook wall. As well as I can remember, it went something like this:

"Hey, how r u? so, i was wondering if u would b my girlfriend? my mom thinks ur pretty. anyway, its up 2 u. xoxoxo"

Once again, I was freaked. Not so much by the question as by the way it was asked. How could I respond to him in a way that would prevent humiliating both him and myself in front of all our friends? Well, luckily, I was home that day, taking off from classes to attend a funeral. So, I asked my father to reply to him for me, hoping to demonstrate both my feelings and the awkward position he had placed us both in. I still think my dad's response was too nice. The guy was fired recently, and everyone in the store is breathing easier with him gone.

My sister had an encounter just as bizarre recently. She's a missionary looking for support however she can. She sends out newsletters via email monthly. Well, there is this guy who used to go to her church, who had said he was interested in sending her support and received her newsletter that sent her an email over New Year's. To the best of my memory, the gist of it was:

"You are a strong, kind young woman. I believe God has great plans for you. I have asked Him to send me a good, sweet wife, and I think you might be the one. If you can't, I will understand. I know God has someone out there for me."

My sister immediately claimed she had "one-upped" me on strange guys, since this was a proposal as opposed to a request for a date. However, I'm still of the opinion that at least an email is more dignified than Facebook. She then spent the next hour or so ranting to a friend about it before calming down enough to send a polite response, declining his offer. To make matters more convoluted, the man's wife emailed her a week or so later, asking how long this had been going on.

Like I said, weirdos.

So anyway, back to that peephole

I'm just a bit taller than my mom and sister, so I have to bend down to see out of it. I can see well enough, I suppose, but it's a pain.

When I go home, it's not uncommon for me to have the entire house to myself all day, as everyone else tends to have steady daily work schedules. That's why I was alone in the house the day... it... happened.

I was at the computer, watching YouTube mostly, when the doorbell rang, followed by a series of knocks. Curiously, and hesitantly, I paused my video, got up, and went to the door. I glanced through the peephole and stared intently for a long moment. I saw no one. I took a few steps back when the knocking persisted, followed by a "hello?" I glanced through the hole and again saw no one, though I could feel the vibrating of the door with each tap against the wood.

I started to grow a bit apprehensive, and I found myself wishing my daddy's gun was kept in the front hall rather than the back room. I considered pretending like I wasn't home. After all, if I were back at school, there wouldn't be anyone home right now. But as I stood there, the knocking grew more and more persistent, accompanied by numerous rings at the doorbell. Finally, I decided to open the door.

Slowly, I inched the door open. But no one was there. There was just a large vase of black roses on the doorstep, with a note attached. I pulled the vase inside and quickly shut and locked the door again. I set the roses on the kitchen table and admired them for a few moments. Their bittersweet scent quickly overpowered the room, and something about the smell make me feel sad. Lonely.

I noticed the note again, and read it. There was no name, neither sender nor receiver. It simply read,

"My darling,

I miss you. More than you could ever know, I miss you. Night after night, my bed remains cold, devoid of you. Days are empty, and meaningless. Come join me again, my dearest, so that we may once again dance the night away. Come to me, my love."

Sitting there, reading that note, overcome with the scent of the black flowers, which was like perfumed sorrow, I felt tears fall down my eyes. I became desperate to see him, this mysterious man. I longed to alleviate his sorrow. I didn't know who he was, but I wanted to comfort him however I could.

What happened next, I can't really tell you. It's all just blank for me. Nothing but that desperate longing to see him. When I came back to my senses, I was in the hospital. I had bandages wrapped tightly around my wrists. My family sat close by, and when they saw me awake, they expressed relief and concern. They demanded to know what I was thinking. When I asked them what happened, they explained that my mother arrived home from work to find a bloody knife on the kitchen floor, and a red trail leading to the back room. My dad's gun was in my mouth. Apparently, I'd passed out before pulling the trigger.

I still don't know who sent the flowers. They were gone when I returned home, along with the note. My family never mentioned either of them. But, every once in a while, I'll smell a scent just like those black roses, and I end up bursting into hysterical sobs. I still can't explain why. It just makes me so sad, so lonely.

And that peephole... I can't bring myself to look out it anymore. I did once, after that day, you see. At first, there was nothing. But, after a second, I made out the outline of a man holding up a rose and beckoning to me.