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A Wolf at the Door (It Girl. Rag Doll.)


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Quiet you, I know that I took this title from the Radiohead song (which is quite awesome, by the way). I just think it's a cool title for a story.

I always found the new house to be sort of creepy.

I was sitting in a chair in my living room, reading an old book that I had checked out from the local library. A fire was roaring away in the fireplace and gave me all the light that I would need to read the night away. It was sprinkling a bit outside and the pitter-patter of the raindrops against the windows provided a nice ambience for my nightly read.

Usually I could read for hours, but I was starting to get a bit tired. The words on the pages that I was reading began to blur together, becoming nigh unreadable. I put the book down on the side table near the chair and leaned back in an attempt to get comfortable. I didn?t feel like going all the way upstairs to go to sleep; it was cold and drafty in my room. With the comforting noise of the rain and the warmth of the fire, I felt that I could go to sleep rather easily in my chair.

Just as I was drifting off to sleep, my phone rang. When I bought the house, it came with these older-style phones, the ones that make the loud ringing noise and you have to spin the dial in order to call someone. The phone?s bell awakened me with a jerk and I looked hurriedly from side to side, but was relieved when nothing was there.

I guess I was sort of jumpy. This house was my 10th house in as many years. I was forced to move a lot, because of my best friend and my worst enemy; he had a grudge against me and I wasn?t about to sit idly by and let him kill me or whatever else he had wanted to do to me. No matter how much I moved, though, he always ended up catching up with me. Sure, I would be safe for a while, any time from a few months to a few years, but his arrival in town was always inevitable. Whenever I would finally become settled in and adjusted perfectly to my new home, the rumors would start: He was in town.

I walked over to the phone and picked it up slowly, still trying to recover from the shock of being awakened so suddenly. I lifted the phone up to the side of my head and spoke into it with a tired voice.

?Hello??? I said.

?I?m coming,? a deep, gravelly voice replied. I paled considerably and dropped the receiver to the floor. I was breathing rapidly, with fast, gasping breaths. My hand was shaking as I crouched to the floor and picked up the receiver from the ground.

?Excuse me?? I asked, my voice shaking even more than my hand. ?Who is this??

?You know exactly who this is,? the voice answered, quite calm and confident. ?I?m coming.? The person on the other line hung up abruptly before I could ask any more questions. I stared down at the phone, eyes wide, scared out of my wits, unable to believe what had just happened. Or, rather, I was trying not to believe what had happened. However, deep down, I knew exactly what had happened. The voice on the other end of the phone could have only belonged to one person, and he had found me.


I never found out where Wolf got his nickname from.

I met him in college, in my Freshman year; Wolf was also a Freshman that year. We ended up becoming best friends in a very short time, helping each other out in our respective classes and causing general trouble wherever we went. I lived at the college, but Wolf commuted, since he had lived only a few minutes from the college his entire life. I went over to his house whenever I was bored, which was quite often.

?Say, Wolf,? I said. ?You wanna pick up some dinner tonight? I feel like eating out somewhere.?

?Sure, why not?? Wolf replied. We walked down the steps out of the college and out to the parking lot.

?Where?s Sarah at?? I asked. Sarah was Wolf?s little sister.

?Sarah?s been busy lately,? Wolf said. ?Lots of schoolwork. She probably won?t be able to go out with us, if that was what you were hoping.?

?That?s a shame,? I said.

?She?s too young for you, anyway, you damn pedophile,? Wolf joked.

?I?m only a year older than she is,? I laughed. ?I wouldn?t do anything with her to get me arrested, anyway.?

?Regardless,? Wolf said. ?She?s my little sis, Johnny. Makes me a bit uncomfortable to see you so interested in her, I guess. Big brother protection in action.?

?Oh well,? I said. ?We can still have a good time without her, I suppose.? I got into the passenger seat of the car and Wolf got into the driver?s seat. He started up the car and drove smoothly out of the parking lot. I rolled down the window and let my elbow hang out of the car a bit.

?Where would you like to go, Wolf?? I asked.

?I dunno,? Wolf answered. ?Maybe some Italian place. I haven?t had good Italian in the longest time.?

