Death’s Secret (Episode 3)

( Haven’t read part 1? Click here before reading this : )

Laughter. A giggle would better describe it. Why is she laughing? 

Suddenly, my mouth is dry and I can’t seem to breath. My heart thrashes harder in my stomach. Is this what a heart-attack feels like? Am I going to die regardless? The beat of my heart is loud in my head. It’s the only thing I can focus on. Calm down. Oh God, please help me calm down. Breathe.

I quietly suck in air and allow it to slowly seep out, all the while I count in my head. 1 inhale, 2 exhale, 3 inhale, 4 exhale, 5 inhale, 6 exhale, 7 inhale-.

The door creaks open. I place my hands over my mouth and nose. The sound of a heavy boot enters the room. 

“Hello?” The voice is light, non-threatening. She spoke in a whisper. “Is anyone in here?”

Can this be someone different entirely? While calming myself, I lost track of the person in the other bedroom. If I say nothing, then another innocent person will die. If I try to warn this woman and I’m wrong, then I am throwing myself on a grenade. The boots walk to the middle of the floor. The suitcase. I left out the suitcase.

The woman clicks her tongue. Clunk. Clunk. Clunk. 

My lungs. Why are my lungs burning? Oh shit, I’m still holding my breath. I part my fingers, letting out a bit of shaky air as I hear noise of the woman picking up the things I left on the floor. She rips the zipper around the case. 

Another panic attack is coming. I know she is to open the closet door next. I’m in the furthest corner, possibly hidden if she were to look inside. The garment bag. I can use it to shield me further. 

I calm myself once more. Gradually, I reach out my hand in the darkness of the closet. I didn’t have to reach very far for my fingertips to graze it. Bracing myself with the back wall, I stand to a crouch. I take a step forward to get close enough to the bag in order to lift the hanger. It’s important that I make the least amount of noise possible and sliding it back towards me will defeat the purpose. The bag crinkles as I wrap my fingers around the shoulder of it.

The woman and I, both, stop moving. 

“Hello?” She calls out again.

A minute passes, two minutes. I listen intently for her, the moment is intense. The light at the bottom of the door is compromised. I can’t tell if her back is to the door or she is trying to listen for me. She isn’t a very smart criminal is she. If I were her, I’d just open the door. Or is she taunting me? My arm is still extended in the air over the bag, shaking. Another minute passes. 

She lets out a huff and resumes scuffling about, away from the closet. I hear something large slide across the floor. I can only assume it’s the suitcase. The suitcase smacks the wall near the bed and the heavy boots run out of the room. Pounding echoes down the short hall of tripping over Francis. 

Is it over? 

The revving of an engine, following the slam of the cabin door. Rocks and dirt kick up from the spinning tires. It jumpstarts my adrenaline. My car! I shove the garment bag and fumble out of the closet. I dash into the hall and scoot around Francis, careful not to slip on his blood as I slide through it. I reach the large picture window in the front room and watch my only lifeline disappearing down the path covered with trees. 

I have no phone, no car, I am stranded on the top of a mountain with a dying man. I sigh into myself. At least the killer is gone. I turn about myself, intending to check on my boyfriend, when something catches my eye. There was a box resting in the middle of the floor. My curious mind walks me over to pick it up. It was a small storage box, the size of an average book. 

Francis groans. 

I scramble to his side, knelling in his pool of gore. It’s still warm. The box is beckoning me to open it, but his eyes are pleading me not to. The box wins. I lift the latch and reveal its contents. I gasp at the photos I see inside.

(To be continued)

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