Dead Men Tell No Tales

I”   It’s midnight. The sudden sound of a man at my door wakes me. He knocks once, then twice and once more before he stops. CRASH. The sudden sound of glass breaking and hitting my living room floor instantly makes me jump out of bed. “I KNOW WHAT YOU’VE DONE. YOU CAN’T LIE FOREVER.” There’s a pause. “SOMEONE WILL FIND OUT EVENTUALLY.” Who is that? I open my door and crawl into the hallway. I peer over the bars lining my spiral staircase. The pale moonlight caresses his features, showing just enough for me to see his face. I know who this is. “Monsieur Luc?” I say. “What are you doing in my house? What are you talking about?” My voice begins to shake the more I continue. “Please, just stop before one of us does   something we’ll regret.” Luc’s voice suddenly deepens and lowers “oh? You don’t regret anything you’ve done recently?” It’s dark but I can practically see him smile. “What about the things you wrote about in that letter of yours?” I wince when he says the word “letter”, and suddenly I know what he’s talking about. “Shall I read it for you?” His voice is at a whisper now, but I can hear every word he says. “Elisabethh” Luc drags out the “h” in in my name, as if this were a movie and I was his unsuspecting victim. “Elisabeth” he repeats. My blood goes cold and I suddenly develop this sense of hyper-awareness. “Are you going to answer me? It’s rude to ignore your house guests you know.” I open my mouth to say something, but the words can’t seem to escape. It’s as if my thoughts are being held captive by my mind, locked in its cell by fear and anger.  “No response?” Luc pauses for a second, waiting for my response. “Nothing?” he says, breaking the silence. I’ve gotta get outta here. “Very well. Let’s begin.” Luc starts pacing, and I can hear the subtle click of his shoes against my new wood floors. Everything seems so loud. The Crickets. His footsteps. Our heartbeats. The subtle light from the moon slowly disappears, and my skin begins to crawl thinking about all the things he could be doing in the dark. “Turn on the light” I begin reaching in the dark, trying to feel something familiar. Luc gasps “You’re alive?” He’s taking this as a joke. “Yes I’m alive” I groaned “Turn on the light.” Luc begins walking, but I can’t see where. He’s silent for a moment, then my lights flicker on. Luc’s a naturally attractive person. Everyone loved him. People were drawn to Luc, and you could see them hanging on his every word when he spoke. He has the kind face that would make you stop and do a double take. His bone structure was fine and perfectly symmetrical. His distinct cheekbones and angular jaw only added to the overall appeal. Luc’s hair, a rich chocolate brown has a tousled griminess which promised finesse. And his eyes-they were bright yet mysterious, a vivid baby blue like a great body of water that softly melted into a milky green the longer you stare. Luc was about 6’2 and, of course, he was buff. But now he looked different. His eyes-once baby blue, now deep and catastrophic. Black. His hair, usually messy but somehow perfect now looks disheveled and unkempt. Luc looks coltish now, almost as if he hadn’t been eating or sleeping for a while. “They say dead men tell no tales, a phrase I’ve learned is true. How can one communicate if they’re dead right? Mr. Jones knew some very… important information that I could not let be released to the public, as my interests are of paramount importance.“ He stops and I can’t hear his light footsteps anymore. My blood chills. The couch creaks as if it hadn’t been touched for years. “Any of that ring a bell, Ms.  Elisabeth? Or do you need me to continue?” I go pale. “No, you don’t. Where’d you get that?” I say through clenched teeth. No response. I’m suddenly filled with rage. “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT” I repeat, this time a little bit louder than the last. The house fills with silence. “TELL ME” He laughs. “The question you should be asking is where did you leave it.” I shake my head, trying to gather my thoughts. I’m stumped. Where did I leave it? “I’m amazed you haven’t figured it out yet.” Luc looks at me as if he were trying to be sincere. He’s not smiling but I can see the corner of his lips twitching. I can feel his breath even though I’m across the room. It’s driving me crazy! Everything he does- every movement, every sound… everything. I noticed. “Ms. Elisabeth you’re not looking well. Your skin is pale, almost greenish” I roll my eyes “I’m flattered” Luc laughs. “This isn’t as fun in the dark, is it?” Luc walks over to the light, smiles then winks at me and with that, the room is dark again. I pull out my phone and shine my flashlight in Luc’s direction, creating eerie shadows around the room. It’s cold. I never noticed that before. The window is open and there’s no breeze blowing, made evident by the fact that my curtains are still. Why is it so cold? Am I imagining this? I shudder and my vision gets blurry. I lose my grip and drop my phone. It’s hard to stand now. What is wrong with me? “Let me get that for you” He’s taunting me. I hate it. Do I look weak to him? I shouldn’t, I’ve killed someone… which is more than he can say. Luc picks up my phone and begins inching towards