The Scarlett Envelope

George never got sick, well, almost never. He was well into his thirties and had been working an office job for almost seven years now. It was a standard 8-5 job and he found comfort in the monotony of it. This particular Tuesday, however, George woke up from stomach pains and a massive headache.

He got out of bed and as soon as he stood up a wave of nausea washed over him and he rushed to the bathroom violently vomiting. There was no doubt about it. The man who almost never got sick was definitely going to have to call into work and let them know he wasn’t going to make it. He did just that and flopped back onto his bed.
George was a lonely man and he had the apartment all to himself, not that he was using anything but the bed at the moment. He closed his eyes and sleep for what seemed like days but had actually only been for several hours. He woke up feeling refreshed and thankfully his nausea and headache were gone.

There was a feeling of dread, depression, and hopelessness and he shook his head thinking it was just his sick state but the feelings didn’t disappear. He slowly got out of bed, no nausea attacking him this time. The despair increased as he got closer to the bathroom to relieve the pressure on his bladder. He couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was terrible wrong. Something was out of place. He quickly finished his business and turned to head back to his bed hoping that he just needed some more rest.

That’s when he saw her.

An old woman with tattered clothes, gray wisps of hair in patches, a cloak of some dead animal draped around her shoulders, and long slender fingers walked ever so slowly up the sidewalk of the cul-de-sac his small house was in. He shivered involuntarily.
The woman was very out of place in the upscale neighborhood and there was something unnerving about her. He watched as the woman passed by his house and stopped in front of the house right next to his.

She walked over to his neighbors mailbox and reached inside her cloak. A red envelope was produced and she placed it inside the mailbox.
Suddenly she turned her head and looked right at him. George jerked back and leaned against the wall out of site. He counted to five and then leaned to take a peak out of the window. The woman was gone.

Now, at this moment George was thinking that he was more sick than he had previously thought. He quickly rushed back to bed and fell asleep, not even realizing that the feeling of dread was gone.

The next day George was feeling much better and had completely forgotten about the old woman from yesterday. He went to work like he always did and when the day was done he headed home.

As he pulled into the cul-de-sac he could see that something was going on. There were quite a few police cars surrounding the house next to his and he slowly pulled into his driveway wondering what was going on. He was met by a police officer at his front door.

“Sir, I need to ask you a few questions about the Chavez family.”

“Oh, yes, of course.”

George furrowed his brow. Something had happened. He wondered if they were okay.

“Sir, can you tell me how many family members the Chavez family have?”

“Mother, Father, and two boys so that makes four total.”

“Thank you. And what were you doing at around 12:00pm today?”

“I was at work.”

“Do you have any way to validate that?”

George gave the officer his boss’s number and after a few minutes of talking on the phone he thanked George for his time and turned to go.

“Wait, what happened? Are they okay?”

“Sir, the Chavez family was murdered today.”

George’s mouth gaped open in shock. Murdered? That was crazy. His neighborhood had always been a pleasant out of the way one where nothing happened.

As he was laying in bed about to go to sleep, he suddenly remembered the old woman and the red envelope. He shook his head. There was no way there was any kind of connection to the murder. He didn’t sleep well that night.

The next day he went to work like normal and tried to forget about the odd woman and the murder of his next door neighbors. He got home and as per his usual habit, he went right away to his mailbox to get his mail. He lowered the cover and almost fell down in surprise.

There was only one thing in his mailbox and it was a small red envelope. It had no return address and no stamp. It was just addressed to him in scratchy red ink.
He grabbed it and rushed into the house. He was going to burn the envelope. He opened the cupboard where he kept his matches but they weren’t there. He cursed at himself and rummaged through his drawers and cupboards desperately trying to find matches or a lighter hiding somewhere.

He felt it again.

That feeling of absolute despair. It weighed down on him and he clutched the counter for support. Footsteps sounded on the floor behind him.

He hadn’t heard the door open.

He turned around quickly and saw the same old woman from before standing before him.
As soon has his eyes fell on her the feeling of despair increased tenfold and he slowly slid to the floor. He couldn’t even stand, it was like the energy was being sucked out of him. He watched as the woman stepped closer and closer to him, her footsteps unnaturally loud.

The last thing he remembered was a grin on the woman’s face. The red envelope still clutched tightly in his hand.

Credit To – jdoeko

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