Rain slowly walked up the stairs about two hours after meeting with the madwoman that night. She slowly shuffled into the bedroom and fell upon the bed. She wanted to cry but she was too numb to do so at the moment. She shifted her body, trying to find a comfortable position due to her bruises.
The woman had known that she hadn’t killed the dog and that she’d simply taken him and left him in the woods.
Rain remained in bed most of the following day. She knew she had to make a move and that she was running out of time. She needed to act, and she needed to act fast. The psycho that had invaded her otherwise idyllic life and was simply not going to get sick of her and go pick on someone else. Rain had no doubt in her mind that the woman would make good on her threats and that she probably knew people just as twisted that would harm them if she wasn’t able to carry out her threats on her own.
It wasn’t until the early afternoon that Rain finally pulled herself out of bed after she was awakened by the cat sniffing at her face in concern. She showered and dressed and made some coffee but had no appetite for breakfast. She hoped she would have an appetite at the Chinese restaurant later on. She loved that place. At least she had that much to look forward to.
She skipped her run that day and went straight to work on her proofreading job after she checked her email, social media sites, and the news. Every day she checked the news in hopes of somebody coming forward with a similar story about a crazy woman entering their home and blackmailing them. Yet no matter how much research she did or how much she tried to manipulate some information from the woman, she was no closer to learning her identity than she had been when she first invaded her life nearly two months ago.
Rain was careful about what she did online. She was afraid to do too much research on the psycho because it seemed she knew of every single move she made, somehow, someway.
She thought of the best course of action to take and once she figured it out she became determined to see it through. It was now or never. They were either going to come out of this unharmed, or it would all blow up in their faces. Rain couldn’t begin to guess how it would end. She only knew that she couldn’t allow things to continue as they had. She had to do something.
The dog had been the final straw. Next thing she knew the nutjob would be punishing her by demanding that she kill her best friend or something.
On the way to the Chinese place a few hours later, Troy said, “Babe, I’ve been really, really worried about you. Are you sure everything is okay?”
“I’m glad it’s Friday night,” Rain replied with a shaky voice. “There’s a lot I want to tell you in the restaurant about my work.”
Troy looked at her kind of confused, but that was all Rain was willing to say in case the car was bugged.
“It’s just that you haven’t been yourself lately.”
“Drop it and just trust me.”
Again Troy glanced at her with concern, but the look on his wife’s face suggested he say no more.
Finally, they reached the restaurant. As soon as they were seated and the waitress had taken their order and brought them their coffee, Rain could no longer hold back her tears. She thanked God they were in a booth that was in back of the restaurant and that there weren’t many people around being a Friday night.
“Hey, hey. What’s wrong?” Troy reached across the table and their hands met midway.
“Oh God, it’s been awful.”
“What’s been awful, babe?”
“I’ve wanted to tell you so many times, but I’ve been so, so afraid.”
“Afraid of what? Honey, talk to me.”
“I’ve been threatened and blackmailed.”
“What?!” Troy asked with shock.
“I know this is going to sound like the absolute craziest thing you ever heard,” Rain said lifting her teary eyes to face her husband, “but a little over a month ago, you left for work and I went down into the basement to do some laundry.”
“Well, I found I wasn’t alone.”
“What?!” Troy again exclaimed.
“A woman was waiting for me.”
“What? What woman?”
“I don’t know. I never learned her name, why she picked me, or where she came from. All I know is that she knows just about everything about us and everything we say and do. That’s why we can only talk about it in public. We cannot talk about this at home and we cannot talk about this in the car either, you hear? Please, Troy, you must trust me. If she learns that I’ve told you about her, she’ll kill us both.”
“What on earth are you talking about?” Troy asked, unable to grasp what Rain was telling him.
“I’m telling you, she’s absolutely crazy. Totally insane. That’s what I’m talking about.”
“What did she do to you and why haven’t you called the police?”
“She swore to me that if I got the police involved, she would kill us and that if she was in jail and unable to kill us, she would have somebody else do it for her, and I believe her. The last thing I wanted to do with gamble with your life. She’s just too crazy. You have to trust me on this one.”
“I still don’t understand. You run into this woman in the basement who threatens to kill us if you tell anybody about her?”