?Cool,? I replied. ?I could go for some good Italian myself.? A sudden ringing came from the back of the car. Wolf grumbled to himself a bit before parking his car on the side of the road. He rummaged around the back of his car and picked up his cellular phone. This was a while ago, so the phone was kind of bulky, but Wolf said that he needed it in case of emergencies. Wolf raised the phone to his ear.

?Hello?? he said. ?Yeah, this is Wolf. Uh-huh?are you serious? God damn it, when the hell did that happen? Okay, okay, calm down, I?ll be right there. Bye.? Wolf closed the phone and tossed it to the back of the car. He let himself calm down a bit before starting the car back up. I had a million questions that I wanted to ask him, but I decided to keep my mouth shut. Antagonizing Wolf was not something that I wanted to do.

We continued to drive, in silence, until we arrived at Wolf?s house. He stopped in front of his mailbox, next to the stretch of asphalt that led into his garage.

?Sorry, Johnny, but I won?t be able to make it tonight,? Wolf said. ?I have an emergency.?

?It?s okay, man,? I answered. I was a bit disappointed, but emergencies were no laughing matter.

?I have a favor I want to ask of you,? Wolf said.

?What is it?? I asked.

?I want you to watch over Sarah tonight,? Wolf replied. ?No funny business, though. You can talk to her, hang around with her, but that?s as far as you go. Got it??

?Yeah,? I answered. ?I got it.? Wolf nodded his head.

?Good,? Wolf said. ?I?ll see you later, Johnny. Thanks.? I got out of the car and closed the door. Wolf started the car up again and drove away. I walked up the short path to his house and knocked lightly on the door. A voice answered that the door was unlocked and I walked inside.

I paced around in front of the fireplace, unsure of what to do. I didn?t have enough time to be able to move out completely, but I didn?t want to wait around for Wolf to get here. On the other hand, I didn?t want to keep running for the rest of my life. There was a part of me that knew that Wolf would catch me, eventually, and that, perhaps, this was that time.

The rain outside intensified. It began to pound harshly against the windows and I could hear the faint rumblings of an approaching thunderstorm. The fire in the fireplace was dying down slowly. I went over to the drawer on the other side of the room where I kept my cigarettes. I was feeling really nervous and figured that a good smoke could calm me down. I reached over to open the drawer, but before I could open it, I heard a loud pounding at the front door.

Once, twice, three times; each pound louder than the one that had preceded it. I turned around sharply and stood transfixed at the front door. I was deathly afraid of what could have been on the other side, but I was extremely curious, as well. Against my better judgment, I inched my way towards the front door. Each step seemed to take an eternity, each floor board that I stepped on made a sound that seemed to be magnified a million times.

Finally, I made it to the door. I tried to control my quivering hand, but that only made my convulsing palm shake even more. I slowly guided my hand towards the doorknob and grasped it tightly. I reluctantly turned the doorknob and stepped back slightly so that I could open the door. I threw the door opened and my heart stopped, fully expecting to see the face of Death staring back at me from outside.

But he wasn?t. There was nobody there at all.

I sighed with relief and closed the door. I decided that this had been all too much for me and walked over to the drawer to get those cigarettes. After what seemed like another eternity, I made it over to the drawer and opened it. My hand reached inside to grab the pack of cigarettes, but I noticed something else that was stuffed over in the side of the drawer.

The rag doll.

I walked up the front steps to Wolf?s house. It was nighttime and the stars were glittering like jewels in the darkened sky. This would be a nice night to go out. I knocked on the door and I heard Wolf?s voice tell me that the door was unlocked. I opened the door and walked inside. I spotted Wolf sitting on the couch watching television.

?Hey, Wolf,? I greeted him. Wolf looked over at me.

?Hey,? he said, in reply. I could sense that he was feeling a bit awkward, so I decided to sit down instead of continuing a conversation with him. I looked over at the television. Wolf was watching The Simpsons, laughing when his favorite parts came up. The show ended and he looked over at me.

?You know how I feel about you going out with Sarah,? Wolf said.

?I know,? I replied.

?But she really likes you,? Wolf continued. ?And, as much as I don?t like it, I don?t think I could break you two apart. You?re a good guy, Johnny, it?s just that there?s something that bugs me about the whole thing, you know? Maybe I?m just being paranoid or something?you?ll treat her right.? Wolf got up and I spotted something sticking out of a cushion on the couch.

