Wednesday, April 26, 2017

SHORT STORY - Familiar Stranger

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Familiar Stranger
Written by: Khara Campbell

            “I’m about to go in,” I say to my sister Jade on the other line, as I cradle my cellphone between my ear and shoulder and insert my house key into the keyhole.
            “God I wish you would move! You live all out in the woods just so you can have four thousand square feet of space. When you’re the only person and a small dog living in there.”
            I puff a breath, relieved to have the front door open so I can quickly drop my grocery bags onto the pinewood floors. “You’re not singing that tune when you need to use my place and wide backyard for your barbecues.” My little Yorkie Tea-cup is barking and jumping excitedly at my feet, happy to have me home.
            “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” I hear shuffling on the other end of the phone. “So back to what happened today…” She continues.
            I close then lock the door behind me, then re-picked up my grocery bags and head for my open kitchen. Tea-Cup is hot on my trail. “That backstabbing Brea!” I bite my tongue to prevent the profanities that want to explode from my mouth. It has been a trying day. “That bit –” I shake my head to try and regain my composure.  “She cost me a one hundred grand advertising account.” This morning I found out that my co-worker and trainee had went behind my back and secured an account I had been working to get for months. She stole my ideas, presented them to the company first and secured the deal. Imagine my surprise when I walked into the conference room for my supposed to be 11:00am appointment, to catch the tail end of Brea being awarded the account with a small chain clothing store I had been schmoozing the executives for months to secure their advertising contract. Some may think I should be happy that our firm got the contract, but that was my baby. I did all the hard work, only for Brea to swoop in and get all the credit. 
            “Dang, she did you like that? That’s cold! I’m just happy I’m not hearing your voice from behind a jail cell.”
            “Jade you and I both know if I didn’t have my faith I would have went Jackie Chan on that girl. It took everything in me to keep a neutral facial expression when I walked into that conference room. I had to still be professional. But I did have to ask for God’s forgiveness after I chewed her behind out after everyone left.”
            I place my cellphone on speaker and rest it on the kitchen counter. Jade is laughing hysterically at my dilemma.
            “Lex I’m sorry about what happened…”
            “Doesn’t sound like it,” I snap.
            “I am.” She sobers. “Again, the fact that you’re not in jail lets me know that you used a lot of restraint today, so I’m proud of you. Don’t let that young gal cost you your job, freedom and faith. You’re bigger and better than stooping to her adolescent level. Besides, she’s probably going to crash and burn on this one anyway. She may have stolen your ideas, but executing them is a different story.”
            After quickly putting the groceries away, I scoop Tea-cup into my arms and head for the stairs. She immediately snuggles against me. I rub her small furry body, happy to be home with her too.
            “You’re right. I give it a week before she has to admit that she stole my ideas and now has no clue on how to give birth to them.”
            “Right. She’ll be putty in your hands.”
            I see my king sized bed immediately when I walk into my bedroom. I can’t wait to be in its comfort. But first I need a hot shower.
            As if Jade is reading my mind, she says, “I know you’re dying to get into your big lonely bed after the day you’ve had. So I’ll leave you to it.”
            “Do you want me to cuss you out too?”
            “What did I do?”
            “Play dumb if you want to. But just know I’m alone by choice, not lonely!”
            “Yeah, yeah! Bye. I’ll call ya tomorrow.”
            I don’t bother to say goodbye. I end the call and throw my cellphone unto my bed. I let Tea-Cup down to the floor and she scurries over to her bed. Such a lazy dog, but I love her. I take off my heels in my walk-in closet, strip out of my pencil skirt and blouse and add them to the heap to be dry-cleaned.
            Within minutes I’m under the tranquil steam of my waterfall shower head. I get to work of washing away all of today’s drama.
            A small creak from outside the shower perks my ears up, but I soon disregard it. Tea-cup sometimes take it upon herself to join me in the bathroom when I’m taking a shower. I let the water rinse the conditioner from my natural textured hair while I massage my scalp.
