“I really enjoyed it. It has the perfect must-keep-reading to practically every chapter ending. There are no loose ends and I was left feeling complete, which is how you should feel at the end of a novel.”
—Susan Soares, author of Heart on a String and My Rebellion Checklist
Published: July 25th, 2017
Hannah McCauley doesn’t look at herself in the mirror anymore.
After a rebellious past, she now attends a strict private school in a new town, where her recently divorced mother has put her on social lockdown. No driving. No bad grades. No skipping classes. No unapproved friends. No makeup. No boys. And the subject of her best friend from her old school is definitely forbidden.
Hannah is being punished for something that happened a year earlier, something that she would like to put behind her. But strange occurrences frighten her, and she’s accused of breaking rules and doing other terrible things without any recollection of them. No one believes her, so she starts distrusting everything, even her own reflection.
Is she being haunted by her past? Stalked by someone with a grudge? Or is it all in her head? If she doesn’t figure out what’s happening fast, her existence could end up irreparably shattered.
My breathing is slow and steady, and I feel both awake and relaxed, almost ready to face the day. I reach for the shampoo, and when I scrub some onto my head, I hear a noise. It could be anything, maybe even a rattling pipe, so I ignore the sound and start rinsing the suds out of my hair.
There’s a second noise, a little louder than the first, and it sounds like the door clicking shut. My eyelids pop open and are invaded by some of the soap pouring down. I tightly close my eyes, trying to get rid of the stinging from the shampoo, and I shiver in the warm water. I’m not cold, but I sense that I’m not alone.
My voice wavers as I ask, “Mom, is that you?”
An answer doesn’t follow, so it can’t be her. She’s not the type to play pranks or sneak up on people; it simply isn’t dignified.
“If someone’s out there, this isn’t funny.”
I crack open my eyes, but between my soap-blurred vision, the frosted plastic of the shower door, and my bath towel hanging over that door, I wouldn’t be able to see the silhouette of anyone outside without moving. And I don’t want to move. I’m frozen in my spot.
There’s another sound, softer but closer, and I realize that if it’s an intruder, I’m trapped and naked. I feel helpless and afraid, but I have to do something. Just like I should have done something more back then.
My eyes don’t hurt as much, so I look around for something to defend myself with. All I can find is a razor. It was new when I last shaved my legs, so I hope it’s sharp enough to at least startle the intruder. A well-placed and unexpected nick could stall an attack.
There’s one more click, and I spring into action. I grab the towel and wrap it around me. My right hand brandishes the razor, and my left hand shoves open the shower door.
Some steam escapes, only to be replaced by cooler air. Through the mist, I don’t see any sign of life in the room. I glance at the floor, looking for footprints or any depressions in the white cotton shag bath mat. Nothing. No one.
The towel gets heavier and clingier as it absorbs the pouring water. I don’t care that it’s soaked; there are more in the linen closet. I turn the faucet off quickly, and there’s a squeal behind the wall. Maybe all I heard was the pipes, but I stand there dripping and waiting for silence to make sure the coast really is clear.
There are more noises from the wall behind me—some clicks and muffled voices. The neighbors? Adjacent townhouses are mirror images of each other with thin walls separating them. I’ve heard their television through the living room walls when they’ve turned the volume up too loud, but I’ve never heard them talking through the bathroom walls. But then again, I don’t remember the last time I showered so early.
I exchange towels to dry myself off and then put on my robe. Plugging in and turning on my hair dryer, I look at the medicine cabinet above the sink. I didn’t turn on the exhaust fan, so the mirrored door is covered in condensation, preventing me from seeing a clear reflection. That’s how I like it. Because I was in the shower slightly longer than usual, I don’t even see a dark blur where my head should be.
About the author:
Tara St. Pierre has been writing for over two decades, but her muse only sporadically provides inspiration. Her laptop is filled with incomplete manuscripts and other plot outlines, and she feels blessed when one finally pushes its way through to completion--no matter how long it takes!
She enjoys classic science fiction movies and television shows. When driving, she sings along with the radio loudly and off key. She prefers tea over coffee, spring over autumn, vanilla ice cream over chocolate, and caramel over hot fudge. Though she lives by herself, one of her two cats enjoys cuddling with her.