She hung up with the police department. What would she do now?
Was he out there when Curtis left?
She began to sob pulling doors closed as she walked down the hall. Did he follow Curtis home and what would he do to him? She wrapped her arms around her body and stood at the top of the steps. She had to move where he wouldn’t find her. Telecommuting from a home somewhere far from here wouldn’t be too bad with today’s technology. She was an owner. What could they say? No?
She shook with sobs.
She stopped outside her bedroom door. “Leave me alone.” She screamed down her steps before she plopped down on the top step to cry. Nothing more could be done. The police had done what they could but they were never here when he left these flowers.
And what if he stopped?
Right now they came every week. Each week they came on a different day. This time they were only forty-eight hours apart. Did that mean he was coming? Did more roses mean she was safer.
Or closer to death.
“I don’t want to die.” She cried. Visions of her time with Curtis, family, friends and events in her life slid through her memory. Rather than flashing before her eyes her life was giving a goodbye tribute.
And there wasn’t much to see.
She had no kids, no husband and nothing other than a business and a few things to be sold.
“Here lies Rachel, she had a business and stuff.” She mumbled. It was a pathetic inscription for a tombstone but it was what she had. “Survived by a marketing firm and two parents. Estate auction Friday.” She choked out between sniffles. She didn’t have a cat, or a plant; she had no living thing to prove she had made a difference in this world at all.
She wiped her nose on the back of her hand but it was no longer sufficient to catch the flow of tears. She lumbered down the steps planting each foot hard. She pulled four or five tissues from the box and wiped her face off.
There was the rose.
It was on the floor by the front door where she had thrown it. Still waiting for her.
She hated that rose. It stole the joy of this evening. She marched over to it. Fear was replaced by rage. She snatched it up from the floor and headed in to the kitchen. The lid to the trashcan popped open when she stomped on the small pedal. She threw it in as hard as she could and spun. The lid plopped closed but it didn’t relieve her.
“I hate you.” She said and stomped on the trashcan pedal again. She stuck her arm inside. Something slimy and warm covered her fingers. She lifted the rose out its petals and her fingers covered with gravy.
“I…hate…you.” She spat as she tore the bloom off and ripped it into as many pieces as possible. Pain shot through her fingers when she tried to break the stem. She looked at the blood and scratches in her palm. A thorn was still lodged in her finger.
The pain felt good. It was a battle scar. Proof she was fighting and not laying down to die.
She wiped the thorns out with a swipe across her jean. The ribbon was undone so she tore it the rest of the way and slammed the stem then the ribbon in the trash.
She was a charging bull.
If she was going to die she would do it fighting.
She’d make her mark. Even if it was by taking her assassin with her.
You are reading A Face in the Shadow by Tiffany Colter.
Tiffany is a writer, speaker and writing career coach. She is a frequent contributor to print and online publications in addition to her regular marketing blog at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
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This story is copyright Tiffany Colter. 2007. It may not be copied, distributed, sold or included in any larger work without the expressed written permission of Tiffany Colter.
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