Winifred meets Price at the haunted house, though he’d insisted on driving. The bus ride had been unpleasant, and now she stands shivering outside, grinding her teeth and rubbing the pocket of her sweater between her thumb and forefinger.
“Winifred,” it comes from behind her and she jumps, ” oh sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you. I already got our tickets. Are you ready?” His eyes are wide and searching. He can tell she’s uncomfortable.
“Yeah, I mean, who can resist a chainsaw wielding murderer?” She merges into the line for the entrance.
Price follows close by her side, still watching her face with furrowed brows. He looks at her hand for a moment, but then they are welcomed in to the gory attraction.
Shrieks fill the spaces behind walls. The atmosphere has its own heartbeat, racing, the blood audible.
Winifred has never much liked haunted houses, but isn’t exactly afraid of them either. She folds into herself. Keeps her head down and watches the shoes of the people in front of her.
Price stays close to her, but is looking around. The pained expression on his face is out of place in this setting. When things jump out at them, he moves away but doesn’t flinch. Neither of them scream.
Price is inside himself as they walk to the parking lot.
Winifred doesn’t know what to say. She stops walking. “I’d better get over to the bus stop. Don’t want to miss the late shuttle.”
His eyes focus in on her. “What? No, I’ll drive you home.”
“No, really, it’s ok. I just have to hurry.”
“Winifred, I don’t want to intrude on your privacy. I already agreed not to ask for you phone number again. But it’s late, and this isn’t a great part of town. I want to make sure you get home safely.”
They can still hear screaming from the house.
“Fine.” She follows him to his car, and opens the passenger door before he can get to it.
He watches it close before going to the drivers seat. A song comes on the radio when he turns the ignition.
“And we made our own computer out of macaroni pieces…”
Price shuts it off. “So where am I taking you?”
Winifred sighs and directs him to her apartment building.
Upon arrival, Price parks and gets out of the car.
“What are you doing?” Winifred had been dozing off.
“I want to make sure you get inside.” His tone is injured.
“Alright. Just to the front door. I can get up to my floor just fine.”
Once home, Winifred throws her keys in the dish by the door. Face in her hands, she groans. She makes a call. When the pizza arrives, she eats it staring at the black screen of the television, everything silent besides her chewing and the vacuum of the tenant upstairs. She has a pen, and subconsciously scribbles on the cardboard. Five pieces in, she goes to bed.
Now the pizza box reads the same words, over and over.
He knows where I live.