Elaine woke with a sharp pain on her neck. She was in bed and tucked in. She tried to get up but a warm hand held her wrist. She was rattled but then came a soothing voice.
“There, there my child. Easy. You have been asleep for a while. I was quite worried about you.” Elaine’s mum said.
Elaine opened her mouth to speak, but she couldn’t. She was still in so much shock. Her mother calmed her again.
“You really scared me. I heard you scream and next thing you were on the floor. What happened?” Elaine’s mum asked.
“It… It… It was a man. He appeared here. He came in the house. The… The… The man who sent the parcel. He was here.” Elaine said.
“Slow down Elaine, a man was here?” Elaine’s mother asked getting up to look out the window.
“Yes mum, he didn’t come through the window, he appeared here. He just…” Her mother held her and hugged her. Elaine began to cry.
“The doctor said you might have a fever when I called him. They were all dreams. No one is going to hurt you my baby. Just calm down” Her mother said. Elaine lay back down and stared at the ceiling trying to remember if it was indeed a dream.
Her mother cleaned the sweat off her brow. “I’ll be back to check on you” she said as she stood to leave.
“Please leave the lights on” Elaine said to her mother. Her mother nodded and gently shut the door on her way out.
Elaine could hear the rustling of leaves, police sirens were blaring at a distance and dogs were barking.
“Maybe it was really a dream” she said to herself and pulled the duvet closer. The night was becoming chilly, and she had wished her mother had closed the window. She didn’t want to get up, so she snuggled under the duvet. She closed her eyes.
On the wall behind her the shadows begun to form, it left the wall like a black smoke turning into the figure of a man. He stood with hat on his head, a long coat and a cane. A gush of cool breeze blew against Elaine’s face and she slowly opened her eyes to see the dark figure now in front of her.
He tapped the floor twice with his cane before Elaine let out a scream. He took a step towards her and she screamed yet again. He stood and looked at her. His face had no form, you could only see his white eyes in the shadow of his hat. He waited patiently as screams turned to pleas.
“No no no no. Not you again. Please, please don’t hurt me. Please don’t hurt me” Elaine pleaded.
“If I hurt you, who would finish my story”, he said.
“Or have you forgotten our deal so soon?” he added.
“Duran Foster?” Elaine asked in a trembling voice.
“Good, you remember my name”, Duran said.
He walked to her bed side, and Elaine shrivelled up to the far corner. He stretched out his hand towards her.
“I need you so no I cannot hurt you. We would have great adventures you and I. And you my dear must live to tell the tale.” Sir Duran said leaning in closer towards Elaine.
Elaine touched his hand causing it to become solid. His body slowly became solid but his face was still dark and unrecognisable. He slowly led Elaine off the bed and unto the floor.
“See, you are fine.” He said.
Elaine was still in shock. “Are you a ghost?”
“Not really” Duran Foster said. “I am not dead, but I am not alive. It’s sort of a dilemma.” He added.
“What do you…” Elaine tried to ask another question but was interrupted by Duran. “I would love to stand and chat, but we have to leave now” Duran said.
“Where are we going?” Elaine asked.
“I am going to kill someone and you my dear are going to write about it.” Duran replied circling his cane around her. She was surrounded by the same black smoke that transformed to Duran and as it cleared, her clothes had changed. She was out of her pajamas and now wearing a pair of jeans, shoes and a sweater.
Elaine looked down at herself. “You know, I could change on my own and I don’t want to go to jail for being an accessory to a murder, I’m not going anywhere.”
“You would have the privilege of ringing up the station just before it happens” Duran said as he opened a door that had just formed on the wall.
Elaine stepped forward wanting to see what was on the other side of the door. It was dark and Duran was stretching his hand for her to cross over with him. She took his hand and just as one foot went through the door, she froze as a thought hit her.
“What of my mother? Why didn’t she come when I screamed? What did you do to her?” She asked Duran Foster.
“She didn’t hear you scream, No one did. Time as you know it, had been frozen”. Duran replied. It was at that time Elaine actually noticed that so many things were really frozen. The curtains had been lifted up by the wind, and had not come down. The second-hand of her clock was at a standstill and a firefly just outside her window had not moved in a while. Sir Duran tapped the floor twice again and everything went back to normal.
“Your mother is fine. She is asleep and would not need to come find you till morning.” Duran said. “Now we need to go” he added as they both walked through the door into an open field.
Elaine looked behind her and the door was gone, it was just a large open field in the middle of nowhere.
“Where are we?” She asked.
“You see that ring in the grass? Please pull it.” Duran said, ignoring her question for the moment.
Elaine pulled the ring and the grass gave way to show a flight of stairs to what looked like an underground room. She slowly went down the stairs, followed by Sir Duran, cautious as she did not know what to expect.
She flipped a light switch and the room brightened. There was a chair that had restraints on them. There were surgical knives on a table, and an apron that had a lot of blood stains on it. It looked like a theater just after a not-so-well operation. She looked at Duran and he pulled a file out of the air like there was an invisible shelf.
He handed the file over to her. “Read” he said.
“Henry Frittle, aged 53, no family or relations. Previous arrests for DUI and sexual assault. Wanted in 23 states for murder” she paused and looked up at him. Don tell me that’s who lives here.” She said.
“Of course not dear. He lives in a house far from here. This is where he works. Now you need to start writing” He said.
“What am I to write abo…” Duran put a finger over his lip to tell her to keep quiet.
“Someone is coming” He said as he slowly faded away, disappearing like smoke blown away by the wind.
“Duran. Duran. Sir Duran Foster. You can’t leave me here!!!” Elaine said in hushed whispers.
He was gone. Her heart was racing. She didn’t know what to do. She could now hear the footsteps approaching the top of the stairs. The entrance had been lifted and someone started to walk down. Elaine frantically looked for a place to hide, there was a large freezer at the dark end of the room. It looked old and she doubted it would come on, so she opened it and jumped in.
It smelled like something had died in there. She held her breath, and struggled to breathe through a hole that now served as both a peep-hole and an air-hole. A man had come down the stairs. He was carrying a large bag over his shoulders. He dropped the bag and walked around the room, trying to clean up from his last operation.
Elaine felt something poke her and she dug under her to remove it. It would be a disaster to have an open wound in here. She felt around her side for the source of the pain. There were a lot of plastic bags. Perhaps it was an old storage for meat. She found what she was looking for, pulled it slowly yanking it free. She couldn’t really see what it was and she was trying not to make any noise so as not to draw attention to her presence. She felt the object, slowly recognizing what it was. Five digits and long nails. It was a woman’s hand.
Elaine screamed. She quickly put her palm over her mouth, but it was already too late.
The man jumped in shock and swirled looking for the source of the scream. He picked up a hammer and walked around the room. He opened a door that Elaine hadn’t even noticed was there and walked in.
If she was fast enough, she could run out before he got back. She tried to open the freezer but just then she heard him come back. She quickly lay back down praying he won’t look into the freezer.
He walked close to the freezer looking around. He walked towards the radio to see if it were on or off. He was convinced it was not the radio.
He walked to the freezer and opened it revealing Elaine lying on a pile of bodies. He gave a wry smile, beating the hammer dramatically unto his palm.
“It seems we have a second participant for my performance tonight”.