This is the final part of a fiction serial, in 797 words.
Disposing of Marta’s small body was easy enough. After just eighteen hours in the acid, she had completely dissolved, and was poured into a new drum that I stored next to the one containing the previous two experiments.
As for Anton, I decided to just leave him alone to his fate, and let him die without further human contact. I didn’t go back to the container, and never opened the door again. After all, he was never one of my experiments, and I hadn’t even bothered to open a file on him.
For a few days, I scanned the job vacancies, not really finding anything suitable for my purposes. I considered advertising for an assistant, hopefully someone who would have a dark fear of something, and could become my next project. But anyone who came to be interviewed would undoubtedly tell someone about it, and if they went missing, I would be suspected. Up to now, I had managed to avoid any hint of suspicion and I did not want to let my desire to continue my studies create a situation where I could not work unhindered for fear of discovery later.
After two weeks of sitting around getting restless, completing all my files and video edits of my previous experiments, I realised I was running short on basic supplies, and decided to head out to the supermarket to re-stock. I might even see if that company had any vacancies in a branch somewhere else, where I wouldn’t be known. As I opened the door to leave the house, I stopped at the sight in front of me, unable to move.
Marta was there.
She was hovering just in the entrance. Her feet were off the gound by a good few inches, and her expression was a knowing smile, with that glint of hatred in her eyes that I had seen when she looked at Anton.
I slammed the door, and stepped back, hardly believing what I had seen with my own eyes. Pausing a moment, I opened it again, jumping back voilently with the shock of her being just inches from my face now. I was shivering violently, and had dropped the car keys on the hall floor. I grabbed them up and headed for the back door in the kitchen. As soon as I arrived in that room, I could see her face at the window, still grinning. I considered just barging through the door and ignoring the apparition, but something held me back. It was something that I had never experienced before that day.
It was obvious what to do. I would order the food online, and it would be delivered. No need to go out. As I logged on to my laptop, the usual screensaver provided by the software had been replaced by Marta’s face. The small jingle that usually accompanied the startup was absent also, replaced with a cackling laugh that I knew was Marta’s. I went over to the house phone, and dialled the number of a local shop I used on occasion. They would deliver all I needed. After three rings, it was answered.
But by Marta, not the shopkeeper. She didn’t speak, just laughed. When I tried to call Mr Dean to arrange food deliveries, the same thing happened. I tried some other numbers at random, and every time they were answered it was Marta. I tried using my mobile phone, and Marta’s face appeared on the screen as I was tring to dial. It was getting dark by the time I decided to try going out the front door again. I went downstairs to get my keys, but stopped at the first landing.
On the bottom step was Marta, floating gently above it.
I turned and ran back up, looking over the bannister rail from the top. She was already on the first landing, so I retreated into my room. I was shocked to discover that I had wet myself, and pulled off my soiled clothes. As I turned around to walk to the wardrobe, Marta was floating outside the window, and I could hear that cackling through the glass. I ran over and pulled down the blinds, so I didn’t have to see her.
By my estimation, that was almost three weeks ago. I am ravenously hungry, but at least I have water from the sink in my en-suite bathroom. Marta is outside the bedroom door now, her cackling never ceases, day or night. I don’t know how much longer I can go on, so I am making a record of this for posterity. You might think I should just open the door and walk past her, I understand that.
But I am too afraid.