Rain nodded. “I know it sounds completely insane, but yeah. There’s more. She demanded to let her sleep there from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. and for me to be her sex slave.”
Troy’s eyes widened with shock and he gave a jolt as if something physical had hit him.
“I am to meet her in the basement every night at midnight, and if I fail to comply with any of these demands, she’s shown me the pistol she would use to kill you with.”
“Oh, my fucking God,” Troy moaned as Rain’s tears kept falling. They fell faster than she could wipe them away. In a firm voice, Troy said, “Tell me everything starting at the beginning.”
Rain gave her husband a physical description of the woman and all that she had made her do, including her so-called punishment with the dog.
“We’ve got to go to the police,” Troy insisted.
“Shhh, let’s keep it down.”
Rain looked around the restaurant. It hadn’t dawned on her until that moment that the madwoman could have followed them or had somebody else follow them and that they could be one of the patrons in the restaurant, even if the nearest one was four booths away. “We can’t go to the police. I told you she said she would kill us or have us killed. Troy, you didn’t deal with her. I did. And I can tell you right now that I have absolutely no doubt in my mind that she would live up to those threats. She’s a lunatic, whoever she is. Besides, if the cops can’t find any proof, they’d only charge me with animal cruelty. What we’ve got to do is get the hell out of there without telling anybody why.”
“And go where?” He asked. “I love our house.”
“I did too, until she invaded it with her sick presence and demands. I’m not going to risk getting us killed and I sure as hell am not going to be her sex slave any longer. I-I just can’t do it anymore. I’m disgusted with myself even though I felt like I had no choice but to give in. She threatened to run upstairs and shoot you in your sleep if I didn’t.”
Troy’s gaze softened. “Oh honey, I don’t blame you.”
“I know you don’t, but no police, okay? We can consider it after we get moved, but not before then. We don’t know who’s doing this and so we can’t give anyone our address.”
“Not anyone? Of course, we can give it to our closest friends, can’t we?”
“No, we can’t, Troy. It isn’t that we can’t trust them, but we don’t know if she has a way of manipulating the information out of them or not. Well, they can’t give her what they don’t know. This could be anybody from anywhere. Is there anybody that you know of at work that might be capable of doing this?”
“No way. Absolutely not.”
“Think of a woman of average size with dark hair and eyes.”
“Do you know how many women fit that description, Rain? That’s too generalized. Did you notice anything unique about her that stood out somehow? Any tattoos, piercings… anything?”
Rain thought a moment, then shook her head. “No, it was usually too dark.”
“Maybe we could tell the cops what’s going on and they could provide protection for us until she’s caught.”
Rain shook her head vigorously. “I told you everything she said and did. What if she was never found? They can’t babysit us forever, Troy. Let’s just get the hell out of there.”
“But where do we go?”
“Anywhere. I don’t care if we have to go to an old, dumpy apartment at this point. Maybe an apartment would be safer since others would surround us as much as we both hate living attached to others, but honestly, I don’t think we need to resort to such extremes. I think another house would be fine. We just can’t tell anybody where we are until this lunatic is caught.”
“But what do we do in the meantime, make like we haven’t moved? Tell them we’re on a long vacation? If it takes a handful of months, people are going to come looking for us. Our friends are going to wonder why we’re no longer in that house.”
Rain thought a moment. “Maybe we could tell them that we’re moving, we just won’t tell them why or where. We’ll just tell them that something out of our control came up, we had to move in a hurry, we’re fine, but we can’t say anything until we have more information. We’ll tell them that once we know what’s going on, we’ll share everything then. Well,” Rain said as her face flushed with shame and embarrassment, “we don’t need to mention the intimate details, and we can leave the dog out, too.”
“Poor Barney,” Troy said. “I hope he makes his way home.”
“Me too. I feel terrible for him. But I can guarantee you I’ve been through a lot more hell than Barney has.
Her husband took her hands in his and squeezed them once again. “I know you have, honey, and I am so, so sorry. If only I had known.”
“But that’s the point. You couldn’t know. Not if we wanted you to live. I just wish I’d told you sooner in a public setting like this. I had really thought - hoped - that after a few nights she would no longer come around.”
As they feasted on chow mein, egg rolls, orange chicken, barbecue ribs and pork fried rice, they discussed putting the house on the market and where they might go.