- Secrets Vol. 4
"Em, is that you?" I call out, but there's no answer. The feeling that I'm not alone doesn't fade. I try to ignore it, write it off as strung out nerves from the past few weeks, but when I lay back in the bubbles, I can't relax. The bathroom door is shut, but not locked. I feel a crazy urge to lock it and hide. I glance around and curse silently. I usually leave my phone on the counter, but it's in the other room. My pepper spray is in my purse, next to my bed on the floor. I don't have anything in here to protect myself with, except a curling iron and some hairspray.
Stop it, Anna! I scold myself. There's no one here.
On principle, I lean back and force myself to sit in the tub for another five minutes. I'm not some scared little kid who can't stay home alone. I try to close my eyes, but it creeps the hell out of me. My entire body is covered in goose bumps and I shiver like someone stepped on my grave. My throat tightens and I want to scream.
I sit up slowly, trying not to make a noise. I feel stupid for reacting this way. I locked the front door after Cole left. The windows are all locked. There's no way someone got inside. I would have heard the door split open. The sound should have been loud, but it wasn't. It was soft, like a paw striking the carpet.
Just as I decide to get up, the floorboard outside the bathroom door creaks. Instinctively, I tense. My eyes widen as my pulse jumps up into heart attack territory. I stare at the space between the bottom of the door and the floor - there's a shadow. Someone is standing there.
I don't move. I don't breathe. I sit there in the soapy water waiting for Em to knock. It has to be her. It has to be. But in my gut, I know it's not. The hairs on the back of my neck are all standing on end. Every inch of my forearms is prickled with bumps. My throat goes dry. It feels like I should scream, but I can't. I can't blink, I can't swallow. I just stare at the shadow and shiver. The sound of a hand resting on the doorknob echoes through my ears.
I'm waiting for something to make sense, waiting for Emma's voice, but it never comes.