“Ellie, you’re home now.” Lilly cooed.
I looked up from the floor and peered out into the dimming street.
“Do you want us to come in with you?” asked Becky.
“No, that’s alright, I’m just going to have an early night, maybe a bath,” I answered. “But thanks anyway and if I need to talk, I’ll call.”
The two girls looked back in their seats. “Yeah, call us anytime, Ellie.” said Becky.
I got out of the car and watched them drive away from the house. As soon as the car disappeared around the corner, I felt awful like someone had flipped a switch inside me. Before I entered the house I took out my compact make-up mirror and checked my face, some redness had disappeared and my skin didn’t look healthy at all, it was grey and dull. The only thing was red was my cute button nose. I put the compact into my clutch and entered the house feeling like crap. As usual, Dad was sitting on the sofa still watching TV.
“Hi, Dad. I’m back.” I called to him as I hung up my jacket while trying to cover my face.
I walked into the living room and let myself fall onto the sofa. I felt drained suddenly and started yawning.
“How was the film?” he asked.
“Um, yeah it was alright I guess,” I answered. “The girls said I slept through it.”
“What a waste of money.” Dad said.
My stomach knotted when he talked about the money. “Yeah, it was,” I said with guilt in my voice. “I think I might have a bath and then go to bed.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I may have an early night.” Dad answered.
I took a deep breath and felt all my energy drain from my body. My old aches and pains were back. I got up from the sofa and dragged myself up the stairs while my body cried out in pain. I switched on the bathroom light and turned on the hot and cold taps. While pouring in some of my favourite strawberry bubble bath, I sniffed the liquid and the sweet smell lifted me in a slightly better mood. I grabbed my candles and lit them around the edges. Having the candles around the bath made it more relaxing. My iPod docked and ready to go, waiting for me to press play. The speakers played soft music that I always used when taking a bath.
Once the tub was full, I turned off the light and stripped off. I gently lowered myself into the steaming, boiling water, bruises crying out. Once I got used to the temperature of the water, I laid back into the lounge position and let the water lap over me. The water felt nice, I could feel all my aches and pains disappear within minutes. It felt nice to relax as the candles flickered in the dark and the music playing softly in the background. I could have easily fallen asleep while in the bath. I sat up and grabbed my strawberry body wash and lathered up with soft suds, making sure not to scrub my beaten body too hard. I laid back into the bath to wash all the lather off. As I laid there with my eyes closed, my mind worked. Again, I thought of those monsters I had dreamt about.
I hope I don’t dream of them again tonight, please don’t let me dream of them. I thought.
Rhea then popped into my mind. For someone who wasn’t human, she was beautiful. I wonder what she was. Should I trust her? I didn’t know. She’d just appeared into my life and I’m expected to believe her. I tried to put it out of my mind. I listened to the soothing beats of the music. The surrounding water went lukewarm and my fingers starting to prune up. I decided that I had had enough and pulled the plug. I slowly stood up from the soapy water making sure that I didn’t fall back and hurt myself and slowly climbed out of the bath. I took the towel that hung on the radiator and dried my body with the warm fuzzy towel. The softness of the towel felt nice against my skin but became wet quickly. I switched off the music and placed my iPod to one side.
Wrapping the towel around my chest, I picked up my old clothes that decorated the floor. Quickly, I stepped out into the hall and hurried off to my bedroom, being careful that my towel didn’t slip. I looked in my draws to find some oversized t-shirts and grabbed the first pair of underwear I could find. I dropped the towel to the floor and changed into the lazy clothes.
Crawling into bed felt like heaven. As I lay there, I thought about watching a movie from my collection, but I was too tired to get up and look for one. Finally, switching off the lamp, I got into a comfy position and I tried to block off my mind and I prayed that I had no more nightmares and after a few minutes sleep came to me.
My eyes opened to complete darkness. I groggily checked my digital clock to see that it was four in the morning.
“Crap.” I mumbled.
I wanted to sleep through till morning, but I was glad that I didn’t have those dreams. I tried to go back to sleep, but the room felt too stuffy. Something wasn’t right. I felt uneasy. I got up from my comfy bed and opened the window to air the room out. The wind outside filled my bedroom with its sharp frosty air and slowly blew my curtains with ease. I then dragged myself back to my bed.
