I watched the crowd soar into the auditorium. My body trembled and my breathing was rapid. Hands were sweaty, my vocal teacher stood behind me, watching with a bright smile. I held my violin close to me. I closed my eyes, it was my first performance. To show those out there, I wasn’t talentless. That I could do this. That I wasn’t hopeless. That I wouldn’t be like my mother and father. That I would be something.
“For her very first performance, I give you, JoAnne!” lifting my head, the curtain lifted. The lights struck my eyes, the crowd was huge. My first thought was to find my mother, my father…yet of course, they were nowhere to be found.
I stepped to the center, I kept my chin raised; attempting to still my rapidly beating heart, I took a deep breath, brought my head against my violin, and I played. The notes came freely. My fingers moved over the strings. I had hoped I didn’t forget my voice…
I sang with my heart, as I opened my eyes, I watched the shadow move in the back of the large room. Two globes were watching me, intensely.
Refusing to allow the moment to distract me, I kept playing. My fingers were sore, my throat was dry, palms slick…but I kept it up. I kept playing. I kept singing.
That moment, I saw no one within that room. I played as if no one was there.
The hairs stood on the back of my neck. Eyes were staring at me. I managed to take a glimpse the shadow had moved once more.
I refused to look, I had to concentrate…
“Come on Jo you got this…finish it.” I stepped forward, dropping to my knees, I played harder, then I ever have before…
The purest of silence…
Dozens. Hundreds of people stood, clapping. My eyes filled with tears, I couldn’t believe it…
They loved me.
Something else, loved me too.
“Are you sure?” my vocal teacher leaned forward, offering me his umbrella. I raised my hand smiling.
“No thanks, I’m good.” I smiled once more, his hazel eyes looked down at me with worry. His lips pulled tight. I gave him a small smile. I turned away. His eyes had never left me.
The streets were dead, cold, and puddles splashed up on my jeans as I walked down sidewalk. It was nice and silent. Better than the rushing day time. I lifted my hood up and off my head, tilting my head back I closed my eyes letting the rain flow over my face.
My hair stood on edge, eyes were watching me. I sighed, as I turned around.
I shook it off, I kept going. It was a good decent walk from the concert hall, to my house. I was never once told no, I wasn’t spoiled. I had worked for everything, that I owned now. My mother, was a huge fashion designer, and my father owned a big company. I wanted to be independent I worked a retail job, I saved my own money for my violin and vocal lessons. I didn’t get my mother’s beauty or, her skinniness. But, I gained my father’s talent.
You see, my mom rules with an iron fist. Music was a privilege, singing and listening to it was earned. My father….well he had a voice of an angel. I like to joke and say he sounds like Hoizer. My father, loves to joke with me and say I sound like Tarja Turene from Nightwish. To me, that’s a huge compliment. We have the same taste in music.
I shuddered, someone was following me. Not only were they staring at me, but I could hear them. They were walking right behind me.
I turned around, for the last time. I was standing right underneath a street lamp. There was no mistaking the bright white hoodie, stained red, with brown snitches. Tight skinny jeans, with black and white chucks, his hood was up his hair was down to his chest.
Hands were in his pockets.
Skin, parchment white. His smile was paper thin wide…red stained his chin and neck. He was stepping forward, his grin was cheek to cheek, ripped jagged. His tongue darted out licking his lips. As he lifted his head, I saw his eyes staring at me, his pupils the size of pin pricks. He had no nose, no eyelids. His face, looked that of a skeleton.
“You should start running. I love it when we play cat and mouse.” his arm moved, and he held a large kitchen knife.
I raised my brow, tilting my head to the side.
“Very funny.” I tried sounding confident. Yet inside, my bladder had turned into the size of a walnut…
It was just another crack head. That’s all.
“Oh?” he said, bringing the knife up to his chin, lightly tapping it. I started to size him up. He was coming closer…
My violin case…
I took it, and swung as hard as I could, aiming right for his face. I felt nothing but air.
“Too slow…” I fell back, feeling the air being cut in front of my face. I fell back, my bottom becoming soaked. I looked up at him, he was about to attack again.
I grasped my case, and pushed it against his gut. He grunted.
I took my chance.
I got up, and I ran faster than I had ever ran in my life.
