Scott Harris wiped his hands on his pants. Like it did any good. There was too much blood and all it did was spread the mess. He jerked the headphone cable, and the buds popped out of his ears. Pulling the phone from his pocket, it slipped out of his hands and bounced on the carpet. He swore. It might have been because of the blood, or the fact he was shaking violently. Most likely both.
He picked the device off the floor and pressed the screen. Nothing. Fingers caked in red. It had seeped between the ridges of his fingerprint and hardened. Over the past few days, everything about him was unrecognizable. He wiped his hands again, this time on his shirt, and then the bed and then the carpet. It seemed to do the trick because he could unlock the device and dial the number in his contacts.
Each unanswered dial tone was like the approaching footfalls of police coming to take him away. Every round seemed to get louder and louder. Sweat dripped down his face. His heart smacked against the inside of his chest like a cat trying to get out of a pillowcase. His mind was a scattered mess, but he had enough sense to make one call.
He couldn’t take it anymore, at the end of his tether. He was about to throw the device against the wall when someone accepted his call.
“Jesus Christ, Scott. I told you not to call me anymore. Do you realize the danger you’ve put me in? Put us both in?”
“I…I didn’t know who else to call.”
“What’s happened, Scott?”
“I…I don’t know. I started the app before you could delete it. And now I’m here. And…”
“And what, Scott? What’s happened?”
Scott looked down at the lifeless body at the center of a tornado of objects. Anything that wasn’t bolted down was in a new location. The fluffy white nightgown now a dripping mess of red ferocity. A knife handle stood out of her chest, bounded by a pool of blood. He turned away to avoid adding bile to the scene and clenched his eyes shut.
“It’s bad, Xavier. It’s very bad. I think she’s dead.”
“Get out of there, Scott? Do you hear me?”
“I can hear sirens.”
There was silence, and then Xavier swore loudly. Several deep breaths seeped through the phone speaker. Eventually, he said, “Where are you?”
In the panic he couldn’t remember the name of the damn place. “I…I don’t remember.”
“Jesus Christ. I’ll just track you myself. I will be there soon. Just don’t touch anything. And don’t say anything to anyone either.”
No fear in that. Scott didn’t want to be there, let alone touch anything. Plus, he didn’t think he’d be able to string two words together to anyone else.
The call disconnected, leaving Scott with an eerie silence that a dead body in a small room can create. He lowered himself on the bed that squeaked under his weight.
He didn’t want to look again.
Shouldn’t have looked.
“I’m so sorry, Samantha,” he said, holding back tears. “So, so, sorry.”
Sirens blared in the distance.