Walking into the local McNeil Pharmacy Regina shoved her car keys into the pocket of her denim skirt. She was greeted by both the Pharmacist, and his wife.
“Good morning Regina, I see your mother has you out running errands again for her. How is she feeling dear?” Asked the grey-haired woman from behind the counter. Slightly plump and grandmotherly in appearance her grey hair had that old lady blue tint to it, and her rounded curves making her appear warm and inviting.
“She still coughing horribly. The Doctors have not been able to identify what is causing her illness.” Regina answered in her soft voice.
“It came on so suddenly, I just don’t understand it. “
“Well, I’m sure she will be all right dear. Sometimes these things happen just to let us know we need to slow down.” She added. Before handing Regina one of the filled prescriptions.
“Oh, my!” She said, “John will be getting your mother's other prescription in later today. I will have to have him drop it off on his way home if that is OK. Will that be, all right with you dear?” She asked.
Regina nodded her head indicating that it would be fine while she fumbled for her ringing cellphone. Answering she kept heading towards the door.
“You take care now and give your mother our regards.” The clerk called out as she left.
“Hi Caro what’s up?” Regina asked.
“I need to run out to the grocery store. How long will you be child?” Caro asked through the phone.
“I'm going to grab some lunch at Friendly’s and then I will be heading on home. Could you just check on Mirishka before you leave, so she doesn’t throw a hissy if she wakes up?” Regina asked.
“No problem dear, I will check on her and make sure she has everything she needs before I go. I shouldn’t be long. You go enjoy yourself sweetie you deserve a break from her. I’ll tell her your running errands if she asks.” Caro hung up after they said their goodbyes.
Walking down the aisle, Regina let herself out the back entrance to the gravel parking lot. She started up the car undecided if she should go right home instead, or if she should steal an hour for herself. She had always loved going to Friendly’s it was one of the special treats her dad had shared with her as a young girl. She made a right at the corner and drove past the three buildings to pull into the parking lot next to a squad car that was already there.
Hurrying inside Regina tucked her sunglasses into her purse and looked around. Her eyes fell on the dark head of a patrolman who sat in a booth with a cup of coffee facing the back wall of the restaurant.
Quietly coming up behind him she placed her small hands on his shoulder before leaning in.
“I missed you.” She whispered, letting her soft breath tickle his ear. A gentle smile lit up her face making her almost beautiful in the light coming in through the windows.
“I missed you to Reggie.” Dennis said as he put his larger hand over hers to give it a gentle squeeze. Although Dennis had been a few years ahead of Regina in school, the two had hit it off from the start. They had managed to keep their friendship despite Marishka’s disapproval.
“Have a seat trouble. Whatcha ya been up to? How is Marishka? Any better?” He asked more out of politeness than real concern. Having grown up in the same small town, he had never had any delusions about her or her manipulative nature.
He knew Regina would never allow him to be more than friends, not as long as she was under her mother’s thumb. Little by little he hoped he would be able to change her mind on the subject someday.
“What are you going to have Reggie the usual?” he asked, the two settled down to a quiet late lunch together.
Back at the mansion on the hill, Caro their housekeeper left to take care of the weekly food shopping. She had checked on Marishka and found her sleeping with the wide flat screen TV on, and the heavy drapes pulled closed. Shaking her head, she left leaving a note on her nightstand before turning off the TV. Locking the back door, she let herself out, backing her small car out and down the long driveway.
Marishka woke alone in the house; she could feel a searing pain in her chest. Frantically she pushed the button to call Regina or the housekeeper Caro. Sitting there clutching her ribs and breathing heavily, her breath wheezed with each exhalation. Louder and louder it grew until that was all she heard. She looked around her room; the dark wood paneled wainscot that was original to the house, seemed to be closing in on her making the room seem darker somehow.
Gasping in pain, she fell back against the sheets. She looked down at her hand still clutching the call button. She heard it, a noise out of place. A soft shuffling sound, someone was in the room. Taking careful shallow breaths she cried out for help, her eyes darting frantically around.
“Regina, dammit help me!” She demanded. Listening as the sound grew closer. Someone was here in the room.
“Stop playing games. This is not funny dammit! I need help.”
A deep throaty disembodied laugh echoed, across her flesh raising goose bumps on her skin and causing the hair on the back of her neck stand up. The darkened room offered only vague outlines of what was there.
“You're not funny! Regina, Caro, Joshua is that you? Stop playing.” She said, desperately.
“Who is it? I have a gun; you bastard! I know how to shoot it.”
The room grew silent. To silent as if it were holding its very breath, waiting.
“Where the hell are they?” She thought to herself. Even though Caro was old she still should have come by now. Where was Regina? Damn that worthless slut. Probably out spreading her legs for some useless landscaper.
With a cry of pain she arched on the bed, tears streaming down her face, every breath a painful wheeze that was deafening. Afraid now she looked to her night stand for her cell phone or the house phone but neither were there. Just a piece of paper. Reaching over she grabbed it reading the short message from Caro. Alone! Damn them both. Turning, her eyes opened wide, and she screamed as she saw who was standing at the edge of her bed.
“It’s not possible! Your dead damn you! I killed you myself.” She cried out, before her world went black.