            “Hmmmm, you even smell as good as you look.” Paralyzing dread captures me at the sound of the deep husky voice in my shower.
I think pee is sliding down my legs as well as the suds from my soap and the conditioner. I’m afraid to open my eyes – to open them to the possible reality of an intruder in my shower. But his large calloused hand now on my ample breast confirms my reality. A scream that feels as if it comes from the tip of my toes rolls its way up to my throat and out of my mouth. But the tail end of it is muzzled by the intruder’s other hand clamming my lips shut.
            “I’ve been waiting for you all day, I thought you weren’t going to make it home tonight.” His hot breath is on my ear. He kisses me there, his slimy tongue leaving a trail.
            Hot tears are streaming from my eyes, competing with the waterfall still above my head, rolling down my face and body. I try to plead, but my voice is still muzzled. His muscular arm is pressed against my ribcage, pushing me against his bare chest. Oh my God, is he naked? The stabbing in my back from his growing member confirms my fear. Oh God, please, please don’t let him hurt me. Please get me out of this. I can hear Tea-Cup barking frantically from behind the closed bathroom door.
            “Shhhh. Don’t fight. I have no intentions of hurting you Lex. You’re too beautiful for me to do that.” I have yet to see his face, so I’m trying to pick up any familiarity in his voice. Nothing.
            “I’m going to move my hand from your mouth, but you must promise not to scream or fight. I don’t want to hurt you, I love you too much to do that, baby.”
            Love? Baby? I’m completely clueless as to who this man is, and he’s calling me baby with so much passion. However, knowing that if I want a chance of surviving this attack, I must comply with his demands. I nod my head frantically so he knows that I won’t scream or fight him.
            “Good girl.” He slowly removes his hand from my mouth.
            I fight the urge to scream at the top of my lungs in hope that one of my neighbors that live about a half-acre away may hear me. But I know I need to be smart in this situation and not panic.
            “Now let me finish washing your hair.” I feel him behind me, putting his hands in my soaked hair. My body recoils at his touch. “I always admired your hair. So long and thick.”
            “Please don’t hurt me.” Weird, but I think back at all the horror and violent movies I’ve watched, having all kinds of advice for the actor on how to get out of danger, but now my mind is blank from fear. “Please, please don’t hurt me.”
            “Lex, look at me,” he says into my ear. I’m trembling and afraid to move. His hands on my shoulder helps turn me around to face him.
            I almost choke on my tongue when I look up and see, “Reggie?” I question. To my disbelief, standing before me in my shower is none other than my ex-husband. We’d been divorced for seven years and were only married for six-months.
Much younger and drunk – we’d stupidly gotten married after friends of ours tied the knot in Vegas. When we got back to Virginia we tried to give our marriage a try, since we were both physically attracted to each other, and when somber we actually got along pretty fine with one another – we thought it would work. But yeah, it didn’t. After four months we agreed we should divorce. We went our separate ways after the divorce was final – he to my knowledge moved out of state to Texas. I hadn’t seen him in seven years.
“Hi sweetheart,” he says with a smile.
My hand sweeps up and smack him hard across the face causing his neck to snap back in response. Before I can attack him again, he catches my arms and pushes me violently against the shower wall. My head throbs in pain.
“I told you not to fight!” He grits through his teeth. But I can care less. I want to scratch his eyes out. Something about knowing my attacker produces courage that had abandoned me moments earlier.
            I hack-up every drip of spit and mucus possible and launch it out of my mouth onto his face. The result of which is a blow to the left side of my face. The pain is indescribable.
            He tightly grips my jaw. “I told you I didn’t want to hurt you Lex, but you’re making me do it by not being a good girl.” He licks the left side of my face from cheek to temple. “All I wanted was for us to have an amicable reunion.”
            “Why are you doing this?” I barely make out as he continues to squeeze my jaw. I can feel the tile wall imprinting in my backside by being pressed into it so hard.
            “I’ve missed you, haven’t you missed me?”
            He cannot be for real. But I guess answering yes would be my best bet. I nod my head.
