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The Lady in Red

The Bakery

By Haggar BenPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 3 min read
The Lady in Red
Photo by IB Wira Dyatmika on Unsplash

I was moping the floor when I caught a glimpse of red. It appeared in a flash before disappearing behind the counter. I glanced quickly at the clock mounted behind the cash register; it was well past 7 pm. The bakery’s doors should have been locked, and the patrons should have all left at this hour. I worked alone during the evening shift, but perhaps a customer missed the closing time and was locked in. It wouldn’t be the first time.

I motioned towards the till in search for anyone dressed in red. The store was blanketed with an eerie quiet, creating a growing uncomfortable feeling within the pit of my stomach. I was not in the mood to be pranked by some students from the neighboring college.

“Hello?” I called out hesitantly, half expecting an answer back.

I was met with silence, proving that I was indeed tired from a bustling day of serving clients and fulfilling takeout orders. I was slowly convinced that it was a play of my figment of imagination once I checked the kitchens and didn’t find a soul.

The metallic cling of water droplets hitting the bottom of the sink resonated within the room from the leaky faucet as I scanned my surroundings once more. Trailing the mop behind me, I closed the kitchen’s doors and continued stowing away the chairs in the dining area.

The streetlights flickered on as the night stretched its shadows across town. Staring into the distance as I leaned against the mop’s handle, I noticed the lamppost stationed in front of the store, glimmering in a shade of dark red. Perplexed, I shook my head in hopes of recalibrating my eyesight.

The shop’s lights were dim enough to see through the window where a figure came into view.

There she was, standing outside on the sidewalk, draped in a red overcoat, her back facing me.

The scent of yeast clung to my clothes as I looped my apron over my head and tossed it onto the nearest table before unlocking the door and dashing outside. The woman’s head snapped towards me when she heard the clinging of the doorbell as I exited the bakery. I stopped in my tracks, taken aback when I caught the full sight of her face: she was missing both eyes. A grin spread across her lipstick-stained lips; it was no welcoming smile. I began retreating my steps, not having the courage to turn my back against the odd lady. She started towards me, her red coat bellowing in the wind. The woman walked in my direction; her empty eye sockets fixated on me as if she could perfectly spot me.

My heart was racing, and my chest was aching, stridden with panic. My back finally hit the glass door to the bakery, and I fumbled with the handle to pull it open enough to slither inside. The doorbell rattled violently as I locked the door and turned on the security alarm.

Once I peered back up towards the street, the lady in red was gone.

Relief washed over me; however, the uncomfortable feeling prickled slightly against my spine, leaving the mystery apparition unresolved. My breathing started to calm down as I motionned to sit down on a chair, and my rational thoughts slowly came over me.

"I have had a rough day," I say aloud in between pants as I tried to regulate into my normal breathing pattern. "It wasn't real, nothing was real."

The doorbell rang softly.

Perhaps, I should call in sick tomorrow.

thrillerShort StoryPsychologicalMysteryHumorHorrorExcerptAdventure

About the Creator

Haggar Ben

I love to dream and let my mind drift off into new worlds and characters.

With the use of this platform, I plan to practice the gift and artform of storytelling.

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