I’m jolted awake by the sound of Nirvana being played full blast on the radio and by the repeated bumps in the rocky road. It’s been a long night and I want to go home, but Jonathan thought it would be a good idea to drive out now so we can make it to his parent’s house sooner. He really wants me to meet them, and it’s flattering that he is getting serious about our relationship, but I’m not sure if leaving at such a late time was such a good idea. I’m pretty sure we got lost several miles ago, but Jonathan thinks this is the best way to get there, stating that he has traveled this way for years and knows these woods like the back of his hand.
His eyes remain on the road, as if nothing is the matter. How he can concentrate with the music practically flowing out of the car is beyond me. Either way, at least he’s focusing all his attention on getting us out of here. I hope he can lead us out of here. I’m not sure if it’s the way the fog hangs on the trees or how the darkness of the night make everything seem like a part of Dante’s Inferno that is causing my blood to become ice.
“Are we almost there?” I ask.
“Just a few miles. Don’t worry Sara, we’ll be there soon.”
“It’s getting kind of late. Maybe we should stop somewhere for a while, at least until the fog clears.”
“I’ll tell you what: if we don’t find my parent’s house in twenty minutes, we’ll stop by the side of the road. That ok?”
“Yes, thank you.”
I might as well not have said anything because we found his parents house in less than five. The lights were off, but at least his parents left a lantern in front of the door for us.
“There’s a key under that mat, if I’m not mistaken. They’ll be disappointed they weren’t able to stay up to meet you as soon as we got here.”
“From what you’ve told me about them, I know I feel the same thing about them.”
Jonathan smiled, one of the many traits that I have come to love about him.
“I’ll go over there and see if they left a note for us.”
Just as he opened the door the song, something from Police, ended and a man’s voice came on.
“Warning to all travelers in the area: suspected serial killer has escaped from the county jail and is now on the loose. Suspect is on foot and considered extremely dangerous. It is recommended that you stay inside with the doors locked and not open your doors to anyone. Suspect is approximately…”
“Jonathan, are you sure you don’t want to stay in the car?”
“I’ll be fine. I’ll just walk over to the house and see if there’s a note on the door and come back to get you. It’s hardly a walk at all.”
I want to protest, but I know Jonathan well enough to know there will be no arguing with him when his mind is made up.
“Make sure to lock the doors and stay inside.”
“I promise. Please be safe.”
He leaned over the seat and kissed me, giving me a little comfort but still leaving me with a sense of dread. If what was said on the radio is true, there is a suspected killer out there, and who knows what he’s capable of.
“I love you Sara.”
That was the first time he told me he loved me. I couldn’t help but smile. All my fears about a murderer were completely forgotten in that moment.
“I love you too, Jonathan.”
He smiled and kissed me again, longer this time, and then he got out of the car and walked over to his parent’s house. By then the radio began to play music again, all mention of the murderer lost in the airways.
I lay back on my seat, still tired from lack of sleep. I’m sure Jonathan will wake me up when he comes back.
Drip, drip, drip.
The sound of dripping wakes me up. I reluctantly sit up, still groggy and with a cramp in my shoulder from the way I was sleeping. It’s still dark, and it seems as if it’s starting to rain. Jonathan hasn’t come back yet. Maybe he’s still looking for a note from his parents, or the key was misplaced and he’s trying to remember where he last placed it. I go back to sleep, thoughts of Jonathan and his parents lulling me to a comforting dream of a future of going here every Christmas with Jonathan, his parents, and a child with his…
Drip, drip, drip.
The dripping grew louder this time, making ignoring it impossible. I look at the time on the radio, wondering what is keeping Jonathan. It’s been nearly an hour and he hasn’t returned. Forgetting the fact there is a killer running loose, I unlock the door and get out of the car. The rain is slowly growing; it will become a full-blown storm in twenty minutes. The lantern at the front of the door is still lit, even though the lights in the house are on as well.
Jonathan must have woken his parents up, I thought. They must have been frightened by the sound of him snooping around the house with a killer just broken out of jail. I hope they haven’t forgotten about me.
A drop of rain hits my face. I wipe it away and walk towards the house. I’m a few feet away when another raindrop hits my face. I’m ready to wipe it away when I see something on my hand. Instead of the clear shine of water on my hand there is a mixture of rainwater and some sort of red liquid. I use my other hand to wipe away the other drop and my hand comes back the same way.
My blood becomes a river of ice and my heart stops for what seems like an eternity. It’s not real, it’s not real. I’m still in the car dreaming and Jonathan is coming back to me, ready to introduce me to his parents. This can’t be happening, it just can’t!
I run to the house, praying for there to be someone still alive, or at least for there to be a working phone inside. The door opens without hesitation and I lose all control of my body.
Blood stains the hardwood floor in a sickening scene of death, a large coil of rope lays next to a chair near the center of the room, and a long, bloody knife glistens by the light of an antique lamp, now made worthless by the long line of red dripping down it.
A man dressed in dark clothing a few sizes too big and brown shoes covered in blood is sitting in the chair and toying with the knife as if it were anything but a weapon. He looks up at me with eyes that could freeze Hell, and my heart.
He smiles at me and my terror, clearly pleased with his good fortune. What only makes it worse is that I recognize those eyes and that smile, and I know that they will be the last thing I will ever see.
“Hello, Sara. I’ve been waiting for you.”