Shattered Glass

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GENRE: Thriller, some violence, suitable for ages 15+

SYNOPSIS

For Eileen Marshall life was simple enough. Teach, come home to her husband, wake up and do it again. She was thankful for the normalcy of it considering where she came from. But her simple and normal life comes to a screeching halt when new student Marcy Daniels enters her classroom. There is something odd and peculiar about the girl and in the corners of Eileen’s subconscious, dangerous. The events that follow prove just how dangerous she is but is it real or only in her mind? The truth may very well destroy her like a piece of shattered glass.

Chapter One

Spring was all over the small town of Currant, Nebraska. Small flower shops boasted their beautiful arrangements of purple, orange, and yellow blossoms while the local grocers advertised its fresh fruit, right from area farmers. The clothing stores as well made sure to display their prettiest spring attire of shorts and flowing skirts geared to make one appreciate the warming weather that was approaching. The town of only 2800 people was a mere 80 miles from Lincoln with its massive 280,000 population. Most of the residents of Currant had found themselves there, wanting the simplicity of a small town life with its lack of crime and good old American values. It was the exact reason that Stephen and Eileen Marshall had moved there nearly three years ago.

You see, three years ago was a difficult time for Eileen. The man she had called her father, a man whose brutality was only surpassed by his ability to cover up said feats of evil, had finally passed on. While Eileen had thought she had gotten over the years of abuse she had endured under his roof, she found that his death had caused her to re-experience it once more. It was her husband’s idea for a fresh start, somewhere where there would be no evil memories to haunt his beloved’s dreams. This ideal held true for three wonderful years but would soon begin to crumple.

Madison High School sat in the center of town, ideal for all its residents. It was a large one story building that, along with the extensive football field, encompassed a whole city block. Eileen Marshall served as the school’s math teacher, a role she was quite fond of. She liked the complexity of the subject and that it wasn’t up for interpretation. It was what it was. Today however, she struggled as she sat in the teacher’s lounge, nursing a migraine and wishing she could go home and curl in bed until it passed.

“Got a headache?”

Eileen didn’t say anything at first. Her fingers wove tight circles at her temple as she willed her migraine to disappear. She was out of medication and she knew that nothing else would work for her. Of course Pat asking her ridiculous questions he already knew the answers to didn’t help her cause. She took several deep breaths as the relentless pounding continued.

“Can I get you some aspirin?”

Eileen shook her head no. “I’ll be alright. Thanks, Pat.”

“You betcha,” he stated and sauntered off.

A screech that sounded easily like a 1000 decibel fire alarm echoed through the building causing Eileen to cry out in pain. Her fingers worked furiously at her temples while her eyes squeezed shut so tightly that it was actually almost as painful as the migraine. She felt nausea overwhelm her senses and quickly ran to the sink, dry heaving; her body weak from the motion. Tears flowed down her face as she heard the door to the teachers’ lounge open again.

“Oh gosh, Eileen,” the recognizable voice approached her, touching her shoulder. “You should go home. I’ll let Principal McLaughlin know you’re too sick to teach.”

“No, I’ve missed too much time from…” she stopped, not wanting to bring up her brief stint in the mental hospital earlier that the school year.

“Are you sure?”

Eileen nodded and slowly pulled herself away from the sink. She cupped her shaking hand and used her other to turn the faucet on. She drank slowly, afraid she would throw up again. Luckily, she was able to take the water in. Veronica handed her a wet paper towel which Eileen dabbed against her forehead. She was sure she must be completely scarlet. She offered Veronica a careful smile and stepped passed the caring woman to snatch her notes off the nearby table before heading towards the door.

“I better go. Thanks, Veronica.”

“If you need me, you…”

“I know where to find you,” Eileen finished as she stepped through the door.

Eileen picked up her pace as she practically ran down the deserted hallway. She bolted through her classroom as everyone shuffled back into their seats and the loud roar of laughter subsided. Eileen quickly stepped behind her lectern, dropping her now crumpled notes. She looked across the eager faces before her. She wanted to speak but for some reason words would not form. The door swung open and a girl entered, drawing everyone’s attention before they had time to notice Eileen’s unusual behavior.

“Can I help you?” Eileen asked, surprised that words were able to come out of her mouth.

The girl glanced at her, holding up a piece of paper. She had an unusual face. Oval, with big brown eyes and plump red lips, and a long neck that attached to her slim body. Her blond hair fell to her shoulders in curls. She was dressed in black, which didn’t surprise Eileen as that was what most of the kids wore at her school, but there was something different about her, something that Eileen couldn’t quite pinpoint. Eileen reached her hand out to take the paper which the girl handed to her. She strolled to the open seat on the far left of the room and plopped down unceremoniously.

