Gifts.

Okay so I'm a single mom to my daughter Aurora who's 4. We live in a beautiful house in a peaceful, family neighbourhood. Or so I thought.

It all started a month ago, I was getting Aurora ready to take her to pre-school when the doorbell rang. I peeked through the small window next to the door but no one was there. I guessed it was probably just some kids playing around on their way to school. You know how kids are, ringing doorbells to mess with adults. I called for Aurora to come downstairs so we could leave. But when I opened the door a small box was set on my porch. "What's that mommy?" I didn't remember ordering anything, and no ones birthday was due. So confused I picked it up and took a look inside.

A vile spell sprang out and the urge I had to vomit almost became too much to control once I realised what was causing it. A small rodent lay in a bed of pink paper tissue. It's body dissected, it's insides removed all but its small heart. Quickly closing the lid I ran it to the bin and threw it out. "Mommy are you okay? What was it?" "Mommies fine sweetie, just some rotten fruit. Never mind let's get going."

That afternoon on my lunch break I went down to the police station. We live in a small town so everything's very close by and we're all pretty familiar with one another. "Howdy Sam, what brings you here?" "Hi Mark, do you mind if we talk in private." "Of course." He led me to his office, Mark was the Sheriff. "Take a seat, what can I do you for?" I took a deep breath, looking down playing with my nails. "Okay, well this morning I received a strange parcel." "Okay, what was it?" "A rodent, in a box, surrounded by pink tissue paper. It had erm, it had been dissected." I stifled the urge to be sick as the smell returned to my memory. "Oh Jesus. Do you know who sent it?" "No, from what I saw there were no notes. I threw it in my outside bin before Aurora could see what it was." "Well okay, let's head over to your place and take a look at it." "Thank you that would be great, I'll just let the office know I'll be a little late."

We took Mark's work car back to mine. I opened the bin slowly, a part of me wanting to just never look at it again. I guess that's why they say you should always be careful what you wish for. For the box was gone. I flung the lid wide open and started pulling trash bags out but it wasn't there. "Everything okay Sam?" "It's gone! It was right here, how can it be gone!?" "Okay okay calm down, you sure this is the right bin?" "Yes, of course I'm sure. I came right from the porch.." I looked up to my front door and noticed the curtain move next to it. "There's someone in the house." Mark pulled his gun out the holster and started walking towards the door. "Stay behind me Sam." He motioned with his hand and I tucked in behind him. He reached for the door handle then swung it open. He turned left to right with his gun aiming. "Stay there let me go check." I waited by the door as Mark checked the house. I was shaking, every inch of me shaking. My ears were ringing and my stomach doing backflips. Someone in my house, how can this be? This is the stuff you expect to hear happening to other people, but never to experience it yourself.

After 5 minutes Mark shouted from upstairs. "It's clear, I think they've left." I locked the front door then we walked into the kitchen, the laundry room door swung open then slammed shut again. Mark ran over and opened it. The back door was wide open, he checked the garden then locked it for me. We figured the wind had blown the door as it had no latch and is very light. "We're going to need to secure the place. I advise you get yourself a security system and extra locks on all the doors. Double check your windows and doors every night and whenever you go out. I'll take this back to the station and we'll keep an eye on you. Any more parcels or anything suspicion you let us know." I stared blankly at him, trying to process everything. "Sam?" "Ooh erm yeah of course, of course. Thank you." "I'll do it with you now then we can get you back to work." We went round the whole house making sure the windows and doors were locked. Once I got back to the office I told my boss about the break in, I didn't mention the "gift". Then rang the security company. We booked someone in for that evening.

System set up I decided to make dinner. Aurora was playing in the back room, I had a monitor linked up so I could hear her from the kitchen. Being my only child and with us being alone it makes me feel comfortable that I can hear her. She was happily chatting away to her toys but I was caught off guard when I heard them talk back. It didn't sound like anything I've heard before. I couldn't make out what it said but it was deep and slightly distorted. I ran to the back room almost breaking the door off its hinges I opened it so fast. "Hunny everything okay?" I said hyperventilating a little. "Yes, mommy. We're having a tea party." Her angelic face smiled up at me. "Okay sweetie, it's just I erm I thought maybe one of your toys was broken or something." I struggled to find a cover up. "No, they're fine." I nodded, still breathing fast and went back to the kitchen. I left the door open this time. The rest of the night, and that week, were pretty normal considering.

