The wiry old man scurried up the steps to place the small parcel at the doorstep. Its pasty yellow wrapping and shiny purple bow looked ghastly under the street light. He chuckled lightly, mumbling incoherently. After knocking on the heavy wood door, he fled away into the shadows.
Angel snuggled into the sofa as the television screen glowed in front of her. Suddenly, cheese dust floated around her and landed on her nose. She wrinkled her nose as the overwhelming urge to sneeze hit her. Just as she was about to release a great big sneeze, Morgan pinched her nose and left her with an uncomfortable feeling in her face. She smacked her hand away whilst yelling “Morgan! What is your problem?” Marisa giggled on the floor at her expense.
Before she could land another blow to Morgans arm, three knocks resounded at the door. Everything paused as each girl looked at the door and then back at each other.
“ I’ll get it!” screeched out Marisa. She lept into the air, nearly tripping over her blanket as she made a mad dash to the door. Seconds later, the sound of the unlocking door and the swinging chain filled the air, and soon after, she returned with a package in her hands.
“ I found it on the doorstep. It doesn’t say who it’s for but it looks disgusting. It looks like three-week old vomit. Not that I know how that looks like. I’m just assuming.”
The girls nodded in agreement as they took in the puke-yellow wrapping paper. However, sounds of legitimate revulsion were made when the box was opened. Fumes wafted out as the little bird lay at the bottom. Immediately, the box was tossed into the street and the door was slammed shut.
“What was that? And who was that sent to?” stammered Angel. Morgan then sheepishly, “I saw a slip of paper near the bird, but I am not going to touch it.”
* * *
Quivering hands held the metal tongs as they approached the paper stuck to the carcass. Clamping tightly, Morgan wrenched the slip out of the box and onto the glass coffee table. Immediately afterwards, she ran into the bathroom, desperately trying to rid herself of the smell and any possible chance of contracting pathogens. When she emerged, Angels face held horror and a bit of fear. Marisa also had fear portrayed on her face yet she also had a small sense of relief. Walking quickly to the group, she read the paper, and soon, her face began to mirror her sisters’ reaction.
My love for you exceeds beyond the limits of the sky, my dearest Angel 〜 Larry.
On the other side, a black and white picture depicted a couple. Angel and the woman looked so alike that they could have been sisters. Silenced permeated the room, all three girls stunned.
“ Wait. So this Larry guy is in love with you and he is sending you dead animals as analogies for his so-called “love” for you and how high a bird can fly?”
“ I guess? Should we call the police? He was trespassing, after all. Actually, nevermind. It was probably a mistake” Angel stated. Shakily, she lowered herself onto the sofa. The sisters looked at each other with concern, recognizing the signs of shock that were beginning to appear. Her breathing pattern became irregular and she was shaking. Both girls wanted to pursue the matter further, but they knew that it would cause Angel to have a mental breakdown.
“ Lets go to bed Angel. I’ll make you some nice chamomile tea to help you sleep.” Marisa whispered as she slowly helped Angel climb up the staircase to the bedrooms. As soon as Marisa got Angel to sleep, the sisters went to bed with troubled thoughts about their friend.
As morning approached, the girls woke up to prepare for the next boring day of sitting in a room and listening to professors droning on about the dangers of using used needles. However, the atmosphere was tense; even the weather reflected the gloomy mood, with the ominous looking clouds and chilly weather. Even with the uneasy feeling within the girls, the day carried on normally. As usual, the day lagged on, each minute dragging on for what seemed to be an hour. The dead bird in the box was the furthest thing from their minds as they struggled to keep their eyes open during the lecture.
However, there was a surprise waiting for Angel at home. Inside the black iron mailbox, there was a package, wrapped in silver foil and blue ribbons. Startled, yet extremely pleased, Angel brought the package into the house. Still cautious of any surprises, she neared the packed with a knife and cut the paper. What was underneath, amazed her beyond even her comprehension. The labeling of the box showed that it contained Chocolates with Edible Gold by DeLafee. Angel just gaed at the box. She had heard of these before. A single box of chocolates sold for 508 dollars. Each box only contained two of the chocolates. She never imagined she would even be in the presence of one. At that moment, the twins walked into the house, exhausted from their volunteer program. Excited, Angel ran up to them, squealing, “Guys look! There was a package today for me and it had these chocolates in it.”
“Are those by DeLafee? I have only seen these on those fancy food commercials.” exclaimed Marisa. She stared at the gold foil covered chocolates in awe.
“Wait, but who gave them to you? You just received a dead bird with a love note yesterday. It might be the same guy. You know, Larry?”stated Morgan. Angel and Marisa looked at each other with shock. They almost forgot about Larry! The three jumped into action, checking the pile of silver foil, and inside the box.
“Got it!” shouted Marisa, struggling to remove the paper from the mass of tape and glue. The girls crowded around her trying to find out what it said. Three pairs of eyes scanned the letter, each person filling up with disgust.
My Dearest Angel,
I got you these chocolates as a gift of remembrance for our first anniversary. I remember how much you loved them and the champagne you drank with them. Since I haven't been able to see you for numerous years, I got them for you on a special date. Now you can taste the deliciousness of them again on our 25th anniversary. I hope you can remember the great times we’ve had together: the jokes, laughs, and even the little arguments we had nearly every day. I hope we can be together again and live happily ever after.