“Class, it looks like we have a new student, Marcy Daniels. Please be kind to her.”

All eyes were still on the strange girl who had now drawn out a bright purple note book from her backpack along with a pencil with neon green swirls on it, one that if you stared at it long enough would make you dizzy. The girl didn’t seem to notice the other students gaping at her. She was already lost in the doodling she was doing on a presumed blank page.

“Alright, let’s focus people.” Eileen took out her lecture papers. “Today we are going to be learning about equations with fractional coefficients.” She swore she heard a moan as she turned to face the board. “While evaluating the value of the unknown, the coefficient of the unknown may have a fraction.”

For the remainder of class she wrote example after example of how to solve particular algebraic problems and then provided them with an assignment they could start on in class. While they worked, she took a seat behind her desk. Her migraine had subdued itself somehow and was now just a throbbing ache that made her want to bang her head against the wall, something that was probably not in her best interest.

She brought her eyes to the new student. She hadn’t asked any questions and Eileen wasn’t exactly confident that she had been paying attention to the lecture. Yet, from the looks of it, her assignment was already completed. When the bell rang again, Eileen pinched her eyes shut, trying not to let the unruly sound trigger the full blown migraine she had earlier. Within a few minutes she heard the telltale shuffle of students entering her classroom. The chairs began scraping the tiled floors causing her to flinch in response.

The rest of her day went as good as could be expected. She did her best to focus on the various classes, to not be short with her students, although some surely deserved it, and to basically just get through the day. When the final bell sounded, she quickly gathered her belongings. There would be no after school tutoring today. Instead, she made her way out of the building as quickly as she could. She needed to get home, get into her bed with the lights completely off and try to rid herself of the headache from hell.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

“Eileen. Baby, wake up.”

Eileen moaned softly and rolled over, slowly opening her eyes. Stephen was dressed in a t-shirt and basketball shorts. He had his iPod attached to his arm band and the earphones dangling around his neck. He bore a beautiful smile on his face as he leaned down and kissed her gently on the lips.

“Where are you going?”

He grinned and sat on the edge of the bed. “I’m going for a run.”

“But it’s nighttime. We haven’t even eaten dinner,” she said utterly confused.

His head cocked to the side slightly and he immediately let his fingers run down her face before tucking a loose strand of hair behind her ear.

“Honey, it’s eight in the morning.”

At that, Eileen rose into a sitting position. “WHAT!”

“I got home last night and you were crashed in the room. I tried to wake you but I couldn’t so I let you sleep.”

“This is…” she shook her head in disbelief. “I had a severe migraine at work.” She tenuously washed her hand over her face and stared at him. “I can’t believe I slept like that.”

“Do you want me to stay?” he asked but she knew he really wanted to run. He was such a stickler about things like that.

“No, it’s okay. I’m gonna eat and then take a long shower.”

He nodded and kissed her squarely on the lips. Her mouth parted and they immediately deepened their connection. She and Stephen had been married for nearly eight years and the love they felt for one another had never waned. If anything, it grew deeper with each passing year. They’d gone through a rough patch recently when she discovered that she would never be able to have children, an unfortunate byproduct of her childhood trauma. He didn’t care though, stating he would always love her, with or without children, which had saddened her even more. She let out a small whimper when he pulled away from her.

“Why don’t you hold off on that shower until I get back,” he said with a comical wag of his brows.

“Is that supposed to be sexy?” she asked, stifling her giggle.

“Hey, it’s the best I could do,” he chuckled as he stood up. “I’ll see you in a bit.”

“Go! The sooner you leave, the sooner you get back.”

He smiled again and waved before he turned and jogged out of the room. She crawled out of bed, her feet finding her slippers immediately. She found herself yawning, still exhausted. She had never slept like that before. She stepped over to the window, peeking outside, squinting at the bright sun in the sky. As she drew the curtain back down, she caught a glimpse of movement in the tree line.

“What the hell!”

There was a loud noise that jolted her attention away from the figure she was certain was her new student, Marcy. When she glanced back to the trees the girl was no longer there. She was certain it had been her; she was wearing what she had in class the day before. She released the curtain, struggling to understand but deciding that her mind must be playing tricks on her. There would be no reason for one of her students to be lurking in the trees behind her home. She shook her head.

“Geez, Eileen, you’re losing it!” she said with a nervous laugh as she headed towards the kitchen to grab some breakfast.

