There was a quick rap on the front door. Lisa opened the door and saw no one. Her eyes sweeping the street she felt that same anxiety again. Was she watching? If so, where? There were three parked cars in the street near her townhouse. None of them were Samantha’s blue Honda. She breathed a sigh of relief.
A tail slapped her knees. Damn it, she thought, as Patch ran out the door. Bloody cattle dog was always escaping. Lisa ran out the door and tripped over, landing on her knees. It was a gift-wrapped present with a pretty red bow on it. Her favourite colour. Lisa wrinkled her nose in confusion. Whatever, she thought. She closed the door behind her and ran after Patch. He would be two houses down visiting his other home. Patch always gave Lisa big sad dog eyes whenever she went to work. She felt guilty but she needed to work.
Patch was the only thing she took with her when she fled from Lisa. Lisa didn’t beat her up. She didn’t have to. Samantha controlled everything – what Lisa ate, what she wore, who she spoke to, and her money. She had already moved three times and no matter how often she complained to this police it didn’t matter.
“Patch!” she called out. A blue cattle dog run up the street, threw himself at her and licked her hand. She hugged him to her. He was safe. That was all that mattered. She walked back up the front stairs. The gift wasn’t there anymore. Not this again, she thought, fear and adrenaline running through her. Lisa had found her again. Lisa would have to kill her, she thought angrily to herself, before the police took her seriously.
The gift was now on her dining room table. It was leaking. The smell! So putrid. She had never smelt something like that before but Lisa knew she wouldn’t forget it. Better get it over with. She walked over to the gift and unwrapped it. A brownish red-stained box. No, she was not going to panic. She started the deep breathing exercises her psychologist had taught her. It wasn’t helping.
She opened the box and held back a scream. When she fled in the middle of the night she had left behind her cat. She hadn’t been able to find it as Cherry had been out that night. Cherry’s little black head was in the box. Her accusing eyes looking at her. How could she have abandoned her? Another day and she could have fled with Cherry too.
Lisa heard a soft chuckle behind her. Samantha was watching her from one metre away devouring Lisa’s pain like it was food to a starving man. “I said I would return,” Samantha said with a smirk. Without a sound, she stabbed Lisa in the stomach and watched her fall to the floor. “I said you would never escape.”