The door clicked shut and the room was pitch black. Mark fumbled with his free hand for the light switch. He squinted as his eyes adjusted to the crisp light from the fixture above his head. He turned the latch on the deadbolt and hooked the chain. He released the ring of keys from between his teeth to his open hand, and then tossed them onto the counter.
Mark was walking through the kitchen when he felt the buzzing in his pocket. He pulled his phone out. The display name was blank. He hesitated for a moment but pressed the green button and held the phone to his ear.
Mark stopped in front of the dining room table. The voice was quiet. It sounded like it was echoing down a long corridor. “Liz?”
“Liz, where are you? I think we’ve got a bad connection.”
Mark set the grocery bags down on the table. A can of tuna dropped down and rolled off onto the floor and toward the living room. Mark watched as it arced and settled in front of the TV stand. His eyes raised to a figure standing in the shadows of the far corner.
Mark stared at the woman. Ice water ran through his body. The woman’s mouth was closed tight and her eyes pinched. Her hair was damp and hanging straight, her clothes sticking to her body. She looked like she was concentrating. There was hurt in her eyes.
Mark pulled the phone away from his ear. “Liz?”
The voice came through the phone, but the woman’s lips moved in time. “Mark, I didn’t do it. What they’re going to say about me.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Find my journal, Mark. It will lead you to the truth.”
The phone fell silent and Mark lowered his arm. The woman began to shake her head back and forth, slowly at first. Her mouth moved like she was trying to talk. Her face went flush, and her eyes inked over to black. She let out a scream like she was dying.
When Mark pulled his hands away from his ears and opened his eyes, she was gone. He looked around the room. The windows were closed, not that there was anywhere to go. He turned to the front door. The deadbolt was locked, and the chain still fastened.
Image by Kaleigh Kanary