Chapter Two

Eileen sat at her desk grading papers. Her pen moved along the answers, crossing out incorrect ones, jotting a note here and there, and then circling a letter grade atop the paper. So engrossed in what she was doing she didn’t hear the creak of the door opening or the pad of footsteps approaching. Feeling a sudden need to look up, her heart skipped and she let out a soft gasp. Marcy was standing before her. Instinctually, Eileen jumped back a tad, having been startled by the girl’s sudden appearance.

“How can I help you?” She quelled her rising panic in order to speak clearly.

“I’ve missed class and was wondering if I could meet with you to go over the last assignment.”

Eileen stared at the young girl. It had been true. She had missed the last week of school. Eileen was ashamed to admit that she was thankful for it. Ever since the day she believed she saw Marcy outside her home, she had felt uneasy around the unusual girl. There was just something off about her. Eileen couldn’t quite pin it down, maybe it was the way she carried herself, or perhaps it was merely that she made all of Eileen’s alert sensors go off.

Marcy was wearing all black again, including a long sleeve shirt, in spite of the warm weather outside. Her eyes lacked the life that one generally found in those whose prevalent state was that of happiness. No, Marcy’s eyes seemed vacant and lost, as if she were holding a secret that weighed her down. Eileen’s posture changed as she sat up straight. She remembered feeling this way as a youth, how she had looked at the other students with envy. Their happiness and carefree life rubbed salt in the exposed wound around her heart. She took a small breath, settling herself down before smiling at the girl in front of her.

“Of course, that can be arranged. In fact, I’m almost done with these papers if you’d like to wait.”

“Thank you, Mrs. Marshall. I’ll…” she motioned to the seats. “I’ll just wait over there.”

Eileen nodded and went back to grading her papers. When she looked up again, Marcy was watching her, her expression blank. The pupils completely swallowed up by her brown irises, making her look frightening, like a life-size doll sitting awkwardly in the chair. Her hand went to her arm, lightly scratching at her forearm. It was a motion that shouldn’t have startled Eileen but it did. Marcy’s expression never changed even as Eileen rose from her chair and walked over to her.

“Marcy,” Eileen said as she gently touched her shoulder, worried that something was wrong with her.

Marcy rose suddenly, a low growl emitted from her throat. It was a noise that didn’t sound human. Eileen jumped back in fear as Marcy leaped on top of the metal desk. She screamed at the top of her lungs, a blood curdling noise that sucked the energy out of the room. Eileen felt her knees give and then she was falling, her head hitting against the floor before darkness enveloped her.

“Eileen, Eileen.”

Eileen was vaguely aware that there was someone hovering over her. She scrunched her nose as the throbbing pain at the back of her head intensified. Her eyes blinked open but closed quickly at the blinding light that surrounded her. She wasn’t sure what had happened. The last thing she remembered was Marcy. Eileen moaned softly as her hand moved to the bump on her head.

“Eileen, thank goodness. What happened?”

Eileen slowly sat up. “I don’t know, Marcy… she screamed. Where is she?”

“Eileen… No one was here when I came in. I found you lying on the floor.”

“That’s so strange.”

Eileen took this moment to look around the room. Her desk was as it had been, with stacks of papers atop it, one pile graded and the other ready to be graded. The student chairs remained in their spots, none were displaced. There appeared to be no sign of anyone else having been in the room. She brought her fingers to her temples feeling the tell tale signs that a migraine was trying to work its way out.

“Maybe we should call an ambulance. Have a doctor check that bump?”

“No, I’m fine. I…” Eileen paused not sure what she should say. She placed her palm on her forehead. It was damp. “I think I’m just maybe getting sick or something.”

“Eileen, are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m, ummm,” she got up and made a cursory glance at the desk Marcy had been at and shuddered. “I’m going to go home and lay down until Stephen gets home.”

“Eileen,” Veronica started to say but then stopped.

When Eileen turned to see why she had stopped talking, the woman just shook her head, her face an expression of sorrow. Eileen frowned before walking to her desk to gather her papers. Once she had hastily shoved the tests into her bag, she pressed passed Veronica who was watching her with the same concerned look she always had around Eileen. It was a look that made Eileen want to slap her. She hated that look, the poor Eileen look, she must be so sad, so out of it, poor girl with the rough life. She frowned at the thought. She was absolutely fine.

