Estimated reading time — 5 minutes
I awoke to the sun shining through the slit in the curtains and an odd feeling. When I sat up, I was struck with confusion when I saw my surroundings. This wasn’t my house. How did I end up passed out on the floor in someone else’s home?
“Okay, think, think, think. What happened last night?” I said, rubbing my head in what seemed like a futile effort to make the memory return. Just then, something clicked. The party. My friends and colleagues held a party in celebration of another successful book completed. Did I really drink that much? No, it wasn’t that. I knew what a hangover felt like, and this feeling I had wasn’t that. Something didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel right. It was as if something was missing, but I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
I went to stand up but froze at what I saw next. I saw blood that smeared and stained the hardwood floor. I jolted to my feet and searched my body for any cuts or scars. I found nothing. If I wasn’t the one who had been hurt, then that meant that someone else was here with me, possibly bleeding to death. I shoved my hands in my pockets, rummaging around for my phone so that I could call for help. Searching my pockets for the phone lead to no avail. I looked around the room once more to see if there was a phone that I could use. I saw nothing. I explored my unfamiliar environment only to find that there were no phones whatsoever in this house. Maybe if I went outside and found the neighbor, they could help. I looked outside and saw that I was in the middle of nowhere. I had no neighbors to call upon. This was bad. I had to find the other person and get out of there fast. I looked everywhere. Opening door after door, I looked in bedrooms, bathrooms, upstairs. I called out to the person hoping that they would yell back and I could pinpoint their location. I heard nothing.
Suddenly, out of the nothing, I heard a truck pull up outside. I ran down the hall in a panic. I came face to face with yet another door. It was open, though, and I could only assume that, at the time, it led to the basement. I heard footsteps making their way to the front door. I entered and quickly made my way into the darkness. I tried to be as careful as I possibly could while descending the steps into the pitch-black basement. As soon as my foot touched the floor, I heard the door upstairs open then slam shut.
“Honey, I’m home! And I’ve got a surprise for you!” he shouted as I heard footsteps making their way to the basement. I stumbled around, trying to find a place to hide or something to hit him over the head with. Just then, I tripped over something. I hit the ground then started feeling around to see if I could figure out what it was. I grabbed ahold of something. Someone’s foot. For a split second, I was relieved to have found the other person. It was still kind of dark, so I couldn’t really see much, but I was able to make out the shape of a girl sitting in a chair.
“Don’t worry,” I whispered, “we’ll get out of here soon.”
Our captor was at the threshold of the basement. I turned around, looking for a place to hide. Something caught my eye. I saw the tools that were sprawled out on top of a table glistening in what little light had filled the room. I scurried under the table and pressed myself tightly up against the wall. I saw a bat leaning against the side of the table. When he wasn’t paying attention, that’s when I’d make my move and get both of us out of here. He turned on the light when he hit the bottom step. The captor came into view. Well, the bottom half of him anyway. He was wearing dress shoes and a tux. I saw the girl a little more clearly now. She was covered with scars. Her skin was a sickening tint of white from the amount of blood that she lost.
“Isn’t it beautiful? Well, it’s not nearly as beautiful as you are though.” The unknown man draped a silky white dress over the girl and got down on one knee. The edge of the table was just barely covering his face. He took her hand and slid a ring on her finger. The way her arm dropped to her side reminded me of a rag doll. I wondered how she could be so calm and so still in this situation. That’s when I realized the grim fact that she was dead. I let out a gasp then quickly covered my mouth in an effort to stop the noise. The man didn’t seem notice. “You’ve made me a very happy man, you know that? I mean, we’ve had our moments, but I never stopped believing that we would be together someday.” I listened closely to him. He sounded very familiar. Did I actually know this psycho from somewhere?
He stood up and made his way toward the table. I slowly extended my hand towards the bat. He shuffled through his tools for a second and finally found what he was looking for. A book dropped to his side. My book. He turned around, gave the corpse a kiss on the cheek, and made his way toward the stairs. Now was my chance. I gripped the bat and shot out from under the table. When I was right behind him, I closed my eyes and swung as hard as I could. After a moment I opened my eyes and saw him standing not three inches from my face. I jolted back and fell. I closed my eyes again and started frantically swinging.
“Get the hell away from me!” I kept waving the bat around, hoping that when I opened my eyes again, he would be laying face down. I stopped for a second and hesitantly opened my eyes. He was still standing. Looking straight ahead at the body in the chair. How was he still standing? How could he not have noticed me screaming and hitting him with a bat?
“I’ll let you get ready,” he said before turning around and making his way up the stairs.
After seeing his face, it hit me. He was at the party. I could’ve sworn that I saw him at the party. He was one of the waiters; he brought me my drink. Then… the rest is kind of fuzzy, but I vaguely recall him carrying me out to the truck. Then I was here, and he took the bat and… Wait, the bat. I got ready to swing again, only to find that I wasn’t holding it. I looked back at the table, and there it was, propped up against the side. But, I could’ve sworn that I had grabbed it.
What the hell was going on?
Then I saw something that explained why I couldn’t grab the bat and the feeling that I had earlier.
That feeling that something was missing.
I soon realized that what was missing was a heartbeat, when I saw my body sitting in the chair with the forehead bashed in.
This story is preserved in loving memory of Emma Froh (September 13, 1992 – December 6, 2014)
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