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CHAPTER ONE

The rain always made her feel good. Katherine sat in her car at the far end of the campus parking lot across from Holcombe Hall. It was her first day on campus, and she would have walked to class, but it was raining. She felt a touch of anxiety that morning. Normally she was shy and somewhat introverted in new environments, and this was her first year at the U of A. She only had one more year left and had transferred from UCA to be with Jason her senior year. Three years apart at different colleges had gotten ridiculous commuting, especially if they were actually going to get married. She sat there watching a group of students trudging by the rain soaked streets. Her wiper blades were worn, and

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the rain smeared streams of water across the windshield creating a mural of colors. They all collided together like the oils on a painting. She was amused. A convoy of umbrellas and ponchos moved along the designated sidewalks in front of her car. It was like watching the creation of a Monet; the smeared colors came together to make an impressionist painting. She would have much preferred just to sit alone solitarily in the car and watch the rain. Katherine was overwhelmed with apprehension, but she had to go. She couldn’t miss the first day. I’ll text Jason. She pulled out her new iPhone. “Luv U.” Jason didn’t text back. He seldom did when he was in class. Katherine did though; she texted all the time though she really didn’t have that many friends. Her iPhone had become an extension of her hand. The only time she didn’t have it was when she was making love or taking a shower. Take that back, she had texted making love, but not often. She never read a text though in that position; that would have been rude. She looked to see if he might by chance texted her just once from class. Nope, not Jason. He went strictly by the rules. After finishing her coffee, she tossed her books in her satchel. Time to go. It was still a good six minute walk across campus to her first class, and it was one she was definitely dreading, biology. She had put it off for three years, and now it was time to get it over with. Katherine was not big on science. She didn’t care for it at all; the

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only two subjects she hated more were politics and religion. She had grown up a virtual flower child, the product of urban liberalism. Successful liberals, I might add. She had never gone without her entire life. To underscore her sentiments against politics, she had worn a “Vote for Pedro” T-shirt just in case anybody might mistake her for someone who took the subject seriously. A last minute check in the mirror, and everything was in place. Katherine was the picture of youth and beauty, a tall blue-eyed blonde with polished white ivory teeth. She had a smile that could stop a train dead on its tracts. She slugged down one last sip of coffee and opened her door and then proceeded to drench her Stuart Weitzman sandals in a puddle of rain. “Uck.” Her designer jeans were immersed as well. Katherine opened her umbrella and ran across the street clicking her remote lock in her hand. Fortunately for her, the extra few procrastinating minutes in her car had some benefits. The downpour had diminished to just a slight drizzle, but still the streets roared like a river as the runoff filled the gutters and drains. She was somewhat pissed at herself though. It wasn’t the smartest decision she had ever made wearing $300.00 sandals in the rain. She didn’t want to look like a drool either, and her raincoat didn’t match her sandals. She was determined to wear the sandals no matter what, figuring it was better to look wealthy and foolish than

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wise and tasteless. Not everyone would look at it like that, but Katherine was a bit spoiled and often insecure. Her clothes gave her a false sense of confidence. Sometimes. As usual, she was running late. Up ahead at the intersection, there were perhaps twenty or thirty students waiting patiently in the light rain for the traffic signal to change. In front of the crowd, she heard someone grumbling rather loudly. A few in the group laughed; then the light flashed, and everyone briskly crossed the street. It was an old lady. Katherine walked by her too. Creepy she was. Her shopping cart was piled high with what must have been her life’s possessions. Pitiful. An old radio, a kerosene lamp, bedroll and dishes were all packed in the cart, and everything was soaking wet because the tarp that had covered them had blown off. The old lady fetched the tarp from a puddle as cars honked at her. “Curses!” Katherine walked uneasily around her and crossed the street. She watched as a car honked at the homeless woman rudely and then splashed her as it turned the corner. It was awful; the old woman was helpless. Her clothes were drenched, dark dungarees and a sportsman’s jacket that smelled like a moldy basement. She figured the old lady had slept many a night outdoors,

