The shattered glass beneath his feet crunched with each step. The wind flowing through the now busted window caused the curtain to flit and flutter in every direction. His heart beat increased with every passing second.
As the blood poured from the gash in his arm, he continued down the hallway, picking out bits of broken glass from his wounds and throwing them onto the floor. I shouldn’t have come in, he thought, I shouldn’t be here.
His flashlight tore a hole through the sheet of darkness, though, and he could easily see the doorway in front of him. That’s it. That’s what I’m looking for. He pulled out the piece of paper form his pocket. As he looked at the hastily scribbled drawing, he peered up to see the drawing on the doorway, then looked back down to ensure that it matched the one in his picture. He repeated this several times as he walked toward the hallway’s egress until he was finally face to face with the door. Its paint was chipped. There wasn’t even a knob on it, just a hole. A slant in the home’s foundation kept it shut.
Taking what he knew could be his final breath, he took a step back and prepared himself for what could be inside.
He didn’t want it to be her. It couldn’t. But he knew it would be. He couldn’t have come this far without knowing that much. Every clue up to this point made him know it was her.
The door’s hinges ripped off the wall as he kicked his way into the room. Rather than enter cautiously, he jumped on top of the now useless door. He was ready. His heart pumped faster than it ever had before. His eyes were alert, jumping from side to side. He looked up at the ceiling to make sure none of them, none of those things were in there with him, and then began scanning inside the room for signs of his love.
But there was nothing. The room was completely empty except for a few books that were spread and scattered across the floor. As he looked from one corner to another, he noticed something he’d missed on his initial pass: a chair. Not a comfortable chair, by any means. No, it was a child’s chair, small, plastic, and yellow, dotted with tinges of red. He shined his light on it to get a better look and saw the silhouette of a woman.
Without wasting any time, he jolted over to the chair and began to shake the figure. “Debbie!” he yelled as he continued shaking her, but she gave no response. He knelt down and pulled her head against his chest, stroking her cheek. And that’s when he noticed.
First he noticed that he was kneeling in a pool of blood. It was cold by now, but still to fresh to have begun congealing. Then, he noticed she had no arms. The sleeves of her dress covered the wounds, but blood was still dripping out of them onto the floor. Lastly, he saw that her legs were missing. Not a clean cut by any means. They looked as though they’d been ripped off little by little, piece by piece.
He didn’t care. If anything, this made him hold her more tightly than before. He pressed her head more firmly against his chest and began to sob, his tears dripping off his face and mixing with the blood below.
*Thwack!* He jumped. *Thwack!* This time, he jumped off the ground, leaving her dead body there in the chair. Is she really dead? he thought. No. No. She is. She has to be.
The noise grew louder and louder with each second. Hand shaking, he pulled out the flashlight from his pocket and pointed it toward the open doorway. His breathing intensified, quickened. The adrenaline in his bloodstream was so intense that he couldn’t even feel the wound on his arm anymore. He looked down at it to see one last piece of long, knife-shaped glass glistening in the light. Removing it, he threw it out the doorway.
The noise. It stopped. At least he thought it did, but he wasn’t sure if the ringing in his ears was drowning it out or not. That’s when he noticed something else. The glass he threw. It never landed.
The flashlight was still pointed at his blood-stained arm, so he slowly repositioned the beam of light so that it was pointing toward the door. Nothing. There is nothing there. He let out a sigh of relief, and so did she.
No no no. Please, dear God no. He slowly turned towards the corner of the room where he knew the chair to be and saw her. Her body was turned, now, facing him. As she slowly began to look up, her wet, black hair moved away from her eyes. He stared at her for a moment, into those cold, white, lifeless eyes.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
She said nothing.
The man standing in the doorway held the piece of glass in his hand and now stood directly behind him. The man put the shard up against his neck and pushed inward on his throat. After the man felt the first bit of flesh give way to his instrument, the man slashed through his victim’s artery. Nothing happened at first, just pain, and then blood began spilling out like the torrent of rain that had fallen the night before.
The man dropped him to the floor as he felt the life leaving his prey. He hit the floor with a thud. His breathing slowed. His heartbeat fell. And the last thing he saw was her slowly squirming towards his body, still staring at him with those cold, white, lifeless eyes.