It was storming outside. Zara looked out the window and the darkened sky. When she’d arrived at the cabin, less than an hour ago, the sky had been clear and sunny. That was before she’d jumped in the shower. Lightning flashed across the sky, followed by a loud boom of thunder. In the brief moment that the sky was lit, Zara saw that the road was completely washed out. Pulling the towel off her head, she threw it across the room, where it landed in the corner, next to her suitcase. Her long hair draped her shoulders, a tangled mess. Just like her night.
“So much for my date with Joe, I doubt he can even make it here. Not in that fancy, new sports car of his.”
As if to confirm her prediction, her cell phone rang. Pulling it out of her purse she saw Joe’s sexy face staring back at her.
“Roads are washed out, babe. I don’t think I can make it tonight.”
“Yeah, I know. I don’t recall seeing rain in the forecast.”
“There’s always tomorrow. We have all weekend.”
Zara’s heart ached. They never got enough time with each other. A weekend here, a weekend there, and this weekend was already being cut short. It wasn’t often Joe was able to get away. His bitch wife saw to that.
“You’re right, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Ending the call, Zara flopped on the bed. She flipped on the television… static. Then the lights flickered and went out.
She lay there in the dark, wondering if there were candles in the cabin and where they would be at. Deciding the kitchen was her best bet, Zara carefully climbed out of bed and slowly made her way across the room. She thought the kitchen was to the right of the bedroom, but she wasn’t positive. She’d never been here before. Joe was always careful about making sure they never met in the same place twice. Usually it was some unexceptional motel room. The cabin was a surprise for their one year anniversary.
Zara rummaged around in the kitchen, feeling in drawers and cupboards. Finally her fingers closed around something that felt like a candle. Running her fingers across the bottom of the drawer, she searched for the matches that had to be there. Finally! She struck the match and lit the candle. There was an empty candleholder in the drawer as well. Carrying it back to the bedroom, she set it on the dresser. Lightning lit the room again, silhouetting a figure against the window. Zara jumped, almost dropping the candle. Lightning flashed again and the image was gone.
“I must be imagining things.”
Her cell phone rang. Thinking it was Joe, she answered without looking at the caller ID. The voice on the other end came out distorted. “You’re going to die bitch.”
“Who is this?”
The phone was silent. Zara looked at the caller ID. It only showed an area code. A few minutes later the sound of glass breaking was heard in the kitchen. Zara’s heart nearly burst out of her chest. She picked the candle back up. Stopping by the fireplace, she grabbed a poker. Her fingers were shaking and she nearly dropped it. The metal rod clanked loudly against the wall.
“Breathe, Zara,” she said, taking a few minutes to collect her nerves. One of the things Joe had insisted on, was that she take self-defense classes. She knew how to handle an intruder. In theory. “Okay, move.”
Cautiously she made her way to the kitchen. Finally there, she summoned her courage and looked into the room. The window above the sink was broken. There was a huge tree branch sticking through, obviously the cause of the damage.
“What a scaredy cat,” she chided herself. “Well, not much I can do about this tonight. I doubt I can even move the tree… and I’m not going out in this rain anyway.”
“She turned, heading back to the bedroom when her phone rang again. She looked and saw the same 3 numbers. Answering it, she said, “Leave me alone,” and then hung up. A few seconds later her phone chimed again, this time a text message.
Shame about the window. I wouldn’t count on Joe to fix it.
The hair on the back of her neck was standing up. Quickly she dialed Joe’s number. Behind her a phone began to ring. She recognized Joe’s ringtone.
“Joe, what the hell! Are you trying to scare me?” She turned to confront her lover, only to see another familiar figure behind her. She’d only seen Joe’s wife in pictures, he kept one on his desk. This woman was older, her hair gray instead of the red that the picture showed. She also had darker eyes… almost manic.
“Karen?” Zara backed towards the bedroom. She still had the fireplace poker in her hand. She raised it, ready to fight the bitch. Karen raised her hands too. Zara hadn’t noticed them before now, she’d been focused on the crazy in the woman’s eyes. Now she saw that she held a butchers knife in one hand and Joe’s head in the other.
Zara opened her mouth to scream as the woman advanced.
“I told you, you were going to die.”