Bill and Angela raced up the stairs taking them two or three at a time. Without bothering to knock, he threw his shoulder into the door jamb and crashed through. Gillian’s screaming stopped when she saw her friends. Her bloody hands trembled as she rinsed them under the tap. At her feet, a bottle of White Diamonds perfume had shattered to pieces.
“Are you okay? What happened?” Bill asked.
“Let me see,” Angela ordered. “Hmm, I don’t think you’ll need stitches but I’ll grab the first aid kit and get you bandaged up.”
Gillian pulled her towel tighter against her body as goose bumps prickled her flesh. Bill removed a bathrobe from the hooks behind the door and draped it around Gillian’s shoulders. She offered him a weak smile and muttered, “thank you.” Angela returned a moment later with the first aid kit and proceeded to bandage up her friend’s hands.
“So, are you going to tell us what happened?” she asked.
Gillian scowled. “It was my own fault. I slipped as I was trying to—”
“How ‘bout the truth, instead,” interrupted Bill.
Angela nodded her agreement and placed a reassuring hand on Gillian’s shoulder. “C’mon, Jilly, we’re your friends and we’re worried about you. We can’t help if you’re not honest with us.”
“I—I know. I just don’t want you to think I’ve gone off my rocker. As it is, I’m starting to wonder myself… ever since the morgue.”
“That’s probably a good place to start then,” said Bill. “Why don’t you get into some warm clothes and dry your hair first? We’ll wait just outside the door in case you need us, okay?”
Gillian nodded. The instant the bathroom door closed, she raced to dress in record time. While the thought of telling her friends what was going on was less appealing than a four-hour root canal, she hurried to not be alone. True to their word, when she opened the door, Bill and Angela were waiting for her.
Downstairs, the three friends flopped onto Kim’s cozy sofa and settled in for Gillian’s story. Angela carried in a tray with coffee and cookies; she had a feeling they’d be talking for a while. Gillian’s first instinct was to chug the coffee.
“It’s decaf,” Angela said, smiling. “So drink as much as you want.”
Gillian set the mug down, grumbling that decaf coffee was sacrilege.
“It is but you do not need another drop of caffeine coursing through your system, Jilly.” Bill answered. “So, let’s get to the bottom of whatever is going on here. What happened in the bathroom?”
I should probably start before then,” Gillian admitted with a sigh. “It all started the night we used the Ouija board at the morgue. Someone or … something, touched me when the lights were out. I felt a hand rest on my shoulder and then it gave a squeeze. It wasn’t Marie or Kenj and it wasn’t the firemen either. Believe me, I wish it was. Then, as I was driving home I kept seeing a shadowy figure following me. It crossed the road in front of me, it was lurking behind bushes; it was in my rearview mirror. Then, when I came inside, and we were all on the phone … I saw it in the yard. That night, it was in my room. At first, I thought it was Angela, playing a prank. Or, I should say I hoped it was Angela. It wasn’t. That brings us to the shower. Everything was fine. I had just turned off the water because I got a chill. Sorry, Angela, I think I used up all the hot water again. When I pulled back the curtain, it was there. I grabbed the first thing I could reach to throw at it but before I could release it, the thing’s hand enveloped mine and the bottle shattered. So, go ahead. Tell me I’m crazy.”
Gillian looked down at her bandaged hand and sighed. When she looked up, both Angela and Bill wore matching expressions of concern.
“Listen, I don’t want to freak you out,” said Billy. “But you’re not crazy. It’s something worse.”