Eileen wasn’t sure how she got home so fast without being pulled over but she did. Her modest home a welcome sight. A neighbor was outside watering their yard but she ignored them, pushing through the door as quickly as possible. She slammed her bag on the coffee table and began pacing restlessly in her living room. She wished Stephen was there. He had a way of calming her when she felt like she was coming apart at the seams. But he wasn’t and she could feel herself falling into the darkness that often overwhelmed her.

“SHIT!”

Eileen strode quickly through her house towards the bathroom in the master bedroom. She needed to calm down and thought a nice hot bath would probably do the trick. She kneeled and turned the faucets, making it as hot as she could withstand and dabbing a little lavender oil in it as well, hoping the soothing scent would relax her. Her head was pounding again. The pain from the bump on her head was forcing a migraine to the forefront. God! She needed some more of her medication. She would have to make an appointment with Dr. Sampson pretty soon.

She looked at the tub, letting her arm float in the hot water. The scent of the lavender was starting to permeate the room and she felt her shoulders start to relax. She rested her head against her arm and closed her eyes, letting the warm water and relaxing aroma lift her spirits out of the darkness. She heard movement and hesitantly looked up. She had been expecting to see her husband but that’s not who was standing in the doorway.

“What… what are you doing here?”

Marcy didn’t answer. She stared back. Her black doll eyes boring into the woman on the ground. Eileen’s heart pounded in her chest. She tried to move but was stuck where she sat. Glued to the linoleum. The girl stepped into the room, not taking her eyes off of her. As she passed the mirror, she stopped. Her lip quirked up, the only sign of emotion she showed. Her hand balled into a fist and pounded the mirror. Eileen gasped as shattered glass scattered across the floor. Marcy stepped across it. The crack of the glass under her bare feet stung her ears. Blood began to trail with every step Marcy took, the sight of it making Eileen’s stomach churn. She stopped, picking up a long jagged shard from the ground.

“What are you doing?” Eileen muttered in fear.

“Freeing you,” Marcy replied as she swiped the shattered piece of glass across Eileen’s throat.

Eileen screamed, startling herself awake. Her hand flung to her neck in search of a wound. None was present. The hot water spilled over the edge of the tub, burning Eileen who jumped up, turning the knobs off. Her hand went back to her neck in confusion. It had all seemed so real. She turned absently, lost in thought. She couldn’t make sense of it.

“Owwww,” she screeched as she looked down.

Across the linoleum floor of the bathroom was shattered glass. Her heart raced as blood poured from the cut on her foot. She looked forward, worried that Marcy was in the house. In a panic she leaned over, snatching a towel from the rack. She used the edge of her foot to push the glass out of the way, allowing her to pass through it. Self-preservation kicked in the adrenaline as she darted into her bedroom. She grabbed the phone by the bed.

“911, what’s your emergency?”

“There’s someone in my house. I think they’re trying to kill me,” Eileen whispered.

“I’ve dispatched an officer to your location. Can you see anyone, ma’am?”

“No but I thought I did earlier in…” Eileen paused. “I hear something. Someone’s coming.”

“Ma’am, stay on the line, officers are on their way.”

Marcy stepped into the doorway. Her body was covered in blood. It dripped fervently down her arms which bore fresh cuts and seeped through the shirt she wore, masking what Eileen presumed were cuts as well. Her legs also seemed to be dripping blood. In her hand was a long shard of glass, the blood bright red on the tip. She took a step inside the room, a smirk on her otherwise impassive face. She raised the hand carrying the shard and Eileen screamed, the phone dropping to the ground. Her head pierced with pain as the migraine that had been building reached its peak. Everything went dark and there was an odd peace within that darkness that she welcomed.

“Ma’am, are you alright?”

Someone was touching her. Her eyes shot open and she scanned her environment. Her foot ached where she had stepped on the glass but now her hand did as well. What had happened? Where was Marcy? Did they catch her? Why wasn’t she dead? She was sure she had been murdered. She could see now that the person who had touched her appeared to be a paramedic. He was passing a light back and forth over her eyes.

“Please stop that. My head is already pounding.”

“Can you tell us what happened?”

“There was someone in my house. I think she was trying to kill me.”

“We found no evidence of anyone else here,” an officer stated calmly. Eileen could hear the skepticism in his voice.

“That’s impossible.”

Eileen stood up, the cut on her foot sending a jolt of pain up her leg. She winced but pushed past the officer and paramedic to get to the bottom of this. As she passed through her doorway she could see there there was only a small patch of blood that led to the bed but nothing like what Marcy had done. That was odd. Did she clean up the mess? She marched to the bathroom, being careful not to put too much weight on her injured foot. She stared down at the glass all over the bathroom floor, feeling somehow vindicated. She turned to face the officer who had followed her.

