She woke up in the morning. It was a regular day just like any other. Checking her reflection in her dressing room mirror, she left the room after a quick mental check of her things. Bag, check. Notebook, check. And so on. Leaving the room in an orderly state, to avoid the sinking feeling one gets upon entering a messy room after a long day’s work, she locked the main door and made her way towards the garage. On her way out of the main door, she noticed a rusty key lying on the porch, a forgotten piece of metal, tarnished and weathered from the previous weeks rains. Perhaps even stepped on a couple of times. Not giving it a second thought, she brushed it aside, hoping for its rightful owner to return in order to retrieve it. Hopping on to her vespa, she was off to work.
The drive back home was always a pleasure, across the tree lined road, with the sunset sparkling on the beach in vibrant shades of ochre and orange. She parked her scooter in its usual spot, skipped up the stairs in her usual two-steps-at-a-time routine and stopped short at the main door. Just as she reached into her pocket to unlock the door, she realized, the keyhole was already occupied. In it was neatly inserted the rusty key she had flicked away with her shoe, early that morning. Perplexed, wondering how on earth that key fit into her door lock, she creaked open the front door and inched her way in.
Everything was just as she had left it. She opened the door to the same hallway, coat rack and end of hall mirror that greeted her reflection every evening. Unsure of what to expect, she made her way to the bedroom. Expecting something to pounce upon her, almost horror movie style, she wound the door knob tentatively, making sure she didn’t let go too soon and make unwanted noise. The door opened up to her room, and to her relief there was no one inside. Nothing unexpected, broken, stolen or harmed. However, all the furniture was arranged differently. The wall facing the door had in front of it her dressing table instead of her bed, which was placed next to the wall on her left, as if it had always been there. Her lipsticks were still arranged according to color and shade, not an inch here or there from their usual arrangement. She quickly scanned the whole room, from wall to wall looking for some sign of who must have played this trick on her. But found nothing.
As she closed the open door, behind it was the smooth white stucco wall, with a small sparkling crimson spot of blood, glimmering like an uncut ruby.
Her heart pounding, not knowing what to do or what to expect next, simultaneously thinking why anyone would be playing mind games with her, she stealthily but swiftly darted out to the hall. She crept up the stairs which went up through the hallway, to the attic, and heard something rustle. One look up to the landing of the third storey of the house revealed a set of unfamiliar and unwelcoming eyes, of a woman she had never seen before.
It was time to run.