"Forget the Knife"

Where was it?

Amber pulled another drawer open, frantically scanning its contents. No luck. She slammed the drawer shut and opened another.

Where was it?

Panic started to set in. She had to find. Austen was counting on her. Amber continued her search, shoving contents around, unaware that she was looking in some of the same places. Maybe Shawn had moved it?

Then a thought formed. Kneeling down, she pulled the bottom drawer out of its hinges and set it aside. Looking through the darken space, she found it.

Nestled in the floorboard of the tall dresser, lay the padded envelope. She snatched it out of its hiding place and opened it. Nothing appeared to be missing and she breathed a sigh of relief.

Stuffing the envelope into her purse, she went back downstairs. She quickly gathered her bags and wrote a brief note for Shawn. Sadness threatened to overwhelm her when she realized she may never see her friend again. But it was for everyone’s safety. Based on Austen’s last message, Amber only had twelve hours to leave town. Then trouble would come knocking. And right now she had no time for trouble.

As she made her way toward the front of the house, a hard knock sounded on the door. Amber froze. Fear and paranoia made her heart beat wildly in her ears. Her feet felt cemented to the ground. The knock came again and that forced her into action. She advanced toward the door with deliberate steps and looked out of the narrow window.

On the other side of the door stood a short man with curly blonde hair and dark-rimmed glasses. There was nothing ominous about the small man. She almost laughed at her overactive imagination.

Amber placed her bags down and opened the door. “Can I help you?”

He gave her a wide grin. “Amber Bennett?”

She hesitated for the slightest moment. “Yes.”

“I’m John Mason. Shawn said I could pick up the air conditioner from you.”

Amber stared at him, confused. Shawn never mentioned anything about selling the air conditioner. “I’m sorry but right now’s not a good time. Can you–”

“I promise I won’t take long. I already paid him so if you let me in I’ll just carry it out.”

Him? Chills instantly ran up her arms. Anyone who knew Shawn knew she wasn’t a man. Amber swallowed and tried to collect her thoughts. But she couldn’t think with the alarms sounding in her head.

“Um… Shawn will be back tonight so you should come back then.” It was a lie. Her roommate was due to return Friday but Amber wasn’t about to let the creep know that.

He must have picked up on her distress because the smile quickly fell and his face twisted into a hard mask. She took a step back and he came barreling toward her. She slammed the door shut but he jammed his foot in between the small opening. Her screams drowned out his shouts as he shoved at the door. He was stronger than she expected. She wouldn’t be able to keep him from bursting through the doors.

Amber pushed away from the door and ran to the back of the house. The door swung open and slammed against the wall. A soft thud followed by a string of curses came from behind her. He must have tripped on her bags and she was grateful for the extra time it bought her.

Running to the kitchen, she immediately went to the knife block. It stood empty. She wanted to cry. Instead she grabbed the heavy grill pan from the stove. The adrenaline running through her made the pan feel lighter than usual. She hid behind the pantry closet and waited. Her heart slammed against her chest as she clutched the pan tight. She could hear him drawing near.

Amber held her breath and waited.