Be careful who you open the door for.
"Yes, officer, how can I help you?" Lilly said, holding the door partially open.
"Ma'am, we're on the lookout for a murderer who was last spotted in this area and we are going door to door, warning people."
"Oh my, do you think I'm in danger here alone?"
"Lock your doors and windows. Call us if you see anything suspicious."
"Okay. Thank you very much, officer."
He smiled. "Just doing my job, ma'am."
She closed the door, locked it, then made sure all the other doors and windows were secured. Just about the time she was done, a knock sounded on the door.
"Yes, officer, is there something else I can do for you?"
"I'm sorry to disturb you again, ma'am. I've been to four other houses and no one seems to be home. Have you seen them leaving today?"
"Oh, I forgot. The lady across the street is a travel agent. She got a fantastic discount on cruise tickets and several of the families in the neighborhood all went on a cruise together."
"Yes, they all departed yesterday."
"I can't imagine going on vacation with my neighbors, we'd kill each other."
Lilly shrugged. "I guess it was a helluva discount."
"Why didn't you go?"
"I'm not what you'd call the social type. I prefer one on one interaction."
"So that means there's not a living soul in this whole neighborhood except me and you?" he said, eyeing her up and down.
"That sounds about right," she said, feeling his hungry eyes on her.
"I get off soon. I live just a few blocks away. Here's my card with my personal number on it. If you hear anything, see anything, or just want some company, don't hesitate to call."
"Thank you very much, officer." She smiled. "I'll be sure to do that."
She quickly shut and locked the door.
Breathing a sigh of relief, she climbed the stairs and headed toward the bathroom.
The cast iron tub sat in the middle of the candlelit room. Dozens of lit Sterno cans sat under it, their flames licked the bottom of the tub, warming the liquid inside.
Lilly undressed and slowly stuck a single toe into the tub.
Ahh. The perfect temperature.
She slid the rest of her naked body beneath the warm, red liquid. Once she was seated, she noticed it covered her legs, and stomach, but there wasn't quite enough to cover the rest. She splashed some onto her breasts, but it wasn't the same.
Looks like I'll need a little more.
She reached for her pants that were laying on the floor, and pulled out the officer's business card, being careful not to let the blood obscure the number.
Word count: 455
Featured in the "Noticing Newbies Newsletter (December 16, 2015)"