I opened my eyes again for the second time to find my room filled with sunlight. Finally, I had slept through till morning and without the nasty dreams. I again checked my clock; it showed that it was nearly ten o’clock. My eyes lit up with surprise and I panicked.
“Why didn’t, Dad wake me for school?” I said with fear.
Until I realised I had no school. I didn’t want to go back to sleep, so I stretched my aching muscles slowly and threw back the covers. I slipped on some clean pyjamas bottoms and went downstairs to the kitchen to get something to eat. Dad was in the kitchen, leaning on the counter, drinking (from what I could only guess) tea.
“Morning, Dad,” I said while yawning.
“Morning.” he replied. “Ellie, I have to go into town today for a few things, do you want to come?”
“Um, no thanks, I just want to stay home today and just do nothing.” I said as I placed some bread into the toaster.
“That’s fine, I won’t be long.” he said.
“So what time did you go to bed then?” I asked.
“Hm, let me see it was after nine, just a while after you had your bath.” he replied.
“So not that late then.” I said.
I grabbed the honey jar from the kitchen cupboard. The lid was sticky with its sweetness and I licked the golden goodness of my finger.
“So what do you need to go into town for?” I asked.
He didn’t answer straight away, and I felt maybe it was the wrong question to ask.
“It’s for Kate.” he slowly said.
I remained quiet and regretted asking.
“Sorry.” I said.
“Instead, I’ll like to come.” I said. I wanted to support him through this.
“No, no, stay here, I’ll be fine.” he insisted.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes, I’ll be OK, Ellie, but thanks for offering.” he replied.
Remembering about my toast, I quickly pressed the button and out popped the golden brown toast. This time, I was thankful that it didn’t burn like last time. I lifted the butter dish and spread the butter and the honey on slices of toast. In the cupboard, I took one of the small plates and carried my breakfast into the living room (after asking my Dad if it was OK first). We both went into the living room together. I sat down to watch morning TV while he got ready upstairs. Flicking through the many channels, I found a morning talk show and watched it while I ate. It showed the top story’s of the day so far while interviewing people on array subjects. I hated the news. It always depressed me and I tried to stay away from it.
“Right, I’m off now,” Dad called from the hall.
“See you after, bye.” I called back to him while waving a toast free hand.
I heard the door close shut. I turned up the volume on the TV, just for background noise. I finished my toast and went upstairs to get my phone. I opened my clutch purse to see my phone sitting at the bottom with the notes I used as a lure. I put it to the back of my mind for now. I walked back down the stairs while checking if I had any messages, nothing. While still walking down the stairs I could hear what sounded like floorboards creaking. I slowly turned and walked back up the stairs. Had Dad come back in the house and I didn’t notice?
“Dad?” I called out.
There was no reply. I stood on the top of the stairs, waiting for the sound again. After a few minutes, the sound never reappeared, and I walked back down the stairs, ignoring it. With my phone in my hand, I wanted to talk to the girls, but they would be in class and they would get in trouble if their phones started beeping. I watched the TV since the news part was over. Now they were interviewing a woman, (I wasn’t paying attention). The interview dragged on, asking the woman weird questions about her life. I think she was some celebrity, but I didn’t recognise her at all, but I continued to watch just for the sake of it.
While still watching the TV I heard another noise, but this time, it sounded like something was tapping on the glass and it was coming from the kitchen. I muted the TV and tried to listen carefully to the weird noise. It was getting louder and coming from the kitchen. Dropping the remote on the sofa, I checked it out. I opened the kitchen door and looked around for the weird noise. Everything seemed to be okay, and nothing was out of place. What was that knocking noise? I stood in the middle of the kitchen waiting for the sound again, but it never repeated itself. I gave up and got back into the living room in frustration. I unmuted the TV and ignored the stupid noises.
After deciding to stay put, my phone beeped. I swiped at the screen to read it. The message was from Lilly. She must have sent it while in class, and she has never texted during class. She must worry about me. Knowing she was thinking of me made me smile as I read the text.
Hi, Ellie, how are you? Speak to you tonight, X.
I typed in the message I wanted to send but thought against it since she would still be in class.
I’ll text her when they’re on break. I thought to myself.
I placed my phone down to hear for the third time the weird tapping noise from the kitchen, but this time, it was louder and it seemed to come from different directions.
“What the hell’s going on!” I demanded.
I got up from the sofa and marched into the kitchen when I stopped dead. My complete body froze. In the kitchen was the faceless monster that had been in my nightmares.