I sprawled on the leather couch drinking my ruby red wine. Sip after sip, I choked it down, wondering, not for the first time, why. I hated wine. I despised the pungent silky liquid I poured down my throat. A nightly routine to distort my sorrows.
At 10 p.m. the doorbell stumbled out a melodious gurgle, a painful reminder of the days when I had friends. Now, it only rang for stacks of bills, post due. Outside, my eyes caught a winking of red. Placed across the faded blue door mat, a ruby red rose. Weighted under an obsidian stone, a note that read, “And then there was one.”
The following night, “And then there were two.”
On the third night, my heart began to race at precisely 9:55 p.m. I felt a strange attraction to this mysterious gift giver. For the past two nights I hadn’t touched that wine. For the past two nights I had something else to occupy my time. The clock struck 10, and I raced for the door. A third rose, with a third note, “And then there were three.”
“Three strikes and you’re out.” A dark, husky voice laughed into my ear as the world went black.
Copyright © 2015 by Emily Clayton
Originally appeared on 200 Word Tuesdays: