This is my entry into The Tsuruoka Files Mid-Week Blues-Buster Challenge – Week 2.15
The full moon’s glow shone down on Heather as she hid in the tall grass. Her heart raced and beat out of her chest. Her breath, heavy. She had run for hours trying to find a safe, secluded spot where she couldn’t be found. She swore she could still hear the sirens. There was no way they could have followed her all the way out here. It had to be her imagination. Or at least she hoped.
She needed some time to figure out what the hell had happened back there. It had all happened so fast, there was no way she could have reacted any differently. Heather thought back to growing up and how her teachers told her all sorts of ways to respond to many of life’s situations: fire, tornado, stranger danger, and other things she thought silly now. Nothing quite prepared her for what she saw when she got home from work.
Gabe, her fiancé, or at least what remained of him, strapped to a dining room chair. Dead. Blood splatters on the walls. Chunks of what could only be brain matter littering their brand new, aerial rug. Whole fingers snipped from both hands, still duct taped down. It looked like a bomb of blood and body parts had gone off in the small studio apartment. It reminded her of one of the tacky mob movies Gabe was so fond of watching. Except it was in their apartment and her fiancé. She knew, based on the obscene number of CSI episodes she had viewed in her lifetime, that if the police walked in on her right now, she’d be their prime suspect. Running wasn’t entirely smart, but it was all she could think to do. When the sirens came rushing down the street toward her building, she was already headed out the alleyway in a dash.
She closed her eyes cautiously and took a deep breath. Even though her pulse didn’t want to slow, she could feel herself tire. She knew she needed to sleep. Her body was in shock. Sleep would help. She nodded off a few times, but was still too wired to sleep. Instead of sleep, her mind dreamily wandered.
Heather’s thoughts played like a re-run of a television show. The Gabe and Heather Show. Almost everything that had happened over the last few months played in fast forward. Maybe she’d catch a glimpse of something or someone that seemed out of place that could have caused all of this insanity. Gabe had gotten a new job that he said would afford them to get a house soon. She never did get a straight answer as to what the job entailed, or the name of the company. Gabe seemed happy with it, so she never asked again. Things moved in her thoughts, but nothing was out of sorts…until the last two weeks. He had come home upset about something: mumbling to himself and constantly looking over his shoulder when they were out of the apartment. He was nervous. Very nervous. Like he was being watched.
The sound of something moving in the grass startled Heather. She looked around, wildly, but didn’t see anyone in the dark. She cursed herself for forgetting a flashlight. It made her feel as though she was fourteen years old again, hiding quietly in her bed in hopes her drunken, abusive father wouldn’t catch her awake. The memory of Gabe’s paranoia had her scared. The person that did that to Gabe knew where he lived…where she lived…and might come after her, too.
More rustling in the grass. This time from her left. Her heart started pounding again, and she tried to quiet her breath to listen for more movement.
Suddenly from behind, she heard the grass move.
A throat cleared…