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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Horror/Scary · #2231837
1187 WORDS

I opened the door to my flat and ran cross-legged to the bathroom, dropping my bag as I passed through the hall. I opened the bathroom door to be greeted by a veritable fog. "What the ..." My first instinct was to run screaming from the flat and call the police. My bladder had other ideas. I used the loo, then washed my hands. It was then I saw it; a message written on the mirror.


Who had been in my flat? Was this a joke or was my life actually in danger? As the steam dissipated the message disappeared. Clever; nothing to show the police. I listened for any sounds that I was not alone. All was quiet but ...

I grabbed my bag and searched for my mobile. Why is it always right at the bottom? I retreated out the front door to the hallway. The cold strip lights did nothing to lessen my fears. Now, who should I call? There was nothing to indicate a break-in. The police would think I was some nutter wasting their time. "Pull yourself together Haszana."

I sat down on the top stair, even though it stank of piss. Scrolling through my contacts, I began to realise how alone I was. The only personal numbers were my parents (two hundred miles away), my boss (a woman who already thought of me as paranoid), and the landlord at the local. I had his number because I'd asked about getting a few shifts behind the bar.

Then there was Joe. I met him in the pub last week and he insisted on giving me his number. I wondered if he was still hovering over the phone waiting for my call. I had no intention of calling at the time but now ...

I needed help but should it come in the shape of a virtual stranger? I remember thinking the guy was a bit too nice. I've always favoured bad boys. Joe was your typical boy-next-door. I pictured his tousled, dirty blonde hair; just a bit too long by today's standards. His t-shirt was emblazoned with 'Peace and Love'. Was he up to the job of protector?

I dialled the number before I lost my nerve. "Hey Joe, it's me, Haszana. We met last week."

"Oh ... er ... hi. How ya doin'?"

"Not too good. Look, I need your help." I heard a distinct intake of breath. Was this call a big mistake?

"How can I help?" I described the scene at my flat. He listened, then he let out a sigh. "I thought you were gonna ask for money. Sorry. I guess I'm a bad judge of character. Of course I'll help. Look, get out of the flat and meet me at the pub. I can be there in ten."


"Haszana, over here." Joe was at a small table in a dark corner of the almost deserted pub. "Shit, you're really shook up." He kicked out the chair opposite him. "Sit." He half stood as I took the seat. "Hey Harry, get the lady a drink." The barman nodded. A glass of brandy appeared in front of me. "Now, what's this all about?"

"I told you everything on the phone." Did he think I'd made it up to get him to meet me?

"Who has a key to your place?"

"Just me and ... well ... the landlord, maybe."

"And this landlord, guy is it?"

"No, it's a company. If they do hold a key it could be available to anyone that works there, I suppose." Make me feel worse, why don't ya?

"You can't go back there tonight. If the message was from a killer, and not just some joker, you can't take the risk." Joe made sense. "You got somewhere you could stay? Friend, relative?"

I hesitated. Could it be a mistake to let this stranger know I was so alone? "Not really, no."

"Hey Harry, you still got that letting room upstairs?"

"Sure. The lady need somewhere to stay?"

"Is it okay if I tell him?" I nodded and Joe went over to the bar. I couldn't hear all of their conversation but the gist was that I needed somewhere safe to stay. I began to relax. "You'll need some things. Give me your keys and a list and I'll go and get your stuff."

Well, I had nothing worth stealing so why not? "Be careful."


"Your place is all smashed up. I'm not hangin' about; you'll have to make do." The mobile went dead.

"D'you think he's alright?" Harry shrugged, and passed me another brandy. The towels were over the pumps. The last dedicated drinker quit a few minutes ago. Harry moved to lock the door. "Shouldn't you leave it open for Joe?" Harry shrugged again and moved away from the door. "Don't say much, do you?" No reply.

The door flew open. "Quick, Haszana, get upstairs and ring the cops. Harry get that door locked. Some guy followed me from your place."

I ran upstairs and looked around the hallway. A sign said 'bathroom', hopefully that would have a lock. A loud bang came from downstairs. "Shit, he's got an axe." So Harry does speak. "The door should hold, but the windows ..." The smash told me the answer. I leaned against the locked door and listened. I don't know who I was most scared for, me or the guys downstairs?

My call to the police was answered when I heard a siren in the distance. Not before I heard the screams. Two different screams. Then I heard running on the stairs. I moved away from the door and looked at the window. It was too small and too high for me to escape.

"Police. You can come out now. We've got the guy." I opened the door with some hesitation. It was a policeman. I followed him down the stairs. The first thing I saw was the blood spatter on the door frame. I was reluctant to go any further. "Sorry, it's not a pretty sight."

Harry was propped against the door. He held his left arm, trying to stop the blood spurting from the large gash. At least he was alive. Joe wasn't as lucky. Even without the blood I could tell from his staring eyes that he had breathed his last. My stomach churned as the metallic smell assailed my nostrils. "Let's get you out of here."

At the police station they asked a lot of questions I couldn't answer. "Do you know Dan Hoffman?"


"The axe man. Do you know him?"

"I don't think so. I certainly don't know the name." It went on for an hour. It was like I had done something wrong. "I need the bathroom." An officer accompanied me to the door.

As I sat there, the room began to fill with steam. I flushed, then I went to wash my hands. On the mirror was the message:


The pain started in my left arm. I fell to the floor as it spread across my chest. As I struggled to breathe the message changed.


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