I heard the sound of his voice again and it terrified me just like it did the last time. I had no idea why he referred to me that way but I certainly wasn’t his ‘Se-lee-nah’. This time, he didn’t approach me. I couldn’t see him anywhere around but I could hear his voice.
“You’re shutting me out. Let me in, please.”
I didn’t know what he meant, but there was no way I would let someone who terrified me that much anywhere close to me.
“You have to let me in.” He continued. “They’re out to get you. They’re closer than you think. Don’t let it happen again, Selena. Please. Don’t let me lose you again.”
I had no idea what he was talking about. Who was out to get me? The only person close to me was him.
“I have to…”
He started speaking again but this time, he added the terrifying appearance from thin air. I screamed at the top of my lungs and awoke one more time – in the hospital room.
I panted heavily as my surroundings solidified in front of my eyes. I was relieved to see myself back in the safety of reality. At least, the hospital room kept me away from the terrifying man in my dreams. I knew I couldn’t keep going in and out of that dream for the sake of my sanity. Doing that repeatedly was sure to make me lose it soon. I turned my head in the direction of the chair my mom sat the last time I was awake but she wasn’t there. Instead, a man I didn’t recognize sat there. I sat up immediately, my eyes widening from crippling fear. For a minute, I thought it was the scary guy from my dream.
“Please don’t be scared.” The man said, placing his hand in front of him in a reassuring gesture. I saw his badge and relaxed a little. I still wasn’t a hundred percent comfortable with his presence, especially after the terrifying dream I just had.
“I’m detective Howard. It’s okay, you’re safe now.” He said.
“Where’s my mom?” I asked, still looking at him skeptically.
“She went home for a change of clothes. She’ll be back in a bit.” He replied.
I couldn’t believe my mom left me alone after what happened with Alex. My dad didn’t even show up at the hospital. Didn’t they care enough about me? What if the people who killed Alex were out to get me?
A doctor walked into my hospital room and checked a few of the readings on the surrounding monitors. When he was done, he turned to me and smiled.
“How are you feeling now, Miss. Ryder?”
“Okay… I guess.” I replied.
I wasn’t okay. I had just lost my roommate in the most horrific manner, and I was going in and out of terrifying dreams. Who will be okay in a situation like that?
“This is detective Howard. He’s here to ask you a few questions about what happened.” The doctor continued.
I blinked, saying nothing.
“Detective, she’s been traumatized and is still fragile. Try not to push too hard.” The doctor said, before walking out of the room.
“Doctor,” I called out after him. “Can you stay here, please?”
I didn’t want to be alone with the detective. I didn’t know if I could completely trust him, and I just wasn’t comfortable alone with an unfamiliar face.
“Sure.” The doctor smiled and took a seat at the far corner of the room.
“Miss. Ryder, I know you’ve been through a lot, but I need you to tell me anything you remember from the night Alex was killed. It will really be helpful in tracking down the person who did this.” Detective Howard said, pulling a chair close to my bed.
“I came back to the dorm and found him on my bed.” I said, tears choking my words as they made their way out of my mouth.
“Was he already dead?” Detective Howard asked.
“Yes. I screamed when I saw him, and that’s the last thing I remember. I woke up here.” I replied.
“Okay. I know it was terrifying to see him like that and I’m sorry. You’ve been really helpful and I appreciate it. I don’t intend to get you upset but I need to know everything.” He said, handing me a tissue.
I wiped my tears and nodded my understanding. I was not only devastated by what happened to Alex, I was also terrified that whoever did it to him might come for me too.
“Do you remember anything suspicious before you found him dead? Did he complain about anything? Enemies, maybe?” Detective Howard asked.
“Um… That morning, I saw a note from him on my pillow. He wrote that I was going to die on Halloween’s day.”
I started recounting the events from the morning of Alex’s death when something struck my mind. I had written ‘a single slash of the throat’ on that note, and that was exactly how Alex was killed. How was I supposed to explain that I had no idea who did it when they did it in the exact way I described?
“Okay, Miss. Ryder. What else do you remember?” Detective Howard prodded.
“I thought I saw someone move swiftly behind me when I was applying my makeup but when I turned around, there was no one there.” I replied, intentionally leaving out the part where I wrote ‘a single slash of the throat’.
If they hadn’t seen the note yet, then I still had a chance to get rid of it. There was no need implicating myself and making the police waste precious investigation time on me when the real killer was out there walking free.
“Do you remember anything else?” Detective Howard asked.
“No.” I shook my head.
“Did you hear from him after that?” He asked.
“No.” I shook my head again.
“Where did you spend the rest of the day?”
“I went to class, and after that, I went to the library to work on my research assignment paper.” I sniffed.
“Thank you very much for your help. I hope you make a quick recovery. If we find anything, we’ll let you know.” He stated, getting up to leave.
I nodded and watched him leave my hospital room. The doctor smiled at me, leaving right after the detective.
Once I was left alone with my thoughts, something else stood out to me. It was a memory I had almost forgotten. There was a brown book at the library with my name on it. It had a passage in there that talked about Selena’s best friend, Alexander Orwell dying from a single slash to his throat.
“Could it be just a coincidence?”
It was a little too coincidental that the 1870s Selena had a friend with the name Alexander who died just the same way my roommate, Alex died. I knew I had to go back to the library once I got out of the hospital. I had to read more of that Selena’s story. I was going to figure everything out but first, I needed to get to my dorm and discard that implicating note.