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Jocelyn lay still. Did she actually hear the front door click closed? It couldn’t possibly be her parents, who had left just an hour earlier for their anniversary dinner. Above, she heard slow, deliberate footsteps as the intruder explored the different rooms of the house. Time seemed frozen. She didn’t know how long she had been there, cowering under her parents’ bed. The quiet footsteps made their way all around the house, and finally started to approach the bedroom. Peering from under the bed, Jocelyn noticed that the intruder was wearing hiking boots. They were originally black, had they not been discolored by the mud that was caked on the top and all around the bottom.
The intruder made his way around the room, pausing for seconds at a time to observe certain objects or the structure of the room, but never taking anything. Apparently, it wasn’t a burglar. The impostor retreated from the room, and Jocelyn exhaled a breath that seemed like she had been holding in forever. Minutes passed before she pulled herself from the under of the bed.
When the coast seemed clear, she rushed for her mother’s closet. She immediately made her way to the back where her mother stored her evening gowns; in the wall behind there was a crawlspace. Jocelyn silently made her way into the little space; when the door clicked closed the sound seemed to echo all around the house. Advancing footsteps made their way toward the room. The footsteps slowed to a walk as they entered the closet. Jocelyn held her breath.
The light stayed off in her mother’s closet, and the door slammed closed. The being in the small walk-in quickened its breath. There was a knock at the door, then an object slid down the surface of the door. “Leave me alone!” her sister Jane whispered to herself. The handle on the door was rapidly being pulled up and down. Jocelyn opened the door to the crawl space and whispered, “Jane! Get in here!” Her sister looked stunned to see her, but paused for no longer than a second before scrambling onto the floor and into the crawlspace. Jane, her sister, was supposed to be with some friends from college for the whole spring break, so it was a surprise to Jocelyn to see her now. Together in the space, they closed the door and waited. The closet door burst open and a stranger’s voice rang through the silence, “Where did you go Jane? We were just starting the fun!” In the darkness her sister’s face was a mask of pure horror. She had apparently never met this man before in her life.
In Jocelyn’s pocket her phone vibrated excitedly to exclaim that she had a new message. She exited the message and dialed the one number she was forced to memorize from the first day of pre-school: 911. The moment the man left the closet to search elsewhere for her sister, she hit the talk button. When the cheery voice of the operator answered the phone with “911 what’s your emergency,” Jocelyn hastily whispered into the phone her name, address, and situation. When she and her sister were assured that help was on the way, she closed her phone and listened. All was silent.
Faintly, footsteps were heard on the higher level of the house. After about a minute, the sound worked its way to the front door and was gone. Cautiously, Jocelyn and her sister made their way out of the tiny space and breathed in fresh air. The house stood silent. Together, they huddled on the floor and awaited the police’s arrival.
Fifteen minutes later when the police finally showed up, the intruder was long gone leaving no traces of where he went or even if he had been there at all. The police questioned Jocelyn and her sister on the description of the man, but they could only provide the description of his voice. When Jocelyn’s parents arrived another ten minutes later, they were surprised to see the two patrol cars sitting out front, the blue and red lights washing over the front of the house. “What’s going on here?” their mother questioned in a frantic voice, scanning the area looking for all signs of trouble. The cop replied in a calm voice, “That’s what we’re trying to figure out.” Jocelyn and Jane were huddled together sitting on the porch swing of the old Victorian house; their mother rushed up to them and questioned them about what was going on, if anything at all. When she was content with knowing the whole story, she sat down on the faded white plastic chair.
Hours after the police had left, when the house was quiet, Jane woke suddenly in the middle of the night. The faint sound of footsteps on the floor below had interrupted her nightmare replaying the scene of the previous day. The footsteps made their way up the stairs. Just minutes earlier she had been tossing and turning in her sleep. The person was on the top floor now. Jane held her breath.
Jocelyn’s scream pierced the silent night, causing all in the house to wake. In the small bedroom, a figure dressed in all black made its way over to her bed. Another scream, only this one was more horrified than the first. Jocelyn knew the end was coming as soon as the knife was raised. The screaming was cut short, a muffled sound replacing it. A pillow had been placed over her face, punctures being made all over the body. She could feel herself slipping away, the dark waters of death washed over her frail body. Blows were made to her ribs. CRACK! Another puncture. She could feel herself bleeding out.
Footsteps were rapidly descending the stairs; the front door opened and slammed shut. All of this occurred within five seconds, Jocelyn never having a chance.
By the time their father reached Jocelyn’s room, there was no point in rushing at all. Jocelyn was already gone. A note scribbled on a crinkled piece of paper was tossed carelessly on top of the body. Jane picked it up. After reading, she dropped it as if it would hurt her if she held it any longer. Two seconds later, she was in the bathroom. She was sick to her stomach. Her father picked up the note that read:
One down, two to go.
After Jane had wiped her mouth and rinsed, she told her parents to sit down. There was a story that needed to be told. Two months earlier when Jane was heading to Journalism 101, she had met this guy. Not intentionally, she had been walking across campus to meet her friends for their movie night when she bumped into Jason Marks. He seemed like a great guy at first, but her opinion soon changed. It was a bright Saturday morning when they first met.
