Janelle started and looked up from the sink, out the back window. She had seen something but, it wasn’t there now. It was one of those times. When you catch motion from the corner of your eye but you can’t identify it, and then when you turn your head there is nothing. It had been happening a lot today. She was worried, but CCR was playing softly on the radio and everything seemed peaceful enough.
She studied the scene through the kitchen window and saw nothing unusual. She studied the small patch of lawn running back to the plantings along the fence, bordered neatly by redwood bender board. Her peach tree was in bloom – beautiful – and promising. The small brick patio was still wet from the light rain that had stopped moments ago and the sun was peeking out from behind the storm clouds. No menace in those, not anymore anyway. She turned off the tap, dried her hands and hung the kitchen towel back on the hook.
She wanted to write and this was a perfect time to do so. The air was fresh from the recent spring rain and everything had a sense of cleanliness about it. This is the way it always is after a soft shower, peaceful, fresh, and serene. She gathered her laptop and stepped onto the back patio to write but changed her mind when she realized how wet it still was out there. She elected to sit inside with the French doors open so she could stay dry and still enjoy the evening air. Janelle staked out a spot at the table, facing the doors and opened her computer. She paused to watch a jay on the fence and then placed her hands on the keyboard. A short story was in order, she thought and she began to type.
Soon the transformation began but Janelle didn’t notice. She was wrapped up in her writing. She was in that place where writers go. That place where nothing exists besides the story. That place where the characters take form and everything they do makes sense, athletes call that place “the zone”. Janelle was in “the zone” but when Janelle entered “the zone” it was more intense. She didn’t hear the phone ring, when her mother called. She didn’t hear the sirens from the emergency vehicles passing down her street. She didn’t see the storm clouds gathering again. She didn’t feel the wind that drove the rain through her open French doors. She only wrote and, as she wrote her skin coarsened and her fingers grew misshapen. The wind blew her hair wildly. She never noticed.
When she woke, her mouth was dry but everything else was wet. The storm was still howling outside but it was obviously morning. Some sunlight was filtering through the cloud cover. Oh no, she thought, it’s happened again. She got up to close the doors and almost collapsed. She was shivering from the cold, and bruising covered her legs and forearms. As she pulled the doors to she noticed the mess that had been her back garden. She saw branches broken off her peach tree, and a large furrow of raw earth bisecting the patch of lawn like a scar. Bricks were pulled up from the patio and cast about like coins tossed into a fountain. She caught her reflection in the glass paned door; a long thin cut was visible over her right eye and blood was smeared over that side of her face.
She turned to her computer. The word processor was still open and displaying a page. In the center of the page was a single word “KILL”. She closed the program and opened her browser. The home page news feed headline read “Chupacabra Sighted on the East Side”. Janelle covered her face with her hands and began to cry.
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