“MOM! DAD! I need to call the cops!” I screamed running through my door. Drenched in rain. I turned, looking over my shoulder. I was safe. Slamming the door close, I locked it.
My dad had walked down the stairs yawning.
“What are you yelling about? Its eleven at night. Are you insane?” he snapped. I was breathing hard, tears warmed my cold cheeks.
“Daddy…” I whimpered.
He realized I wasn’t kidding and he quickly jumped on his phone. I slid down the door bringing my knees to my chest. My heart, felt as if it was going to implode.
“I was attacked dad…a man with black hair, a white hoodie…blue skinny jeans, converse, he…he cut a smile into his face…he had no nose…I…I…I don’t know…” he was ramming me with questions. By the time, he was done, he just looked at me and told me to go to sleep. That he would deal with the cops. I looked at him, and obeyed.
I laid down, pulling the covers over my head. I tried looking up at my ceiling. But that feeling of being watched just wouldn’t go away. I turned this way, that way. I kept seeing his face flash in my head, and it kept me awake…
I sat up. Within the deep shadows in my room, I forced my ears to become attuned, to my room. I took a deep breath. It was nothing, it’s just my mind playing tricks…that’s it…
“You’re still awake?” all the hairs stood up on my body. I swung my legs off my bed, a hand grasped my ankle and I fell. I fell hard enough to have the air pushed out of my lungs. I hit face first, and I attempted to kick him. Yet as I tried he turned me over, I could barely make out his face.
“You’ll look so beautiful with a smile like mine…” he growled.
His knife, glimmered, as I tried to scream he covered my mouth. I tasted sweat, and old blood. My gag reflex kicked up, and vomit rose in my throat. He removed his hand and forced my face to the side. I puked up everything I had in my stomach.
“Let me go…please, please god let me go…” I whimpered. He chuckled.
“There is no god…know how I know? Because he never saved me.” he started to laugh, running the blade over my throat to my lips.
“So plump…I wonder if you’ll bleed out like a stuck pig…” I closed my eyes.
“MOM! DAD!” he copied.
“They’re dead. Just like you’ll be too.” it was stinging my face, the way he pushed down on my cheek, the blade cutting into my flesh. The sting came with the warmth of blood. I could smell it mixing with my vomit. I tried fighting back, but he just kept pushing harder, cutting it deeper.
“Go ahead, keep fighting me.” he snapped. I froze. I stared at him, the glimmer within his eyes. Clearly, he was insane.
“I’m not done playing with you. We have such a long time…to become acquainted. Normally, I would slaughter you right out. Gut you like a fish…but I feel like doing something a little different.” he smirked. I watched him smile. All his teeth were visible. I shuddered.
“Oh really? The sight of me make you sick?” he asked. Tilting his head. His hair fell over his face, making him look feral. I was trembling. My bladder had felt insanely full. He started laughing. Louder. And louder his laugh got.
“How about I cut your fingers off? How would you play the violin then?” he was leaning down. The scent of death lingered upon his breath.
“Remember. I’m not done with you yet. I will put you to sleep once and for all when I think you deserve it. Let’s hope you enjoy this…little game.” I turned my head to the side, his fingers ran over the deep laceration, my cheek was throbbing, and I felt sick to my stomach.
“You’re life, is hanging in the balance. Hehehe…how does that make you feel Joanne? Huh?” He leaned down, his tongue running over my left cheek. I shuddered underneath him.
“My little play thing…” I reached for his knife, his hand captured my throat, holding me captive, I gasped.
“No need to play hero…” He squeezed, and I squeaked. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t move. I stared right up at him. His hand tightening, I watched the pleasure fill his face, his crooked smile.
“Don’t make me…I’ll make you go to sleep…” He growled. I started to nod. He let my throat go, standing up, I saw how tall he really was. I rolled to my side, taking in sharp breaths. Spots littered my eyes, I grasped the carpeted floor, crying. He was laughing at me.
“You’re f*****g crazy!” I screamed, he stopped laughing.
“Oh come now, those words are hurtful.” He was walking around me, kneeling down, he grasped the back of my head and
pulled. I was forced to look at him.
“You’d look so beautiful, with a face like mine…” He brought the knife close, and I raised my hands, shaking my head. He brought it closer; it was swift, but it hurt. It hurt so bad, I had lost track of the time.
