As Rose started her walk home she pulled her jacket closed, fighting away the chill of the night. Above her head, twinkling stars and a full moon shone brightly in contrast with the velvet black of the night sky. It seemed that she was all alone outside. There were no other noises to be heard. It was a deadly silence, and Rose strained her ears trying to make out any of the usual sounds of the night.
She shuddered, another bout of piercing cold hitting her. Goosebumps traveled up and down her arm, and she looked around. She could tell by the houses that she was halfway home. Rose let go of a breath that she was unaware she had been holding, and tried not to think of the urban legends told to her as a child. Tried not to think about how the police had found a woman last week; mugged, stabbed and left for dead.
She started to walk faster as horror stories and thoughts of blood and gore ran through her head, unbidden. Her mind was jumping from one story to the next, and her head felt like it was spinning, but she refused to panic. There's nothing to be afraid of she thought to herself, and I will not let my fear take control of my actions.
Lost in her thoughts, Rose almost didn't notice the sound behind her. She spun around, all senses alert, trying to discern anyone behind her. Her mind considered the sound; it was a twig snapping. Her eyes darted around, trying desperately to see something, anything in the dark gloom.
Once again, nothing.
She turned back around and started a slow jog back to her house. The sooner I get there, the better, she mused darkly. Rose looked around once again, and was relieved to find herself almost at her house. In a little while, she'd be able to see it in the distance.
Jogging at a brisk pace, Rose paid attention to every tree, bush and shadow, trying to keep herself occupied so that she wouldn't worry herself by listening for every sound. Wouldn't worry herself by thinking of the pictures of the mugged Jane Doe shown on the news last night. All identification had been stripped from 'Jane', causing the police to show the battered form on TV, hoping to find a relative to claim their missing family member. It had been gruesome, definitely not for those with weak stomachs.
Unbridled thoughts ran through Rose's head, a fire that engulfed all reason. She became increasingly panicked. So when she saw her house in the distance, she let loose and sprinted towards her home; her safe haven.
When she reached the door, she leaned against it for a moment, staring into the dark. Her breath was coming out in short gasps and sweat trailed down her face. Satisfied that on one was following her, she unlocked the door and swung it open, jumping inside. Slamming the door closed behind her, she quickly locked it and fumbled around, trying to find the light switch.
It was darker inside, but Rose wasn't the least bit worried. Nothing could get to her with the door locked.
She stumbled blindly through the entry hall, finding the table where she kept her purse. Dropping the bag, she moved over to the coat rack to hand her jacket. She slipped out of her shoes and felt around for the light switch.
When Rose found the dimmer, she turning it on slowly, not wanting to blind herself. She stopped turning when the light was halfway on. Furniture and other objects cast eerie shadows on the walls, the floor. Rose looked around, and her eyes caught a glimpse of… something. She looked harder, peering into the darkness. There! There it was, again! A flash of light. Her hand reached out behind her and ran along the wall, searching, again, for the light dimmer. In one fast motion, Rose turned it all the way up, flooding the room in light.
It took only a moment for Rose's eyes to adjust to the lighting. She wished they hadn't. There, sitting on the couch, was a man she'd never seen before. As soon as she saw what he was holding, though, she knew. Glittering and glistening in the artificial lighting was a long, curved blade, stained with the crimson of blood. Outside, in the silent night, a scream could be heard…