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probably in the park or wherever she could find shelter. She watched from the other side of the street as the woman struggled to pull the front wheel on the cart out of a grate in the gutter where it had become lodged and stuck. Grunting like a goat, she yanked and pulled desperately without success while simultaneously trying to throw the tarp over her belongings with the other hand. Katherine looked at the time on her phone. She had to go. She was already late. She turned and started walking, and then the old woman yelled. “Please, help me!” Katherine stopped. She looked back. Cars were splashing back and forth between them on the street. “Wait a sec, I’ll be there.” When the cars cleared, Katherine ran back across the street. She handed her an umbrella, “Here, let me help.” Just like that, Katherine lifted up the front of the cart, and the wheel popped out. The old woman looked surprised. She wasn’t accustomed to kindness. Katherine was taken back. For the first time, she actually saw the woman’s face up close. It was a horror story etched in dark wrinkles and circles under her eyes. The wrinkles seemed to converge tightening around her mouth. Then, the woman smiled. Katherine thought that it would split in half when she did. “Thank you, dear child. No one ever helps me.”

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“Glad I could.” Katherine slipped her phone into the side of her coat pocket and lifted the cart’s front wheels out of the street back onto the side walk just as another group of students approached the intersection. “Here, let me help you with the tarp too.” Together, they secured the tarp over the cart. Katherine couldn’t help but notice a couple of cans of dog food down in the bottom. She knew better than to ask; instead, she pulled out her purse and handed the old woman a twenty she had. Her eyes lit up, “For me? Thank you, darling.” “You’re welcome. It is all I have.” Katherine then reached in her pocket to check her phone again for the time, and as she pulled it out, the phone slipped from her hands and flew into the street towards the gutter. “Oh, no!” Like lightning, the old lady’s foot stopped it just inches from the drainage grate where it would have surely been swept away, at the very least ruined. Instantly, she snatched it up and handed it back to Katherine, and her face stretched unpleasantly into a smile of tarnished teeth. She took off her hat and bowed, “Yours, I believe.” Katherine was startled. The middle of her head was shaved with a two inch wide strip. A bed of short gray and white hairs were sprouting along the strip like whiskers. It was grotesque and horribly frightening. Her long, dangling and matted hair drooped down the sides

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of her wet rain soaked face. She stood there with her arm outstretched; the phone lay in her skinny wrinkled hand. “Don’t you want it?” Katherine hesitated, overcome by the shock of the woman’s shaved head. Obviously, she was deranged and not just homeless. It was not a sight she was normally accustomed to seeing. There were no homeless in her neighborhood. Her heart fluttered, and then she swallowed. She reached for it with both apprehension and disgust. She was thankful, yet unappreciative. She didn’t want to touch the woman. Katherine stood back from her and reached out to take it. Grinning, the woman kissed the phone. Katherine paused. With her withered hand, she reached out and smiled. “You don’t want to lose this.” “You’re right,” she smiled nervously; “it’s my life.” The green light walking stick man flashed, and she joined the crowd crossing the street. The rain had all but stopped. The last few drops fell from the sky. She was now a good ten minutes late for class and still had a five minute walk. Just as she was about to enter Kimpel Hall, she felt her phone begin to vibrate. Maybe it was Jason? It wasn’t. It was a text. She didn’t recognize the number. There was no number. Strange. She looked at the message. “Hello.”

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She text back, “hi.” That was weird. Then, just as she was shaking out her umbrella on the steps, it buzzed again. She looked at her phone again, “r u late?” It had to be Jason. No one else knew she was going to class. Who was this? She texted, “Who are you?” “friend.” “Is this a game?” She looked around the building outside to see if anyone was laughing. It might have been Jason. He had pranked her before. There was no one, no one at least who seemed to be laughing or hiding. “Is this Jason?” she typed. Katherine stood there waiting for a response. She was really late now. “no. friend.” “Who?” “Go to class. We’ll talk later.” Katherine went on. She just knew Jason had put someone up to it, probably a friend of his who might have had the same class she had. She didn’t know who it was, but she was determined to find out. It had to be Jason.

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Thrillervision  

Reminiscent of the great matinees of yesteryears, Thrillervision grips the reader with one mesmerizing story after another and evokes the am...

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