Leave Me Alone
Drip. Drip. Drip. The showerhead loses water slowly, but steadily. I carefully towel my body and step onto my soft bath mat. Suddenly, the lights turn off and I continue moving towards the vanity where I left my clothes. As my eyes adjust to the darkness I feel around for my shirt. Two seconds pass and there is soft fabric underneath my hands. Dropping my towel around my feet, I unfold the shirt to put it on. My arms get through the armholes and a shiver runs up my spine. Is something moving around the shower curtain behind me? Frozen, I quickly pull down my shirt and turn around. Looking around there is nothing there. Thinking it was just my imagination or a draft, I turn back around to face the vanity mirror.
The mirror is foggy from the hot shower I had just finished taking. Work is very tiresome these days, and I just want to get to my couch and relax. Darkness continues to surround me. I decide to continue to clothe myself and when done, wipe the mirror dry with my towel. A few seconds pass by and the lights flicker back on. My eyes strain to focus on my reflection in the mirror, but they see what was beyond me. On the toilet lid, I see something moving back and forth. It is white and opaque. Feet? The things moving behind me look like feet. They slowly kick back and forth, like a child’s legs would when their feet cannot touch the ground. “Who’s there?” I asked. The feet continue to kick. Feeling scared I decide to step out of the bathroom, for now.
My mind felt blank and my heart racing. “Go back in there”, my serious self repeated over and over again in my head as I lean against the door. Heart rate returns to normal and I settle on the conclusion that I need to go back in the bathroom and check my sanity. My right hand turns the door nob and quickly glances at the mirror to see if I could see the toilet lid. There is nothing on or around the toilet lid. I take one step into the bathroom and experience another chill. Something is in this room. What is it? A ghost? Again, I ask, “Who’s there?” There was no answer. Minutes pass and nothing appears, so I go to sit on my couch and relax.
Sadly, I couldn’t relax. The evening news passes uneventfully. Towards the end of my regular tv show I began drifting off to sleep. I assume my experiences are isolated to the restroom. That night I didn’t dream, I slept walked. My hands and legs slowly pick my body off the couch. I step in an even rhythm towards the bathroom. My left foot passes the bathroom’s threshold and I my eyes open. I can suddenly see myself moving, but have no control over my body. My mind screams and screams, “Stop! Please. Stop!” But I knew, I wasn’t the one in control. My heart sank. The only role I get to play right now is the viewer to whatever is controlling my body. Step. Step. Step. My body faces the toilet and pauses. Suddenly, I regain control of my body and see a tiny child sitting on the toilet pale as newspaper and pointing towards the bathroom window. Scared I leave the restroom and block the door with the couch.
The next day I leave my apartment without revisiting the bathroom. From the sidewalk in front of my apartment I look towards my room window, then look around me. I didn’t see anything amiss. There is a light post, a fire hydrant, and shops across the street. Cars are moving fast in front of me. I spent maybe ten minutes scanning the area. There is nothing visibly wrong with the area. So, I prepare to take one last look and happened upon a piece of paper on the other side of the light post. It shows a picture of a missing child. The ink on the paper had faded so much that the rest of the info was illegible. What am I supposed to do with that information?
I took another look at my window and see the outline of a head looking down at me. I have chills again. Why wouldn’t it leave me alone? I know there is no answer. I can only assume that that child must be trying to tell me something. I guess it is a ghost and that while alive it may have lived in my apartment. My more unsure guesses are that the child died or is simply attached or attracted to my bathroom. Either way the child creeps me out. I would stay with somewhere else if I knew someone to stay with or had enough money to stay in a motel or hotel. Out of thoughts I turn to look at my surroundings one last time and get another chill. I am looking across the street to one of the shops. It is a flower shop, owned by a very nice young woman about my age. Looking at her gives me the chills.
My next guess is that something happened between this child and this woman. I couldn’t guess what. And honestly, I wouldn’t do anything about it if that child wasn’t haunting me. I guess I wasn’t going to work until I get this situation figured out. My mind settles on searching her place. The first and only time I was in that store I noticed there weren’t any surveillance cameras. Of course, this is because I had an itchy butt and looked around to see if anyone would notice, including potential surveillance cameras, before I commenced itching.
I wait for nightfall. Night comes and somehow all the surveillance cameras around the street slipped my mind. How am I supposed to sneak in now? Well as it turns out the lights go off again, the second night in a row. Hiding in the dark of night I sneak my way to the front of the flower store and check if the front door is open with gloved hands. It isn’t. I walk around to the back and check that door. Surprisingly, there are keys in the doorknob. There are a few cars parked here, so I think the owner is still here. I decide to sneak in and find a hiding spot. Which was an awful idea. As soon as I open the door the owner walks towards the exit, straight towards me. I guess she couldn’t see what she was working on, so she decided to leave.
I quickly step into the building and fall on all fours so that she wouldn’t notice me in the dark. She leaves and closes the door. I get up and pull out my phone for light. In the back of the store there is a giant cooler of flowers and I focus on that area, because the other area only has one large table and shelving. The cooler has giant paint buckets full of water and flowers all over the floor. I notice a few stacked in the back that are empty, and I walk towards that area. My phone light passes over a white cloth. It looks like a rolled-up rug. I move closer and see that it really is just a large roll of white tarp, but it wasn’t rolled neatly. So, I poke around the center and find it didn’t feel consistent, something hard was in there. I decide to unroll the tarp a bit and found a pale blue hand. My body steps back and tries to shiver, but fails due to the cold temperature of the room. Unbelieving I step forward and unroll the rest of the tarp revealing the arm, then a clothed chest, and another arm. The body is a child’s body. His body could have matched the size of a middle schooler.
I roll the body back up and exit the cold room. I sneak back out the back door and back into my apartment under the cover of the black out. I call the police and tell them I could see two people fighting in the store across from my apartment window before the lights went out. In the call I mention one person may have stabbed the other and dragged the body into another room.
From my window, I see the police pull up in front of the flower store. I left the back door open. Eventually, I see flashlights fluttering in the store's windows and twenty minutes later an ambulance drives around back. I fall asleep on the couch watching the news for any info on the child. My sleep is undisturbed.
Local news stations the next morning report that a child was found dead in a flower store late last night. The store owner was questioned at her home and found to be the killer. The reporter claimed the store owner confessed to kidnapping and strangling the boy.
Returning to my apartment after work I find my couch blocking the bathroom door. I reluctantly drag my couch to its original position, proceed to take a shower with vigilance, and find that I am alone in my bathroom once again. Drip.
© 2019 C L Whisper