Pulling open the curtains to let in the morning light, Evan Griffin gazed out the glass pane at the rolling hills that surrounded his house on every side. His house. It sounded good in his head; new house and new beginning. Surveying the beautiful countryside that the large farmhouse was sitting smack dab in the middle of, he wondered how he could be anything but happy here. It was perfect—almost. But he wouldn't think about Mack now—couldn't. If he let himself walk that road, he'd end up in a useless heap on the floor and those boxes wouldn't unpack themselves.
Lost in his thoughts he opened the first box and began to sort through the linen he found there. Halfway to the linen closet, he was stopped in his tracks by a loud bang. "Fuck," he hissed, dropping the curtain and padding onto the floor. He listened intently for a moment and, hearing nothing, he bent to pick up the items he’d dropped. Then he heard it again, coming from the bathroom. Swallowing, an uneasy feeling unfurling in his belly, he opened the bathroom door and looked around the room. Everything seemed in place. His toiletries were on the shelf in a large shoebox and the stack of towels he'd unpacked yesterday, were still sitting in the bone dry tub.
The tub was one of the things that had attracted Evan to the property. It was huge and at six-one in his bare feet, a tub that he could actually stretch out in was something of a novelty. It sat in the middle of the room on claw feet with old-fashioned steel faucets and the head end higher than the foot end, like something you would see in a Victorian lady's boudoir. The white porcelain was cracked a little with age and he would have to repaint the underside with some specialized paint, but he didn't care. The proportions of the room and the grandeur of the fittings, albeit a little worn, were what had clinched the deal.
"Jesus Christ," he spat, spinning around to find the bathroom door shutting him off from the rest of the house. His heart pounded in his chest when there was another crash and he spun around to see the large casement window at the end of the room banging in the wind. "For fuck's sake, Griffin," he admonished himself, walking over to the window, pulling it shut, and securely latching it. "It's an old house. The window was open which made the first slam and then the centrifugal force created by the window and the door being open caused the second."
He stopped in front of the mirror he had hung above the basin the day before and ran his hands through his shaggy hair, scratching his scalp with blunt nails. "If you're going to think that every knock, creak, and bang is something sinister, you might as well pack up and go back to the city right now." He shook his head at his reflection before turning on his heel and crossing the room to open the door. "And stop talking to yourself," he added with a smile, firmly closing the door behind him and heading back to the bedroom to get dressed.
* * * *
"You think moving houses can get rid of me, Evan?" She watched from her seat on the deep window sill as the man move around the bedroom. "You always were stupid." Her hands clenched into fists as the rage bubbled inside her. Narrowing her gaze she smiled in satisfaction as Evan rubbed his hands together to warm them. “What’s wrong, Evan? Cold?” She lifted her hands and gripped at the wet strands of her hair and hissed through her teeth. “Not as cold as me! But you will be… you will be. I'm not going anywhere until you and everyone you love has paid for what you did."
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