“What about this?” Eileen demanded.

“Ma’am, it’s my understanding that the glass was broken by you,” he said, his eyes shifted to her bandaged hand.

“That’s ridiculous. Why would I break the mirror?” she asked with agitation in her voice. This made no sense to her.

“I don’t know, ma’am. Why don’t you tell me?”

Eileen glared at him and absently rubbed against her forearm, a nervous habit. The thought immediately popped into her mind about the many times she had sat in the dark, cutting the pain away. But there was no way she would mention that. He already thought she was crazy. She could sense it in the way he watched her.

“What about Marcy?” she finally asked.

“Marcy?” he queried, while giving her a strange and pitiful look.

“Marcy Daniels,” Eileen replied with a sigh. “She’s the person I saw in the house. She tried to kill me tonight.”

“We’ll look into it, ma’am,” he said, jotting the name in his notepad. “In the meantime, if you have any further problems please be sure to call us,” he said handing her his business card.

She stared at the card in horror. He didn’t believe her. She watched as people started leaving the residence. She was alone and fear crept back into her. She quickly called her husband but he didn’t pick up. She wasn’t sure what to do anymore. She immediately locked all the doors and windows and then went to the bathroom to sweep up the glass on the floor. But when she got there all she could do was stare at the now clean floor in complete confusion.

“What’s going on here?”

Could someone have cleaned it up? Do the police do that? She ran her hand reflexively along her neck, feeling only smooth skin, no cut. She sat on the edge of the tub trying to make sense of everything but nothing fit together. She sighed and stood to grab her migraine medication from the medicine cabinet remembering after picking up the empty bottle that she had no more left. At the rate her migraines were coming, that was not good. She would definitely call Dr. Sampson in the morning and make an appointment.

Chapter Three

The following morning she was surprised to find that her husband was nowhere in sight. She tried to remember the night before and whether she had actually seen him come home. Her brain felt out of sync. Bits of her memories seemed to be erased like pot holes in the asphalt. The remnants there but disfigured somehow. Her head still hurt and she felt nauseous. She quickly ran to the bathroom, ignoring the fact that her foot no longer hurt. She stopped short at the bathroom doorway.

“No,” she muttered as she stared at the shattered glass on the floor.

She turned around quickly; sure that someone was behind her only to be greeted by silence. It was a debilitating silence that told her without a doubt that she was alone. She slammed the door to the bathroom. She couldn’t look at it anymore. Something was wrong, seriously wrong; she just couldn’t pinpoint what it was. What she did know was that it was a school day and she couldn’t miss class. She had missed too much due to her unfortunate break down earlier in the school year and refused to call in because she was on the brink of losing it again. She quickly got ready and made her way to school grounds.

The drive to school had been done solely on autopilot, for her mind was swirling with all kinds of probabilities. Of course there was the possibility that she was losing touch with reality. That wasn’t a far stretch considering her past. The other possibility was much more nefarious. What if someone really was after her, trying to make her appear insane when she really wasn’t? She recognized that that seemed far-fetched but was it really out of the realm of possibilities? She didn’t think so. She was antsy and nervous by the time she pulled into the parking lot. She was not looking forward to classes, unsure if she would be able to hold it together.

She studied herself in her rearview mirror. She had a frenzied look about her. Her pupils were wide with fear. She tried to breathe in and out to calm herself but it wasn’t working. She blinked her eyes and turned the engine off. She was determined that she would do this. She would get through the day. She grabbed her satchel off the seat and slammed her door shut. She shifted her bag on her shoulder and locked the car. Suddenly the hair on her neck began to rise and her heart raced. She was afraid to look but knew she had to and when she did she screamed. Marcy stood at the edge of the parking lot, watching her. Eileen stepped back as a car passed by her. Marcy was now gone.

“Where’d she go?” Eileen asked in a panic.

She spun in a circle, panic and fear rising within her. Marcy was nowhere to be seen. She stumbled for her phone, her finger hovering over the keypad. What was she supposed to do? The police didn’t believe her. What could she say? There was no law against a student being on campus. In fact, it was exactly where Marcy was supposed to be. She shoved the phone back into her purse and hurried across the parking lot. She kept her head down as she pushed through the crowded hallway. She could already sense people’s eyes on her, watching her, worried that she was going to have some kind of break down again.

“Morning, Eileen.”

“Morning,” she mumbled as she ducked into her classroom.

