No one believed me about the little things. They thought I made it up or just forgot where I put my cup or my book. But I didn’t forget. And by the time it wasn’t just little things anymore… it was too late.
It started only weeks after we’d moved in. The thrill of the new house had worn off, and we’d unpacked all there was to unpack and settled into a rhythm. Sal woke earliest and made coffee and left for work. Jilly and I were up around the same time. Jilly finished Sal’s coffee and refilled the pot for a second cup and enough for me and Mer. Mer wouldn’t be up til after Jilly and I left, but she didn’t mind lukewarm coffee.
It was a Tuesday when I came down to the kitchen to find the coffee pot plugged in on a different counter. My half-awake brain tried to lift the pot and my fingers closed around nothing. I glanced around, confused, and saw the coffeemaker on the other side of the fridge now. I shrugged it off, though. I figured Sal decided she liked it better over there. No big deal.
Mer asked about it once, but it got shrugged off and no one pressed the issue to pinpoint who moved it.
On a Thursday morning, I stumbled into the bathroom to shower before work and noticed the next thing. Everything on the vanity’s counter had been rearranged. The toothbrush holder moved to inside the cabinet, the soap bottle on the right instead of the left, and the bottle of mouthwash was nowhere to be found.
I asked Sal, but she didn’t know what had happened. She asked Mer that evening once we were all home. Mer walked into the bathroom and said she didn’t know what we were talking about; she pointed and everything was where it had been the day before. Sal and I frowned at each other and then glanced back at Jilly. She only shrugged and said she didn’t use that bathroom today.
The rest of them brushed it off. But something about it stuck with me.
A week or two later, I found my wallet in the kitchen instead of the closet.
Then Jilly turned the house upside down trying to find her slippers as she swore she’d left in her room. She found them in the pantry.
Sal couldn’t find her cell phone for three days, but then one morning it lay on her nightstand as though it had never left.
But no one wanted to talk about what it meant.
I didn’t even want to talk about what it meant.
So we didn’t talk about it.
Monday, the living room windows were wide open, curtains streaming in the breeze.
Wednesday, we woke to find the dining room table set with empty plates and clean silverware.
Saturday, I noticed Mer couldn’t keep her eyes off her phone and her an expression of confusion tinged with fear made me ask her if she was okay.
She brushed it off.
But on the following Friday, she didn’t come home from work.
Sal told us not to worry. She said that Mer had started talking to someone, and she was probably just out with them for the weekend.
I called her once, but it went straight to voicemail.
Tuesday, keyrings had their keys rearranged, and we had the worst morning ever.
Friday, the table was set again… with one less place made up.
I called Mer again.
Jilly screamed from the kitchen on Saturday and we rushed in.
“Who did this!” She waved her phone from side to side. Sal and I leaned forward to see.
There was a picture of Jilly in bed, fast asleep.
Needless to say… Jilly didn’t come home that Sunday.
Sal admits her fear at last. But I’ve known all along that something was wrong here.
Two days later, the table was done up again, and I ran to my room in tears.
And this morning I woke to find a photo on my phone, one I didn’t take.
Of me sleeping in my bed the night before.
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