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Crazy Ex-Boyfriend (3): Surprise Visit

As the title suggests.
There were nights that Little Sheila lay in bed, listening to the sound of fighting.

Her mother would shout, her father would begin laying into her and the screaming would start.

Banging. Crashing. Furniture rustling.

She cried, he seethed, and Little Sheila pushed her face into the long toy snake her three-year-old body was wrapped around.

The little girl imagined the day her mother would leave him, and she would leave with her, to finally break free from the violence.

Then, one day, her mother did leave... and Little Sheila remained right where she was... with just a toy to comfort her.

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Kate, a university tutor, was a blonde woman in her late 50's, who spoke so softly, that Sheila had to strain her ears to hear her. They were in a small, dull room with a wooden table and four chairs that took up most of the space - with just enough room for a potted plant in the corner.

Most of the time, Kate would glance at her paperworks, scribbling this and that, and then she would look at Sheila to ask a question or make a comment. The atmosphere made Sheila feel as though she was in a therapy session.

Kate glanced at her wrist watch. "Right. We've been here for almost thirty minutes now. I'm sure you're tired of hearing me ramble on about the rules and regulations of the university guidelines."

Sheila nodded, a barely noticeable nod. She was very stiff, hiding behind a vacant expression.

Kate sighed softly. "With the way you're going, you might fail this year... which would be a great shame. You're very talented and bright... In fact, our MARs scheme recognized you as a high-achieving student in the course last year... You're aware of this, aren't you?"

Sheila nodded again.

"Last year, you had perfect attendance and achieved some of the greatest grades that our course has ever seen. But now... you're barely turning up for any sessions. You're not submitting your assignments... It's a shame, really. You're spending a lot of money just to be here... what a waste of money, and talent, this will be."

Sheila looked down, playing with her hands that were resting on the wooden table.

Kate pulled up her glasses, resting it on her head. "I'm going to ask you again, Sheila... what's the matter? Is something happening in your personal life that you would like to share with me?"

Sheila stayed quiet, faffing around with her sleeves.

"We're in a safe environment," Kate said, softening her tone. "You can tell me if anything is bothering you - whatever you feel comfortable sharing. After all, your well-being is what matters most to me. If there's something bothering you, which is affecting your academic performance, you can tell me and I will try my best to help you in whatever way I can."

Sheila bit her lip nervously. Should she tell her tutor about her problems, or would it only make the situation worse?

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Late at night, Sheila heard a knocking at her door. She had just stepped out of the shower; a pink robe covering her body and a white towel on her head. Switching on her phone, she glanced at the time. 10:02 PM. She wondered who could be outside her doorsteps around this time of the night? Perhaps, it was someone visiting the neighbors, but they were at the wrong door. She didn't think much of it, assuming the person would give up and walk away.

Unraveling her hair from the towel, she turned on the hair dryer. It was a loud whirring vacuum noise - the only sound she could hear for fifteen minutes. As she switched off the device, her heart momentarily stopped, hearing loud noises coming from below. It was a banging, urgent sound - as if someone was trying to hammer the door down with their fists.

Sheila walked to her bedroom window and opened it. The sky was black, starless. The world would've been in complete darkness, if it were not for the amber glow from the street lights. She looked down at her front lawn, where she had a nice view of her garden, the picket gate and the hedges enclosing the space. Just then, the knocking had stopped and a tall, shadowy figure was walking across her grass, which made her blood run cold.

As if he had sensed that eyes were on him, the figured looked up - his head pointed up at her direction.

"Sheila!"

That familiar voice.

"Mason?" She exclaimed, astonished. First the phone call, and now this?

"What on earth are you doing here!?"

"Open the door! I need to talk to you!"

Was he crazy? Did he really think she was going to let him in? Of course not. Mason was acting unusual - scary, even. She was still feeling a little shaken from that strange phone call he made a couple of nights ago, where he had expressed his desire to hurt her. She was not going to risk letting him inside of her house. Lord knows what he would do. She wasn't prepared to find out.

"If you have something to say, just say it!" Sheila yelled. "I'm not opening the door for you!"

"Come on, Sheila, don't be like this! I don't want the whole world hearing our talk! Open the door!"

"No! Either tell me what you have to say - or leave!"

"Sheila! Please! I'm begging you! Let me in!"

"No! Just go away, Mason!"

"Please! It's important! You need to know this!"

"If it's important, you can tell me right now! Nothing's stopping you!"

"For fuck sake! Don't do this!"

"Look! You're disturbing the neighbors! Just go away!"

"I'm not leaving until you open the bloody door!"

"I swear to God, if you don't leave, I'll call the police!"

That should shut him up, she thought. She didn't want to get the police involved - it was an empty threat, if anything. Fortunately, it seemed to work. Sheila could see him hang his head in defeat, as he walked away, heading towards the picket gate.

She closed the bedroom window and shut her curtains, as if blocking him out, her body shaking with uncontrollable nerves. Did that really just happen? Was she dreaming? She hadn't expected to see her ex-boyfriend casually turn up at her house, unannounced, after such an ugly break up.

Sheila changed out of her pink robe and into her pajamas, her mind still replaying what just happened. Whilst she felt relieved that he had walked away, she was curious as to what he wanted to talk about, what was so 'important' that he felt the need to come all the way over here? She wondered - did he even have anything to say at all? Was it just a tactic, so that she would let him inside of her house? It seemed like something he would do.

She needed to calm her nerves, so she headed downstairs to prepare some green tea. Sheila walked down the long hallway, when she suddenly came to a skidding halt, as a strange momentary misplacement of dawning realization crippled her strut.

Slowly, retracing her steps backward, she tilted her body back and turned her head towards the end of the opposite side of the remote hallway.

From the corner of her eye, she noticed that the back door was swung wide open, revealing a rectangle of the black night.

Sheila froze in place, witnessing the silent creaking of the door's rusted hinges whispering in the kitchen. The color had drained from her face. Jerking her head back and forth, she blankly eyed the wooden door banging lightly against its own frame. She hadn't left the back-door open - heck, she hadn't even touched that door for weeks.

She backed away, terrified, until her back hit something hard. She sucked in her breath, as she felt movement behind her. The sound of faint breathing. His chest rising and falling.

"Sheila."

A raspy voice, just above a whisper.

"Did you really think I'd give up that easily?"

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Published: 11/11/2019
Bouquets and Brickbats