Waking up on my bedroom floor, my face stuck to the carpet. I screamed as I pulled my blood crusted face, away from the floor. My door opened, and I heard a loud shriek. I saw my mom’s high heels, and her long skinny legs. I kept looking up, till I saw the tight skirt, the business suit top, and then her shocked face.
“Joanne! What the f**k did you do to your face?!” She screamed, I started shaking my head. It was hard to talk.
“Mom I…” It hit me. I looked at her again.
“You’re alive?” I asked, my mom by the look on her face couldn’t decide how to reply. Other then stare, at my obviously torn up face.
“I’m more worried about you.” She replied, taking a step back as I tried to reach out for her.
“Don’t touch me! I might get what you have.” I recoiled, attempting to speak to her once again.
“Mom, I was attacked, he came through my window, he had a knife-“ She raised her hand, as she pulled out her phone.
“We’re going straight to the doctors, then the therapist.” I kept shaking my head.
“Mom…you…you don’t understand-“
“I don’t understand. That’s why were going to the therapist.” She replied, looking at me horrified. I felt anger broil.
“I WAS ATTACKED!” I screamed at the top of my lungs, her eyes went wide. I had never once, raised my voice to her, I had never defied her.
“I don’t know, what kind of act this is…but whatever it is. DROP IT. There’s no one here, no one was here. The window is intact. And.” She stepped into my room, kneeling down to where I was laying at, she picked up the kitchen knife…from downstairs.
“Again? Let me see your wrists.” She snapped. I tried to tell her, I wasn’t doing that again. That I wasn’t relapsing…but she snatched my arms, and rolled my sleeves up.
“And to think, you’re ugly enough. Now you just f****d up your face even more. Come on.” She dropped the knife, and pushed my back.
“I refuse to have this in my house again.” She pushed me again; I went into the hallway, pictures of my mother lined the walls. None of us. None of my mom and dad…just her, and her hundreds of modeling pictures. My father, was at the end of the hall, standing up right. Nothing was wrong with him, he was perfectly fine. My eyes went wide as I saw him, and his jaw dropped as he saw me. I tried to reach out, I tried to tell him he was back, he came in my room. But she, wouldn’t have none of it.
“She has an imaginary attacker, and to top if off, shes cutting again.” She scoffed.
“She messed up her already ugly mug.” Shaking her head, her bottle blonde hair flowed around her chin. She had chopped off her hair, and her hazel eyes were dark, while my fathers strong jawline, and short light brown hair was shaggy from sleep. He was still in his sleep wear. And he looked just as confused, as he did the first time, I was caught.
“Dad i-“ I tried.
“Shut up Joanne, come on.” I walked down the stairs, my head hung low. Red hair flowed over my face, my eyes burnt with unshed tears. This wasn’t fair…this just wasn’t fair.
“What are you going to do? Cry about it?” It was my voice, the voice that I had used for reasoning. It…almost sounded like my mom. When I turned to look at her, she looked away from me. Disgusted.
“Did you say something mom?” I asked. He only glared.
There was an ambulance already outside, waiting for me. One look from the male EMT, and I knew I didn’t look nearly half as bad, as I felt. I hung my head lower, as I was helped into the back of the meat wagon.
“I’ll make sure her father follows you guys. I can’t stand her.” I watched as she turned away from me, her heels clacking.
“What a b***h.”
“What a b***h…” The male EMT, said. I looked at him, and I offered a small smile. He just shuddered.
“You should just kill her.” I blinked, bringing my brows together.
“What…?” I whispered. I never once thought that before…kill…my own…mother?
“Why…?” I whispered back.
“Do you like talking to yourself?” My inner me asked. I shuddered, just at the mere thought of killing my mom. Sure, she’s a b***h but…
“But nothing…look at how shes treating you. And she didn’t even believe you, when you said you were attacked. Why not…take it into your own hands?” It asked. I brought my knees to my chest; burring my face into my knees I started to cry.
“Why are you crying? I’m just trying to help.” I closed my eyes tighter, the male EMT was sticking me with a needle.
“S**t.” He said, I lifted my head watched my blood flow into the I.V. The color was beautiful…merging with the saline solution. He pushed it, and I could smell it, I could taste it…it made my stomach heave.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” It asked, I closed my eyes. Choosing, to ignore it