The placid aura of the city night gave Stella chills as she walked along the cracking sidewalk. With everything blurred and smudged from the wet droplets pouring from the grey clouds above, the city looked like a watercolor painting . The buildings reflected the barely lit streetlight glow back into the air of the cold winter night. Stella found lights something about the far from incandescent oddly admirable. Minding her own business, she observed the shops and the tall buildings around her, but something was off. The unsettling ambiance made her senses tingle.
With her teeth chattering and her arms wrapped around her body to give her warmth, Stella’s vicious nerves got the best of her. She snapped her head to look behind, for she thought she heard the light shuffle of footsteps following in her path. Her presumptuous thoughts were turned down when the sidewalk was left empty, no one but herself stepping along. The streets were vacant and eerie, adding to Stella’s chills from the frigid and brisk winter air. Every so often, Stella heard the pitter patter of a rat scrounging through the dumpsters for scraps, or the soft squeak of the squirrels as they scurried up a tree in the park nearby. The sounds made her shiver. It was like she was a character in a scene of The Strangers. She didn’t like the feeling of her hair rising on her arms and the back of her neck. She didn’t like any of it one bit.
Peering left and right, Stella kept a keen eye on the dark alleys that were tucked away, hidden from the flickering street lamps that were dimly lighting her way. It was when she was about halfway home that Stella felt she was being watched. Not just followed, but watched. Observed with unblinking eyes. She looked around herself with a look that would show every inch of her fear well and clear.
There in the darkness of the uncanny sidestreet, Stella saw a pair of white eyes stalking her every movement. Gasping, she scurried along, her pace quickening so she could return to her apartment untouched by the frightening creatures of the night. She looked back to find the white irises gone, a figment of her imagination disappearing into the black night. Shaking her head and rubbing her eyes, Stella walked onwards. She was determined to not let anything get in her head. Paranoid, that’s all she was being. Stella kept walking, her strides becoming more like a run, her fear not subsiding. Suddenly, she felt a warm substance trickle down the back of her neck. Stella brought her fingers to the liquid and let out a shrill cry of pain when she felt the skin split and her fingers prod a small wound. Stella whipped her body around and frantically screamed, unsure of what exactly was going on.
“Who are you? W-what do you want?” Her voice wavered despite her efforts to hide it. Stella heard a deep chuckle from her left, her eyes widening as she whipped her body in that direction. Her breathing became ragged and uneven. Letting out another loud scream, she felt a sharp sting on her thigh and a tight grip holding her body close to the creature. Tears sprang to her eyes and Stella thrashed and thrashed to release the mysterious person’s tight grip on her body.
Stella’s feet were kicked out from under her with a loud crack! sounded as her skull smacked into the pavement. Bringing her hands to cradle her throbbing head, Stella groaned. Her hands were pulled away from her head and bound with a scratchy material at her waist. She pulled and resisted, her body giving all the strength she could muster, but she failed and gave up. The material reminded her of a burlap sack, giving her a cringing feeling like nails on a chalkboard. With tears spilling from her eyes and sobs escaping her lips, Stella shook with pure terror as a broad shouldered figure stood above her. A sly smirk was visible through the black ski mask covering the features of the face hovering over her.
“Let go of me,” Stella spoke through gritted teeth and muffled sobs. She felt rocks and pebbles poke and prod her back as she was dragged down the alleyway they were in front of. Stella beat her bound fists into the chest of the body and kicked the air in an attempt to break free, but her attempts seized when a knife was driven into her leg.
A cry. A scream. A thrash. Nothing could distract Stella from the immense pain shooting throughout her entire self. She had never been shot, but she assumed it felt as agonizing and unpleasant as this. Stiffening, Stella began to panic as the same scratchy material was placed over her eyes. Her assailant twisted the knife brutally slow, numbing Stella’s leg before ripping it from her leg as if the knife represented a bandaid. A strangled cry was released from Stella’s lips as she heard a dark and humoured chuckle emit from the lips of the man above her.
“Oh Sweetie, stop struggling. It’s not worth it.” The voice above her sounded cynical and disturbingly familiar. Stella tried to recollect her thoughts of where she had heard the voice before, but gave up and let her limbs fall limp in defeat. Silent tears cascaded down her soft skin. Not the slightest bit of a noise was made, even as Stella felt the knife driven into her lower abdomen. The man twisted and turned the knife, making Stella feel like her insides were being churned into butter. Coughing, blood spurted from Stella’s paling lips. Her vision started to blur, a mixture between her tears and the excessive loss of blood. The man above her let out chains of dark and humored laughs, his body shaking, moving the knife buried deep within Stella’s body. Her eyes widened. She couldn’t find her breath. Beginning to remember the threats she had received a mere month before, the words that were sent to her were creepily identical to the actions being done to her now. The sender had told her that she was “going to pay for what she had caused.” Stella didn’t understand at the time— she still was perplexed by it— and she left it alone. Figuring it was a stupid group of teenagers playing a prank, she ignored it. Now, she was feeling a bit idiotic and quite naive to think so lowly of the situation.
“What did I ever do to you?” she whimpered out, her voice strangled and hoarse.
“Oh Stella, honey.” Her eyes widened in alarm when the unknown male spoke her name so smoothly. “It wasn’t what you did necessarily, rather what was done by mom and dad. Now you have to pay for it, since they died a peaceful and natural death years ago.” Stella felt the coolness of the knife against her throat and she let out a wail. Her life was flashing before her eyes as she tried to put two and two together.
“Mom and dad?” she trailed off, speaking more to herself than to anybody else. Her eyes practically bulged out of her head as she finally understood who it was that was holding her fate in his hands. She weeped for her existence, using her eyes to beg for her life to be spared.
Stella opened her mouth to speak the name of her brother, who had been banished from her family years before, but she could only get out a whine. Her body froze, every inch of her becoming chilled to the bone, for she knew what was happening. The knife was dragged painfully slow along her neck, hitting each and every life ending vein possible. Stella felt remorse and sorrow. She knew there was no going back now, it was already over, but she could at least gain forgiveness for being selfish and too absorbed in the love she was receiving from her family to care about her brother being shunned. She could at least gain forgiveness for outing him to their family. She could at least gain forgiveness for ruining his life. She hoped.
“I’m. So. Sorry. Craig,” Stella strained to get out. Her words were choppy and hushed. Becoming inaudible, she spit blood from her red-stained lips and teeth. Craig only chuckled as he watched his sister writhe in pain beneath him. Stella realized it was too late to apologize and she gave up, mostly because there was nothing more she could do. Craig watched her become lifeless, her breaths no longer escaping her lips. The pain diminishing completely from her body.
“Goodbye sister,” Craig whispered, an evil and malicious laugh leaving his mouth as he took one last stab right through Stella’s skull.