The Note

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic


When Sophia receives a mysterious note reading only, I'm going to kill you, her world gets turned upside down.

Submitted: May 16, 2018

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Submitted: May 16, 2018

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Sophia pulled the hood tight over her medium length straight brown hair and rushed through the rain.  Her therapy had run long and she was worried about a parking ticket.  The session had gone well, and her anxiety was subdued at the moment, except for the fear of the ticket.

Rounding the corner of the brownstone building as the last light of day started to fade her green eyes scanned the street until she spotted her 2003 black Honda Civic. An envelope was under the windshield wiper. She cringed and let out a sigh of exasperation.  Quickly finishing the hundred feet to the car she snatched the envelope and unlocked and opened the door with a quick smooth movement, ducking inside.

The rain made a thunderous cacophony on the roof of the car as it picked up.  It seemed she had gotten in just in time.  Being grateful to at least be out of that, her mind went back to the ticket.  Looking down, she opened the water resistant envelope expecting to see a citation.  Instead she wished she’d gotten one.  There was a single page with a plain font in bold at the center.  It said only one sentence.

I’m going to kill you.

Sophia felt her anxiety flutter intensely and reached for her pills, quickly swallowing one.  She looked at the note again.  It said nothing else.  Alarmed, she looked around her and could see not a soul, simply other parked cars.  She grabbed her phone and dialed the therapist but it went to voicemail, then she tried her boyfriend.

It also went to voicemail.  Scott had been gone on a business trip but he was supposed to be back today.  In fact, Sophia had been planning to pick him up from the airport in just a few hours.  She hated the gloomy rainy winters in the northwest, but she was looking forward to having him back.

She almost jumped when her phone rang.  It was Scott, calling her back. Relieved, she quickly answered.

“Hey hon, sorry I missed you.”

“That’s okay,” Sophia tried to control the trembling in her voice. “I just got this scary note.”

The alarm in Scott’s voice was real, “Scary note? What?”

“All it says is....” Sophia had to brace herself to even say it, “I’m going to kill you.”

The briefest moment of silence while Scott processed.  “Are you safe?  Go straight to the police.”

“I’m fine,” Sophia tried to convince herself of the lie.  “I just got out of therapy and took an anxiety pill, it’s probably just some kids playing a prank.... Besides, you’ll be home soon right?”

The silence alarmed her.  Scott finally responded, “My conference got extended, I was going to call and tell you I have to stay through the weekend, but I’ll talk to the boss and see if I can come home early.”

“No...” Sophia knew this conference was important for Scott’s career as a software developer, and so she didn’t want him to miss anything important.  “I’ll go to the police station and report it.  They probably wont do anything, but I’ll be okay.  You stay at your conference.”

“Honey, no way, I’m gonna come home....” Sophia cut him off.

“It’s fine, I’ll invite Rachel over so I’m not alone.”  Scott signed, resigning himself to Sophia’s wishes.  She had anxiety, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t fearless in her way.

______________________________________________________________________


The police, as Sophia suspected, said that there really wasn’t much they could do.  They took the note for evidence and to take prints, but they didn’t expect to find any but hers.  They did however offer to station an officer outside her house for the night, for which she was grateful.  She called Rachel, who had left town to visit her parents. Not wanting to worry Scott, and knowing the officer would be stationed, Sophia decided to go home.

The drive home from the station was short and uneventful.  The night’s darkness was complete but at least the rain had stopped.  Soon she arrived at the small bungalow that she and Scott lived in together.  The officer, a Sgt. Cortez, had followed her home and was parked on the street in front of her house.  He assured her he’d be alert, and so she went inside.

The house was sparsely decorated but still homey, with earthy tones filling a small living room and two adjacent bedrooms.  The backyard was fully fenced, and had access from a sliding glass door in the dining room.  She went first to turn on the back porch light, and peered into the yard.  Seeing that it was empty, she turned and went to her bedroom to grab a pair of pajamas.  She picked a matching pair of pajama pants and long sleeve top.The pink and green floral pattern wasn’t her usual style, but they’d been a gift and they were her most comfy pair.  

