M L Gammella’s Picture Choice: 1
Title: Another When Part 6
Henry stood in his living room, the house was silent except the running of the shower upstairs. He was confused. He had no idea how he arrived at his old house.
Quietly, he walked through the living room into the kitchen. The room was spotless, everything cleaned and put away except the day's newspaper. Henry picked it up and glanced at the date.
His hands shook as he put the paper back down. Today was the day. He didn't know how the date caught up to him so quickly. He wasn’t ready yet. It was too soon.
His heart pounded and glanced upwards again toward the sound of the shower. Henry had to do something, and do it now ... before it was too late.
Urgently, he ran to the front of the house and up the stairs, not caring how much noise his footfalls made. Better that anyone that was in his house knew that he was there.
Just as he crested the top of the stairs, a loud crash reverberated through the house, followed by a woman’s scream.
"No!" he shouted, tearing down the hallway into the master bathroom.
Henry violently threw open the door, the heavy wood bouncing off the wall. He stood frozen, his face pale as he stared at the visage before him.
Margaret was standing next to the shower tub, stark naked and still damp from the water. What filled him with fury was what was behind her. A man Henry didn’t recognize had his arm tightly wound around her neck and his other hand across her mouth, her eyes closed as tears tracked down her face. The intruder was momentarily startled by Henry’s sudden entrance into the room.
“Let her go!” he shouted, and looked quickly around the room for a weapon.
Margaret’s eyes flew open at the sound of Henry’s voice. She cried out, her words muffled by the man’s hand, as she struggled to break free.
The man squeezed tighter, cutting off her air supply and chuckled. “I don’t think so, Henry.”
Margaret’s eyes bulged as she tried to breathe. She clawed at the man’s arm but he was too strong for her.
“Let her go!” Henry begged and stepped into the room. “Please, you’re killing her! I’ll do anything!”
“That’s the idea, Henry,” the man replied, a cruel smile on his lips. “Guess you’ll just have to find me.” With the man’s last words, he twisted Margaret’s neck and her body went slack.
Henry’s eyes flew open, his heart pounding. He was laying down on the bed in his hotel room. The list of possible suspects was clutched tightly in his hand.
He scrambled out of the bed and searched for anything with the current date on it. Finally, he spied the tv remote and flipped on the television. The evening news was broadcasting. The date, time, and temperature was in the lower right hand corner.
Henry’s knees gave out and he sagged to the floor. It was just a dream, all a dream. He didn’t really watch Margaret get strangled to death. He hung his head and sobbed with relief.
After a few moments to collect himself, Henry tried to remember as much as he could about the dream. The image of the intruder was vague. There wasn’t anything that stood out or was recognizable. Additionally, Margaret wasn’t killed in that manner. She was stabbed to death. Henry wondered what would’ve been worse to see, the strangulation or stabbing. He shuddered, both were horrible.
He wiped his face and stood, returning to his desk. There was work to be done and a killer to be found.
M L Gammella lives in Ohio with her husband and their three pets. She is currently working on her first novel, a paranormal suspense based in Maine. Please follow her at @MLGammella and visit her website at Onward to the Written Word.