****THERE’S AN UPDATED 2019 VERSION IN THE DON’T OPEN THE DOOR HORROR ANTHOLOGY***
by Yawatta Hosby
Deanna slammed the bathroom door shut as someone pounded on her front door. She muttered under her breath, exhausted with the morning’s events. She could only hold the producer off for a couple more minutes–she was under contract after all.
She walked towards the door, her hand on the knob. Before she opened it, she happened to glance down at her shirt and gasped.
Blood stains all over her gray v-neck!
“I’m coming,” she yelled through the door, then proceeded into her bedroom. In the hallway, she made sure to pause for a moment to stare at the bathroom door.
Could she pull this off?
Her freedom depended on it.
It didn’t take long for her to change into different clothes. Within a minute, the producer, camera man and sound guy of the popular reality tv show Married At First Glance were in her living room, setting up equipment. Deanna dreaded filming days–her “husband” Nico was such an asshole. Where had the casting director found him?
Deanna and the producer sat on the couch. She offered him something to drink but he refused.
She glanced at the sound guy who was taping a small microphone onto a lamp near the wall by the bathroom!
Deanna’s heart beat quickened.
A few steps further and he may open the bathroom door! It’s not like she could stop him. Or could she?
“I’m sorry to say, but Nico isn’t here.”
The producer rolled his eyes. It’s not like this wasn’t a common occurrence. Nico believed in the philosophy that every rule had loopholes. Like he could be “married” on a tv show but during non-filming days leave to screw his ex-girlfriend who had conveniently found love for him again since he became a star. “Where is he?”
“If I knew, I’d tell you.”
“I’ll be right back.” The producer stepped out of the living room into the kitchen in a haste, frantically whispering into his cell.
Good. The kitchen was far from the bathroom. She looked over at the sound guy again–he’d made his way closer to the bathroom door!
Deanna slumped into the cushions, her arms wrapped tightly around her body. She was too afraid of showing nervousness by fidgeting. Just then, her feet kept tapping the wooden floor. Just then, a bead of sweat fell into her eyes, stinging her vision. Just then, a tear fell down her cheek. Just then, the smell of blood invaded her nostrils.
She breathed heavily again. No stop that. Take deep breaths. Act normal, damnit.
Closing her eyes for a brief moment, she took deep breaths and counted slowly to ten. The long winded kind…one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi, four-Mississippi, five-Mississippi, six-Mississippi, seven-Mississippi, eight-Mississippi, nine-Mississippi, ten-Mississippi.
When she opened her eyes again, the producer was standing in front of her, looking down at her with an amused expression dancing within his eyes and smile. “I couldn’t get ahold of him,” he had hesitated as if he was debating if he could get away with teasing her or sticking to just the professional banter they’ve always had.
Sexual harassment was a sticky situation, after all.
Deanna gulped, wiping her eyes, trying to stop the stinging to no prevail. She gave a nervous grin when the producer sat beside her again.
Even though he wore cologne, all she could smell was blood. Blood. Blood. Blood.
All she had to do was stall long enough for them to leave once they realized they couldn’t film without the “couple.” All she had to do was hold it together. Hold it together, Deanna, her thoughts mocked her.
Or was it Nico playing tricks in her mind? Like he was haunting her from the grave? His grave–the bathtub.
What a mess!
But he deserved it!
Deanna got a little kick out of that thought and gave a wicked grin. Catching herself, she bit her bottom lip and turned her face away from the producer.
Keep it together, Deanna.
Stop mocking me, Nico! You suck, you dead bastard!
“Are you okay, Deanna?”
Afraid her voice may betray her, Deanna simply nodded. She braced herself (thank goodness for meditation and yoga lessons) then met the producer’s gaze, as if nothing had ever happened.
As if there was no dead body in the bathtub.
Did she even remember to close the shower curtain to hide the evidence in case someone walked in?
Did you remember, you stupid bitch?
Nico stop mocking me! Nico, you dead stupid bastard!
“So…I don’t want to get him into trouble but I haven’t seen him all night. He never came home.”
“Do you think he’s at her place?”
Deanna liked how the producer said “her” as if the ex-girlfriend’s name coming from his lips would be a betrayal of her trust.
Deanna was the laughing stock of this social experiment. She heard through the grapevine that the other two contestants got amazing, attentive husbands, so why did she get the jackass?
I’m not a jackass!
Shut up, Nico! Nico, you dead rotten bastard!
Come in the bathroom and make me. Make sure someone follows you in here!
“Shut up!” Deanna covered her hand over her mouth, realizing she said it out loud.
Damn you, Nico! Damn you, you dead rotten bastard!
