Adella is kidnapped and given the chance of a lifetime. But does she really have a choice to accept it?
Noticed the car just down the street with the tinted windows that never moves, and the men in long black coats that show up everywhere, and stare at me.
But only at night. That's what gave it away. I only see them at night.
Mother thinks I'm wrong, I'm insane, and I'm unstable. Paranoid, because of all the killings lately, and I'm letting my imagination get the best of me. In a sense, she's right. I'm terribly paranoid.
I haven't left the house for three days now. I don't think they can get me in here. Mother shouts at me until she cries. She thinks I'm going to kill myself one of these days when she's at work.
I told her if I meant that much to her, she'd stay home.
I've tried calling the police, everyday. The line is always busy. 911- busy. Is that really possible?
I think Mother knows something I don't. Sometimes she stops shouting, and just stands in my doorway, watching me watch them through my window. Yesterday I thought I heard her tell me to give up.
I locked my door after she left.
And now it's dark again, and I'm sitting by the window, and the house is silent because Mother hasn't come home from work today.
I think they killed her.
I sighed, letting the curtains fall back into place, beginning to pace the floor slowly. The sigh, the shuffle of my feet- it all sounded wrong, foreign in the crushing silence.
The alarm clock, sitting beneath the small lamp on my nightstand, boldly declared it to be almost 11. Mother was well over 5 hours late.
I paused my pacing in front of the mirror behind my door. My hair looked lighter than usual, but messy as always. Worn out, was what it really was. It matched my eyes, vacant and sullen. My stomach roared at me. I couldn't remember the last time I'd eaten anything.
Give it up. Just turn out your light, unlock the doors, and walk outside.
I shook my head, hanging my bathrobe over the mirror and walking back to my spot by the window. Pulling the curtains aside again, I peered out into the street, and nearly jumped straight out of my skin. Standing beneath the streetlight in front of my house, and staring directly at me through large black sunglasses, was a man. A blonde man, in a black coat.
I stared, unable to force myself to move just yet. Suddenly, the streetlights around him began to flicker, and then shut off. At last only the light above him was left, and that too snapped off.
I jumped away from the window, visions of him popping up just beyond the other side of the pane flooding me with fear. I heard a noise, although I wasn't sure what, from near the front of the house. Near the door.
"Oh shit," I mumbled under my breath. "Oh shit oh shit oh shit oh shit..."
I looked around for a place to hide, as I heard what was unmistakably the sound of the front door swinging open. The closet had no door and my bed was just the mattress and box spring on the floor. Crawling out the window was the farthest thing from my mind.
Trapped. Like an animal.
Heavy footsteps were coming down the hall, slowly, as if the intruder wanted to prolong my anxiety. I moved to the farthest side of the room, watching the door, imagining what the blonde man might look like, strolling through the pitch-black hall, maybe with his hands in his pockets, or behind his back, all slick-like; or maybe holding a gun, or a switchblade-
I couldn't go down like this. I looked around again, this time for a weapon. The only thing that caught my eye was my flute. Hanging on my wall, perfectly assembled, the way I had left it all those years ago. I ran over and grabbed it, just as the footsteps stopped, with a definite, final thud outside my door.
I froze, shaking horribly and staring hard at the handle. In the dim light, I thought it'd be impossible to know when it was being turned. I gripped my instrument tighter, biting the inside of my lip.
Come on, come on... come ON...
And then I heard what I least expected.
"Adella?" squeaked Mother's voice. The handle turned just as far as the lock would allow it, and then stopped. "Adella, open this door."
I swallowed, appallingly confused.
"M-M-Mother?" I stammered, taking a small step towards the door.
"Open the door, Adella."
I took another step, still staring at the handle.
This isn't right. Little Red Riding Hood. Little Red...
"Mother, wh-why are you so late?"
"Just open the door, Adella."
I swallowed hard again, stepping close enough to reach the handle.
"M-Mother, why are you late?" I asked softly.
I heard a sigh. "Adella Leigh, I refuse to speak to you through a plank of wood. If you want to talk to me, cut out this nonsense and open this door!"
Wolf in sheep's clothing. Horror movie 101.
I chewed my lip again, looking around a bit as if my walls would hold an answer. The handle jiggled again, and I heard another frustrated sigh.
I couldn't. I even thought I should, I almost wanted to, but I couldn't make myself move.
"Adella... can I please come in?"
I sighed, suddenly aware of how out of hand this had gotten.
And what better way to get over it than to open the door?
So I nodded. The word, "Alright" had barely escaped me when I heard the door unlock, and watched it swing open with wide eyes.
Standing in the shadows, was of course, not Mother. I backed away from the blonde man, almost tripping over my own feet, as he stepped into my room, smirking at me.
"Now princess," he said, his voice his own now, "what on earth were you going to do to me with that?"
He gestured lazily to the flute, and I felt my face burning up, in rage and embarrassment and sheer terror. I couldn't answer him, so I only stared.
He spoke again once he was sure I wouldn't.
"Adella. Put that thing down. You look ridiculous."
My fear mounting, I found myself doing as he told me. It was as if, with him looking directly at me, I had no control over myself.
"Now," he said calmly, "be a good girl and come with me."
He extended his hand to me, covered in a smart-looking leather glove. I felt my own arm twitch, but I fought the urge to simply give in and place my hand in his. I stared at his palm, unable to look up at his face anymore. His power over me seemed to lessen.
"Who are you?" I asked, the sureness of my own voice surprising me. "Why've you been following me?"
"I'm just a delivery man, of sorts," he answered, "but not an information booth. Come with me and we'll tell you everything."
He took a step towards me, his hand still waiting for mine, but I only took another step back from him.
"Did you kill my mother?"
He sighed. "Of course I didn't." And after a second's pause, "That wasn't my assignment."
My head spun, my stomach turned, and I felt myself take another step back. He scoffed lightly.
"Don't act as if you didn't know she was dead already, princess."
Don't call me that.
"How'd you get in my house?"
He took another step towards me, which I countered. He sighed again, and I could sense him growing impatient.
"That doesn't matter right now-"
"I thought your type couldn't come in unless they were invited?" I interrupted. I heard him smile.
"Directly or indirectly. Your mother turned over the keys, thinking if she gave us you, we'd let her alone."
I felt myself growing faint, and my eyes starting to sting.
She turned you in, Adella. She gave you up to try and save herself. The selfish bitch-
"How'd you get in here?"
"I was invited, princess."
"Adella... can I please come in?"
I shook my head, my vision going blurry, and he took another step forward. I moved to back away once again, but he said sharply-
"If you take one more step back, you'll be against the wall. And the next time you wake up, you'll be chained to one. Now..." he stretched his hand out to me a bit more, "come, Adella."