Destiny was getting ready for bed, her toothbrush in her mouth and her bare feet padding on the tiled floor of her bathroom when she felt it. With her dark hair up in a bun the gentle breeze, something that shouldn’t have existed in a home with its windows down and doors closed, tickled the back of her neck. The result was a sudden chill down her spine that forced her to take the toothbrush from her mouth as she turned around, gazing out through the open doorway of the bathroom.
“Babe?” she called, not expecting an answer. Her husband was at a friends house playing cards and wouldn’t be home until late. It was just one of the very few things he still did with his friends, without her there at least.
“Are you enjoying the show?”
Destiny almost shrieked as she saw the stranger sit on the edge of her bed, as though he had every right in the world to be there. A dark hood covered most of his features, though she normally kept enough lights on that she should have been able to see more than a chin dark with stubble and a pair of lips that parted as the stranger spoke again.
“Don’t worry about begging me to not hurt you. I’m not here for that and I’m not interested in any case. You saw my design, yes?”
“What?” she breathed, taking in the rest of the stranger’s garb. He was dressed in dark clothing from head to foot, with what appeared to be bone-white gloves covering his hands, and dark, very heavy-looking boots.
“The showcase. You’ve seen it, yeah? With what’s her name, oh that’s right, Patricia.”
“How do you know about her?”
The figure sighed as he leaned back, but this did nothing to show his face as the light appeared incapable of dispelling the shadow within his hood, “It’s my design. It’s my job, and unfortunately for Patricia, never Patty because she hates that name, her number was pulled.”
“Pulled? What the hell are you talking about? Did you kidnap Patricia?”
The man shook his head, “No I most certainly did not. Kidnapping does not fall under my list of duties, but having devised the manner in which she meets her end is. I’m the architect and the gatherer, that’s all.”
“You’re the what?”
The figure paused, “For what it’s worth, I am sorry about your brother, but his number was pulled too.”
All the sorrow, all the hurt, and all the pain she’d been feeling recently was gone as anger took over in that second, prompting Destiny to retreat into the bathroom to a spot just behind the door where she punched a quick sequence of numbers into a keypad that was set into the wall. A click and a small chime indicated that she’d remembered the code exactly, and in the next instant she was pulling a small sidearm from a hidden compartment in the wall and yanking the door open again….
To see nothing, not even an indent on the bed. The stranger was gone, but in his place rested a single sheet of paper, folded double, that she approached warily, keeping her eyes open and her gun at her hip. Unfolding the note she read: You can help her, if you’re willing.
(to be continued)