Jannie Balliett

Short Stories

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Short Stories

 
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webassets/prettygirl.jpg   Tag-- It's Your Turn

The pretty blond pulled her car into the driveway of her small framed house that was neatly andscaped and adorned with pink rose bushes. 

Laura got out of her car and opened the trunk, juggled bags of groceries up the sidewalk, and shut
the door with one foot.     

She came back outside bouncing down a couple of steps and down the sidewalk returning to 
her car and grabbed the last of her bags. There were only two left and she didn't juggle them this time.

She stepped up the first step with an armful of bags, then noticed a single red rose lying on the top step and stopped suddenly, looking around the yard and street.

"What’s this?" she questioned, setting the groceries down to pick up the rose. "I don’t have any red roses-- all mine are pink. Where’d this one come from? It wasn’t here when I carried the groceries in a minute ago!"

She turned and looked around, eyes searching every neighboring house, every yard, the scattered parked cars on the street, the bushes, darkened nooks and corners, as if she’d see someone waiting for her acknowledgment.

Yeah, right, as if they‘d be standing there. The idea of someone leaving a red rose on her door step in a moment’s flash was more than eerie. It felt like being in a Twilight Zone episode. There wasn’t time for someone to place the rose here-- between the time going inside and coming back out, she thought. She shuddered to shake it off, as though shuddering would erase the enigmatic feeling, then picked up the two bags and shuffled inside as fast as she could.

She put the groceries away while constantly looking out the kitchen window hoping she’d catch a glimpse of the mysterious admirer. It has to be someone I know, she thought, trying to convince herself it was someone she’d been dating-- instead of the alternative-- a stranger. She didn’t want to believe it was a stranger who’d left the red rose. That could mean it was a stalker. And a red rose has dual meanings; red signifies love… or it signifies blood.

The hair stood on the back of her neck to verify the creepy discern was real. She couldn’t shake the feeling someone was still watching her.

She locked herself inside her house, drapes closed, and only her furry companion Rocky, was inside with her.

Rocky sat in the middle of the kitchen floor, head tilted, ears cocked, and slightly whining, waiting for a treat or attention from Laura. He always sat patiently while she put groceries away, knowing he’d get a new treat.
She looked down at him and noticed his fur was fuzzy and frazzled, like he’d stuck a paw in a light socket.

"What’s wrong, boy?"

He replied as best a dog could communicate a reply, with a definitive, but garbled whine, then got up, circling the kitchen floor and sat back down.

Laura shook it off like she dismissed the enigmatic feelings before, figuring Rocky was in a hurry for his treat and a walk. Maybe it’s just a pee-pee dance and no more than that. Simple explanation, she thought, justifying his strange behavior.

She opened a cabinet door, reached inside for a box of bone treats and selected a green one for him. It was his favorite out of the four colors to choose from.

“Here ya go, Rocky boy-- your favorite,” she told him, handing him the treat.

He took it from her hand then dropped it on the floor and looked up at her with expressional eyes.

"What’s wrong? You’ve never refused a treat, Rocky-- ‘You feel okay, boy?"

She had that feeling again-- the one that someone was watching her. She had to get a grip and regain control of herself or she’d be spooked the rest of the day. Night wasn’t far off.  

Her feelings were obviously upsetting Rocky. It’ll be scarier when it’s dark, so I have to shake this. Besides, Rocky is honing in on my own creepy feelings and spooked because I am-- I need him to be his usual calm and on guard. I’ll find out which guy left the rose later. Eventually, he’ll tell me-- whoever he is, she logically thought, explaining it away again.

Rocky followed her to the back door where she kept his leash. After attaching the leash to his collar, she opened the door to take him out for his walk. He immediately sat down steadfast, pulling back away from the door as strong as any stubborn mule would rebuttal a lead. He whined that little puppy-type of whine again.

“Rocky, what’s wrong with you?  You haven’t been outside since I left to buy groceries!” she told him, shocked at his bewildering behavior. He never refused a walk outside or riding in the car. He never refuses a treat-- and he never whines either, she thought.

“Okay-- I give up, boy.  I don’t have the strength to tug and drag an eighty pound. We‘ll walk later when you‘re ready.”
She unfastened the leash, hung it back on the hook, and closed the backdoor. But what she didn’t realize, she hadn’t locked it.

******

He was moderately advancing in his contingency. But not far enough to execute any plan as yet. He was a chameleon and could blend in unnoticed. He could stand in plain sight, yet never be seen. It was his special talent-- his forte.  
Levi was becoming quite a debrouillard in this current game that he‘d so cleverly started. Amused, he thought it was actually beginning to be quite fun. The game I’m playing with her... a good bluffing poker game, or good strategic chess game, is very enlightening. You can learn a lot about a person by how they play the game...

