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The RED Letters
“Junk mail, bill, letter from Mom…” Ashley tossed mail into separate piles on her counter. A strange letter caught her eye. Her name was printed in large red letters across the envelope. Suddenly, her cell phone went off in her pocket. The startling noise made her jump. Ashley pulled the cell phone out of her pocket, sighing at the number. “Hello Lewie,” she groaned at her younger brother’s voice.
“Hey Ash. So, how’s the new apartment? Did you really move into the murder room?”
“Okay, Lewie, you know I’ve been living with Mom this whole time, so I don’t know about the ‘murder room.’” She could hear her brother cackle on the other side of the phone.
“Well, ten years ago, you know, five years after the divorce, this woman was in an abusive marriage, or, at least that’s what everyone said.”
“Come on, you were only eleven when this happened, Lewie. I was twelve. We’re twenty-one and twenty-two now. Whatever happened to the people is long done, and the guy is probably behind bars or dead.” Ashley said.
“No, that’s the thing. The guy sent his wife letters after she left, saying he knew where she lived, and other threats like that. Then, after a few letters, he started watching her through her window. He would sit outside the apartment in his car. After a few nights of this, he broke into her apartment and killed her. The police never caught him.” Lewie’s voice cracked across the phone line.
Ashley looked over at the letter. “What did the letters look like?” Ashley asked. She could feel the fear in her voice. She reached over to open the letter.
“I don’t know! If you don’t believe me, why do you even ask?” Lewie’s voice sounded exasperated. Ashley slowly opened the envelope. Inside was a folded sheet of paper. Slowly, she unfolded the letter. Written on the paper were five words, all in red.
I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE.
“Lewie, I have to go.” Ashley slowly closed her cell phone, and placed it on the counter. She stared at the paper. A noise behind her startled her, and she turned quickly, cutting her finger on the paper in the process. One drop of blood slipped off her finger and splattered on the paper. Gasping, Ashley dropped the paper. Her blood had matched the color of the letters. “Blood…he wrote it in blood…oh no…it’s true…” Ashley whispered to herself.
“Wait a minute. It’s probably a prank of Lewie’s or something. He probably made that story up to scare me.” Ashley laughed, calming herself down. She continued cleaning up the kitchen, and threw the letter away.
The next day, Ashley found herself sorting her mail into piles again. Another envelope with her name on it caught her eye. Ashley slowly opened the letter, dreading whatever was inside. YOU CAN’T ESCAPE. Ashley rushed over to her garbage can and pulled out the other letter. The red letters were the same. “Oh, no.” Ashley sucked in a breath.
The next morning, Ashley crawled out of her bed. Walking over, she opened the curtains wide, and screamed. There was a black car out in front of her apartment. The man inside was staring up at her. His eyes seemed to be blazing into her soul. Ashley whipped the curtains closed. Gasping for breath, she looked back at the window. After a few minutes, she reached back over and pulled the curtains back open. The car was gone. Sighing with relief, Ashley quickly changed and left for work.
After a long day, Ashley waved her carpool goodbye. “Thanks!” She yelled after them. Looking up at the streetlight, she grinned. “Don’t know why I had to work overtime, but I am super happy for electricity.” Pulling the mail out of the box, she looked through for the red letters. Once again, the letter was there. Ashley didn’t wait to get inside. Ripping the envelope open, she quickly looked over the letter. I’M COMING TONIGHT.
Ashley dropped the letter, and looked around the street. The black car from that morning was coming down the street. Ashley felt the air around her go cold. Turning, she sprinted across her lawn, and onto the steps that led up to her apartment door. Fumbling through her purse, Ashley dug around for the key. “Oh no. Oh my gosh. Please, come on. Dang it. Where’s the stupid key?” Ashley could feel her voice get higher and higher from fear with each passing moment.
The car stopped in front of the apartment. Ashley finally pulled out the key. She heard the car door open and slam shut behind her. Looking frantically over her shoulder, Ashley saw the man with piercing eyes come towards her. Shoving the key into the lock, Ashley struggled to unlock the door.
“Come on, open!” She screamed. The streetlight that gave her a slight feeling of safety flickered twice, and then went out. Ashley was thrown into darkness. She wrenched open the door, and fled into her apartment.
Slamming the door shut behind her, Ashley reached over to turn on a light. Flicking the switch up, nothing happened. The power was out. She was trapped in darkness. Turning around, a pair of yellow eyes stared at her. She nearly screamed, but caught herself when she realized it was her cat. Backing away from the door, Ashley heard the knob rattle. Only then did she realize the door was still unlocked.
She could hear the creak as the door was pushed open. Ashley crouched down against the wall, hoping the darkness would hide her from the man. Footsteps seemed to echo through the apartment. Suddenly, after what seemed to be ages, they stopped.
Ashley slowly stood up. Looking around, she tried to peer into the darkness. Seeing nothing, she took one-step forward. She gradually moved out into the kitchen. Hearing nothing, Ashley stepped back. She bumped into something tall and firm. Turning around, she saw the eyes. The eyes staring down at her, looking into her soul. She let out a scream.
Backing farther into the kitchen, Ashley felt along the counter for a weapon. Her hand bumped into the knife rack. Reaching up the knife rack, Ashley pulled out the butcher’s knife, and held it out in front of her. She could still hear the man coming closer. Suddenly, the kitchen lights flickered on. The man was less than a foot in front of her.
With two quick steps, Ashley darted forward and stabbed the man with the knife. The handle of the knife stuck out of his gut. Calmly, the man reached down, pulled out the knife, and placed it on the counter. His bloody hand was only inches away from the knife. He turned and strode out the apartment room. A bloody handprint was left on the door.
Once she had calmed down, Ashley called the police. After many long hours of investigating, the police could only give her a wild guess at who the man was. “He could possibly be the man who murdered his wife ten years ago, but we don’t know why he’d show up now.” The police left her with that fear, the fear that he would return.
A few years passed, and Ashley lived a normal life. No strange letters, no strange stalkers outside her apartment. The only thing left to remind her of the ordeal was the bloody handprint on her door. Nothing could remove it.
Five years after the attack, Ashley was sorting through her mail again. A letter with her name printed on it stood out from the bunch. Opening it, Ashley screamed, dropped the letter and backed away. It only had two words on it, but it was in the same bloody red as the first letters. I’M BACK.