Two uneventful weeks went by.
During those two weeks, Stephanie never really let her guard down, but the edge she had worn wore off after a few days. She started to realize that everything was in her head.
She didn’t feel like herself anymore. It was such a weird feeling, to be in your body, but without the ability to feel it. It was almost like she was on autopilot.
She could still control her body, but her emotions were on their own. It seemed like they never showed up anymore. She blamed her lack of sleep for them running out on her. It had been over two weeks she had gotten a good night’s sleep.
Kevin had stayed home to make breakfast, but a meeting with a potential client had pulled him away anyway. It fell to Stephanie to take Jo his eggs, something she has stopped looking forward to.
She knocked on the door and waited.
“Is that my breakfast?” He shouted through the door.
“Yes sir,” she replied with a forceful happiness. She felt terrible that she couldn’t shake the feeling that he was evil, a feeling that had crept up in her mind and taken root there. She knew that he was just a poor old man, but the trust was completely gone.
She opened the door and took his tray of food in.
“Oh hello,” he said. “I didn’t realize I was gonna get such a pretty lady to bring me food this morning.” He flashed her his big smile, the one that had haunted her dreams.
“Kevin had to go in early today.” She deadpanned.
“Well, come sit with me,” he said as she put down his tray. She wanted to listen to his stories about as much as she wanted a root canal, but she wasn’t seeing any way out of this one.
She sat in the chair next to him while he smacked down his eggs.
“Kevin tells me you’re scared of me,” he started. She could feel her face turn red with embarrassment and rage. She would have to have a conversation with her husband when she got home. “Don’t worry, he didn’t want to tell me. He came up with some other story about why you wouldn’t come talk to me anymore.”
“You said something that frightened me before.” She admitted a stone was lifted from her chest. “I didn’t like it.”
“Well I’m sorry,” he said. “What was it that I said that made you so scared?”
“That you slit your wife’s throat.”
“Oh that’s funny,” he chuckled between bites of eggs. “Very funny.”
She cocked an eyebrow as she felt her shoulders finally slump. The tension that she had been holding for weeks was finally gone. She examined reality and realized how worked up she had been, how she had believed something so outlandish. A smile even began to spread across her lips. “I’ve been so silly.”
“Of course, I didn’t slit my wife’s throat,” he took another bite of eggs with a chuckle. “I did that to my brother.”
She looked at him, he looked at her. She raised an eyebrow as if he were just playing with her. She laughed.
“No, I didn’t slit my wife’s throat, I hung her in the backyard.” He stopped laughing.
The tension was suddenly back in her shoulders. Her breath had escaped her.
Then she felt it. The knife that been used to butter the toast for his breakfast was now sticking out of her stomach. She staggered back a step, her hand coming up to the blade still stuck in her abdomen. She turned toward the door. It was only steps away, and if she could make it to the door she might be able to save herself.
“You got some fight in ya after all,” he said as she stumbled forwards. She was almost to the door, but she her vision was starting to narrow. She wasn’t sure if the pain from her stomach was so bad that she couldn’t feel the pain or if her body had stopped allowing her to feel things. She didn’t think that she was going to be able to make it to the door.
She could hear him chuckling behind her. It was the only thing that made her keep going. She knew that if she fell right here, that she was done.
The door open just as she reached out for it. Kevin was there waiting for her. His face a look of surprise.
She fell into his arms as the last of her energy left her.
“What happened?” He asked.
“He stab-“ she started.
“I couldn’t wait anymore.” The old man said.
“I told you it was just going to be a little longer, you should have waited,” Kevin said as he eyed the knife in her chest. “The butter knife?”
“Well you wouldn’t let me use the good stuff,” he responded.
“She was worth more than that,” she heard as the world around her faded to black.