Chapter 4

 

She was startled from her uneasy sleep by something she could not quite figure out. Still completely groggy, she rose to sit up in bed, looking around for the source of the little noise she could swear she had heard. It had come from somewhere farther in the room, but she was certain it had not been any of the random sounds heard around the building or a result of her frayed nerves.

         She looked around in the dimly lit room, only the neon lights from the opposite buildings shining through the curtains. The shadows cast onto the ceiling by the traffic in the street below were the only movement she could see and the continuous low droning of different vehicles was the only sound she could hear aside of Officer Myers' steady breathing.

         She glanced at the officer slumped in his chair in the lounge area, facing the room door. Perhaps he had simply run out of chivalry or it had been the late evening meal of thin crust pizza. Nevertheless, in spite of his good intentions, he had fallen fast asleep, resting his head against his hand, his arm perched against the chair's armrest. She sniggered at the sight, watching the tie drooping across his chest rise rhythmically up and down according to his slow breaths.

         She yawned widely and rubbed her eyes. Perhaps the sound she had heard had been part of her restless dreams after all. At least she could not see anything around her that could have caused the light click she had heard.

         The uneasy feeling persisted, however. There was a nagging voice at the back of her mind telling her she had not been dreaming and urged she would look harder. She tried one more time, squinting around the room in the darkness, but ended up with the same result.

         That was, however, until she realized she wasn't looking for anything to see. It was what she was hearing

         Once her ears adjusted to the night-time melodies of the inner city she slowly understood there was an additional track to the song coming to her ears. And it was near.

         She heard the steady sound of running water, running like someone was having a shower or drawing a bath.

         And it was coming from the room's own bathroom.

         Perhaps the officer had thought of taking a quick bath himself and in his sleepy state forgotten to turn off the faucet. Perhaps she was, after all, hearing someone else on the floor above her. Nevertheless, she decided to get up and see for herself.

         She reached for her robe and, wrapping it over her light nightwear slipped from under the covers, setting her bare feet on the soft carpeting. Careful not to wake up the tired officer, she snuck past him towards the bathroom. By the time she had rounded the bed, the narrow slit of light from under the bathroom door was already perfectly visible.

         She grabbed the door handle with both hands and carefully turned it, keeping an eye on the officer sleeping a couple of yards away. He did not even flinch.

         She stepped into the warm light of the bathroom only to find the room was completely empty, but that someone had indeed left the shower on. Evidently the hot water had been running for a good while already as the entire room was enveloped in a thick layer of steam. 

         Frowning confused she reached across the bathtub and turned off the tap, looking around for any clues to what had happened. There were no extra towels, no change of clothes, no extra toiletries. As far as she could see, the officer could not have been the culprit. 

         With a sigh she turned around and leaned against the sink, thinking of giving her face a splash of fresh water. She looked at her weary self staring back in the mirror and grimaced. She had definitely seen better days. The dark circles around her eyes looked worse than they ever had and her complexion was still very pale and dull.

         She was about to reach for the toothbrush on the shelf in front of her when her attention moved slowly away from her features to the actual item she was using: the mirror. She noticed that there were faint markings on the steamy glass that looked like fingerprints, something she had not noticed on the mirror before. 

         Taking a cautious step backwards she realized she was looking at writing. Someone had used his or her fingers to draw on the reflecting surface, sweeping across the glass to form letters. 

         The message was short and to the point.

         RUN!

 

 

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The foregoing sample is excerpted from "What Human Remains" by S. M. Sevón. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced without written permisson from S. M. Sevón, contact@smsevon.com.