Calling Card

Riley knew death. Death was a frequent visitor and he never forgot to leave a mental calling card. A memory of the event itself, the lead up or even the aftermath. No matter how much time passed, it was always was there, the knowledge that death would come again, the understanding that one day it would come for her. Inescapable, clawing and persistent. Death called and Riley answered.

Run. Don’t stop. Don’t look back. It repeats in her mind over and over, a skipping record repeating at an uncomfortable rhythm. Run. Don’t stop. Don’t look back. Repeating in her dreams that quickly turn to nightmares. She remembered everything – the figure looming above him, his determined eyes as he screamed the words, the blood and the metallic taste of fear in her mouth. Run. Don’t stop. Don’t look back.

As the horror happened before her eyes, her body froze. Unable to move, unable to speak, barely able to breathe. In what felt like eternity she began to regain control. Run. Her feet started to move. Backing away, step by step. She pivoted, her back to the monster, her pace quickening. Don’t stop. Door after door, she kept moving. The screaming, the blood, the chaos all gave way to silent streets and heavy breathing as she smashed her feet into the wet road. Don’t look back. The thought hits and she closed her eyes hard, her pace never wavered.

Ten years later and the memory burns as bright as the sun. Forever there, always hot and on the verge of imploding, it stews and swells as her days pass. What if she never ran? Could she have saved him if she stopped? What would she see if she looked back? The calling card there forever, a reminder of what she lost and what was waiting for her. She couldn’t escape, it was closing in and she could feel it. But she wasn’t going to let it win without a fight. Death was calling and Riley was ready.


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