“Hey, I’m Jason.” The boy had said in a calm, collected voice. She didn’t know what to say. After all, Jason was one of those boys who swept you off your feet just by looking at you. He had jet black hair, piercing blue eyes, was in shape, and had a confident air about him. He seemed perfect. They had dated for about two weeks before Jane found out about his temper issues. If things didn’t go the way he wanted, he threw a fit. A very violent fit. Jane would go through severe pain just to stay with him. So one day she decided that she wasn’t going to put up with his nonsense. Jane walked out on him.
Since then, she could have sworn that she saw him every other place she looked. Her parents questioned her, asking what her motives of telling the story were. “I think that Jason is the one who is doing this,” she replied, vomit rising in her throat once again.
The police arrived a short time after, and the paramedics confirmed Jocelyn’s death. Jane was mute. She seemed to have an inability to speak when the officers asked her questions about Jocelyn. Had she ever been depressed enough to kill herself? Had she ever done drugs? Who did this to her? When they finally got around to asking about the note, Jane retold her story. When she was finished, the police only provided a look of shock that lasted all of one second before they recovered and nonchalantly wrote down her story.
The next few weeks went by in a blur to Jane, who slept restlessly at night, expecting Jason to arrive at any moment and perform the next attack. Her days and nights seemed to have switched places. Every night she would sit up with a hollow feeling inside because she knew that if she hadn’t ended it, Jocelyn would still be alive.
Exactly one month after Jocelyn’s death, there was a memorial service, planned by her closest family and friends. The sky was a threatening black, the air foggy, and the people dreary. Black figures roamed the land, umbrellas clutched tightly in each one’s grip. To Mary, Jane’s mother, no one person looked different from another. The world was a swirling pit of black that day, not to mention the events that soon occurred.
Twilight was dawning on the service about halfway through, fog setting low on the sodden ground. Candles were being passed around; each one’s flame flicking to the next. The sweet smoke of incense worked its way around the little field, giving the night a majestic glow. Gradually at first, Jane seemed to recognize one of the faces that were being gently lit by the flame of what seemed to be hundreds of candles. Then the realization set in. Jason Marks was shifting back and forth on his feet, standing at the back of the memorial. Jane’s candle dropped from her hand and her knees gave way. Darkness clouded her vision as she crumpled to the ground. Seconds later, she recovered from her spell, and Jason was making his way to her through the crowd. Suddenly he fell forward. A person from the crowd ran away as fast as possible. A crowd had gathered around Jason. When Jane reached him, he was sprawled across the ground, an object protruding from his upper back. She almost didn’t hear his whispered last words “I was trying to help…your life is in danger…” Then he breathed his last, ragged breath.
When the paramedics arrived, they removed the office scissors from Jason’s back, and pronounced him dead. Jane was silent, not knowing what Jason had been talking about. She had apparently been wrong. He hadn’t killed her sister, and that meant that whoever did was still out there.
It was 2:00 am. Everyone in the house was asleep. In the ceiling outside the bathroom door, the part leading to the attic slid silently away. A figure dressed in black dropped, barley making a noise. He headed to Jane’s room. This will teach her! He thought to himself.
There was a part in Jane’s story that she neglected to tell. She had been with someone already when she had met Jason. His name was Jake McClean. He was the football jock and every girls dream. But he was violent. Every time Jane would even say the smallest thing wrong, he went wild, where as Jason was actually the calm one. She had lied to her parents; Jason had always loved and cared about her. To keep him safe, she had left him. She had left Jake too and fled to her parents’ house.
Both Jake and Jason had followed her there that night, Jason to win her back and Jake to get revenge. Jason had been sitting on the front porch when he saw Jake coming, therefore he went inside to try and warn Jane of the possible danger that she was in. He had searched every room of the house, ending in her parent’s room. His hiking boots were covered in mud from walking through the woods to reach Jane’s house. He then retreated, knowing that Jane was not there. Suddenly, the front door swung open and Jason had just enough time to jump into the coat closet before he was seen. Jake ran into the bedroom and started pounding on a door. “Where did you go Jane? We were just starting the fun!” Jason ran out of the house, knowing that Jane couldn’t possibly be there. Unexpectedly Jake was behind him. They fought. Jake wanted so badly to hurt Jane, and Jason to protect her.
Standing now in her doorway, after giving her a month to suffer, Jake walked over to her bed and sat on the edge. She looked so peaceful while she was sleeping. It disgusted him. He drew his knife and shook Jane. “Wake up honey.” He said in a sarcastic voice. Jane’s eyes flew open and she opened her mouth to scream. The moment his knife was raised, Jane reached under her pillow and pulled out the 45 magnum and fired two shots, one to the chest and one to the head. Blood spurted out of the bullet holes, as a mask of shock replaced the hatred that had been on his face moments before. He fell forward just as her father reached the room. “What happened?” he asked. But Jane just sobbed. She had finally avenged her sister’s painful death. The world was at balance now, and she could finally sleep at night.