Story by S.L. Davis
Word Count 1,992
Emilia glanced, shaking her head, at the one-thousand emails she received today.
In alarm she said “I got more than I bargained for!”
“What was that hun?”
She looked over at her boyfriend of 3 years and threw her hands to her face Macaulay Culkin style.
“You’re not going to believe this. The request I posted on Twitter looking for people with paranormal experiences generated 1,000 responses!” Interested in the paranormal since childhood, Emilia was preparing to write her thesis Clairvoyance: The Paranormal Experience.
“Wow…You’ll have a good deal of data to work with for your thesis now.” Gideon reached over and cupped a loving hand on Emilia’s shoulder, squeezing gently.” It was customary for him in his excitement to open those doe eyes of his in mock surprise, lower his jaw, and turn up the corner of his lips ever so slightly. The look was comical and always left Emilia giggling.
This time, it only made her anxious. “Stop it! Would you be serious? What am I going to do?” She gasped. “Oh, I need to make sure I don’t get any more emails.” Logging on to her twitter account, she quickly removed her last tweet, “Volunteer’s needed for paranormal study, email me story and addy at emiliahart1@gmail”.
Satisfied with herself, she turned her attention back to the responses and quickly scanned the subject lines. The first 20 listed were similar in nature: Precognitive dream, Lucid dreams, Apparitions…
Emilia scrolled to the second page and her eyes were drawn to an email in bold red type, “I SEE YOU CLEAR AS DAY, EMILIA!”
“That’s different.” She thought. Gliding her cursor over the email, she noticed the time stamp.
“5:45 am” She looked at the clock on the nightstand. “9:50 am.” Four hours ago.
Emilia opened the email and was greeted with Chiller font that described the present scene in great detail.
“You are sitting with your back to the headboard, legs crossed, laptop perched in lap…You are wearing Gideon’s favorite t-shirt with the ketchup stain, and your shorts are green and covered with ants.”
Emilia looked down at the light green shorts with Atom Ant plastered all over them. She hasn’t worn them since high school and only just found them in a box of items left in storage for some time.
“It is 9:52 am and Gideon’s in the shower as you read this.” Glancing at the clock again, Emilia looks just in time to see the minute frame roll from 9:51 to 9:52.” And then “and Gideon is bleeding!”
Emilia jumped from the bed and ran into the bathroom. “GIDEON!”
She swung the door open just in time to see Gideon stepping out of the shower with a gaping gash across his cheek; blood trickling down onto the white marble floor.
“Son of a…”Gideon grabbed a towel from the rack and pressed it against his cheek. Emilia ran to get some clothes for the both of them.
Within minutes they were in the car headed to the emergency room.
“What happened?” Emilia asked.
“The razor screw popped off when I was shaving!”
Gideon’s razor was an old Gillette given to him by his grandfather. Emilia would try and replace it every year at Christmas with something that didn’t seem so pre-historic or require blades that looked like tiny guillotines, and every year Gideon would insist on her returning it.
“You don’t understand. This razor marks a milestone into man-hood for all the men in my family. I’m going to give it to my son when he’s old enough to shave.”
“You have to have a son first. “ Emilia said
“Well…that is in the realm of possibility.” Gideon fixed his best bedroom eyes on the girl in front of him.
Emilia, in a winter’s pale, blushed almost crimson from the implied suggestion, the color contrasting sharply with her deep green eyes.
Emilia looked at the stitches. “Doc did a masterful job.”
“Ah yes, awesome! Now all I need is a plastic surgeon. Emilia, what made you fly into the bathroom like that?”
“OH! I almost forgot.” She left the room and moments later came back with the laptop in tow and opened to the email from this morning.
She waited while Gideon read it, and then said, “Gideon, it was exactly 9:52 when I ran into the bathroom…who could know that you would be bleeding?”
“Good question, but we’ll have to discuss it later. The meds are kicking in and I’m going to take a nap.”
“Ok. Fine. I’ll see you later.” She leaned in for a kiss, and was surprised when Gideon only offered the other cheek before standing up and walking back towards the bedroom.
Emilia turned her attention back to the email.
“YOU’VE BEEN WARNED. DROP YOUR THESIS SUBJECT OR SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES!!”
Emilia decided to think rationally and not let fear get the best of her. After all, it could be a bad prank from someone they both knew…Still…the razor…
Shrugging it off, she decided to continue reading the emails, and start preparing for the interviews that would follow. Perhaps she should start with this one. She looked at the sender’s name: Segret Stalger…
“That can’t be a real name. “ Emilia repeated the name several times silently. When said fast enough, it sounded like “Secret Stalker”.
“Obviously false.” No use trying to send a response.
“Maybe they didn’t cover their tracks.” Emilia closed the email and opened the source page. Scrolling the information, she looked for any that looked familiar. There, imbedded in the code was a familiar IP address.
