The Man in the Chair
M. C. Clay
Tilly Drake had worked hard all her life to get what she wanted. She worked two jobs to pay for her nursing school tuition. When she finally graduated, it was as if she was beginning a whole new chapter in her life. She started searching for nursing jobs, but continually came up short.
One morning, while waiting in line at a coffee shop, she met a middle-age man who introduced himself as Barton Holmes. Barton was wheelchair bound, both of his legs missing from the knee down. He was an army vet who had lost his legs in a nasty explosion over seas.
Tilly liked him immediately, enjoying how easy their conversation came. Barton was intelligent and funny. He wasn't bad to look at either, with muscular arms, tan skin, and a face to die for. His dark hair was a mess of curls atop his head. Everything about him seemed to be the exact opposite of Tilly, with her straight blonde hair, fair complexion and small frame.
During their conversation, Barton revealed that he was, in fact, in need of a nurse for private care at his home. He invited her back to his house to do a more formal interview and Tilly eagerly took him up on the offer. Barton only lives a few blocks from the coffee shop so Tilly walks alongside him as they make their way to his house.
Barton lives in a townhouse in a cookie-cutter neighborhood. Each house looks exactly the same except for a house here and there with a different colored front door. Barton's home is wheelchair accessible, the front steps replaced by a ramp. Tilly follows him inside after he unlocks the door.
The interior of the house is dark and there is a metallic smell that hangs in the air. Barton leads her into a small living room and motions for her to have a seat. Tilly settles onto the sofa, noticing that it smells musty. The smell is strong, assaulting her senses, but she doesn't mention it, fearful of being rude.
"May I offer you some tea?" Barton asks.
"That would be lovely, thank you," Tilly answers.
Barton wheels himself into the kitchen, out of sight. Tilly takes the time to look around the room, observing her surroundings. There are no pictures on the mantle or hanging on the walls which seems odd. There are no medals displayed from his time served overseas, nor are there any diplomas or certificates displayed from any of his accomplishments.
Barton returns a few minutes later, teacups balances on a platter across his lap. He expertly places the tray onto a coffee table in front of Tilly. Tilly takes the steaming cup, blowing across the the surface of the liquid in an attempt to cool it. She takes a few sips then looks at Barton expectantly, waiting for him to ask questions about her background. That's when she begins to feel dizzy, the edges of her vision, blurring. Then, everything goes black and she slumps over on the sofa.
When Tilly comes to, she is no longer in Barton's living room. Instead, she finds herself strapped to a table, unable to move. She looks around in panic as a bright light flickers on overhead. Tilly squints her eyes and she hears footsteps approaching. Soon, her vision focuses and she sees none other than Barton, walking into the room. She is confused, for only hours ago, he had been missing the bottom half of his legs!
"It was lovely to meet you, Tilly," Barton says, his face now looking far more sinister than it had before.
"W-w-who are you?" Tilly sputters in fear.
"I'm the man who is going to end your life," he answers coolly before plunging a knife directly into her heart.