It had been one hell of a day, Michelle surmised, one for the ages. She closed her eyes and allowed her body to slip beneath the steaming bath water. It was hot, but invigorating. She hoped it might clear her head. After the commotion of the evening had seemingly died down, she had gone around the house, checking every window and door to make sure they were locked.
Although that didn't seem to matter to one particular creepy old man, who evidently felt the need to randomly appear in young women's bathrooms.
After reassuring herself by checking and double checking every conceivable point of entry, she had run the hottest bath she could stand and entered the tub with a gasp. It felt wonderful, and if she closed her eyes she could almost imagine she was at a spa, carelessly letting her worries dissipate with the steam. She ran through the increasingly bizarre events of the night and tried to make sense of them, but to be honest, at this point her rational mind balked at just about every memory thrown at it.
The night began with her crooning pseudo-boyfriend assailing the neighborhood with his off-key antics, like some twisted Lloyd Dobler. It was so out of the blue that it could have been a little bit frightening -- if it weren't so damn funny. Michelle grinned at the thought of Robbie yodeling into the night, like some weird stray howling at the moon.
Then there was the old man, Max. Though his creepy appearance was certainly startling, and most of what he had told her was laughably strange, she didn't get an odd vibe from him, and that meant something to Michelle. She had always listened to her body and trusted her instincts one way or the other. But with Max she got no intuition at all from within; it was as if her body was completely ambivalent toward the man.
And that was strange in and of itself.
It didn't mean she trusted him, either.
Unconsciously, her hand gently made its way to her clavicle, where the amulet once rested, as if it was searching for it. It was almost like a yearning for something forgotten, which was foolish, she knew. She had rarely ever worn the damn necklace. But now that it was gone it was almost as if...
She missed it, like a part of her was lost.
She dunked her head again and cursed herself for her schoolgirl dreaming of fairy tales and magic, pleased at the effectiveness at which the water drowned out all the sounds from her world -- however briefly. She remained submerged for forty-five seconds, then a minute, until her lungs began to burn from the need for oxygen. But still she stayed under, satisfied and safe.
Until suddenly there was a warbling, repetitive thumping which was so distorted she immediately ignored it. But then it occurred to her that if she was able to hear this noise under water, then it must have been fairly loud. She raised her head from the bath water and instantly flinched at the loud rapping coming from downstairs. Despite the hot water, her skin crawled with goose flesh. She leapt from the tub and dashed down the hall.