Jane trudged into her apartment with sore feet from a day of waitressing and headed straight for the bathroom. She wanted nothing more than a shower to rid her of the grease coating and to take her hair down. The dead gerbil lay in place of the soap, and its blood dried in the crease along the edge of the sink. Her scream filled the room and echoed off the shower tiles and rang in her head until it deafened her. She stopped because it hurt her ears and wouldn’t change poor dead Harry “the Biter” from being dead.
Three breaths later and a room away, her brain started to work. Someone killed her pet. Someone was in the apartment to kill Harry. She checked every window. All closed. She checked the front door. No damage. Someone with a key was in the apartment and killed Harry. It must have been her roommate.
Jane marched down the hallway and knocked on Chandra’s door. No one answered. She got out her cell phone and called her. No one picked up. She texted Chandra and watched the little bubble to see when the text was read, but even though she waited ten minutes, Chandra didn’t read the text or respond.
This was the last straw. Jane no longer cared that her and Chandra had been friends since elementary school. So Chandra stopped the school bullies from picking on her, that didn’t give Chandra the right to push her around. Who cared if Chandra got Jane her first job. She could have gotten the stupid dish washing job all on her own. And what had Chandra done for Jane lately. Nothing.
The free-loader roommate had to go. Chandra started it by killing Harry. Now Jane had to return the favor. Jane stomped down the hallway and slammed Chandra’s bedroom door open. She turned on the light and saw the collage wall of all their friends.
Their friends, right? Well, Jane never had a crush on Chris Hemsworth. She ripped the magazine page of actor off the wall. Katie hated her. The only things they had ever done together was hangout in the same room when Chandra was there. She stabbed Katie’s picture in the eye with a push pin. Grabbing a marker from the desk, Jane drew blobs over the faces of their best friends: Meg who stole the boy Jane crushed on, Christy who blamed Jane when their high school security found marijuana in her locker, Chrissy who only talked to Chandra, and Jessica who told Jane she was stupid and ugly any time Chandra wasn’t around.
Jane kept the picture of Tonito. Chandra was the one who stopped Tonito from hanging out with her, Tonito never did anything to hurt her. Even if Chandra bragged that Tonito and her had sex, that was Chandra’s fault. Tonito was hers. Chandra was the whore.
Jane ran back to the bedroom and grabbed the gerbil and dragged his body across the comforter tracking blood.
“Take that you stupid bitch. Whore.” Jane cleared off a big piece of wall directly across from the door and wrote “whore” in big bubble letters. She chopped up the pictures of their friends and glued them inside the letters. Using Chandra’s precious cheerleading poster supplies, she added glitter to the letters. It wasn’t enough, so she opened all Chandra’s drawers and pulled all her clothes out until she found a sparkly thong with a ribbon on front. With the push pin she stuck the underwear on the wall and then tied the gerbil up with the bow.
From the closet, Jane yanked out Chandra’s stash of weed and sprinkled it all over the floor. It still wasn’t enough. Jane stormed out of the apartment. She knew where Chandra worked. She’d find her and cut her open like a gerbil.
Chandra stopped outside her apartment. The door was open and she remembered closing it when she left. She’d checked twice. She always checked. It was part of her therapy. Mary Beth told her to make all her actions deliberate. So she checked the door twice before she left.
“Green County Sheriff’s, how may I help you?”
“Someone broke into my apartment,” she told the operator.
“Are they still there?”
“I don’t know. The door is open, so I haven’t gone in.”
“Can you see any damage or anything stolen from where you are at?”
Chandra peered around the door. “No.”
“What about the door? Is it broken? Does it look forced?”
Chandra stared at the normal door frame. “No.”
“Do you live with anyone?”
“No. I live alone.”
“Is there somewhere safe you can wait?”
Chandra glanced around. She could stay with the superintendent probably or in the complex office. “Yes.”
“We’ll send a car around.”
“Thank you.” Chandra ended the call and stepped into the apartment. Nothing looked out of place. She moved from the living room to the kitchen to her bedroom. From the hallway, she saw her room and sank down the wall. Her hand shook and her stomach heaved. Dialing the next number took more concentration and will than lifting a semi.
“Green County Mental Health. This is Angie.”
“Hi, Angie. This is Chandra Willman. Can I talk to Mary Beth?”
“Hi, Chandra. No she’s in with a patient. Can I take a message?”
“Tell her, Jane’s back, and she’s not happy.”