Today’s guest author, B. Jane Lawson is here to share an original short story with us that will definitely have the hair on the back of your neck standing on end. Not familiar with Lawson’s work? You can check out my review of To the Cliffside here. Morganna is a fantastic, fun character to follow and the adventure is equally enthralling. So grab your favorite cup of…well whatever it is you enjoy and enjoy the ride.
Welcome back to Fictitious Musings B. Jane!
A B. Jane Lawson original
The hairs on the back of my neck rose. That’s one of those hackneyed phrases you’ve read a thousand times, but you never actually think about what it means. What is it about the atmosphere, the air around you that causes your skin to itch, your nerve endings to pulse and a shiver; an invisible finger tickles from your nape to the hollow of your back.
I felt the danger. Like its own living breathing organism and I chose to ignore it. I can’t take all the blame, though. We are so disconnected from our primordial selves that we no longer respond to the impulses that signify alarm, brushing it off as superstition and paranoia.
I wish I had listened to those little hairs. Then it all would have never happened.
I was bent over, the tiny silver key to my mailbox turning when I felt it. My back snapped and my head wagged from right to left. I was completely alone. The first I chalked up to exhaustion.
We can forgive ourselves for missing a first sign, but a second? I push the large gold key into the brass deadbolt lock and there it is again. Cold carpals tentatively teasing that sensitive area of skin.
I paused in the entrance as the door slammed behind me. I didn’t feel alone. Quietly, I laid my purse on the smooth marble of the kitchen counter. Even more silent, I slid the drawer open, palming the handle of a wickedly sharp Hattori.
Gently I made my way to the coat closet. I ripped it open with an emphatic, and none too dramatic, ha! Empty hangers merely swung at the propulsion of air. I clutched the knife to my chest and chuckled nervously. I remember thinking that work must be getting to me. Maybe it’s time for vacation.
That’s why I missed the pair of shoes, hanging from a burgundy coat I’d only worn once, out of pity for the erstwhile lover who’d gifted it to me, before relegating the voluminous folds to the back of the closet. Behind my ski jacket, my fancy Paris coat and slew of boxes and various pieces of sporting equipment.
If I’d just paid attention I might have spotted him. If I’d just paid attention I wouldn’t have laid the same piece of Japanese cutlery used to slice at me with surgical precision on the same counter my purse lay.
A nonsensical piece of logic I convinced myself of was that it was too quiet. That what I needed was some noise to shake the heebie jeebies planting farcical seeds in my susceptible mind.
I turned the nozzle to the hottest temperature I could withstand and pulled. The pound of water on the cold alabaster tub added to the cacophony. I hummed as the steam rose ghoulishly from the small pond and latched itself to every available orifice.
While I slithered in like the beginning of someone’s king crab legs, that same pair of shoes slid from their coat hammock and onto plush beige carpet. I steamed my face with a hot towel while calf-skin fingers closed around hundreds of dollars worth of Black Linen Micarta and stainless steel.
Water splashed all around me creating small puddles over the uneven bathroom, and as I wrapped an indulgent terry cloth robe around my body, those same feet, in their weathered black tennis shoes, made their way to the door. Mere inches separated me and those feet.
The music pumped in the background and I turned on the faucet to brush my teeth. I slathered toothpaste on the brush and swayed along to the beat. I wiped the fog from the mirror. A second reflection appeared next to mine. The gloved hands carried by those feet closed around my mouth before I could scream. I barely felt the first slash of the blade across the hairs at the back of my neck.
“I told you that you needed a haircut.” My stylist was nothing, if not persistent.
About the Author
She has had a life long love affair with novels of all kinds. B. Jane’s favorite genres include paranormal romance, historical fiction and true crime. Her favorite authors include Amy Tan, Karen Marie Moning, Pat Conroy, Jane Austen and J.K. Rowling. She loves to travel and her dream vacation is a safari in Africa.