Afterwards she paced, too anxious to sit down.  Eventually her cat, a Russian Blue named Boris, came out to see her.  The cat had been a stray and the two had bonded intensely.  He seemed to sense her anxiety, and the very act of petting him calmed her nerves.  Before long he was on her lap in the couch, where she fell asleep to a rerun of her favorite medical show.

______________________________________________________________________

In the dream she was being chased through the city streets by a shadow.  She ran and ran, but every corner she rounded it was there.  There was no escape. Then suddenly, a bang!

Sophia jerked awake in a pool of sweat.  The room was hot and the dream had been intense but the bang, that was real.  Without thought she jumped to her feet and ran to the bedroom window.  The police car was on the street, lights flashing and door open.  She couldn’t see the officer.

Throwing on a pair of moccasins and wrapping herself in a robe for the cool outside air, she grabbed her phone and ran out front to the car.  As she approached it her heart stopped.  The feet were visible sticking out from the rear end of the car. They were officer’s boots and they weren’t moving.  A surge of panic over took her as she fell to the ground. “Sergeant Cortez?!!” She prayed for a response.  But none came.  

Finally, she gathered the strength to stand, and walked around the police car.  There was a pool of red around the officers head, and a single small red hole in the middle of his forehead.  There was an envelope sitting on his chest.  One word was written on it.  Sophia.

Looking around there was not a soul in sight.  Sophia felt tears well up in her eyes.  Only hours ago this officer had been breathing and alive, and now he was lying dead in a pool of his own blood.  It was too much.  She found herself on her hands and knees, dry heaving from the nerves.  When she had managed to stop she pulled out her phone and dialed 911.  Sobbing, she told the dispatcher, and before long a fleet of officers were on their way.  Neighbors had come to see what the commotion was, and soon she was surrounded by people.  It was then that she finally gathered the nerve to reach for the note.

“Leave that for the police,” Her neighbor, a middle aged man, tried to protest but she ignored him.  She had to know what it said.  Slowly, she opened it and read the message.

They can’t keep you safe.

A chill ran down her spine. “My pills,” the words were difficult to form, “in my medicine cabinet. Clonazepam.” She looked at the middle aged man. His patchy beard was mostly grey, Jim was his name, and while she didn’t know him well she’d never gotten a bad vibe from him.

“No problem.  I’ll be right back.”

Dizziness overtaking her, Sophia sat down on the curb as though in a dream.  She asked what time it was, another neighbor, this one a woman, said it was 2:35 AM.  Less than half a day and her world had come crashing down.  She wanted to give up, to lay in the street and let it happen.  But it wasn’t in her.  When push came to shove she always fought if she had to.  This was no different.  She tried to turn her fear into anger. Into determination.  She told herself she’d stop whoever had done this to this innocent officer.

When the police arrived the crime scene was quickly cordoned off and Sophiawas questioned.  She then went back to her house, with two officers inside, and two more stationed on the street.  She’d tried both Scott and Rachel, but neither had answered. A neighbor offered to come stay with her but she declined.  Unable to sleep, she opted to put on a pot of coffee and chat with the officers inside the house.  It made her feel better to be in the same room as them.  When going to the restroom she had visions of coming out to their slain bodies, but thankfully, the rest of the night was uneventful.

______________________________________________________________________


In fact, the next two days nothing happened.  She finally got in contact with Rachel who had come over on the second day.  Scott was due back early the next, he’d tried to get an earlier flight but they’d been booked solid and driving wouldn’t have gotten him home any quicker.  

Rachel had been helpful, making sure Sophia felt comfortable resting, making sure she took her meds, and making sure that she didn’t harm herself. It was a bad habit she had developed when dealing with stress.  The therapy, combined with medication, was helping, but the stress of this could push her over the edge.  Rachel was on guard for her mood constantly, while the officers patrolled the neighborhood.