To her surprise, the rest of the day went smoothly. She got in a flow and started to forget what had happened the night before. She started thinking that she hadn’t really seen Marcy this morning after all. It was simply her overactive imagination getting the best of her. Her worries about Marcy dissipated when she was not in class and by the time she was heading home she couldn’t help but chuckle at herself for getting so worked up over nothing. It was obvious that her headaches were getting worse and that they were somehow connected to the things she had been witnessing. She pulled up to her house and saw that her husband’s car was in the driveway. Her heart leapt with joy. She felt as if she hadn’t talked to him in so long.

“Stephen?” she called out as she stepped into the house.

He didn’t answer back. Thinking that was odd, she began to explore their home, looking for him. She surmised that he couldn’t be that far away since his car was in the driveway. She stared at the closed bathroom door, afraid to open it but it was the only place she hadn’t looked. Her hand shook as she reached for the knob and slowly opened it. She choked back the bile rising in her throat. It was not her husband that she found.

“Marcy,” she muttered.

Marcy sat on the ground; pieces of broken mirror surrounded her. She had several deep gashes along her forearms and thighs. There were too many to actually count. Blood pooled underneath her body and seeped onto the shattered glass across the linoleum. Eileen stared in horror, her hand covering her mouth.

“No,” she sputtered out as Marcy lifted her hand.

Marcy stared at her. Her black eyes void of all emotion as she brought a piece of glass to her neck and cut. Unfortunately, she was weak from the evident loss of blood so the damage to her neck was only a jagged superficial line. Marcy’s head lopped over to the side; her dark eyes remained unfocused before finally closing.

“Hold on, Marcy,” Eileen said, rushing inside the room.

She quickly grabbed the towel from the rack before kneeling down beside the injured girl. She applied pressure on what Eileen deemed the more serious of the wounds, trying to stop the bleeding but soon the towel was a deep crimson. She grabbed more and more but the blood wouldn’t stop. It covered the floor which was now almost black from the layers of blood. She felt movement and turned to see Marcy’s face. Her eyes were wide open and she bore that evil grin on her face again, the one that frightened Eileen to her core.

“Your turn,” she said wickedly.

Eileen leapt back, her feet stepping on glass in her haste. Marcy rose from her sitting position and started approaching her. Eileen screamed and turned, slamming the door on Marcy. This did not stop her. She stepped right through the door as if it weren’t there. Marcy continued to approach, blood dripping everywhere. Eileen threw the bedside lamp at her but it flew right through her. She breathed in deeply and rushed past her to the open door. She ran outside screaming at the top of her lungs.

“Eileen. What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

She was staring at her husband. “Oh God, Stephen, there’s someone in our house. She’s trying to kill me.”

“What?”

“I swear. I’m not going crazy. There’s someone in there, that girl Marcy. The strange one I told you about.”

“Wait here,” he said determinedly.

“Please be careful.”

He didn’t respond as he stepped through the door. Eileen paced along the sidewalk, worrying at her lower lip. It was crazy for him to be in there. Why had she let him? Her nerves were shot and her head still hurt from earlier in the day. She rushed to the door, unable to stand not knowing whether he was okay or not and walked right into him exiting the house.

“Oh thank God. I was just coming in to check on you.”

“Baby, there was nothing in there. Everything looked fine.”

“Whhhaaat????” she stuttered. “That has to be a mistake.”

“Honey, I’m sorry. I looked everywhere.”

“What about the bathroom?” she was unable to hide the tremble in her voice.

“Empty.”

“No, that can’t be. She was in there and there was blood all over the floor.”

“Come,” he said, reaching his hand out to her. “Let me show you.”

She took his hand hesitantly, not wanting to enter the house let alone go back to that bathroom. He walked her through the house and stopped in front of the bathroom. She took a step back. She could feel the goosebumps all over her flesh. She shook her head, unable to move from where her feet were planted.

“Baby, look,” he said as he pushed the door all the way open.

Eileen pinched her eyes shut. In spite of what Stephen was saying, she didn’t want to look upon it again. He tugged on her hand a bit and she finally stepped forward. She let out a soft gasp. There was nothing anywhere. There was no glass, no blood and most importantly no Marcy bleeding to death and then rising to attack her.

“This doesn’t make any sense.”

“Maybe you need to rest,” he said, letting his finger trace along her hair. “Things have been a little stressful.”

“I…” she started to say and then stopped. “Stephen, I don’t need ‘rest’. I’m not having a ‘break down’. That’s not what’s going on.”

“No one is saying you are,” he replied calmly. “Why don’t you go lay down. I’ll make dinner tonight.”