“I’m sorry to mention it. Don’t worry we’ll find Nico.” The producer hesitated before patting Deanna quickly on the arm. He leaned over to whisper, “Don’t worry. We’ll give Nico the bad edit, but I’ll deny ever saying it if you blab that secret to anyone.” He winked.
Deanna’s heartbeat calmed down. She gave a genuine smile, pleased that the producer was on her side.
“And if you don’t?”
“We will. There’s no show without the stars.” The producer winked again.
Deanna wondered if winking was his go-to defense mechanism in a crisis.
Oh no, she hadn’t been paying attention to the sound guy. It only took a second. A second for her life to be over. A second for someone to find her haunting secret.
She had to get them out quickly!
“Should you go looking for him?”
“I have assistants for that.”
She bit her bottom lip. There was no way they’d stay the full hours required to film, would they?
Would they? Would they? Would they? They smell the blood too! They’re just toying with me!
“Oh okay.” Deanna tried to hold the producer’s gaze but failed. She scanned the room. Camera guy by the door. Mic guy still by the damn bathroom! Producer on the couch.
She rested her sight on the mic guy. When he looked at her, she said, “Would you like to sit?”
He leaned into the wall. “I’m okay, ma’am. Thanks though.”
Shut up, Nico! Nico, you dead rotten bastard!
“Please sit down. It’d make me more comfortable.” She hated that she had to nag him but it was the only way. He had to sit. What if Nico was right? What if guys who stood did have a sudden urge to pee?
She only had one bathroom!
The bathroom with her dead “husband” spawned in the bathtub–guts and blood pouring out of his body like a sausage.
Deanna gave a wicked grin. She was happy that the mic guy attempted to stand up from the wall. Before he could move, the producer said, “You guys can take a break.”
“Thanks boss.” The boys didn’t hesitate to leave her apartment. Two down. One more to go. The stubborn producer.
He’ll save me! You killed me! You killed me, Deanna, and you will pay for it!
Shut up, Nico! Shut up, you damn rotten dead bastard!
More sweat fell down her forehead. “What happens if you don’t find him? Seriously.”
“If he doesn’t show up soon, I have no choice but to call Mr. Poe and get my ass chewed out over spoiled Nico.” The producer patted Deanna on the arm again. “But it won’t come to that. He’ll come. I know it.”
Blood invaded Deanna’s nostrils again. She glanced over at the bathroom door. The door that taunted her.
Open me. Open me. Open me. You know you want to. Look at your bloody masterpiece. Come on, you know you want to. Ha ha!
Shut up, Nico! Stop taunting me. You dead rotten bastard!
“Do you need a break? I mean, I don’t want them to get the wrong idea with you alone with me.” She was desperate, pulling the fear card. Her life was at stake.
All because of Nico. Nico, the dead rotten bastard.
The producer gave a poker face and stood up, avoiding Deanna’s gaze. “I should take a break. I’ll be back soon.”
Yes, he’s walking away! I win! I win, Nico, Nico–you dead rotten bastard!
It was perfect. She stared at the producer’s back, he never glanced back, his hand on the knob.
Turn it. Turn it, damnit.
But he just stood there with his back still facing her. Seconds seemed like an eternity. She counted to ten–the long winded kind…one-Mississippi, two-Mississippi, three-Mississippi, four-Mississippi, five-Mississippi, six-Mississippi, seven-Mississippi, eight-Mississippi, nine-Mississippi, ten-Mississippi.
Like a horror movie with the most intense scene being played in slow motion with the creepy music in the background to give the full effect, the producer turned around. “Before I leave, can I use your bathroom?”
Yessssssssss! Ha ha! Justice after all!
Shut up, Nico! Shut up, you dead rotten bastard!
Deanna stood. If she had to, she’d physically block the door. The door that haunted her. The door that taunted her. The door that smelled of Nico’s blood. Nico, the dead bloody bastard. “The toilet’s broke.”
Taken aback, the producer said, “Oh, well I can look over it. My dad’s a plumber.”
Shut up, Nico! Shut up, you dead rotten bastard! I’ll make sure to hide your body so no one can ever find you. No proper burial for you. No closure for you or your spoiled family.
Good luck with that. He’s going to save the day. I knew there was a reason I liked him.
Shut up, Nico! Shut up, Nico, you dead rotten bloody bastard!
The producer shifted his stance to his left foot. “Well? Do you want me to look at your toilet?”
Noooooooooo! “Noooooooooo!” Deanna coughed. “I mean no. No offense but I’d rather have a professional look at it.”
She sighed in relief when the producer sheepishly exited her apartment. The apartment with the bathroom door that haunted her. The door that taunted her…The door that smelled of blood. Nico’s blood. Nico, the dead rotten bloody bastard.