“How can…that’s not possible!” Emilia missed the slight opening of the bedroom door as she wrestled with the implications. On the other side of the door, Gideon stood watching. Pulling his phone from his pocket, he hit speed dial and waited for the party to answer.
“Yeah.” Looks like she tracked it. Yeah, you said she would! Sure. Ok. Will do.” Gideon hung up. Unconsciously, he fingered the fresh wound on his face, thinking about what he had to do next.
Swinging the door open, “Hey, hun, just got a call. I have to run to the office. Problem with the new account.”
Emilia barely heard him, but she nodded in absent agreement. “huh? Oh, I’ll see you later then.”
As the front door closed behind him, Emilia jumped up to follow. Grabbing her keys, she took the stairs. She’d have to be quick if she wanted to beat Gideon to the garage. Reaching the ground floor, Emilia peeked out of the small window into the dimly-lit, concrete space. She spotted Gideon getting into his vehicle and waited till he turned the ramp. Emilia was unaware of the shadowy figures that stood behind her as she turned the knob on the door.
The two figures grabbed Emilia from behind and dragged her to the dark SUV a few feet away. “How long before that stuff wears off?”
“We got time.”
Emilia was placed, unconscious, inside the vehicle and the two figures left unobserved.
Gideon watched silently from his vehicle as the SUV pulled away. He’d grown fond of the girl.
Too bad. He’d miss her, he thought.
Emilia woke with a killer headache. She tried moving but soon realized she’d been bound tightly with duct tape.
“Don’t bother trying to escape.”
Wincing in pain, she turned to see a man standing in front of the window. His identity shielded by the backlight of the streaming sun filtering in.
“Ms. Hart, seems you are causing quite a stir in our community. Locals are getting a little…jumpy.”
Emilia struggled to identify the voice.
“I’m going to give you a choice…either you can stop your research into this paranormal issue, or well…run.”
Through parched lips Emilia managed a simple “Why should I do that?”
The faceless voice was silent for a moment. He tilted his head to one side in thought. He knew already that she wasn’t one to fear easily. Perhaps, he would approach this woman a different way…maybe with the truth. After all, he thought, we could use a person like her…
He stepped from the obscurity of the window and pulled a wooden chair closer to the bed she lay in. For the first time Emilia could see her captor. Mr. Clemins was the nice pharmacist who filled her monthly prescription. He looked tired now as he leaned heavily on the cane with one elbow.
“Ms. Hart. You didn’t land here by accident. You were led here by others who didn’t want you discovering your true identity. You are the descendant of a long line of…how to put this…unusual people with unusual talents. If you were to develop these talents, you wouldn’t be safe. You are not really safe now…the locals are afraid that you will pass your knowledge on to others like you and disturb the tedious balance that exists between your kind and the church. You, my dear, are believed to be the work of the devil.
“Is that what you believe Mr. Clemins?”
He looked at her now with absolute clarity and said “I believe that if you should persist in your endeavors, the prophecy will come true.” He sat and watched her return his gaze in confusion. He did feel sorry for her; to be brought up in a world of secrecy and deceit as she must have endured. Always on the verge of discovering some morsel of wisdom, and knowing within that life was only a bunch of half-truths. He watched her from afar for years. He knew what potential she possessed; even feared it. And still he believed…
When Emilia’s father came to Daniel Clemins some years before with a plan to release their family from their obligation to the Clan, Daniel jumped at the opportunity to save the girl. He could tell that she had a good soul despite what he knew she was capable of. He thought he had her turning within and recognizing the good in herself. He was silently teaching her to connect to the energy in a way that was positive…until that is, the day she met him.
“Emilia,” he continued, “You have to try and see things from a larger perspective…”
“Give it up, Clemins!”
Both Emilia and Mr. Clemins turned in time to see Gideon step out from the darkness of the abandoned building’s hallway brandishing a gun.
“You’ve already said too much old man.”
Still with the gun pointing at the kindly looking gentleman, Gideon reached out into the hallway and produced a red container of flammable liquid and began to saturate the weathered wood of the old floor…
“Ha! Natural kindling. This place will light up fast.”
“No… Gideon! What are you doing?! Don’t hurt him.” Emilia cried.
Gideon looked longingly at those expressive eyes and again felt a pulling in the place his heart would be. He said as softly as he could manage, “Sorry sweetie. The world can’t know. I tried to get you to see the darker side of things. But, that’s the chance you take when good marries evil.”
With a lit match in one hand and the gun in the other, he turned to the older man and said before firing, “Tell that wizard Merlin I said hello when you see him!”
He threw the match to the floor and watched as the ripened wood caught fire; lapping fiercely at the old timber. He picked the perfect place for the crime he thought, and as he took the last step to the door, he turned and blew Emilia one last kiss.
“And in local news today, fire companies responded to an alarm at the old schoolhouse at Newt’s pond last evening where they discovered the remains of 1 male. The body is believed to be that of Mr. Daniel Clemins, longtime resident and local pharmacist. Authorities believe the blaze was set intentionally. An investigation is set to follow.”