Earlier that morning, he’d woke up in a stodgy sweat, vaulted out of bed, faring to the bathroom and wiped the perspiration off his neck, face, and head. He looked at his image in the mirror and smiled, admiring his smooth, hairless head. It's not so bad, he told himself, appreciating the fact he didn't have to wash or comb it. Actually, I prefer this. Hair is vain. An impracticality to the necessity of existence.
He didn’t remember shaving his head, but agreed with the decision. It could be useful in his game. He had a big day planned. The pretty blond was first on the list.

******

Over the horizon, the sun slowly descended while the moon awaited its turn to secure the heavens as the luminous guardian angel protecting the night. This metamorphosing wasn't new to the pair. Nature settled in while a soothingly faint chill purified the air, making it fresh and clean, not thick and polluted like the city. It was finally night.

Laura took Rocky for his walk, although not pleasurable as most walks were. He had settled somewhat, but still acted strange.

She fixed a bite to eat with little appetite and stared at the rose she’d previously laid on the kitchen counter. It had begun wilting and she threw it in the garbage wondering why she hadn’t in the first place.

It was late and time for bed, but the thought of sleeping haunted her. She already felt vulnerable and didn’t want to be an unconscious target for an intruding lunatic.

She decided she’d let Rocky sleep in bed with her for one night, feeling that would be like a built-in security alarm. She didn’t want him sleeping in the living room on the sofa like he did occasionally when not at the foot of her bed and feared she wouldn’t hear his barking, if in a deep sleep. But how could she sleep?

Climbing into bed, adjusting the sheets and blanket, she reached for the book on her nightstand.

“Rocky, my boy-- come here and get into bed,” she yelled, patting the bed space beside her.

Rocky came  striding in and leaped in bed. He circled a few times, then plopped down in his selected spot. He licked her left hand that clung the book then laid his head down for the night.

******

It was two in the morning when he parked down the street to execute his plan. The worn window sill showed signs of age with its peeling paint shedding thin chips that gently fluttered downward on the blades of dewy grass below.

Levi knew how to keep quiet. Sometimes he forgot how creaky old houses could be. He slowly slid the window open, as quietly as he could, considering it was stubborn and only allowed a quarter of an inch at a time.

She was still sleeping and hadn't heard the sounds reverberating in the night.

He slipped one leg through the small window opening folding himself half in two and slid his body inside the bedroom, then stood erect.

Her dog was in the living room. He’d prepared for that. Levi slowly crept down the hallway, ready to knock the dog out for an hour.

Rocky barked, but before he could jump off the sofa, Levi blew into the homemade tube and a pellet dart penetrated Rocky’s neck. The dog fell to the floor in a heap, knocked out cold. Levi stood a moment longer, smiling of his victory, and proud of his smart preparation.

He returned to her bedroom, creeping closer to her bed, inhaled the sweet aroma of vanilla mixed with a muskiness. It filled the room and his nostrils. He knew that scent. The scent of a woman.

He stood by her bed looking down at her sleeping, watching her chest rise and fall with each breath she took. Her golden hair straddled the pillow with its curly silkiness and he reached gently to touch it while being cautious not to wake her.

She lay with her breasts partially exposed, her gown caught under her small, delicate arm. Moonlight spilled through the opened window illuminating the room enough to compliment her lovely ivory skin.

Continuing to watch her breathe, he imaged how sweet her breath would taste when the time came. Feelings overwhelmed him and continued to gaze over her slumbering beauty.

Levi wasn’t going to touch her again. He’d planned the game-- and it was time for his next move. He reached inside his blue jean front pocket and retrieved a note he’d written, then laid in on the pillow next to her.

Quietly, he pulled a dresser drawer open and touched her silk panties and gowns, imagining the feel when worn on her body. Levi opened the next drawer and then another. Tees and shorts were neatly folded, stacked according to color, and a pink diary laid on top of a small mahogany chest.

Intrigued, he moved the diary aside and opened the chest. Music started playing,and he quickly shut it. He looked over at her, hoping she hadn’t heard it. He didn’t want to have to hurt her over such a stupid mistake. She hadn’t heard, and then he knew he’d over-extended his visit. He was getting too intrigued with her private belongings and the byproduct was carelessness.

As he gently and slowly shut the drawers one by one, the diary caught his eye again. He needed the key. Where would she keep the key?

He looked inside the jewelry chest sitting on the dresser, and there it was. A small key. He took it, placing it in his pocket and stuck the diary inside his jeans, and slowly and carefully exited through the back door.


...To Be Continued as Written...

 
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