Thriller Short Story
I watched the snowfall through the window. Because of the snowstorm, we had no patrons inside the library. They all left after the blizzard began.
I had packed my day with homework, a long meeting with my study group, and early morning lectures. I’d enrolled in tough courses for the semester, with the idea that my last semester would be a breeze. It seemed like a good idea, but I regretted my decision.
Next semester, I would graduate with a degree in Library Science.
I turned my attention back to the cozy mystery I was reading. Stacy and I were the only ones behind the circulation counter. All the full-time staff had gone home three hours prior. Jared, the branch manager, was in his office typing away on his computer.
I was so consumed with my book, I only looked up when Stacy threw a rolled-up piece of paper at me. It bounced off my ear.
“Camila,” she hissed.
I followed her gaze across the counter to a tall man with blond hair. I stood up and pushed the chair in front of me. The more obstacles between him and me, the better.
“Stacy, can you please get Jared?”
She hurried off to grab the supervisor.
Samson approached the counter, looking worse for wear. The bags under his eyes looked dark and puffy. His clothes were clean but wrinkled, and his always-styled hair was a tangled mess. “We need to talk,” he said.
I took another step back.
“No, we don’t,” I replied.
“The whole situation was a misunderstanding. You didn’t need to get me fired.”
“A misunderstanding? You tried to assault me in the storage closet. I don’t believe that’s a misunderstanding.” I said. “Now go away and leave me alone.”
Jared came rushing out of his office, Stacy in tow.
“Samson, you know you can’t be on library property,” said Jared.
He walked right up to Samson. I stood beside Stacy and she put her arm around my shoulders.
Samson pointed at me. “I only want to talk with Camila. After that, I will leave.”
Jared looked at me. I shook my head.
“She doesn’t want to chat with you,” he responded. “Listen, I’ve called the police and they’re on the way. You can either leave now or they will escort you out when they arrive.”
Samson reached into his pocket and pulled out a huge hunting knife.
Before anyone thought to react, he plunged the blade into Jared’s gut. Jared opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He was rapidly losing blood. He collapsed and lay twitching on the carpet.
I took off running, pulling a screaming Stacy behind me. We rushed toward the staff exit at the rear of the building. I pushed on the bar, but it didn’t budge. With the weight of my entire body, I slammed my shoulder against the thick glass with no luck. A heavy wooden bench blocked the exit from the outside.
He didn’t pursue us right away, because he knew we couldn’t escape out the staff door.
I wondered if Jared had in-fact called the police, or if it was a bluff to get Samson to leave.
I seized Stacy by the shoulders. “Stacy, did Jared call the police?”
Her lower lip quivered, but no words came out.
“Stacy, did Jared call the police?” I asked, again.
She nodded. “They said they were on their way, but it would take several minutes because of the weather.”
Then all the lights went out.
Okay, what do we do now? My brain was going a million miles an hour from the adrenaline. I took a few deep breaths to calm myself.
We needed to hide.
The staff area was a large rectangular room. It had eight cubicles in the center and two offices on the far wall. I pushed Stacy into a cubicle.
Stacy crawled under the desk and I moved a large office chair in front of her. I crouched low and pressed myself up against the side of the cubicle wall.
I listened for footsteps, but the carpet muffled any noise from his shoes and I couldn’t pinpoint his location.
Suddenly, he was there.
I saw the glint of the knife and the white of his hand holding the hilt. He stood only a foot from where I crouched in the corner. He didn’t step into the cubicle, so he didn’t see me.
He moved on to the next cubicle and I felt optimistic we could hide until the cops reached us. Until Stacy’s boot kicked the chair. The chair rolled.
He was back in a millisecond.
“Hello, Stacy,” he taunted, catching sight of her shoe under the desk.
While his focus was on Stacy, I sprang into action. I grabbed his wrist and twisted it hard. He cried out and dropped the knife. With my other fist, I punched him in the face repeatedly until he fell onto the desk. His nose bled like a fire hose.
Stacy scrambled out from under the desk and threw a small plastic trashcan at Samson. It hit him in the shoulder. Together we sprinted to the front door. The first set of automatic doors opened, but the second one didn’t. He’d turned them off and locked them.
With shaking fingers and sweaty hands, I worked to turn the lock. I heard the click and let out the breath I’d been holding. The doors were old and hard to push apart when they were off.
“Help me open the doors.”
I grabbed a door and started inching it open, but she didn’t grab the other door.
I turned. She stood behind me, her eyes bulging out of her face. Blood dripped from the corner of her mouth. She made a deep gurgling noise, and her body fell forward, a knife lodged in her back.
I screamed and pushed myself up against the glass.
Samson stepped over her body and stood close to me. The smell of blood made me gag.
He said nothing. His shaded eyes looked like black holes as he stared at me in the darkness.
My legs shook uncontrollably, and I leaned on the glass door for support.
“Leave me alone!” I screamed. I darted to the small opening in the door.
He grabbed me and hit me repeatedly. Then he threw me to the ground. Black spots danced in my vision. I got to my feet, but I struggled to keep my footing.
My busted lip throbbed, and a cut on my forehead bled into my eye, making it tough to see.
“I want you to tell everyone the truth! Tell them I’m not a pervert!” he yelled. His voice echoed in the small space.
I spat blood on his shoe.
“You’re an asshole.”
I was ready for his next attack. He lifted his arm again, and I kicked him in his groin. He stumbled and fell, his hands holding his crotch. Once he was down, I kicked him in the stomach.
While he struggled to get on his feet, I pried the doors open another half a foot.
He grabbed my ponytail, yanking me backward. I twisted, ripping some hair from my scalp. I elbowed him in the nose. He screamed and released his grip on my hair.
I made a break for the exit, but he tackled me. We struggled on the ground for a minute before he overpowered me. He pinned my arms to my side and sat on my chest.
I kicked and screamed, but I couldn’t push him off. He’d taken the knife out of Stacy’s body and was holding it over his head.
I closed my eyes and waited, but he didn’t stab me.
I opened my eyes. The previously dark room was lit with red and blue lights. The knife clattered to the floor beside my head. Samson had a bleeding hole in his forehead. I hadn’t heard the gun go off.
His body collapsed on top of me. I screamed until two officers moved his body aside. With the last of my strength, I crawled on the floor and slumped against a wall. I watched the police storm the library.
An officer came to sit with me. I sobbed, looking from Stacy’s body to Samson’s.
Everything that occurred after the police arrived was a blur. An EMT bandaged my bleeding lip and the gash on my forehead. She recommended I follow up with a doctor, but I wasn’t in critical condition.
Stacy was dead, but Jared still had a pulse. The EMTs put him in an ambulance and sped off to the nearest hospital. My branch manager showed up sometime later. She tried to talk to me, but I couldn’t speak. The officer explained I was recovering from the shock.
When my parents and my older brother arrived, my parents were hysterical. I heard my mother’s shrill voice, demanding to know what happened. When I could speak, I gave my statement to the police.
Afterward, my brother carried me to the car. He took off his jacket and wrapped it around me. Then he left to find my purse and coat from inside the library. I sat shaking in the back seat, waiting to leave.
I watched as they wheeled Samson’s body away. The paramedics had covered him with a white sheet. I got goosebumps as the gurney passed the car.
“Fuck you, Samson.”
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