Claire awoke in the middle of the night. She lay on her side in her bed, staring at the wall, the blankets pulled up high around her neck. Her room was pitch black, but she could see a shimmer of light from behind her. She rolled onto her back and perched up on her elbows.
In front of her was a woman, sitting on a chair in front of Claire’s dresser, powdering her nose and fluffing her hair. Claire watched the woman’s reflection in the mirror. She wore an elegant evening gown, pink and glittering, formfitting to the hips dipping low in the back before flaring out around the legs. The woman applied red lipstick, and ran a hand over her coiffed hair and then disappeared.
Blinking, Claire threw the covers back and sat up on the edge of her bed, shaking her head. Had she been dreaming?She stepped out into the hallway, noticing the doors to the other two bedrooms closed. She poked her head inside each room; the beds were still made in each so she assumed her dad was still awake. She headed downstairs to get something to drink and to clear her head but as she stepped into the dining room, Claire could see a sickly orange glow coming from the kitchen.
Warily, Claire crept into the kitchen. What she found there she wasn’t quite sure how to explain. The refrigerator door was standing wide open. She stepped over to shut the door, pushing on it to make sure something inside wasn’t popping it open, but the door was sealed. Claire called out to her dad, but he didn’t answer. She walked around the lower level before looking outside the kitchen window. The Subaru sat in the driveway, so where was her father?
The the entire house seemed empty, quiet. Claire spotted the folder and the baby blanket sitting on the edge of the island in the middle of the kitchen. She picked up both items and walked back upstairs to her bedroom. The knot in her stomach growing, Claire picked up her phone, but it wouldn’t turn on, even though it was still attached to the charging cord. Claire growled in frustration. She threw the phone down onto her bed. A cold clammy hand clapped down on her shoulder. Spinning around Claire met only air.
She began panting, rubbing her arms at the chill she felt in the air, trying to calm the goose bumps on her skin. Someone was watching her she was sure of it. A gust of lilac perfume crossed under her nose, reminding her of the perfume her grandmother bought her, overpowered her.
As Claire moved towards her door, something wispy ran across her face, the feeling of running into a spider web. Claire’s face crumpled upon contact. She shut her eyes, running her hands over her face, but nothing was there. She took off, racing out of the room blind. Standing in the hallway, Claire quickly pondered her next move. She figured Margaret Henderson was trying a different method to capture her attention.