She was breathing heavily now. She hated this walking on eggshells he was doing. It meant he thought she might be losing it again. He touched her shoulder and kissed her cheek. She normally would have cherished his kiss, his touch, but now she simply felt anger. She turned and walked out of the bathroom. She dutifully got into the bed and positioned herself under the blankets before turning away from him. He stood watching her for several minutes before she finally heard his retreating footsteps.

She laid there with her eyes wide open for a long time before finally succumbing to sleep. Her dreams were not pleasant though. Instead, they were plagued with images of Marcy. Her bloody arms dripping on the tiles of the bathroom floor, her black doll eyes staring at her like she knew something that Eileen didn’t. She tossed and turned, sleep evading her for most of the night. She really wished her brain would just shut off and stop torturing her.

“Eileen, I’m heading for a run.”

Her eyes sluggishly opened to see her husband’s beautiful face looking down on her lovingly. The last several days had been insane for her. She truly felt like she was losing her mind but now, looking at him, she felt comforted. She sat up, still a bit dazed, even more so when he kissed her lightly on the lips. He started to rise but she held on to his hand, keeping him in place. He smiled and kissed her once again. Her heart still felt a bit unsettled, there was something wrong but she didn’t know what exactly.

“Why don’t you stay?” she said as he pulled away from her.

“I’ll run a shorter route today, okay?”

She sighed but smiled. “Okay, but hurry back.”

“I will,” he said with a grin. “I love you.”

“I love you too. Now go! The sooner you leave, the sooner you’ll be back.”

He kissed her one last time and then was off. There was an eerie familiarity to the scene but she ignored it. She slipped out of bed and headed towards the bathroom. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before stepping inside. Relief flooded through her. There was no broken glass anywhere. There was no blood. No pounding in her heart or restless breaths. She looked at herself in the mirror. There were bags under her eyes, her face a pale white, sickly even. Her head pierced in pain just as a loud crashing sound echoed and drew her attention towards the door, momentarily forgetting about the headache that was forming.

“What the hell was that?”

She found herself running out of the bathroom and through the house. Panic and fear enveloped her by the time she stepped outside her house. There was all kinds of commotion outside as neighbors ran into the streets. Her heart raced as a terrible knot formed in the pit of her stomach. One of her neighbors tried to stop her, begging for Eileen to stay put but she wasn’t listening to her. She was extremely focused. Focused on someone lying in the street. As she neared, she saw the all too familiar sneakers.

“No, no, no …” she muttered over and over again as she approached.

Stephen was lying in the street. His legs were twisted in an unnatural way, one in the opposite direction it should be. Blood poured from his head where he had hit the concrete with such force that his skull cracked, pieces of brain matter spilled from the opening. Her hands went to her mouth in a vain attempt to block the scream that could still be heard.

“Stephen,” she wailed as she dropped by his side.

His lifeless body seemed unreal to her. This couldn’t be happening. She needed him. He stopped the darkness from taking over her mind. He made her want to live. Made her forget about the horrors of her childhood. He couldn’t be dead. That was impossible. This was some kind of horrible nightmare. Someone was pulling her up, away from him and she began screaming. She kicked and swung her arms wildly, making contact with whoever was holding her.

“Ma’am, please step back.”

“Leave me alone!” she screamed. “That’s my husband.”

“I’m so sorry,” another voice cried out. “I didn’t see him. Oh my God, please, I didn’t see him,” she wailed.

Eileen looked towards the voice. Her brain fired in all directions. She recognized Marcy immediately. She rushed forward, her hands attached to the girl’s neck as she choked her wildly. The girl sputtered for breath but Eileen wouldn’t release her. It took two officers to pull Eileen away from the young girl who slid to the floor in shock. Eileen screamed again, a feral sound that made one’s ears hurt.

“She’s been trying to kill me and now she’s killed my husband.”

“I don’t even know you,” the girl choked out.

“Her name’s Marcy Daniels. Arrest her!”

“It’s not. I swear to you. I don’t know who that is. My name’s Marcella. Marcella Collingsworth. Here’s my ID,” she said handing her wallet to the officer.

The officer pulled out the driver’s license and could see the young girl was telling the truth. Eileen was still glaring at Marcy. Her hands balled into tight fists, ready to be released again. This torture had gone on long enough. Marcy was trying to ruin her. To make her look insane but it wouldn’t work. She would kill her before she let that happen.

“Ma’am, this is a legitimate ID. She’s telling the truth.”

“No,” Eileen shook her head. “She’s been messing with me for weeks.”

He waved his hand and another officer came over. “Officer Reed will take a statement.”

