12 in Stepping into Psycho

  • June 27, 2022, 11:27 p.m.
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  • Public

Flora lived in a nice neighborhood, so it wasn’t like she had been kicked out onto the streets of some dangerous, gang-infested ghetto. But even if she may be a little safer this didn’t deduct from the fact that she had no place to sleep or anything to eat. Flora had seen to it that she didn’t have any friends to run to and she had been controlling her money as well, claiming that she wasn’t well enough or good enough with numbers to manage it on her own. Flora had taken her bank card, so she couldn’t access the money on her own, not that any banks were open at that hour.

The truth was that she wasn’t bad with numbers at all. One of the primary things she’d done at the law firm she had worked at before the accident was bookkeeping. She knew numbers quite well. Furthermore, she wasn’t so out of it that she couldn’t withdraw or deposit money and balance a checkbook. She had her own apartment before the accident and she was the one who managed the payments. Her coma may have put her in a serious time warp, but she hadn’t suffered any kind of amnesia.

She had met a couple of the neighbors and decided to take a chance on them since she had been left without options. The first place she went to was that of an older couple, Mr. and Mrs. Vang. She walked up the driveway and sidewalk to the front door. A dim light was on by the door but the interior seemed dark. There was no window in the garage door to see if anybody was home. She rang the doorbell but no one came to the door. A minute or so later she tried again but still, no one answered.

Moving across the street, she knocked on the door of a younger guy named Ethen. She could see a faint trace of light inside the home but no vehicle was in the carport.

She looked at the neighboring house. It was well lit but she didn’t know the large family that lived there very well and she didn’t think they would be likely to help her, especially with little kids in the house.

Sighing with frustration, she went back across the street and knocked on Flora’s door. When she ignored her she tried calling.

With no money and no one to help her, she thought about where the best place would be to relax for a while. It was still fairly early in the evening. Ethen and the Vangs would probably be back home later on.

Knowing there was a nearby park, she headed in that direction. It was a ten-minute walk. She shivered in the chill as she sat on one of the benches, but as cold as it was, she knew it was better than temperatures below freezing or sweltering heat. She took some comfort in knowing that the temperature couldn’t hurt her in any way. It wasn’t dangerously cold and she certainly wasn’t at risk of a heat stroke.

She sat on the bench and looked around her. It was calm, quiet and peaceful, but a bit spooky as well. The park was dimly lit and she felt very alone and helpless. She wondered if she should have sat in Flora’s backyard instead. She sat there for an hour before making her way back to see if Ethen was home.

He was.

“Come on in,” he said, opening his door to her.

“Oh, thank you so much, Ethen.”

“No problem.”

Carissa decided to be honest and direct. “Flora’s gone a little crazy on me and she threw me out. As soon as I get to the bank and have them help me access my money, I’ll give you a little something for helping me out.”

“Oh, no. Don’t even think of it. I’m happy to help. Mind if I ask what happened, though?”

Even if it may not have been any of his business, Carissa was more than happy to unburden herself. She hadn’t had anyone to talk to thus far and he was doing her a big favor, so it felt good to get things off her chest. When she was done pouring her heart out to Ethen, who had listened quietly and patiently, she took a sip of the water that had been offered to her and then found him staring at her in the strangest way. “TMI?” she asked.

“Huh?” Ethen said, shaking his head as if he’d been in a trance.

“Too much information?”

“Oh,” he said with a slight chuckle. “No. No, I was actually thinking that you could stay here for as long as you need to. You don’t have to pay me or anything either.”

Carissa would have been grateful for the offer had it not been for the horrible feeling that was coming over her. She wasn’t stupid. She knew he wanted to do more than just help her. He wanted to help himself as well. Not something she expected from someone that was undoubtedly about fifteen years her junior, but it was getting more obvious just in his predatory gaze. “Thank you, but I think I can either work things out with Flora or get a place of my own. In fact, I’m going to go try knocking on the door one more time and see if she’ll let me in since she never gave me a spare key. Assuming she refuses, I’ll run back over here if your offer still stands.”

Ethen hesitated a moment before saying, “Yeah, okay.”

Carissa made her way to Ethen’s door, trying not to let her nervousness show. She had no plan to return to this house. Not now. Not ever. Each moment she spent alone with the guy the more creeped out she got. He had one thing in mind and one thing only and it had nothing to do with helping her out.

She had just reached the front door and placed her hand on the handle when she was grabbed from behind and then roughly thrown onto the floor. “You’re not going anywhere,” Ethen spat hatefully. “You come over here expecting something from me and now you’re going to give in return. I help you, you help me.”

“Get off of me!” Carissa screamed, heart pounding with terror inside her chest. “I don’t owe you shit!”

Ethen continued to wrestle her, growling like an animal.

Carissa, on her back, pulled her legs up as far as she could and kicked at Ethen’s face as hard as she could. The damage she did stunned her as much as it had him. It was the perfect shot with just enough force. She heard the crack right away and his hand instinctively went to his nose. She shimmied out from under him as fast as she could so she wouldn’t get blood on her.

She was now on her feet. With him still on his knees howling in pain, she kicked him with all her might in the temple. Ethen slumped to the floor like a sack of potatoes.

Carissa wasted no time bolting for the door, leaving a trail of threats and swears from Ethen behind her. She couldn’t tell if he had risen to his feet and was giving chase and she didn’t want to slow herself down by turning to look behind her either. Instead, she ran as fast as she could, screaming at the top of her lungs, to Flora’s door.

Certainly, the guy wouldn’t be dumb enough to go after her with all the attention her screams had to be drawing, would he?

She screamed and pounded on the front door but Flora still ignored her. She was going to run around to the back of the house but that was a more secluded area and she didn’t want to set herself up to be trapped. She wanted to stay where the bastard wasn’t as likely to come after her for fear of witnesses. Unless he was just too crazy to care who saw him, of course.

Oh, God! she thought with horror as she saw the pervert step outside his house, still screaming. If no one helps me, he could still get me and I might not win next time.

No longer feeling safe in front, she ran around back and began to reach into her back pocket for her phone. This seemed to take forever, but finally, her fingers closed around it and she pulled it out to call 911.

The back door to Flora’s house opened. “What the hell is going on?” she shouted.

“Get inside!” Carissa screamed, charging into the house. “Lock the door. Hurry up! Ethen is crazy. He just tried to rape me! The cops are in the way.”

Flora slammed the door shut and locked it. Then she spun around to face Carissa and began to scream at her.

“Hey, none of this is my fault! You’re the one that threw me out. It’s your fault and it’s Ethen’s fault!”

“I’ve had it with you!” Flora screamed in a shrill voice, pale skin turning beet red with anger. “I can’t take any more of this shit. You’re totally out of here.”

It amazed and chilled her to see Flora act as if Carissa had done nothing but cause trouble while Flora was oh so innocent. But she knew there was no reasoning with her either, so she simply said, “No problem, bitch. That’s what I’ve been trying to get you to see. But I’m not going to let you just throw me out on the streets until I can find…”

Carissa’s words were cut off as the police arrived and were now knocking on the front door.

They hurried to the front of the house and opened the door to two uniformed officers, one of each gender.

Flora began to speak, but Carissa quickly cut them off. “I’m the one that called and I’m the victim here, so I would like to talk first.” Without waiting for approval, she told the officers everything.

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