Your loving husband, Larry R.
P.s. I wrote this lovely letter to you in blood, more specifically, my blood, in order for me to be closer to you. Do not fear, I am still alive. Love you!
“Are you kidding me? In blood? That is so gross!” exclaimed Angel.
“Wait.” Marisa paused, thinking, “ If he wrote this in blood, that means we have a DNA sample. Daddy can find out who he is. After all, he works in a DNA testing lab, and Marisa and I are nurses in training.” n “If we send in the sample to Daddy’s lab tonight, we can get rid of Larry the Creep, hopefully by tomorrow. I just hope nothing goes wrong until then.” said Morgan, contemplating any possible problems with the time restriction.
“Alright let’s go. I want him out of my life as soon as possible and this way, the police can get him and I can knock some sense into his head. Also, before we go, lets eat some chocolate. I’m hungry.” Angel instructed as she ran around the room, getting her bag ready.
“Well, the DNA sample showed us that the man is called Lawrence Russell. We found him in his apartment with thousands of wrapped gifts strewn on the ground. Currently, he is in the jail cell in the back of the station. The research team ran a background check on him and they found quite a few interesting things. He was born on August 26, 1959 and has married three times. His last wife was named Angel Henderson and she died of cervical cancer in 2002. Ever since then, he has been stalking women who have the name Angel and look similar to Mrs. Henderson.” The chief officer flipped through the report while glancing at the girls every two to three minutes.
“I want to speak to him.” declared Angel. “I want him to see that I am not his wife and that he is insane and delusional.”
“Go down the left hallway and turn right. Hes the only old man in there.” murmured the officer, already losing interest. Angel, Marisa, and Morgan quickly walked toward Larry’s cell and Angel entered the room, with Larry behind the bars. Marisa and Morgan stood just by the doorway to listen to the conversation.
As Angel got settled on the visitor's chair, Larry’s eyes shone with joy.
“Angel, honey, you came! You see? I told you that you would remember. Did you like my gifts? I hand-picked them.” Larry’s excited, scratchy voice penetrated her ears. He grasped the metal bars tightly as he waited for a response.
“What in the world do you think you are doing? You trespass onto private property and even gift wrap a dead bird and give it to me as a gift. I don’t even know who you are.” exclaimed Angel, frustration evident on her face. She was turning a nice shade of red, and she was clenching her hands into tight fists.
“But Angel, I'm your husband, we have been married for over 20 years. We love each other!” Larry attempted to shake the bars of his cell, in an attempt to make Angel understand what was “happening.”
Throwing her hands up into the air, she shouted “You’re delusional!” and stormed out of the cell and past her roommates, who were looking quite stunned at her outburst. Marisa and Morgan looked at each other for a split second before rushing after Angel. When arriving home, Morgan sprinted into the house and called the head of the Georgina Psych Ward, Susana Juarez. Morgan had a rising suspicion about what Angel was going to say, especially after listening to her mini conversation with Larry. Her suspicions were proved correct when Angel picked up the phone and began ranting about how he should be locked up.
“ He seriously believes that I am his wife and has been married to him for fifty years. There is something wrong with him. No normal person would stalk people who look like his dead wife and have the exact same name as her.” Angel was practically shouting into the phone. Susana, used to the loud voices and strange behaviors, knew just how to defuse this situation.
“ Miss? Please calm down. I understand that you are venting about a man you believe has a mental problem.”
“That is correct. I wish for this man to be put into your ward so that no other women will fall victim to his actions. Though he is quite harmless, I think he should be in a mental institution.”
“ Alright. If you could send me some information about him , that would be great. This way, I can see where he should reside in this ward.”
“ That would be awesome. I”ll fax his information over to you within the day. Thank you very much and have a good day.”
“ Same to you.”
As soon as Angel hung up, she had a feeling of accomplishment. Lawrence Russell was almost out of her life. Once the letter for Larry’s acceptance into the ward, he would be gone forever. No more stalking, no more dead birds or letters written in blood. However, she knew she was going to miss the fine chocolates, even though she received it as a gift only once.
Dear Miss. Angel,
It is our pleasure to let you know that Lawrence Russell has found a home with us in The Georgina Psych Ward. He is currently residing on the fourth floor with patients similar to his age. He has participated in different group activities in order to know more about his fellow patients and the staff members hope to see him enjoy himself in this ward from now on. If you wish to visit Mr. Russell or any of the other patients, visiting hours are from five to eight everyday. Have a good day and we hope to see you soon.
The staff of The Georgina Psych Ward
Angel read the letter over and over, joy filling her up. He was gone! She could now focus on finishing her college career instead of worrying about an old man following her every move.
The weather seemed to correspond with her positive attitude. There was no cloud in sight and there was a pleasant breeze that rustled the bushes around her. The chattering of people and the chirping of birds filled the air during her time at the coffee shop. After paying for a Washington cake, a three layered chocolate chiffon cake with double custard filling and a dark chocolate ganache frosting, and a medium sago milk tea, she stood up and began her journey home.
However, she didn’t notice the man, this time quite youthful, watching her. He wore a black hood that shadowed his face. As soon as she was half a block away, he began to trace her footsteps. When her home came into view, he stole a glance at the address and quickly walked past, a grin highlighting his face.