The ride to her apartment takes an eternity even as I blow through several lights and stop signs. Luckily, there aren't many people on the road. I hit the security buzzer in the main entryway pacing anxiously. I hit it a second and third time and still there’s no answer. I pull out my cell and dial her number. When she doesn’t pick up, my stomach churns.
I hit a few other buttons despite the hour. I’m most likely waking people up, but I don't give a rat's ass. Something is wrong. I think about that night when I found her making words on her skin with pin marks. That night I realized why we were always in the dark when we made love, and why there were certain parts she never wanted me to touch.
Someone responds to their buzzer. I yank open the inner door and dash up the stairs. I knock on her apartment door. Nothing. I put my ear to the door hoping to at least hear some movement. Silence. I bang harder.
“Carmen, open the door. It's Devon. Please. I know you're there. I saw your car in the lot. C'mon, open up.”
I wish I’d learned to pick a lock.
The woman across the hall opens her door and asks if I realize what time it is. I apologize and she retreats. I dial another number on my cell.
A groggy voice says, “Hello?”
“Shelly, it's Dev. Do you have a key to Carmen's apartment?”
“Um, yeah she gave me one. I'm not sure where it is. Why?”
“It's a long story. I don't have time to explain. Can you please just find..?”
The lock on the door clicks.
“Hold on; I think she's opening the door.”
Through a small crack in the doorway Carmen whispers, “I'm fine. Go home.”
She tries to close it, but I stick my foot out.
“I'll call you back, Shelly,” I say before ending the call. “Let me in Car. I want to see that you're all right.”
She steps back and I go inside. She is wrapped in a sheet and as she turns to walk away from me I spy red. No shock there. I follow her to the bedroom. Carmen curls up in a ball on her mattress.
“See. I'm fine. Please go.”
“You are not fine, Carmen.” I sit her bed and stroke her hair. I see the manicure kit on the nightstand. The cuticle scissors are missing. “Talk to me.”
She doesn't move.
“Why didn't you call me before you..?”
“Why? So you could watch?” she snaps.
At least now she’s responding.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish