Another day come and gone, sidewalk lit in the orange glow of the outdoor lights, her heals skritch along its rough surface toward her apartment. Work had not necessarily been gentle, leaving her tired, ready for a hot bath and good book. Anything to take her mind off...something capturing in the light on her doormat.
Ugh...what is that...an eyeball?, mind snapping to alert, she peers into the shadows made by the shrubs, then back down the sidewalk to her car. Icy fingers play a concerto on her backbone, as twigs snap, shadows separating...followed by giggles of the neighbor's kids rushing off to another hiding spot.
Chiding herself for being so jumpy, she flicks the offending article into the mulch with the toe of a shoe, rattling her keys into the door. She would have a talk with their mother, or maybe this time she would just find a way to get them back for their pranks. First though, maybe a glass of wine to go with the bath, instead of the book.
Pushing the door shut behind her, she moves through the dark foyer into the living, like a shark sliding through the water. The house is cool, which further soothes her. She doesn't want to interrupt it by turning on a light. Finding her spot on the couch, she lets the day melt off her skin, relaxing muscle groups.
Flipping open her laptop, more out of habit than anything, its fan whirs to life. The soft light of the screen breaks the darkness illuminating her face, painting the room in blue tones. Just a quick check of the email, maybe her reading list and then to the shower. She makes herself promises she knows she won't keep once she is sucked into the blogosphere.
She has been trying to do better. There was a time when two or three hours would go by before she knew it, legs having long gone to sleep curled up underneath her. Ever since she started getting comments from one particular admirer, she had become increasingly uncomfortable in her online world.
They had started off innocent, platitudes of a particularly good post, but then they gained a creepy edge, almost seeming suggestive. He started changing screen names and leaving comments on older posts. She had sent him an email asking for space and a little respect, which worked for a time, but recently he had returned. Perhaps it was time to give up blogging for a while.
Clicking through her email, she quickly becomes enmeshed; comments from blog friends, direct emails, sending her bouncing back and forth between email and their blogs, leaving a comment trail behind her. Peering at the time on the bottom of the screen, she decides there was just enough time for a quick shower now, sans the book and wine, and still be able to get a good nights sleep.
Moving her cursor across the screen to close down the windows, a dialog box pops up letting her know there is new mail, which she relents to, just one more...realising it is from him, she almost erases it, but the subject line beckons her to open it.
RE: my gift
so what did you think about my gift?
What is he talking about?, she replays the evening in her head. Eye widening, she jumps from the couch, spilling the laptop into the floor. Hastily making her way across the room, she is out the door and on the sidewalk, banging on her neighbors door. Her fist booms against the hollow core metal, until it swings open.
"Don't you know what time it is?"
"Your children, they left something on my doorstep tonight."
"They did no such thing..."
"Yes, i saw them...heard them giggling in the bushes..."
"Yeah, they told me they saw you but it wasn't them that left that awful thing there. It was a man that stopped by a bit earlier. They told me they saw him, then snuck over after he drove away to see what he left you. Any man that would leave an eye ball on your front..."
She is not listening, voice fading behind her as she runs again back toward her apartment. The gun is in the bed side table, her phone is on the bar...these things scroll like a check list through her head. The lock thumps solidly into the jam and she is already moving, letting her fingers slide across the bar to the place she left her phone, finding nothing.
"Looking for something...", his voice rasps in her ear, sending her already racing heart into overdrive.
Spinning, bringing her hands up, his latch like a vice on her wrists, pushing her back toward the bed room. Everything is moving fast and she is not keeping up. Legs tangling she spills onto the carpet at the foot of the bed. Casually he spins the dimmer for the light, bringing a muted dawn to the room.
"Did you like my present?" she notices the eye patch over his left eye for the first time, bringing the contents of her stomach to a boil.
"Actually, I am glad you are here...", she stammers.
His laughter could peel the paint off the wall, "Don't patronize me..."
"No really..." his long fingers find her knees, lust flickering in his eyes, up to the moment a baseball bat connects with his head, making a sound like a popping melon.
Eye lashes flicker, the blurred shapes of the room swimming, a dagger of pain erupting from the temple, throbbing..."whuh?"
"I am glad you are awake."
"What are you doing?"
"Blogging. I have this wonderful story I am just about to finish. You would love it. It's about a man that thinks he is in control, only to find that he really isn't. Also, the anesthesia should be wearing off and you will find that your eye is not the only thing you are missing..."
His screams echo off the walls as her fingers click clack the closing lines to the story. No, I don't think I will be needing that blog break after all, she snickers at her thought...
This is a Magpie Tale.