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Esther rang the bell again but received no response. Strange, as Magdalene was a homebody and at two in the morning should be in her flat.

Rifling through her handbag, she pulled out a heavy key chain and after several attempts, found the key to the lock. With a click, the lock gave, and she pushed in the door. The hinges squeaked, and she grimaced.

The apartment was dark with a dull glow coming from the kitchenette. Esther felt a sharp prick in her heart. Magdalene was afraid of the dark and always kept her apartment blazing bright.

And Tabby, where was she; that feline would have curled herself around Estherโ€™s ankles by now.

Swallowing hard, she closed the door behind her and stepped into the small living room. Everything looked neat and screamed of Magdalene, the tidiness freak. Esther headed for the comfort of the light and threw nervous glances over her shoulders.

She missed the wet patch. Too late!

She slipped, lost her footing and, with a small cry, fell in a heavy heap. Catching her breath, she rolled to get up but froze!

Staring at her, at eye level, was a man, his mouth opened in a frozen scream.

Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2019