S E V E N
Over the weeks I’ve continued to find notes littered around my everyday life.
In my apartment, at my work, hell, they’ve even found their way inside of poor Ken.
One thing I’ve noticed about my so-called “Admirer” is that they are very hot and cold when it comes to acknowledging me.
Sometimes they would compliment my beauty, saying my skin is fairer than the Goddess of Aphrodite herself and radiates like the sun, while other times they’d leave threats of wanting to bind me to a bed and see how long I could go without screaming. Those notes would scare me into not leaving my apartment for hours.
At first, I was terrified.
I mean, I think anyone in my position would have the right to feel a sense of fear as a person is actually stalking them on a daily basis.
But now, the white cards don’t affect as much as they used to.
I know I should be scared and that I should probably tell the local sheriff but without any sort of evidence, except for the notes, what can they do for me?
So here I am, in front of my dresser, stuffing yet another note card into my underwear drawer, adding to its famous collection.
I’m startled by a continuous ring from the phone.
The hairs on my body rise and goosebumps slowly encase my whole body.
My heart races.
Could it be my admirer?
I walk slowly towards the device as if I were in some horror film and shakily answer the call?
“H-ee-ll-o?” I stutter.
“Dude, what’s up? I haven’t heard from you all day. You good?” Claire asks concerningly.
I sag in relief, it’s only Claire. “Yeah, I’m okay. I was just watching a horror movie.” I mentally face-palm myself.
I hate horror movies.
“Why would you do that? You have a distinct hatred for suspense and jump scares,” she states, probably remembering the time she forced me to watch one, and not even five minutes into the movie I threw the popcorn all over her and her floor, then ran screaming into the bathroom.
Why couldn’t I be a smooth liar like my siblings?
“Are you watching it alone?” Claire continues.
“Uhhh, yeah. I thought I might give it another try.” I say trying to sound casual as my heart beats wildly like a Jamaican man playing the drums.
“Umm, okay I guess. That’s weird. I was just calling to see if you wanted to hang out and get some ice cream, but hey, don’t let me interrupt you while you’re having a good time.” She snickers, knowing I would never watch a horror movie by myself.
“Actually, uhhh, this movie is pretty lame. Yea, totally not my style. Like can the gore be any more childish? Like, pshhhh.” I pick my lip, something I tend to do when I begin to get caught in a lie.
A pregnant pause streams between us.
“You’re not watching a horror movie, are you?
“No, I am not,” I sigh in defeat.
“Mhm, that’s what I thought, anyway, uh,” a honking of a horn echoes through the phone, “HEY ASSHOLE, JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE PARENTS DON’T SHOW YOU LOVE AND ATTENTION AT HOME DOESN’T MEAN YOU TAKE YOUR ANGER OUT ON THE ROAD AND START CUTTING PEOPLE OFF. PICK A FUCKING LANE AND USE YOUR BLINKER, GODDAMN!” Claire yells, not caring for my sense of hearing as she continues to blast out my eardrums. “Anyway I’m already on my way over,” she states casually as if nothing happened, “I’ll there in about, ehhh, sixty seconds, so hopefully you can wash your pits, tits, and lady bits in that amount of time.”
“Love ya, smooches.” The phone beeps indicating she hung up.
I need this. I need to get out of the house and getting ice cream is a way better alternative than staying home and ruminating about everything that has happened.
This might mellow me out.
I barely make it to my bathroom before I hear the banging of my front door opening.
“I’m here bitch and you better be ready!” Claire yells, her flip-flops smacking against the hardwood as she makes her way to my room.
I’m flabbergasted. Is this girl high off of five-hour energy drinks or something?
“I never should’ve told her where I kept my spare key,” I rub my temples and shut the bathroom door. This is going to be a long day
“I heard that!”
We laugh as we stand outside my apartment door.
“Hurry my ice cream is dripping down my fingers.” She laughs while licking off the sugary substance from her hand.
“I’m looking for my keys. Hold your horses.”
Claire decided to take us to an ice cream shop in the next town over, something about them having a limited edition flavor that she was dying to try. She never gets the same flavor of ice cream twice, always wanting to keep her taste buds “on their toes” as she likes to say. I got my usual, a double scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough with a little crunch of KitKats sprinkled in. Claire, on the other hand, got Hula Hula Macadamia. As I questioned the name of the flavor, Claire just put her hand on my forearm and said calmly, “It’s a little Hula here, a little Hula there, and a whole lotta Macadamia everywhere.” The manager decided to make that their slogan and we were granted a free serving of ice cream.
I rummage through my purse trying to find the sneaky keys. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much, I never realized how much I needed a girls day out.
This is exactly what I needed to get my mind off the stalker shizz.
I find my keys at the bottom of my bag and unlock the door. Claire and I are still laughing as we enter the apartment but the sight of my ransacked living room causes us to somber up real quick.
