British Columbia, Canada
I stood at the till, rifling through my purse, looking for my store loyalty card. I was a frugal woman and never passed up the opportunity to be rewarded for spending. Digging deeper, pushing paper and unknown trinkets around, I was interrupted by a tap on my shoulder. The voice of a woman behind me was asking me something. Her accent was thick and heavy like molasses. I couldn’t quite place where it was from.
“What” and “time” were the only words I understood. I turned and raised my watch to the woman, showing her the glowing digital numbers gleaming from the little black screen on my wrist. I had to give it a little shake to get the numbers to appear. The strange woman before me seemed put off by my actions. Her face contorted into a grimace.
“No, no.” The woman shook her pale-faced, wrinkly old head. Her cheeks were sunken in, and her flesh was thin. I could see the veins running from her temple to her eyes. Those eyes were beady little pools of evil. I could feel her boring into my very soul with her gaze.
“I cannot see”. This was decipherable enough that I quickly blurted out “11:38”. It was said much louder than I normally spoke, in hopes that she would hear and have no excuse for this encounter to continue. Her attitude felt somewhat aggressive. I didn’t like it. She gave off bad vibes.
Thankfully, this seemed to be exactly what the stranger wanted. She returned to her place behind me, waiting in line.
Being the introvert that I am, I didn’t love going out. However, I did enjoy the occasional chats I had with those I encountered on my little journeys. I always imagined I was like a battery; full after being at home and draining every moment I was out socializing. My battery today felt like it was being drained more rapidly than usual.
Behind me, another shopper was being questioned by the old lady. They didn’t hear a word of what she said, or they pretended they didn’t. I couldn’t quite tell. All I knew was now this woman was back to focusing on me.
I strained hard to understand her ramblings, but the only words I could pick out were “they are mine” and “I need them”. The rest was impossible for me to decipher. She was very animated as she spoke. Now and then she would raise her hand as if to hit me. Then her face would soften, and her voice would change from angry to excited. It was very clear to me this lady needed some help.
It had been clear to others around me too because it wasn’t long before two uniformed men approached us and rescued me from the awkward little hell I had found myself in.
“Sorry, ma’am.” Grabbing the woman under her arms, they began escorting her to the back of the store. I could only assume they were store security and were going to attempt to get her assistance. That was my hope at that moment.
After paying for my groceries, I hurried out of the store to my car, threw the overflowing plastic bags into the trunk, and hopped into the driver’s seat. Turning on the engine, I reflected for a moment on how uncomfortably strange that entire situation was. Letting out a small sigh of relief, I backed out of the stall and headed home.
Later that night, sitting in my living room, sipping some wine to help me unwind from the odd events earlier that day, I flicked on the TV to surf through channels. Finally, I decided on an old black-and-white romance movie. It wasn’t long before I drifted off to sleep…
Startled, I awoke to what sounded like someone yelling outside my front door. I was still in my living room. The TV was playing a different old movie now and the noise seemed to have stopped as soon as I arose from my chair.
Walking carefully to the front door, I peered through the peephole to see who was out there.
There was no sign of anyone. For a moment, I thought I would never know what woke me until I recalled I had a ring cam set up to record any motion at the front door. The app was accessible through my phone.
Quickly, I moved back to my chair and sat once more, grabbing my cell, and firing up the app that ran my home security.
As I opened the most recent video, I froze in fear, staring at the evil eyes of the old lady that I had encountered earlier that day. How did she know where I lived?
She seemed to be yelling. My camera did not record sound so I had no idea what she was saying but her actions were so similar to earlier that I could almost tell she was rambling about the same things.
When she finished, she stood there a moment, staring into the camera. Her face got closer and closer, and then her mouth opened wide over the lens. I could see the dark pit of her throat for a moment when she suddenly pulled away and turned to walk around the side of the house. A chill ran up my spine.
My heart was pounding now. I knew where she was headed was towards the back door. I didn’t lock that door. I never did. I lived in a peaceful neighborhood. People could be trusted here. Until now. But this person wasn’t from here. Who knows where she came from?
“Ping.” A notification popped up on my phone. The back door had been opened.
Instinct guided me to the kitchen to get a knife. I hurried, as quietly as I could. On the butcher block, there was a chef’s knife. It was my favorite knife for cutting through meat. Seemed like a great choice for self-defense.
Not knowing where the old lady went, I picked up my phone and dialed.
It rang for a moment and a voice on the other end said “911. What’s your emergency?”
As calmly as I could, I told the woman on the other end of the phone what was happening. She said to stay on the line, they’d send a squad car over immediately.
I put my phone on speaker to free up my hands to hold the knife. Just as I placed it on the counter, the lights went out. I gasped loudly.
“Is everything okay there? What’s happening?” The voice emanating from my phone asked.
“I’m fine but she’s turned off the power. She must be in the basement.” My heart was pounding so hard, I thought it would pop right out of my chest.
“Okay. Can you get outside?” She asked me.
“I can, yes! I can go through the front and wait out there.”
Running, I almost tripped on my shoes, which I didn’t bother to stop for. I flung open the front door, and there was that creepy old face. She was staring right at me. Our eyes met. My head throbbed. My heart stopped. Fear spread through me like lightning. The knife I’d been holding fell from my hands, and her knife was right in front of me, buried deep in my stomach.
That was when I passed out.
I awoke later, tied up and unable to move. I felt pain everywhere. It was hard to pinpoint the cause, but I remembered being stabbed. I tried to open my eyes. Everything was pitch black. It was no use.
Then I heard voices. Male voices. They were talking not too far from me. I strained to hear.
“Both of them are gone. She took them with that spoon there.”
“How long until the ambulance gets here?” Another voice said.
“Soon, I hope. She’s lost a lot of blood. We’re waiting on wire cutters to get her out of that chair. Don’t know how she got tied up like that, but she’s stuck there pretty good. They must’ve really wanted those eyes.”
I knew they were talking about me. My eyes…Realization struck. She took my eyes!
As I let out a scream, footsteps ran towards me. My body shut down as they tried to do whatever they could to save me. It was too late though. I was gone.
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