Red Rooms

There have been a chain of murders across central Manhattan. All the victims are teenage introverts, as described by their parents. Never going out, always contained within the same four walls, scrawling ironically through social media. Police are dumbfounded as to what caused the many deaths. Allegedly they were the repercussions of an internet link, but the men were apprehended. Investigator Carrie McKee has been fascinated by the mystery of the case itself, and takes it on with the few leads she has. Little does she know that she was entering into something far deeper than she had first anticipated, that could cost her things she never knew she had. This wasn't a small case. This was something global. It was all over the internet.

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4. The Big Bad Wolf.

Carrie collapsed upright against the pile of furniture barricading the door. Tears rushed down her face and she made no effort to stop them. No one would see her cry now. She made no sound, just accepted the tears and used every ounce of energy she had to focus on what she could hear outside.

 

Jason had climbed the stairs, and was steps away from Elin’s room. She panicked, looking desperately around the room for more heavy objects, only to be met with her daughter's own desperate gaze.

 

‘Elin?’ Carrie whispered, feeling a seed of worry ground itself firmly within her. Her daughter rubbed her eyes and looked around at the entirety of her room pushed into one corner, then back at her mother, quite bemused.

 

‘Mum why is everything over there?’ she asked, bewildered.

 

Immediately hiding her face, Carrie tried to cover her momentary breakdown and appear strong for her daughter. Quietly, she tiptoed across to Elin’s bed and scooped her out of the pink cocoon she had moulded around herself, a broad smile plastered onto her face. She sat down on the bedroom floor amongst the litter of toys, holding Elin close.

 

‘Do you remember the story about the three little pigs, El?’ Carrie whispered, trying to replicate something close to a happy, playful tone of voice.

 

‘Yes!’ Elin gasped, wriggling excitedly and picking up a few of the plastic figurines lying dormant at her feet. ‘I have some pigs see!’

 

‘Oh that’s...lovely, sweetie,’ Carrie stuttered, trying not to cry. ‘Well...two of them lost their houses didn’t they? That was very sad.’

 

‘Mhm,’ said Elin, looking down and dropping two of the pigs back onto the carpet, before Carrie hurriedly scooped them back up.

 

‘Oh no no no dear, they went and hid with the last pig in his house,’ She explained. ‘They all hid together from the big bad wolf.’

 

Elin nodded, reaching for a fourth toy and finding nothing but a human figurine. She shrugged, handing it over. Carrie felt numb, looking at it. The metaphor was the last thing she needed to see, despite how fitting it was.

 

‘Right...so...there’s a big bad wolf outside. We have to stick together.’

 

As if adhering to its calling, Jason began to hit and kick the door, inducing little spasms from the furniture as the cupboards repeatedly bolted upright. Carrie held onto Elin, who almost fell from her mother's lap at the first thud. The door warped inwards as Jason forced his entire body weight against the wood, yet the furniture held on in silent unity. Nervous, Carrie looked down at Elin, who was fixated on the door, her little firsts gripping onto the plastic pigs.

 

'Is the wolf here?'

 

'Yes.'

 

'Will it come inside?'

 

Carrie shuddered, her mind subconsciously playing a bloody scenario she had almost forgotten about in playing with Elin and her toys. She saw it all. Jason blasting through the entrance, collapsing against the heaving pile of furniture, glaring at them both and slurring his curses. They would try to run. He'd get to her first, then Elin. The last thing Carrie would see was the shadow of her husband turning towards their child. His unwanted daughter. Who'd still gaze at him with loyalty, she wouldn't understand.

 

Mommy just went to sleep, didn't she?

 

It's late, after all.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Carrie woke up crying, coughing, and broken. All over again, she was vulnerable, alone and scared. She was almost thankful the dream had ended when it did. Still, it wasn't soon enough.

 

‘Jason…’ she shivered, pulling the duvet around her, regardless of how cold and wet it felt against her skin. Then she broke down in tears, holding her waist, where a long purple scar cut across soft pink skin. It still hurt to touch it. Just like it hurt to remember. She just couldn’t believe it had been him that had left the scar.

 

Seeing the porno add yesterday...it had brought everything back. That fear of intimacy that resided in her just as the scar branded her body. Seeing those women...so confident in their skin, such tight, skimpy underwear. It terrified her, because all she could do was imagine herself there, and everytime she did, she just saw scars. Pulling up her knees to her chest, she cradled herself and forced back tears.

 

Carrie hadn’t thought about Jason, or that night, for over seven years, and she was happy. He had moved on, and even contacted Elin, who still believed he was a doting father who just fell out of love with mommy. Carrie could never tell her about the night when everything went dark...what really happened.

 

She could never tell her who the big bad wolf really was.

 

Deciding to ignore it as best she could, Carrie forced herself off the bed and proceeded to amble across the hallway to the kitchen, clutching her blanket to her chest. The apartment was small, confined, so it didn’t take very long. However an exception was made for a stumbling thirty-what year old half-asleep at three in the morning. Eventually she felt the palm of her hand caress the smooth worktop surface, and she blinked to ensure she was in the right place. Opening the fridge, she rewarded herself with a yoghurt (for making the journey), which she almost dropped in shock as the phone rang.

 

‘...hello?’

 

‘Carrie it’s Mal. I need you in the office.’

 

‘What the- Mal?’ Carrie stuttered.

 

'We've found the perpetrators. Of all the bloody-'

 

Beep.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 



 

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