?What?s that?? I asked pointing at the object on the couch.

?This?? Wolf asked, picking up the object. ?Hey, it?s Sarah?s old rag doll. I was wondering where this had gone to.? Wolf turned the rag doll round and round in his hands.

?Where did she get that from?? I asked.

?It was a gift from our mom before she passed on,? Wolf replied. ?Sarah used to play with this thing all the time; she loved it. Didn?t really matter that it looked ugly as sin, it?s the thought that counts, right?? I nodded in response and Wolf grinned. ?Here, Johnny, you take it.? Wolf handed the doll to me.

?Why do you want me to take it?? I asked.

?Give it to her as a present when you two come back,? Wolf said. ?She?ll love it, I promise. She?s a sucker for nostalgia.? I looked down at the rag doll. It was brown and worn in several places; it had obviously seen better days. I decided to give it to Sarah later on that night, anyway, because Wolf had never steered me wrong before. If he said that Sarah would love it, then she?d most likely be ecstatic when she saw it.

?Thanks, Wolf,? I said. ?You?re a good friend.? Sarah called down the stairs, announcing that she was ready to head off. I got up and put the rag doll in my jacket pocket. Wolf got up, left the room for a bit, and came back, handing me an umbrella.

?It might rain tonight,? Wolf said. ?Take that, just in case.?

?Rain?? I asked. ?The sky?s crystal clear.?

?You never know,? Wolf said. ?Just take it, Johnny.? I gave in and took the umbrella. Sarah came downstairs, looking as lovely as ever. I opened the door for her and she walked outside, thanking me. I was about to head out, when Wolf tapped me on the shoulder.

?Remember, come right home after the movies,? Wolf said. ?I don?t want to hear about anything funny going on, got it??

?Yeah,? I said. ?I got it.? I closed the door and walked over to the car.

I hugged the rag doll to my chest, millions of memories flooding back into my head at once. I wasn?t sure whether or not I wanted to remember any of these things, but they forced their way back into my head, regardless of my preferences. I opened the drawer and gently placed the rag doll back into the drawer. After that, I picked up the pack of cigarettes and pulled a cigarette out. I took a lighter out of my pocket, lit the cigarette and placed it in my mouth, puffing on it with quick breaths.

I rubbed at my chin absently, still staring at the door. The knocking unnerved me very much, but what unnerved me more was the fact that there was nobody at the door?nobody that I could see, at least. I could not count out the possibility that the knocking on the front door was meant as a distraction. Wolf was very tricky like that. He was always a very good planner.

Before I could give any more thought to these things, I heard a loud stomping coming from upstairs. I bit down on the cigarette in my mouth, nearly severing it in half. I looked over at the stairs, again feeling that unnerving feeling. Wolf was toying with me and he was probably having a damn good time doing so. I tried to calm my fears, but it was impossible. I decided, though, that I had to go up the stairs to see what happened.

I walked upstairs, step my step, the creaking of the wood even louder than it had been when I was walking over to the front door, if that is even possible. My heavy, nervous breathing synchronized itself with the creek of the stairs, successfully making me even more nervous than I already was. Thankfully, I made it up the stairs without having a heart attack or anything.

I looked around and my heart skipped a beat. The ladder that led to the attic was pulled down and the attic door was open. I was about to turn around and forget the whole thing, but curiosity again got the best of me. I walked up the shaking, fragile steps leading up the attic door and pulled myself up once I got to the top.

As soon as I made it into the attic, the door slammed shut and I was plunged into darkness. I panicked for a minute or two and groped around for the light switch. The rain was raging even more outside and several lightning flashes lit up the room. I had no desire to walk around the room blindly, with lightning as my only source of sight. Luckily, I had been into the attic a few times before and knew where the switch was. I flipped it on and light flooded into the attic room.

I took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust and sweep their away around the attic. Nobody was in here, nor did it appear that anyone had been in here. Everything was still settled the way it always had been and the same dust caked the objects that were spread around the attic. I searched around the attic and bumped into a small, red box. Something drew me over to the box, so I opened it. I looked inside and saw a cracked picture.

A cracked picture of Sarah.

We had been mugged after we came out of the movies.

