For the tenth time that day, Lucy’s phone rang. She knew that, because she had been counting.
And for the tenth time that day, Lucy ignored the shrill sounds of the phone. She didn’t much care for it, it was if anything annoying and too persistent for her taste. What she had learned, was that persistence got you killed. Much like curiosity. And she would be giving into both those things if she were foolish enough to answer the phone.
But Lucy was far from foolish, in fact she was very in touch with the world and all of it’s faults. The truth of it was, the world wasn’t safe anymore. And she made sure she stayed away from it.
She never lit a single lamp, or even so much as a match. It would draw attention from the outside, as did her phone. But she was too nervous to leave her bedroom. She was too nervous, to leave it even to go to the bathroom. Which was why she had the bucket sitting handily beside her bed. Her stomach rumbled, reminding her that she was also too much of a wuss to eat. It had been a week since that fear had settled, when the thought came to her that, maybe food was the real danger. Where she used to be able to muster the courage to order a pizza, she couldn’t now.
She used to like ordering pizza, because the box was thin enough to fit through the small space she allowed to appear for the few seconds she had to interact with the delivery guy. Then she would throw the money out, not caring if he had to retrieve it from the ground. She lived in an apartment building, so it wasn’t like it would be hard to find. Not many places for it to get lost. The second she had the Pizza to herself though, she made sure to slam the door firmly. And then she would re-lock, all twelve locks she had installed.
Of course, she hadn’t even gotten the courage to make sure they were still in place. She shook her head and huddled against the wall. Between her bed, and the window she had covered with cardboard. She wasn’t sure what she wanted to keep out, whether it be light, or someone else. All she knew, was that it made her feel safe.
Wearily she glanced at the mirror across the room from her. Empty pizza boxes were stacked in front of it, and a crack obstructed the top portion. But in the middle, she could see herself perfectly.
Her light blonde hair was in endless knots, she was sure it would take hours to brush through them. Which was why she knew it would be best not to try. It was clear that she had lost about ten pounds,in her face most obviously. Her once chubby cheeks were now bony and looked sharp. Cheeks should never be sharp. Her once bright blue eyes looked as if they had sunken straight into her skull. Lucy was disgusted with how she looked, but she knew it would only get worse.
The mental battle to bathe was just starting, when she heard it. At first she thought she had imagined it, but no, there was a knock coming from the distance. Her front door, presumably. Who would be visiting her? Her family had given up on her years ago, when she had decided there was no reason to ever leave her small five hundred person town. She never went to see them, so they never came to see her. She supposed it was fair, and now she was slightly annoyed that someone had apparently changed their mind.
Maybe someone died? Maybe this was the person who kept calling, and finally they had gotten fed up enough that they thought facing her in person would be a better idea. Lucy shook her head and finally stood, for the first time in days. Her stomach rumbled, maybe because of the movement. She was at her bedroom door now… and apparently she had never locked it. The doorknob felt cold in her hand, as she twisted it and she was greeted with a click. The door swung open, and now she could smell her musky hallway, full of spiderwebs and that water spot on the ceiling that appeared to be growing mold now. She sighed, hoping it wasn’t the poisonous kind. The world was getting in, but she knew she was still safe. It was everyone outside her little bundle of safety that should be afraid.
Someone knocked again, as Lucy walked towards the white wooden door, paint was peeling off of it. Now she could see where she had carved the words “The world is not safe anymore” when she had first moved in. It was a form of a reminder. Another knock.
“Who is it?” she asked, not really caring how scratchy her voice sounded. Her mouth was dry, and it felt like someone was rubbing a match on her throat just to get those few words out. Lucy hadn’t talked in so long though, that she had forgotten what her own voice sounded like.
“It’s Julianne, from work. You haven’t shown up in weeks, you’ve already been let go. But we needed to give you the last pay stub.. they sent me since you haven’t been returning our calls,” the woman on the other side of the door said nervously. Was she scared? Probably. Lucy remembered Julianne, and though she never had a problem with her, she got the feeling that she had made Julianne uneasy. Strangely enough, Julianne had been the only one to ever pay Lucy any attention at all, but that might have been because they both worked the same side of the pub.
“S-slip it under the door, and then go,” Lucy said as she started to undo all twelve locks. She did it silently, in hopes that Julianne would not notice. But if you would ask her why, she would have no idea. It was instinct. The one she used to have that told her it was okay to leave her gross little apartment.
“If you would just let me in for a second, that would be nice. I kind of wanted to talk to you…in the least, I guess I would say I’m worried about you,” Julianne said from outside the door skeptically, like she was considering some very important decision. And Lucy’s decision was immediate. Because something clicked in that moment.
If people were so persistent, then why not let them be? What use was it to warn them? The world wasn’t safe anymore and only Lucy knew why, because Lucy was the one that had been protecting it.
When she unlocked the first lock, she slipped behind the door as it swung open. She could see the shadow, Julianne’s body made, in the corridor. Julianne, slowly began to enter, and seemed unphased until the door slammed behind her. She whirled around to face Lucy, and in that moment, Lucy knew there was no turning back as the talons protruded from the spots her fingernails used to be. The beast was taking over.
Her stomach rumbled as she made an advance on the surprised looking Julianne. Her wide gray eyes met Lucy’s now pure black ones.
“The world is no longer safe, and it is all your fault, Julianne,” Lucy said in a voice that sounded like a thousand demons.
The last thing Julianne smithe heard, after her own shrill scream of course, was the horrid hiss that escaped Lucy’s now blood covered lips, as she dug her rows of jagged teeth into the throat of her co worker.