What the hell was going on? Eileen looked between her husband, dead on the street, and the girl she knew as Marcy. Her husband was covered up now, the only thing visible was his left hand and the wedding ring he always wore. She allowed the officer to direct her away and answered blankly what she knew. Her husband had gone for his normal run. When she heard the loud noise she went outside to investigate.

“Where are they taking my husband?” she interrupted the officer.

“To the morgue, ma’am.”

Her head pierced again with pain and her eyes closed. Her heart seemed to flutter uncontrollably. Her knees became weak, unable to carry her weight any longer. The ground rose up to greet her as she stumbled into darkness. When she awoke, she found that she was lying in her bed. Could it have all been a dream? Was Stephen still alive? She pushed the blankets past her knees and got out of bed quickly. She needed to know what was going on.

“Stephen?” she called out

The minute she stepped into the living room she felt it. Or the lack of it. The absence of her husband was everywhere. He was gone. She had not imagined that. Her heart sunk. Why had it been real? She didn’t understand any of it. All she understood was that she was alone again. She breathed in deeply before sitting on the couch, mindlessly numb, pushing her sadness and pain within her. She sat in the same position, unmoving for hours.

“You know what you need to do,” the now familiar voice said, sitting beside her.

“Leave me alone.”

“I can’t.”

“I don’t want to listen to you anymore.”

“I can take this pain away.”

Eileen’s head twitched slightly. Her hand went to her arm, scratching against the long healed wounds she had inflicted on herself as a young teen. She remembered what it had been like, fighting the sadness that threatened to drown her at times. It was the feeling she had now. She hunched over, her temples pounded, pain coursed through her as she screamed. She found herself walking towards her bedroom and to the closed bathroom door. When she opened it she tumbled to the ground.

“Eileen, oh my God, what did you do? Oh God. 911, please hurry,” Veronica said into her phone. “Eileen can you hear me?”

Eileen couldn’t feel anything. Her body and mind were numb. The pain that she should have felt was gone. She didn’t understand why Veronica was there. She didn’t want her to be. She wanted to die in peace. Why was that concept so difficult for her to understand? She looked up and saw Marcy in the doorway, she was smiling. Finally, she got what she wanted. Eileen had lost what little sanity she had possessed.

Chapter Four

“How is she?”

“She’s restless, Doctor.”

“Has she tried to communicate with anyone?”

“No, Doctor.”

“Usually the shock treatments work quite efficiently in cases such as these.”

“Maybe the strain of seeing her husband dead was too much for her.”

“It could be. She’s been here before, each time with severe depression. But based on what her co-workers and police reports said, she thought she was being stalked by a student of hers, a student that wasn’t enrolled in her school. Her records don’t indicate that she has ever had anything as severe as this. This appears to be the only time in which her depression resulted in paranoid hallucinations.”

“It’s such a shame.”

“Yes,” the doctor replied absently.

The doctor turned Eileen’s arms gently, observing her cuts. They were healing nicely. When she had been brought to the emergency room two weeks ago she required over 100 stitches between her arms and thighs. She had been lucky that her friend had stopped by when they did or she would have died on the bathroom floor. They had started ECT a week ago but so far she had been unresponsive.

“Let’s prep her for another treatment,” he finally said. “She’s close, I think. The last treatment produced a reaction, albeit small. It’s still a start.”

“Yes, Doctor.”

Both the doctor and nurse stepped out of the room, him to check on another patient and her to gather the equipment they would need for Eileen’s next treatment. Eileen stared blankly at the ceiling. Her eyes black like a dolls. She didn’t want to remember anymore. She had remembered enough. She wanted it to end. All of it. Without a word, she slowly sat up in the bed, throwing her legs over the edge. She began to move forward. Marcy walked alongside her whispering in her ear, as she always did. There was a sound behind her and then words being spoken but she couldn’t make out what was being said. All she heard was the frantic whispers from Marcy as she slammed her head against the wall of her room once, twice. On the second hit she fell to the floor, blood sliding down her temple. She smiled as her eyes closed for the last time, finally at peace.

AUTHOR NOTE:

This story was initially published in the THRILL OF THE HUNT anthology (2015). Β It was something that had been floating around in my head for years but it was a bit darker than I normally write. Okay, a lot darker… LOL. But, it was kind of nice to explore this side of me. If you are interested in suspenseful stories you should check out the anthology. It’s a wonderful collection of short stories written by some amazing authors. It’s available on amazon HEREΒ and my individual story is also available to read on Wattpad HERE

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