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I was amazed how quickly my dad found a new house for us after he was told where his job was headed. I never really try to understand what anyone want...

PREVIEW: Jack in the Box

September 13, 2018

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Residual Haunting, Part Two

Monday, April 30, 2018

I reach into the box and pull out the large Ziploc bag holding the shears, some police jargon written on the front of the bag that I just ignore as I unzip the bag and pull out the shears, snipping the air once or twice as I hold the scissors loosely in my hand. They’re cleaner than I thought they’d be.

 

I pull my knees up to my chest and put the shears on the table and take another sip of beer, tears welling at the corners of my eyes.

 

“Why?” I ask myself. “Why did she do it?”

 

The shears offer me no response, other than a slightly dangerous air that gives me the creeps. I finish off my beer and stand up, scooping up the shears and walking back into the kitchen. I drop the shears in the trash can before turning around and pulling another beer from the refrigerator, jumping as I hear a clatter of metal on linoleum. Closing the fridges door to look over, I see the shears lying a foot away from the trash can, open.

 

I slam the fridge door and move over to pick them up again, jumping back as the blades snap shut in a sudden and violent twist, like that of a mousetrap. I pick them up by the handle and hold open the trash can, looking down into it. A few beer bottles, some coffee grounds and some leftover spaghetti.

 

And now the shears.

 

I close the trash can, fastening the top just in case the shears have a mind of their own and want to climb out. I grab my beer and head back to the living room.

 

I put the batteries back into the remote and turn on the television, switching it over to Netflix so I can do what I do whenever I’m depressed and watch some Disney movies. Flipping on The Little Mermaid I mute the television so I can continue listening to my rock and set the closed captions option to on.

 

I burn through the first half of the movie drinking from my beer and sitting on my couch, just killing time while I wait for Kelly to get home. I know if I try and do anything like study right now I’ll just end up crying, so I need a distraction, and that girl is one big walking distraction. Maybe I’ll go to a party tonight? I sit and sip my beer, thinking about the possibility of a party while Ariel trades away her voice to the tune of “This is How Your Remind Me”.

I sit up and take the final pull off of my beer before I walk into the kitchen, tossing the bottle in the trash can without a second thought. Reaching into the fridge, I fish out another bottle and turn back around to go back to my meal when I trip up on the rug. Slapping my palm on the counter, I look down and see the beer bottle I’d just thrown away is down there, mocking me.

“Stupid thing!” I yell at it, picking it up and shoving it into the garbage arm deep before letting go. As I’m pulling my arm out, I feel two hands near the bottom grip onto my wrist and give a hard tug. “What the…?”

I drop to my knees and pull back, but whatever is holding onto me has a solid grip and sifts around in the trash as one hand grips my wrist. I scream, trying to bodily move the trash can but finding it’s too heavy to move. Someone is in my trash can!

 

I feel a cold piece of metal, long and with an edge, lay flat over my forearm. That kills my buzz immediately. I yank my arm back, far enough that I can see my wrist before I’m tugged back down. The cold metal presses up against my arm again and traces a pattern over my arm almost lovingly, the tip poking my flesh and giving me goose bumps. The raging Nickelback CD is now on an even louder kick, loud enough that the neighbors upstairs stomp on the floor to try and silence me. I shout out for help, but all that’s heard is heavy metal. I cringe as the metal pokes me a little hard in the crux of my elbow before the door slams shut.

 

I fly backwards and slam into the wall opposite the trash can. Kelly, my blonde haired roommate, comes in with a take-out bag and a pair of chopsticks, looking around the kitchen as if she’s expecting something to leap out at her. I wave at her and point at the stereo system and she nods. She moves and hits the CD button, silencing the speakers and bringing a sense of calm to the calamity I’m feeling.

 

“Jesus Mien, will you look at yourself? What were you doing with your arm in the trash like that?” Kelly asks, moving over to the counter.

 

I just stare at the trash can and move up along the wall, staring at it, expecting it to move or make a noise. I rub my arm that had been down in it and come back with red smears. Looking at my arm, I can see I’ve been pricked a few dozen times. I rush off to the bathroom, not saying a word to Kelly other than “throw out the trash.”

 

I walk in the bathroom, turn on the lights and close the door. Looking at myself in the reflection, I see a normal looking Japanese-American girl, long black hair tied back in a ponytail wearing a white sweater, which has dots of red shining through. I pull my sweater off and stare at my arm.

 

The blood is smeared from twenty two tiny stab wounds on my arm. Running the tap water, I grab a bar of soap and begin lather up my arm, washing away the streaks of red down the sink when I notice that there’s some raised skin between the wounds. Drying off my arm, I reach into the side drawer and fish out a black marker. Disregarding whether it’s permanent or not, I begin tracing between the wounds and along the slightly raised skin that the sharpened object had obviously drug along in between jabs. Once I complete the last line, I stare at the connections and try to figure out what they’re supposed to mean. Then a knot forms in my stomach as I realize what it says.

 

Furiously, I dunk my arm back under the hit water and begin scrubbing away the words “Too Loud” that I’d traced onto my arm, using generous amounts of soap to rid myself of this creepy message. It was probably just my imagination connecting the dots anyway… I scrub even harder as I tell myself this, praying that I’m not just losing my mind when I hear the giggle echo from the living room, a high-pitched girlish trill that was all too familiar to me.

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