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Off-screen

By GwenDalaviria All Rights Reserved ©

Mystery / Horror

Off-screen

13/11/15

Dear diary,

My folks are wrong, being blind is a blessing. I didn’t stop telling myself that since we left the store, uncle Butch and I. After what happened… I’ve never been so scared in my life. I don’t know what I heard, and I don’t dare tell him anything. I don’t know what to think, I don’t know what’s possible anymore.

After closing, uncle Butch told me he had to go to the drugstore because he was out of ulcer medication. He told me he had locked everything and wouldn’t be taking long. I wasn’t worried, I started walking around the shop to spend time. It was quiet, everything was normal. Then all of a sudden I hit a mannequin’s leg with the tip of my walking cane, when I was in front of the compter. I thought one of the employees tried to play a prank on me, and I didn’t like it at all. I wondered why uncle Butch did not notice. I decided to pick up the mannequin to put it back in place and by touching its face I knew it came from the showcase, the one with the surgeon mask and bunny ears. I know uncle Butch made it himself, he told me it was a keepsake of the good old times. At the same time I began to smell something rotten without being able to tell where it came from. At the moment I thought it was a sewers backup. I let my hands slide down the mannequin to grab it by the waist when I felt something tender at the arm base. At touch it felt like meat. It was warm and humid. When I presse dit a liquid ran through my fingers. I instinctively rub them on my shirt before moving away from the mannequin. I walked to the backroom, and at the moment I put my hand on the doorframe that separates it from the main room, I heard footsteps. It was a woman. The light switches were in my reach so I turned off all the lights, put down my walking cane along the wall without a sound before freezing completely. I forced myself to breath through my stomach so I wouldn’t give away my position. Thank god my phone was in buzzer mode. I was praying for the woman not to find me and uncle Butch to come back.

The footsteps came closer, to the point where I started to wonder if I didn’t turn the lights on instead of off. The smell of rot came back. As the woman came closer to me, the smell was becoming stronger. I realized the woman was breathing through a piece of fabric. I started to think of the mannequin, and at the same time I thought it was unreasonnable, unless I was the victim of a very bad prank. The woman came very close. Until I could almost feel her breath on my face. The smell was so unbearrable I wrinkled my nose. Suddenly the door opened. It was uncle Butch coming in. I knew I did turn the lights off, because he called out to me, and his tone was that of confusion. I was so scared of what this woman could do to him, thinking maybe she was armed. And then I didn’t her breathing anymore. The smell of rot vanished as uncle Butch crossed the room bumping into clothes racks. He turned the lights back on and touched my arm, asking what happened. I huddled against him and burst into tears, trying vainly to explain what had just happened. I told him there was a woman in the shop, that I turned off the lights and didn’t move, that she walked up to me, that she was probably wearing a balaclava given her breathing, … He gently told me to calm down. According to him there was no one in the shop. That’s when he asked « What is she doing here ? ». I asked who, he took my hand and I felt the mannequin under my fingers. I removed them immediatly, hugging him tighter. I said « But how did it end up here ? ». I realized something disturbing. When uncle Butch hugged me the first time, I felt he was worried. But after seeing the mannequin he seemed to calm down very quickly, as if there was nothing alarming, while I just clearly indicated there had been an intrusion. And how did the mannequin end up there ? Uncle Butch asked me if I heard someone come in. I realized I didn’t. I didn’t hear anybody, the footsteps seemed to come from the nowhere. I carefully stretched an arm and palpated the mannequin. It was perfectly normal. I thought about my shirt and asked uncle Butch if he saw any stains. He said no and gently grabbed my shoulder, saying he was gonna « put this bad girl back to her place », refering to the mannequin. Meanwhile I picked up my cane and palpated the floor. I was afraid to take a single step. Uncle Butch came back, touched my hand I took his arm. His reaction towards the situation left me bewildered, and I didn’t dare tell him any more about what happened. We walked out of the store and got in the car. That’s when he took my hand and told me « You have absolutly nothing to fear ». He gave me a kiss on the cheek. The rest of the evening went on just like any other, he turned on the radio and talked about today’s noteworthy’s clients.

I don’t know what really happened. I don’t dare tell him anything. His reaction leaves me to think he knows more than I do… I believe in ghosts, but I’m sure it wasn’t one that I met. I could touch it and smell it. It was human. And its arms, the liquid running from it…

I don’t want to conclude that the mannequin came to life because it seems impossible. All I know is I didn’t dream what happened. I’m scared. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

By for now,

Megan

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