It was raining like crazy when it happened. The mugger came out of nowhere and knocked me on the side of my head, sending me sprawling to the floor. He tried to take Sarah?s purse and, when she did not cooperate, forced her to come with him. He dragged her kicking and screaming from the theater and kept the frightened bystanders at bay with the knife that he was holding to Sarah?s neck.

After a couple minutes, I regained my composure and ran in the direction of the mugger. I was soaked to the bone almost immediately, but I refused to stop searching. I ran past an alley and I spotted two figures near the back of the alley. I ran over to them and confronted the mugger, whom was standing over the limp body of Sarah.

?She wouldn?t listen to me,? the mugger said. ?She refused to cooperate?? I started breathing faster and faster, not out of fright, but out of anger.

?You ******* killed her?!? I screamed. I punched him in the jaw, breaking it, but also breaking one of my knuckles. He fell to the ground and uttered a moan of pain, his hand feeling his jaw tenderly. He got up and ran away. I decided against running after the mugger and instead decided to tend to Sarah. Her throat had a deep cut in it and it looked like she wasn?t going to make it, but I knew that I had to keep her alive, no matter what.

I carried her body out of the alley, when a car came barreling down the road. It screeched to a halt, nearly losing control because of the slick roadway, and Wolf ran out of the car, totally disregarding the cars that were flying down the road. I put Sarah?s body down on the ground. Wolf nearly got hit twice, but he made it across the street. His eyes widened when he saw Sarah?s body.

?What the **** happened to her?!? Wolf screamed.

?I?we got mugged,? I stammered. ?The mugger kidnapped her?and?and he slit her throat?? I started crying. The emotion of the situation was too much for me. Wolf looked at me, staring at my hands, which were still somewhat red with blood, despite the torrential rainfall.

?Like hell you got mugged,? Wolf spat out. ?You got caught up in something, didn?t you?!?

?Are you blaming me for this?!? I yelled, astonished.

?You?re damn right I?m blaming you for this,? Wolf said. ?I said no funny business?and then I find that Sarah?s been killed! My little sister, dead!? Wolf punched me across the face, sending me to the ground. I scooted backwards from him, ignoring the throbbing pain in my cheek. I pulled myself to my feet and Wolf glared into my eyes.

?As God as my witness,? Wolf said. ?I swear I?ll track down whomever killed Sarah. It may be you, or it may be someone else, but they?ll get whatever?s coming to them.? He looked down at Sarah?s body, then he looked back up to me, fire blazing in his eyes. ?If I were you, Johnny, I?d get the hell out of town.?

I didn?t have to be told twice. I ran like hell and I never turned back. I knew that I hadn?t killed Sarah, but Wolf didn?t know that; and nothing is more dangerous than someone who acts when they don?t know the entire story.

I put the picture back into the box, tears flowing slowly out of my eyes. The picture, the memories, the rain?all of it was too much for me to handle at one time. I walked over to the attic door and opened it. Then, I turned out the light and walked down the attic stairs, making sure to put the ladder back in its proper place. I walked down the stairs that led to the front room, so that I could finally enjoy that cigarette.

?Hold it right there,? a gruff voice interrupted. This time, I reacted with nothing but calm. I knew exactly who it was and I wasn?t afraid anymore. I raised my hands into the air and waited for more instructions.

?Just turn around slowly,? Wolf said. I complied and turned around slowly and faced him. ?That?s good. You can put your hands down now, I just wanted to make sure that you weren?t going to try anything.? He put the gun into his pocket. We stared at each other for a couple minutes, trying to figure out what the other was going to do next. At last, I spoke up.

?Wolf,? I said. ?What do you want??

?I wanted revenge, Johnny,? Wolf said. ?And I got it.?

?I?m still alive, Wolf,? I pointed out.

?Yes, you are,? Wolf agreed. ?And I killed the guy that slit Sarah?s throat, with this gun right here.? He patted the pistol that was in his pocket.

?So, you finally realized the truth?? I asked.

?Yeah,? Wolf replied. If he seemed put off by my question, he didn?t show it. ?It looks like you were right all along. I was just so angry and saddened that my sister had been taken out of my life so quickly, that I had to blame somebody. I?m sorry I chased you for so long, old friend.?

