“Good afternoon. I work for Nox Pharmaceuticals and we have free packages we’re handing out. All it costs is allowing me to do a small demonstration.” His lips turned upwards into a smile.
The thing about living in the country is we didn’t have a homeowners association and got solicitors from time to time. Usually I didn’t open the door. My mistake today. I hadn’t even looked through the peep hole, expecting to see my neighbor.
I was ready to politely say “No, thank you” and shut the door, but I was curious. I’d never heard of any company selling drugs door to door. That was odd. “I’ve never heard of drugs pedaled door to door?”
He smiled wider. “They’re not prescription drugs in here.” He held up a bag. “Allergy medications -- over the counter.”
A little voice in my head reminded me of Ethan’s allergies, maybe they had something that worked better than his current medication. The package they were handing out was free. It really wouldn’t hurt anything to allow him in and I could always kick him out when he was done. There was no obligation to buy anything today. I relented. “My son has allergy problems. He’s ten.”
“Safe for children,” he assured me.
“Alright, alright come in.”
He didn’t waste time showing me the products in his bag and giving me a sample kit that included a catalog. Sure enough, they did have allergy medication for children. I’d look into it further, maybe even ask the pediatrician before investing any money. I couldn’t shake the strange feeling and glint of something in his eyes that reminded me of... something I couldn’t remember. I shook the thought.
As he shuffled around his bag, straightening it out to zip it up, he praised the home, how beautiful it was then asked about our view. We didn’t have company much. The occasional cook-out with friends and family but certainly not often enough. The scene from the deck was something I always enjoyed showing off so he hit a button and I decided it wouldn’t do any harm. He’d been polite enough and hadn’t tried to force a sale as so many others did.
Erica was busy with her toys that were covering the floor where she played. I brought him through the kitchen. I wrapped my hand around the door knob when he said, “Emily.”
I’d introduced myself as Mrs. Turnwell and hadn’t given him my first name. I was sure of that. How did he know? I slid my hand from the doorknob as his voice and my name echoed through my mind. Had the stalker found me? From the corner of my eye I spotted the rolling pin I’d left on the table this morning while putting the clean dishes away. I’d meant to put it away too but had forgotten it until now. I stepped backwards, figuring I could grab it, hit him over the head, grab Erica, and run to the neighbors. “Who are you?” I asked, doing my best to stay calm and not alert him.
He smiled, but not the friendly one he’d given me earlier. This time it was sadistic and black flashed across the blue of his eyes. It triggered a fear in me that I hid deep, deep inside. Terror I’d all but forgotten. Flashes of lightning and thunder, creaks in the hallway, and hiding in a dark spot filled with shadows.
“You remember, don’t you?” His voice calm.
The perfect spring day became dark as recollection coiled in my brain. “I... I... don’t know.” It was bubbling in my head, rising to the surface of my consciousness.
“Sure you do.” The flashes of black passed over his eyes like the clouds passed over the sun, obstructing its radiance. He moved closer to me and touched my arm, prickles chased up it and the overwhelming urge to vomit hit my stomach. My life rushed back to me. The darkness I’d all but forgotten. The evil that lurked in my earliest memories.
We arrived home late in the evening after spending the rest of the day enjoying quality time at Bouncy Kingdom. While the boys played, we talked about the house. I’d gotten used to Flash greeting us at the door and was taken back when he didn’t come running, but even dogs needed sleep.
I ushered the boys upstairs and tucked them in, kissing each of their foreheads. They shared a room, the baby -- no longer Erin -- would have her own, but it would be nice if they all had their own, especially with Ethan eight years old now.
“Night.” I flipped the light off, blew kisses, and closed the door, leaving it cracked so the hall nightlight could shine into their room.
Eric sat on the couch, his brows creased into a V. I immediately recognized Eric’s trouble face. “Not again. No.” Panic bubbled in my gut, blackness sprung from the corners and glided toward me.
He swallowed hard then cleared his throat. “It’s Flash.”
Water puddled in the corner of my eyes. “What do you mean ‘Flash’?”
“We’re making an offer on that house and then we’ll figure out how.”
A steady stream of tears rolled down my cheeks. “What’s wrong with Flash?” I padded towards the kitchen.
He shook his head, jumping off the couch to block my path. “No!”
From the corner of my eye, I spotted a matt of hair covered in blood. Losing it completely I pummeled Eric’s chest with my fists. He pulled me to him and we walked to the couch. “What did the bastard do?” I asked, heat and fear rising in my voice.
Copyright Elle Klass/ Books by Elle, Inc. 2019
I don't think it's possible for creativity to be a negative thing.