After a week and with Scott returned, the police reduced the presence to one officer again, and life seemed to go back to normal.  There was still a killer out there, but whoever it was had left no trace, and the police couldn’t maintain the guard forever.  It still made Sophia angry though.  A cop killer out there threatening her life and only one lousy officer, same as had been killed already.  

She’d gone to Sergeant Cortez’ funeral.  He left a wife and two children behind.  She felt responsible for what had happened to him, despite the other officers insisting it wasn’t her fault.

After a month of nothing she had nearly forgotten and moved on with her life.  She and Rachel were supposed to go camping together and she was actually looking forward to it.  Scott insisted she take mace and be extra careful, but Rachel was determined to have a girls weekend.

So before long, as the weather had started to warm with the spring, the two girls headed towards a camp ground on Mt Hood.  Sophia felt safe knowing that other campers would be around, but Rachel drove past the exit for the campground.

Noticing Sophia’s alarm, she answered the unspoken question, her blue eyes never leaving the road.  “I just want to check out this one spot.”

“Where is it?”  Rachel flicked her blonde hair out of her eyes while responding, “about 10 miles up the road, a secret spot I know about.”

“Is it safe?” Sophia became alarmed, “Will there be other people around?”

Rachel was quick to respond. “Nobody will know where you are, don’t worry.”  

Sophia didn’t feel terribly reassured, the road they were on was desolate, but someone may have seen them turn on to it.  Why the change of plans.  “Lets just go like we planned....”

She had felt something was off, but was caught completely unaware when Rachel slammed her foot on the brake.  Not having been braced, Sophia’s slammed forward in her belt and was stunned for a moment before Rachel’s hands were around her throat.

“YOU STUPID ANXIOUS BITCH YOU DONT DESERVE HIM!!!”

Sophia grabbed Rachel’s arms and forced them off of her neck, but she didn’t see the knife that Rachel had had tucked in the door.  It came at her, gouging her in the abdomen, red blood stained her white shirt where the wound was.  Her fight or flight kicking in, her anxiety abandoned her as she instinctively tried to grab the weapon away from Rachel.  After a struggle in which she took several cuts to the hands, she had the weapon and stabbed Rachel once in the abdomen before pulling her belt loose and jumping out of the car.  

The wound in her belly howled at her in anger and blood oozed out with each movement and she hobbled away.  One hand clutching her side, the other searched desperately for her cell phone.  At last she got a hand on it right as Rachel got a hand on her hair.  Jerking it violently Sophia was knocked to the ground as Rachel’s adrenaline enabled her to drag the poor girl behind her.

After a short struggling drag Sophia noticed they were nearing a cliff. With a last explosion of strength she lunged forward suddenly knocking Rachel’s knees out from her and rolling her closer to the edge.  The drop was at least 60 feet and now the two girls were grappling at one another, Rachel trying to get Sophia over the side.

Then, as fast as it all began, it happened.  Rachel's ankle rolled sideway’s on a rock and she instinctively let go of Sophia to try and regain her balance. Unfortunately for her, her foot sought purchase off the edge of the cliff, and she tumbled off, a small avalanche of pebbles flowing behind her.

The drop was long, but not so long that Sophia didn’t hear the sickening thud of her landing.  She didn’t have to look over to know that Rachel was dead.  Stumbling back toward the road, still clutching her wound, she felt dizzy while searching for her phone.  After a thirty second search that felt eternal, she had it and had dialed 911 again.

This time she was taken to the hospital, where Scott was waiting.  After surgery, dopey from the medication, but still alert, she told him what Rachel had said about her not deserving him.

Scott acted surprised and said she was clearly crazy, and for the moment that was that.

______________________________________________________________________

Three days later Sophia received a call from the chief of police.  She had told them about Rachel's odd comment, and the chief thought she should know that Rachel had been pregnant.


© Copyright 2018 Joshua Harestad. All rights reserved.

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