?That was you making all that noise, right?? I asked. ?Why were you doing that?? Wolf sighed.

?I couldn?t confront you directly, Johnny,? he said. ?After years of sneaking around and trying to hunt you down for something you didn?t do, a crime you didn?t commit?I couldn?t face you directly after all that. I had to get you to come to me.?

?I see,? I said, though I didn?t really see at all. ?So, what happens next??

?I got what I wanted,? Wolf said. ?Now it?s time for me to get some peace. Get your shovel ready, Johnny. I?m going out.? I suddenly understood what he wanted and went out to get my shovel. When I came back, shovel in hand, Wolf was gone. I looked out the window to my backyard, saw a bright flash of light and knew immediately what had happened. Wolf was at peace and it was finally time for me to take care of my business. After ten years, I was finally free.

Comments and critique are appreciated, as always.
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I think the story was great. You really captured the fear/nervous tension well in the story. The only thing I had a problem with was at first I was thinking the person telling the tale was female. I think this comes for all those "stalker" movies I have seen where some guy is chasing a girl. It wasn't until the flashback that I realized it was a guy. Not that gender matters, but it caught me off guard and I had to change my mindset.

Excellent job with the writing. Keep up the great work. :)
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Hm, I didn't have that problem at all. I got that the narrator was a male immediately, the traits seems masculine to me. somehow. In any case, I really liked the story, especially how the flash backs jump in between the present-time story. The first flash back, though, sounds some what mechanical, and it stands out from the rest of the story in an odd way. The rest flows rather perfectly though, I think. It was a very good read ::nods::
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[font=Verdana][size=1][color=darkred]Here comes I with my verdict ~_^

*lol* Just kidding. It was a brilliant story, you managed going from present to past and back again (several times) [i]very[/i] well. [/color][/size][/font]
[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#8b0000]The only part I feel a bit iffy about, is the mugging sequence. You don't give much of a description to the mugger, so it's difficult to get a real grasp of how he delivers the "[color=#000000]She wouldn?t listen to me,? the mugger said. ?She refused to cooperate?[/color]" Is he cold blooded, scared witless ?
[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#8b0000]And it seems a little strange that Wolf later on says[color=darkred] "[color=#000000]It may be you[/color]". We get that he blames Johnny for what happened, but to say that is ... off beat ? I'm not sure, heh.[/color][/color][/size][/font]

[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#8b0000]What I do know for sure is that you got a really good vibe going, grabbing the attention of the reader and keeping it. You've done great with the two characters and it's easy to get excited about this piece. [/color][/size][/font]
[font=Verdana][size=1][color=#8b0000]Thumbs up for you, Shin ^_^[/color][/size][/font]
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The poor mugger was neglected by me - I feel bad now ;_; That's a problem, though...the mugger was the only person I didn't really give [i]that[/i] much thought into developing. He was just in the story for one thing: To kill Sarah and provide the basis of the fight between Johnny and Wolf.

That particular line that Wolf says is supposed to be a bit reluctant on his part. He believes that Johnny had something to do with Sarah's death, but Johnny is a good friend of his and he's a bit reluctant to put the full blame of Sarah's death upon him. At the same time, though, he told Johnny to take care of Sarah and Sarah was killed, so, in essence, Wolf blames Johnny for her death, regardless of whether or not he killed her.

However, Wolf [i]does[/i] finally come to realize that Johnny could not have prevented Sarah's death any more than Wolf, himself, could have. It's just that Sarah was such an integral part of his life, that he's having a lapse of sanity, so to speak...one that lasts quite a while, heh.

Don't ask me how he found the mugger, though. I prefer to leave that to people's imaginations :p

EDIT: I'd argue about the slacking if it weren't so true ~_^
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[font=Verdana][size=1][color=darkred]Well, the mugger doesn't need to be developed more. It's just that since he [b]spoke[/b], I wanted some kind of emotion behind it. If he had just tried to get away...*shrugs and smiles* He was an *** for killing Sarah, so he didn't deserve a character development >:|

[/color][/size][/font][size=1][font=Verdana][color=darkred]And yes, I [i]actually[/i] got the "blame" scene ~_^ But I need to pick on your stories, otherwise you'll slack ! ^_^[/color][/font][/size]
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