He said he would return to haunt me.
Come hell or high water.
Ironically, high water is what did him in. I could only make assumptions about the other half of his promise.
On the night he intended to do away with me, the lake was freezing cold. Too cold for anyone to survive for very long. He’d counted on that fact. It was his body, though, that had been stunned to slowness by the arctic water, and when he lunged at the small boat-the scene of our struggle just mere minutes before-he missed. I’d rowed as hard as I could, desperate to put distance between myself and a second chance for him.
Then he’d succumbed. Simply slipped into the clutches of the black deep.
Out of my life.
For months afterward, I could neither bide my waking hours without looking over my shoulder, nor slumber without bad dreams tearing me from my sleep. The idea that I was free of the worst mistake I’d ever made was truly hard for me to believe.
And then, finally, I allowed myself to breathe easier. Relax. Feel safe.
That was weeks ago.
Before I started to imagine I was hearing his voice, underneath the white noise sounds of my hair dryer. My refrigerator. My electric fan.
Only I wasn’t imagining.
I began to let my hair dry naturally, and I muted the sound of the refrigerator by keeping the door separating the kitchen from the dining room closed. I sweltered at night, hoping for enough of a breeze through an open window to take the edge off of the relentless summer heat.
Hoping to keep him away.
I wake tonight, just before the witching hour, and I reach for my blanket. My bedroom has grown cool. Almost icy.
And my fan is running.
In the dimness of lace curtain veiled moonlight, I make out a shadowy figure lurking in the doorway of my second-floor bedroom.
I nearly faint from sheer terror.
Come hell or high water, he’s kept his promise.