Then it happened again. It was a Saturday this time, Aurora always went to her dads over the weekend. And I usually spent my evenings reading with a glass of wine. I was just getting to an exciting love scene when the doorbell rang. I looked up at the clock on the mantle piece. 10:35pm. Now at this point I didn't feel any fear, I guess with the week being so calm I let my guard down. I checked through the side window. No one, that's when I felt déjà vu and the fear came creeping back. I looked down onto the porch and just as I thought, there is was, apart from this one seemed slightly bigger. I ran to my phone and called the station. They sent out one car with two officers. They told me to wait away from the door and that they would knock three times to let me know they were there.

Surely enough after about 8 minutes. Knock, knock. Then a pause. Come on third knock. I was rooting in my head. But it didn't come. I jumped and screamed a little when I phone began to buzz. Dustin read on the caller ID. Aurora's father. I picked it up. Still watching the window and door. "Hello?" "Hey Sam, are you home?" "Yes of course why? Is everything okay?" "Could you open the door?" My heart sank as relief washed over me. I hung up and opened the door to find my porch empty all apart from the parcel. I looked around for Dustin's car and the police car. But the street was as dead as night. Looking back at the package I saw this one had a small card wedge in the flap. My curiosity got the better of me and I took it to the lounge. Sitting on the couch resting the box on the coffee table I lifted out the card.

A gift of love for my princess

It wasn't signed nor did I recognise the hand writing. The feeling of fear started to return as I opened the box. The smell of death filling my nostrils. Two small kittens lay legs up inside. Their feet removed, the ends burned. I stared, my mind screaming at me to look away but muscles and nerves weren't responding. That's when I noticed something squeezed between them. A tube. I ran to the kitchen for my marigolds, looking away I reached inside. I could feel their stiff little bodies as I wrapped my fingers around the object. It was a cubed cylinder with the corners slightly rounded. Then I recognised the colour. It was lipstick. I pulled the top off and just as I suspected. It wasn't just any old lipstick, it was my favourite from when I was a late teen. Chanel, Rouge Allure. I never went anywhere without it.

A strange desire came over me to use it but I shook it off quickly then set the lipstick down on the table. Grabbing my phone I called Mark's personal number. Doot doot doot. No service. How could I have no service? I ran to the house phone. Dooooooooooot. I slammed the phone down onto the receiver. Someone was messing with me and now instead of fear anger struck. I grabbed my keys and my jacket and stormed out in my pyjamas and slippers.

I drove to the station. Stormed inside and demanded to see Mark. Sophia the receptionist looked both concerned and scared. "Is everything alright Sam? It's just Mark isn't here this late. He's at home now." Looking at her eyes I then realised I had come on a bit strong. "Sorry, sorry I erm I called earlier, you were meant to send some officers to my house. They never showed." "I'm sorry Sam we've had no calls all night. There's only 3 of us here." "I defiantly called, I told you about a second package. You said about the secret knock?" "I'm really sorry but I don't know what you're talking about, no ones called." Blood rushed to my head, I could feel and see my heart pounding out of my chest. Then it all went dark.

I woke to a blurry Sophia and two officers standing over me. "Sam? Sam? Can you hear us?" It came through distorted and echoey. I managed a mumble. "She's coming to. Sam you fainted, here take a drink." One of the officers was holding a bottle of water, vision coming back into focus I sat up for a sip. "Are you alright love?" Sophia's smile filled with worry. "I called Mark he's on his way over."

Once he arrived I explained the nights events. He suggested we got out for a bit. We're staying in New York now at my sisters. I've taken personal leave off work until we figure things out. I told Aurora it was a spontaneous holiday to see her Auntie. We've been here about a week now and it's been nice. That was up until this morning. My sister lives in a fancy huge block of flats. She was out with Aurora in town when a knock on the door came. And yes stupid me answered it. And there it was my third "gift". I haven't opened it or told anyone yet. Just been sat at the dining table staring at the card.

You can't hide from me princess

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