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Tapping

Friday, January 20, 2017

After a long day of work, Rebecca was ready to get to bed. She'd shrugged off her work clothes and slipped her pajamas on, as to ward away the slight chill of the rainy night. Her apartment, while affordable and well kept, was drafty and had no central heating or air conditioning. So when it got cold, she dressed in layers to go to sleep.

 

Like tonight!

 

Staring in the mirror of her vanity set, she brushed out her long hair with her fine tooth comb, thinking of the classes she was taking and the tests soon to come. She set the comb down and stared at herself in the mirror.

 

A fair-skinned face with long black hair, green eyes, and a button nose. She had nothing to be ashamed of, yet she always felt inadequate when next to other girls. She was proud of her thin frame, but often wished she had more bosom so she could catch the eye of some boys she might like. Shaking her head, she dismissed such thoughts. Delusions of a better her, one that was confident and beautiful.

 

But that was just fantasy. This was real life, where she had to worry about grades rather than the hunks that wandered campus and all the tasty things she wanted them to do to her.

 

Shaking her head, she looked at her reflection and smiled. "You have a good life," she said. "Best not reach too high and fall into the mud."

 

She reached over and flicked on the switch, bathing her room in soft lighting from Christmas lights she had strung around the walls circling her room. They changed from red to blue to green and back again, slowly shifting between colors to make a violet spectrum dance over her room while she slept.

 

Standing up from her vanity, she stopped when she saw a figure standing near her door in the reflection of her mirror. Turning quickly, all she found was open air.

 

Looking back she frowned, as no figure stood anywhere within her room. Had she imagined it?

 

"Just tired," Rebecca said her voice as soft as velvet. "Trick of the eyes is all because I'm tired."

 

Padding over to her bed, she threw back her thick comforter and climbed in, savoring the cool sheets against her exposed skin. Pulling the comforter up and over her stomach, she leaned back against her pillow and reached for a Biology textbook. She'd promised her lab partner David that she'd be ready come Tuesday when the lab portion of the class met.

 

He took his studies semi-seriously, breezing through them while attending wild parties and drinking himself dumb. He often showed up to class hungover, yet he was alert enough to answer questions Dr. Singh had for him. The Professor seemed to have it out for David, who somehow had memorized the ligaments and muscles in the human body to the point where he could recite them by rote.

 

This seemed to annoy Dr. Singh, but impressed Rebecca, who silently cheered him on. She had to admit, she had something of a crush on the boy, even though he drank like a fish. A few weekends ago, at a party he'd thrown at his parent's house, she'd gotten drunk enough to approach him and ask if she could see his bedroom. She had tackled him the moment the were alone and performed torrid things with him that still sent shivers down her spine. She sighed as she looked at her textbook,

 

"Best not think about him," Rebecca said as she opened her textbook. "Can't call him this weekend for help as he's out of town."

 

Falling into the text of her dense school book, an hour came and went. Leaning back to pop her stiffened spine, she heaved a sigh. Looking at the clock she frowned.

 

"Eleven o'clock already?" She exclaimed.

 

Before she could process the idea any further she heard something strange coming from her window.

 

Tap!

 

Tap!

 

Tap!

 

"What in the hell?" She muttered, throwing back her comforter to investigate. "This is the fourth floor, what could possibly be tapping on my window?"

 

Walking over to her window, she stared out into the bleak darkness crushing down upon her dimly lit room. Thinking quickly, she went to her vanity and grabbed a small flashlight, walking back to window where she heard the sound again.

 

Tap!

 

She got to the window.

 

Tap!

 

She turned on the flashlight.

 

Tap!

 

And she aimed it outside, into the face of an ancient woman, gleaming teeth pulled back into a snarl as her hood and cloak billowed around her.

 

Rebecca screamed just as her Christmas lights flickered off, leaving only the faint glow of her flashlight to pierce the darkness.

 

Gasping for breath, Rebecca scrambled and grabbed her flashlight, screaming as her window shattered into a thousand pieces inward, raining broken shards of glass all around her. Her hand grasping the flashlight, she let out a cry of fright as she felt the damp grip of the old woman wrap itself around her wrist, long nails running along her fair skin roughly.

 

Pulling her arm back as best she could, she held the flashlight up in hopes that she could see, the beam of light striking the ceiling.

 

The old woman's face pierced the veil of darkness into the light, white hair flowing as if she were underwater, cold eyes peering at Rebecca with a calculating stare.

 

"W-what do you want?" Rebecca ground out, doing her best not to anger whoever this was,

 

The light beneath her face cast deep shadows over her wrinkled features, jowls hanging low to reveal pronounced teeth, all worn and jagged. Her skin looked like she'd spent years beneath the sun, her features dark and foreboding.

 

"Why," the old woman crooned. "I want you, my dear!"

 

Rebecca screamed, shouting for help. The old woman cackled as she lashed out with an arm, grasping Rebecca by her hair, pulling her close enough that she could smell the woman's stinking breath and gaze into her luminescent eyes. "Dear David has other things to worry about than some tart back here. He's with his family now, and nothing will take him away from us."

 

"David? W-what about him?" Rebecca screamed.

 

"Oh child," the old woman said, caressing Rebecca's hair with a knotty hand, her grip on her wrist still iron clad. "I could tell you, but what's the point?"

 

"Huh?" Rebecca gasped, not knowing what the old woman meant.

 

"You see you're going to die here in a few moments, so why should I bother telling you?" The old woman said before cackling, rising into the air, her grip on Rebeccadragging the girl upright. Rebecca screamed and pounded with her free arm at the wrinkled hand gripping her wrist, shouting for help as she was slowly pulled along, before being lifted into the air by the old woman, out into the darkness of the night.

 

The old woman leaned in close. "Tell Martha and Terrance that Opal says hello," she whispered before letting go of Rebecca, allowing her to hang free in the air for a half-second before gravity's unwavering grip took hold of her, pulling her down into a plummet forty feet onto pavement, face first.

 

The police classified Rebecca Wilkerson's death as a suicide, though the coroner did have some concerns over a bruise to her wrist. The detectives wondering why the glass was busted inwards... but all of it was ignored, as there was no other explanation as to what could have happened.

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