me. “Give me my phone,” I say. “I would” Luc grins, “but you’re backing away” He’s right, I am. I stop and hold my hand out. “Give me my phone.” “What’s the rush? Not like you have somewhere to be at” Luc double taps his watch face and it flickers to life. “3:49 right?” he continues. I flash a sarcastic smile his way and with that, I walk away. Look confident. Look confident! “Where are you going?” Luc begins to follow me up the stairs. My walk turns into a light jog, and I’m scared I won’t make it up to my room before he catches up to me. My conscience is screaming at me “Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” But it’s too late. I run into my room and slam the door. I can hear him coming up the steps. “ELISABETH. Where are you?” Thank god. He didn’t see which room I went into. My safe is on the floor in the back of my closet. I dive into my closet like I’m an Olympic swimmer. What’s the code? Crap. I type in the first numbers that pop into my head. 2491. Incorrect code.0233. Incorrect code.1899. The safe pops open, and sitting there is my gun. I check for bullets. It’s fully loaded. I can’t feel my hands. My legs are wobbly and I feel like my knees are about to buckle. The doorknob turns and Luc walks in. My hands are behind my back now. Luc starts to walk over to me. “I’ve called the police. They’re on their way. I’m sorry” Oh god oh god. I panic. I fire one shot. Then two. Then 3 more. What did I just do? I run to Luc’s now still body. I try and cover the wounds to stop the blood. Nothing’s working. There’s banging on the door. “POLICE OPEN UP.” I don’t move. I can hear them breaking my door down. There are people running up the steps. One look at this room and they’ll know what I’ve done. A man walks in. It’s my dad. “YOUR—”  he stops. Another man walks in. I hear a gunshot. It’s cold again. Everything goes black. I wake up but I can’t see. Everything is blurry. Where am I? I try to lift my arm but I’m being held down. Oh god, oh god. I’m scared now, I’m shaking and turning in my bed even though I know it won’t work. Ugh. I give up. The room is… strange. There’s one small bulky tv hanging in the corner of the room, It’s playing tennis. I hate tennis. Why do they call zero points love? And why is the point system 15, 30, 40? What went wrong? Who forgot how to count? I’m rambling now. Wait, why does it matter, no one can hear me. I’ve focused again, this time taking in my surroundings. There’s a needle in my arm. It’s hooked up to a bag. There are people walking by in scrubs and there’s a man outside my room with a clipboard talking to my mom. He’s looking through the papers. My mom smiles. It’s not a real smile though, it’s the fake smile she makes when she’s concerned. Oh god, I’m in a hospital. What happened? The woman standing outside my room window looks inside, and she practically runs inside when I wave. “Ms. Elisabeth! You’re finally awake.” The woman smiles at me “Good morning, my name is Doctor Jones. I’m happy to see you awake! If you have any questions about your treatment here at Emory don’t hesitate to ask.” I smile weakly and lean back in my bed. “Thanks, I will.” Dr. Jones walks out my room, and down the hallway until I can’t see her anymore. Why aren’t there any clocks in my room? What time is it? I search around my room for something, anything within arms reach I can use to get out of this bed a back home. Screw it. I try to move my legs, but I can’t. It’s like something’s holding me down. My body feels numb. What’s going on? I’m scared. I don’t know what to do. Everyone is walking past my room as if they don’t see me struggling. I’m panicking and my chest feels tight. I can’t breathe. I want to scream but there isn’t any air in my lungs. My claustrophobia kicks in even though I’m not trapped. Help. Someone help. No one can hear me. I give up. My body has become a still ocean. I’m no longer fighting my fear, I’m embracing it. You’re safe. I’m calm again. I reach up and push the call nurse button. Ding. Five minutes pass, then a doctor walks in. “Good evening, my name is Doctor McFarlane. Is everything okay Ms…” She flips through my charts. “Jones, correct?” She looks up and smiles at me; I don’t smile back. Dr. Mcfarlane begins flipping through my charts again, mumbling to herself and occasionally glancing up at me. She walks out into the hall. “Paige, darling, can you please do me a favor and ask Dr. Attidore to come to room 307.” A girl sitting at the desk twenty feet away from my room looks up, smiles, and picks up the phone laying next to a neatly stacked pile of papers. “Dr. Attidore to room 307 please, Dr. Attidore to room 307 please” I shift my body trying to get comfortable, but it’s difficult because of the restraints. Dr. Mcfarlane’s expression seems to change; it’s as if she just realized that my gown was half off and I was sweating like I finished a 5k recently. Not to mention the fact that I was moving like a five-year-old that desperately needed to use the bathroom. She pulls a chair up to my bedside and sits the way a ‘therapist’ would on a morning talk show. “Is everything alright? You seem…” I can tell she’s looking for the right words- she doesn’t want to offend me 

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