            “Good, so why don’t you show daddy how much you’ve missed him.” He sticks his hot tongue into my mouth. I can taste the vomit at the back of my throat. But I suppress it. My fighter instincts set in. I relax a little, allowing him to get into the kiss. I wait. His hand moves from my jaw. I allow him to fondle me – still I’m waiting. I feel when his guard his down. He accepts my false compliance.
            When he moves closer towards me, my knee jerks up smashing sharply between his thighs. I punch him in the gut, then move my leg forward, tripping him easily because of the slippery shower floor. He falls. Hard. I quickly escape out of the shower, almost tripping myself on the tile floor because of my wet feet. Tea-Cup leaps excitedly once I get the bathroom door open leading into the bedroom.
            I head for my closet. I can hear Reggie hot on my trail. Tea-Cup is barking frantically. Now more than ever I wish she was a bigger dog.  Reggie kicks her away like she’s nothing after she bit him on the ankle.
            “Stupid mutt!” He barks at her. “You’re really going to make me hurt you Lexi! And when I’m done with you –” I hear him fall with a thud to the bedroom floor. I barely look over my shoulder to see it. But he seems unstoppable, just as I make it to the walk-in closet for what I’m looking for, he’s right there behind me.
            “Why are you doing this!?” I scream. In our six-months of marriage we’d had arguments like normal couples do, but his actions tonight are shocking for so many reasons.
            “You’ve been ignoring me.”
            “What the hell are you talking about Reggie? We haven’t see each other in seven years, and instead of calling me like a normal person, you break into my home and in my shower.”
            “Why haven’t you tried to come back to me?” I’m sitting on the carpeted closet floor with him standing over me, dripping wet. Tea-Cup is by the door still barking.
            I quickly scan my memory bank to recall if there were any signs of him having mental illness during our brief union.
            “After the divorce you didn’t try to contact me, you just went on acting as if I was never a factor in your life. I waited for seven years for you to come back to me, Lex.”
            “We both agreed that we made a drunken mistake getting married and it was best that we go our separate ways.”
            “I only agreed because you wanted out so badly. I loved you Lexi Adams. I’m still in love with you, and I’m tired of waiting for you to come to your senses. You were made to be my wife.” He pulls at his pinky finger, then extends a white gold wedding band set towards me. I recognize it as the bands we purchased when we returned to Virginia from Vegas.
            I’m stunned silent. He’s crazy. Totally crazy.
            “Take it,” he steps closer. I don’t budge. “Take it!” He demands, causing me to flinch. “You will be my wife whether you want to or not!”
            “Haven’t you learned from our brief marriage, that I don’t like being told what to do.”
            “You will be my wife Lexi,” he grits through his teeth.
            “Get out of my house! Get out now!”
            “Who’s going to make me, dear?” He launches toward me. I reach behind myself, feeling my steel of confidence tucked away in a box.
            “Don’t!” I warn brandishing my weapon.
            He laughs, which pisses me off. “What are you going to do with that plaything?”
            “Get out of my house Reggie, and I won’t kill your crazy ass!”
            “I’m only crazy about you baby. Now put that toy away…and put on your wedding bands!” He demands.
            “No! Get out!”
            “I’m done playing nice,” He moves to kick the gun out of my hands, I roll to the side to prevent him.
            “So am I, you freak!” I release a bullet into his leg as a warning. He cries out in agony. Blood is spilling out of the wound, but he refuses to fall to the ground.
            “You stupid bit –” he launches toward me where I am on the floor, I pull the trigger releasing three more bullets to his upper body. I quickly roll out of the way as his dead body collapses to the floor. Blood stains my Berber carpet.
            “I would’ve fought you till I die Reggie. It was me or you – and thank God it wasn’t me.” I crawl out of the closet wanting to get away from his body. Tea-Cup is panting beside me, tired from barking endlessly. I spot my cellphone on the bed, grabbing it I quickly dial 911.
            And to think I thought Brea’s betrayal was the worst I would deal with today. 

Did you enjoy this shortie read? Don't be shy, leave your comments. Also have you gotten my latest romantic suspense novel Killing You Softly? Available here.


  1. That was awesome!!!! Thx for sharing. Crazy ex hubby wow!!!!

  2. Oh wow that was pretty good short read!! Good job keep up good work!