The Beach House
After slamming the door to her bedroom, Jen started pacing. She was shivering and the walls felt like they were thumping in time to her heartbeat, closing in on her and retreating with each pounding beat. She knew she should change out of her wet clothes but she felt stuck and the more she thought of reaching for her bag and pulling out dry clothes, the faster she paced.
She’d never known Walter to act like he had on the beach. He was always the happy, carefree one; always finding a joke in whatever was happening, but on the beach, he had stared at her so strangely. He hadn’t even flinched when the sand flew into his face and swirled around his head.
The weight of her thoughts kept pushing her from one end of the bedroom to the other, back and forth in a steady pace as if the monotony would help calm her thoughts.
The bang on the door rattled the room and made her catch her breath. Her head flew around, expecting to see the door flying open and Walter standing in the doorway, but it was closed. Thank God she’d had the presence of mind to turn the lock.
“Go away, Walter. I’m still mad at you.”
She kept her eyes on the door, wondering if he would listen to her and go somewhere else or if his strange behavior would continue. After staring at the door a few more minutes without hearing another sound, her eyes started wandering around the tiny room and stopped on a small shelf she hadn’t noticed when she dropped her bags off earlier.
It looked empty and she was about to look away when she realized there was something on it. She had to tell herself more than once to move forward, but she finally stepped toward the shelf and reached up. It was just high enough that she couldn’t quite get a grip on whatever was up there, so she pushed it with her fingertips until it fell off the shelf and landed on the hardwood floor with a soft thud.
It was a book.
Picking it up, she brushed away dust that had settled on the top of it. The outside was leather and there was an elastic strap wrapped around it, holding it closed. There were no markings on it, so she couldn’t tell exactly what it was, but if she had to venture a guess, she would have said it was a journal of some sort. She turned it back and forth in her hands, weighing the decision of whether or not to open it.
She glanced toward the door, but the only things she could hear were the faint sound of the not-too-distant ocean and the creaks of an old house settling in the night. She knew sleep wasn’t happening any time soon, so she started unwrapping the band as she slowly made her way to the bed.
Sitting down, she opened it to the first page and realized her guess was correct. It was a journal, and the handwritten words were strewn sporadically across the first page. She flipped a few pages and saw that the words were less and less organized the farther she went. Sometimes the writing was neat and precise and at other times it was large with only a few words on each page. Those stood out the most and she couldn’t help but read them as she turned the pages.
I HATE YOU!!
The more she read, the more horrified she became. She flipped all the way to the end but the last few pages were empty. Not knowing why, she turned back to the very last thing that had been written.
“I have this strange feeling that it will happen today. The water is calling me. It surrounds me in my dreams and I hear it rushing towards me during the day. I can hear it even now as I sit here writing this. I don’t want to die, but he has other plans. There was never any hope for me. What is hope, after all, but a fleeting dream that evaporates in the cold light of reality. His reality…”
Jen was mesmerized by the final words that somehow seemed to fade off the page. She was turning the pages back to start from the beginning when another bang fell on the door, only this time there was more force behind it and she heard wood splintering.
The book fell out of her hands as she jumped to her feet, her heart skittering in her chest. Another bang and the door split from the lock and slammed back against the wall. Her eyes opened wide as she watched Walter race toward her and grab her throat with both hands, lodging a scream on its way out so the only sound that escaped was a pitiful screech.
She flailed her hands, trying to grab onto his arms, scratching and clawing at his vice-like grip as it continued to squeeze tighter and tighter. Not finding escape, she started reaching her hands behind her, on the bed, anywhere she could feel, but there was nothing there. Her eyesight was going black around the edges and the scream she wanted to release through her mouth echoed through the crevices of her brain after finding no release.
Realizing she wasn’t going to force Walter to let her go, she tried one last thing. Her eyes met Walter’s, hoping her plea for mercy was written in her eyes and that it would translate into his. What she saw was Walter, the man she loved, but Walter was no longer behind the eyes that stared back at her with a vacant expression.
Her eyesight was a small pinhole in a pool of black and Jen watched as he tilted his head to the side and squeezed even harder. She felt a single tear fall out of her right eye and slide down her face before her world finally went completely black.
I don’t have any excuse for my long absence. I think I just needed a break, but the small break I thought it was going to be turned into almost an entire month. I’m going to work my way back to posting more often and will get this story finished now that I have a pretty solid plan for an ending. It’s pretty funny that I had no idea what was going to happen when I wrote the first three parts. I will post another part on Sunday and keep to my original plan going forward.
Thank you to all my followers for hanging in there with me and for your constant support. I love this writing thing. It really is my passion and has the added benefit of helping me cope with this crazy thing called life.