Tiny white notecards litter the floor with rigid handwriting that I would’ve recognized anywhere.
A trail of them leads right up to my room.
I slowly put my ice cream on the side table next to us and step forward, picking up one card after the other as tears fill my eyes. Claire also puts her treat on the table and looks around the room as shock and confusion settle on her face.
“Dani, what happened? We didn’t leave the place like this, I know we didn’t. Oh my god, Dani, someone broke in! We have to call the cops or someone,” Claire blurts out as she begins to panic.
I just sniffle and continue to pick up the papers. I don’t have the heart to tell her the truth.
Her eyes are wide as she looks at me. “Why the fuck are you acting so calm! I don’t know if I need to spell this out for you but some. one. broke. in. to. your. home.” She emphasizes each word, trying to make me understand what’s going on.
Believe me, I know exactly what’s going on.
When I don’t respond to her again, she finally explodes.
Claire grabs the cards from my hands and throws them to the floor. “Forget about the damn cards Dani!” She grabs my cheeks and makes me look at her. Her hazel eyes soften as she looks at my trembling lips and tear-streaked cheeks.
Claire pulls my shaky body into her warm arms and I break down.
My sobs echo throughout the apartment as I rest my head in the corner of her neck. I fist the back of her shirt, trying to find something, anything, to stabilize me as I fall apart.
“Shhhh,” she hushes quietly in my hair. She rubs her hands up and down my back, trying to give me some sort of comfort. “You’re okay, you’re okay Dani. I’m sorry for yelling, I’m just scared for you is all.”
Claire has been nothing but supportive of me since I first moved to Oakdale. She became my first, and only, best friend. If I told her earlier maybe she could’ve helped me. She would’ve given me the courage to do what I should’ve done and gone to the police. Now we’re in this mess and it’s all my fault.
I continue to cling onto Claire until my sobs quiet down and I’m left with delicate sniffles.
“I’m sorry for breaking down like that, I don’t know what came over me,” I breathe softly onto her neck.
“Don’t worry about it, alright. I overreacted a bit and I apologize for that, but I’m going to assume there’s more to this story than what I’m seeing right now, correct?
I give a tiny nod.
She sighs. “Looks like I’m gonna have to find out who did this and burn the fuckers house down. It only seems fair.”
I let out a small laugh and lean away from Claire, rubbing my eyes of tears. “That’s not fair at all.”
“Yeah well, they should’ve thought of that before breaking into my best friend’s house and leaving a mess.” She’s mad, but I understand, this isn’t something to take lightly anymore. She nods her head towards my bedroom. “Let’s see what pot of gold is at the end of this rainbow.”
She grabs a firm hold of my hand and follows the trail until we reach my bedroom door. She leads the way inside and picks up the last love note before turning on the lights.
A grand arrangement of rose petals forms a heart in the center of my bed.
Around the heart are lit candles, causing shadows to dance among the sheets as if this were a romantic movie.
I don’t know whether to be flattered by the unexpected gesture or terrified by the fact my admirer just came into my house and violated the privacy of my bedroom.
An object draws my attention to the middle of the heart.
I let go of Claire’s hand and take shaky steps towards it. My legs stumble like a newborn fawn.
I take a closer look and the tears resurface once more and gather at the rim of my eyes.
Claire emerges next to me leaving no gap between our bodies and from the look on her face I can tell she’s trying to piece together what she’s looking at. “Is that...no it can’t be. That looks like...,” she trails off slightly, not believing what she’s seeing.
“Me,” I say quietly, finishing her statement.
Right in the middle sat a doll, poise and upright with a blue cafe dress on. Wavy auburn hair falls down to her waist and where her eyes should’ve been are circular black buttons.
How psychotic does someone have to be to make a replica of someone else and turn them into a doll?
A shiver runs through my body.
Am I even safe in my own home anymore?
I grab my hair and tug. “Why me, why me, why me? Why is this happening to me?” I say in a hushed tone. I try blinking back the tears but the severity of the situation makes my stomach feel heavy with unease.
“She’s holding a note,” Claire says, breaking me from my thoughts.
She reaches forward and takes the white card from mini-mes hands. Her eyes scan through the words on the paper and her brows arch down.
Her hazelnut eyes flick up to mine, fire dances in its depths as she barely holds her anger back.
“What kind of shit have you gotten yourself into?” She asks, her jaw clenched.
I take the card between my trembling fingers and read it.
It’s time to hunt
The mouse can hide
But the owl will find
Claire’s right, what shit have I gotten myself into?
Now the action begins!!!
Dani is in some deep doo-doo, poor girl. Sorry if this story seems to be going pretty fast, I already have everything planned out on how I want it to continue, and end, so please bear with me.
I had a little bit of writer’s block with this chapter, and I’m not fully happy with it but I think it did its job well.
Hope you enjoyed your stay in Joker’s Basement