Chapter 1: The Tall Lady

Anja wandered into the kitchen. A corner to cook in, a dining room that might fit a four-person table. Circling back, Anja returned to the living room. A nice place for a couch and loveseat in front of the fireplace.

The hallway to the left of the front door led to the bedrooms. Two on the left at the end of the hall, the master bed on the right. Going back to the living room, Anja noticed the bathroom between the bedrooms and living room in its own cutout. She chose not to linger. Not to stare at the bathtub that took a woman’s life. Not to stand in the hallway where the crime happened. A tragedy too grim to be possible, let alone to meditate on.

Anja returned to the front room. From that vantage point, with her back to the front door, she would see every possible attack coming.

Four after seven, she read on her watch.

Sixty seconds until her manifestation.

Anja detached the bottom half of her crucifix necklace. A three inch blade—slender and silver and sharp—extended out of the handle. She gripped the small knife like a push dagger. Small but deadly. With that point, a single puncture in the right place could be critical. Punctures in several of those places could be fatal. Anja knew all the right places.

Gurgling and dripping sounded to Anja’s left.

It’s time, she thought.

The water was shut off months ago when the last tenants abandoned the house. But splashing and spilling confirmed that something in the bathroom overflowed. Water trickled out into the hall.

“Police found the front of the house flooded,” Dante had read from the report.

The echo of that night in 1994 replayed itself now.

Bzzzt! ZAP! Bzzzzt!

Electricity—that was shut off when the water was—flashed purple light from the bathroom. Where the tall lady had killed herself in a bloody bath.

“Mommy, please!” came from Anja’s right. She heard tiny feet scampering away, but saw no children.

Splash. Splash. Splash. Splash.

Footsteps in water.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 1: The Tall Lady

  1. Wow! The detail, the action, the images that are left in my mind. “You fix errors in red”… those poor children. I was drawn in from the beginning and couldn’t look away!


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