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Appalachian Mirrors

By , Buffalo, NY

“Rachel, it is almost dark, get a move on” Rob looked down  at his fiancee. A sweaty, disheveled Rachel didn’t know why she had agreed to come. She hated the outdoors, the smell of it. It made her want to splash it with expensive French perfume. She mentally slapped herself, Rob. He was her reason. The thought did nothing to calm her throbbing ankle that was shoeless and roughly the size of a softball. She grumbled a cuss, something she would normally never do and kept moving.

 

Rob didn't mean to get lost. It was one of those things that happened. If he were with his buds they would have laughed it off and tossed back a couple of beers for the hell of it and made camp there. Rachel doesn't like beer, he reminded himself.


“Let’s stop now” Rachel whined evoking him to roll his eyes.


“Let’s just get past this hill. Come on, I’ll help you” Rob going to her injured side steadied her up the toll.


“Oh,” the small exclamation had come from Rachel as her gaze met a small log cabin centered in the middle of the woods.


“Maybe we can get help for you there”


“Rob! What if they are Appalachian-moonshiner-interbred-hicks! They might try to marry us off to their third cousin-brother three times removed.” Rob rolled his eyes again and proceed to the non-alarming door.


“No!” Rachel’s voice shrilled. Rob quickly turned with wide eyes as the cabin’s door opened with a thud.


“Is everything okay?” It was a woman, not much older than the pair. She had dark hair and was even more stunning than Rachel without her implants. Rachel noticed this about her immediately. She didn't like it.


“Is he hurting you?” the woman’s eyes went for concern for Rachel to aggressiveness to Rob.
Rob instinctively put his hands up waving away any presumed guilt.

 

“No, no, no, my fiancee is fine other than a sprained ankle.” Her eyes turned back to Rachel, looking for her confirmation.


“Truth”she smiled thankful for the concern.

 

”Oh, good. You’d be surprised at the wackos you get up here. Trying to push wives and husbands off cliffs. If the Kardashians can get a divorce so can you.”


“You know the Kardashians” Rachel quipped. The woman gave her a spectacle look.


“Duhh, come on in. I'll get something for your ankle.” Rob looked back at Rachel, she read the look see. It was her turn to roll her eyes as Rob help her into the woman's cabin. The kitchen was small with an Americana-theme that was overly tacky. Rachel sat at the two-person table while Rob took a look around. The house seemed quaint. He took notice of the cup and bowl in the sink with the same Americana-themed painted on them.


“So where are y’all from?” the woman came in now with a hefty first aid kit. Rob observed that he hadn’t shared his name and felt ungrateful.


“ I’m Rob, my family is from Maine but for the last year or so I've been in New York”


“What about you, dollface?” She tended to Rachel’s ankle.


“New York born and raised”


“What did you say your name was again?”


“Steph”she continued wrapping. “I'm from here, been to New York City once. I bought the most expensive pair of jeans money could buy only to grow out of them  a year later” Steph shook her head.

“Try walking on it” Rachel took Steph’s arm to get herself out of the chair only to fall back into it. She was hoping that Steph would offer to let them stay overnight. Last night she had been attacked by mosquitos while Rob lay next to her untouched. She winced for effect.

“Poor thing. Maybe you two should spend the night here. I couldn’t put you out on that ankle.

“We coul--”


“I insist. Would you like any refreshments while I set up your rooms?”


“We could share a room” Steph raised her eyebrows at him.


“Not under my roof you don’t” Rachel chuckled at her tone while Rob blushed. She would drop dead to see the tiny apartment where they shared a double bed.


Rachel sipped lemonade with her swollen foot taking up the Americana seat cushion on the wooden chair across from her. This was more of what she had expected going camping. A secluded cabin, with a tacky theme where they could relax. It was unfortunate that she had to injure herself to get it. She would explain her thinking once they were married but for now she vowed to enjoy it.


“The bathroom is directly across the hall. Dinner is just about ready. Do y’all care for baked spaghetti?”


“I am sure that we will enjoy anything you made” the two laughed Rachel felt a twinge of jealousy.


“Would you mind helping me bring in the firewood before it gets dark?”


“Of course not” Rob’s hospitality got to her more.They left as Rachel thought about how many single guys Steph gets to meet in the woods.

Twenty minutes passed then thirty. Rachel was getting anxious, thoughts racing. She hobbled outside and around the house. Steph was standing too close to Rob, he was saying something too low to hear. His ears red, the way they always got when he was mad.

Rachel was about to call out when the air got a strange chill. Turning around her heart raced causing her ankle to throb more. She had heard about bears and wolves in these parts. She turned back to look at the two only to see Steph pushing Rob off the side.

“STOP! STOP! RACHEL” the chill seemed to seek her as Steph turned. Her eyes were glowing a dark red  against the darkening sky. Rachel had read about fight or flight in psychology at NYU but her first reaction was to freeze. It was made worse by the fact that Steph was now running towards her. Rob’s yells poignant blurs in her ear.


Ron looked at Rachel desperate that she would rouse out of her frozen state. Rachel did finally running towards the house. He cursed all the rustic woods folk in the Appalachia holding on to the rocks that did nothing to help pull him up. He tried to calm his breathing and not look down. Don’t look down. His eyes found the rocky clearing below him anyhow. His breathing sped up again as he recognized a human skull among the remains. He didn’t want to be a remain, trying more frantically to pull himself up.


Rachel sat behind the door waving her phone in the air trying for a connection. The door beat against the table she sat on. Blondes always die first in horror movies, she thought. She threw the phone as glass crashed somewhere in the house. Pulse racing, she began throwing open the drawers for some type of weapon. She had a rotary cutter in her hand  and a cutting board pressed against her chest. She tried to move the table away from the door as the sounds got closer.


“911, what is your emergency?” the phone! She ran to it, met with red eyes.


“I am about to have a feast tonight.” Steph’s voice deep and throaty before tossing the latest iPhone out of site. Rachel was backing away. She was behind her before the next beat of Rachel’s quickened pulse.

 

“Rotary cutter” Steph laughed while Rachel screamed louder. She was bent against the table, jeans ripped off as her weapon penetrated her.


Rob’s adrenaline shot through him hearing Rachel's screams and cries. Steph’s loud horrid chucking. He never truly loved her but he never wanted to see her hurt. Adrenaline filled rage, he kicked down the door in a couple of tries.


“He’s back” it was sing-songy as if he had just come back from getting wood. His chest was pierced before his eyesight could catching it but the words rang clear in his ears.


“Rob, shame” Steph bent over his buckled body and tore a piece of his neck off as if it were a tender roasted turkey, sucking and slurping before bending further to feast for more. Rachel's eyes were blurred as she grabbed the steak knife.


“Rachel, don’t you love me” Steph looked up from Rob’s body, baring his features, his identity. Rachel sobbed harder, skewing her vision more.


“Rachel, put the knife down.” Rob’s voice was mixed in with Steph’s demonic one. Rachel lunged forward with the last of herself stumbling. The knife only found her.


“Don’t worry, I have always wanted to be a blonde” Rachel’s voice panted in her own ear before her pulse left her completely.
Rachel stood up and went to the bathroom mirror, scrunching her hair to add volume.


“Well, who's going to clean this mess up now” She put her hands on her hips looking down as Rob’s and her own lifeless, drained bodies shaking her head.




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