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Woman spying behind a man with a phone | Source: Shutterstock
Woman spying behind a man with a phone | Source: Shutterstock

My Boyfriend Only Talked to His Mom When I Wasn't Around, So I Decided to Follow Him One Day – Story of the Day

Rita Kumar
Apr 10, 2024
08:17 A.M.
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I met my boyfriend Shawn three months ago and we moved in together. Everything was perfect except one mystery: Shawn only talked to his Mom when I wasn't around and constantly refused to introduce me to her. Something felt amiss. So, I discreetly followed him one day. What I saw made my skin crawl.

The aroma of chamomile tea hung in the air like a forgotten memory as I watched my boyfriend press his phone against his ear and whisper, "Alright, Mom... I'll be there."

I cleared my throat and knocked on the door. "Can I come in now if you're done talking to your mother?"

"Come in, babe!" Shawn sat across from me, oblivious, his eyes glued to his phone as his thumb scrolled endlessly.

"Honey, I'm gonna head out soon. Promised Mom I'd be visiting today," he then announced, his voice laced with a casualness that felt like sandpaper against my raw nerves.

"Shawn," I said, "we've been together for three months. Don't you think it's time I met your Mom?"

He finally tore his gaze away from the phone, a flicker of something akin to annoyance crossing his face. "We'll talk about it, alright? Just not today."

His words felt dismissive, like brushing away a pesky fly. My anger bubbled up, hot and unwelcome.

"Not today? It's always 'not today,' Shawn. What's the problem? Why can't I meet her? It's been months, and whenever your Mom calls, it's like I vanish... sent to some invisible waiting room in my own house till you finish talking. What's wrong with talking to her in front of me?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

He paused, a forkful of spaghetti halfway to his mouth. "Iris, babe, it's nothing... stop complicating things. I can't take you to my Mom. Not now," he replied, the words floating between us like a frail leaf caught in a breeze.

"But why?" I persisted, my heart drumming a rapid beat. "Whenever she calls, you practically shove me out the door. What are you hiding?"

Shawn set his fork down, his jaw tightening as if the words he sought were trapped behind clenched teeth. "It's just... my Mom, she's a bit old-fashioned. I don't want her to overwhelm you. Trust me, okay?"

"So, does that mean I'm not gonna meet your mother... like ever?" I nudged.

"Look, it's not that simple. Mom... she's a piece of work. You won't understand..." His voice softened slightly, but the dishonesty in his eyes remained.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

"Then help me understand," I pleaded, my voice trembling slightly. "I just want to be a part of your life. I want to meet your mother, Shawn."

He reached out, his hand hovering over mine for a fleeting moment before retracting. "You ARE a part of my life, Iris," he said, his voice sincere but lacking conviction. "I'm running late. Must get to Mom's before sunset."

Shawn rose, his phone tucked back into his pocket. "I'll call you when I'm on my way back, love," he mumbled, offering a quick, almost apologetic smile and kiss.

His secretive family loomed large in my mind. He visited his Mom twice a month, a ritual he never missed, but it was a solo pilgrimage. I'd never been invited, not even once.

I often had this strange feeling that something was fishy about Shawn talking to his Mom in private and constantly turning me down whenever I proposed meeting her. My suspicion morphed into a suffocating need to know the truth. So I decided to follow him that day secretly.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

My stomach churned with every mile marker I passed, the image of Shawn with his secret family searing itself into my mind. As I passed along the city, the houses thinned, replaced by stretches of deserted farmland and the occasional flickering streetlight.

Finally, I noticed Shawn's motorcycle veer off the main road onto a gravel side street, his silhouette disappearing around a bend.

I gripped the steering wheel, knuckles white, and followed, keeping a safe distance. The road ended abruptly at a small, rundown house, its paint peeling and porch light twinkling erratically.

I parked my car a block away, hidden amongst a row of other vehicles, and watched with a mixture of dread and morbid fascination.

Shawn approached the door and knocked once, his figure dwarfed by the rickety wooden door. It creaked open, revealing a glimpse of a young woman, her blonde hair pulled back in a messy bun.

My breath hitched in my throat as I witnessed Shawn grope her bottom in a way that sent a jolt of fury through me. The door slammed shut behind them, leaving me in the cold, inhaling only my heart's frantic drumming.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

The man I wanted to share the rest of my life with was cheating on me. I was too shaken to cry. I was beyond heartbroken and betrayed. I was numb with shock.

Why? Why did you do this to me? I banged the steering and let my tears spill. I wanted to storm to that house and catch Shawn red-handed with his secret lover. Confront him. Slap him.

But just as I was about to leave, the door creaked open again. I quickly sat back in my car and watched Shawn emerge, a scowl on his face. The woman followed, her face streaked with tears.

"Shawn, please," I heard her plead. "Just listen to me. Please stop doing this to me."

He threw his hands up, his jaw clenched tight. "There's nothing left to say!" His voice boomed, echoing in the quiet evening. "If you don't do as I say, you'll regret it big time, Keira."

Keira. So, she was the woman Shawn had been sleeping with? I froze.

With a roar, Shawn stormed towards his motorcycle, revving the engine to life before speeding away, leaving Keira standing alone in the fading light.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

My body burned with a primal urge to confront her, to scream at her, to demand answers. But another part of me, a sliver of rationality, urged caution.

Instead, I watched as Keira wiped her tears, leashed a small dog that had wandered out of the house, and headed towards the town park. I followed her discreetly from a distance, my mind a tangled mess of emotions.

The park was bathed in the warm glow of the setting sun, casting long shadows across the neatly trimmed grass. I watched from a distance, my heart pounding a chaotic rhythm against my ribs, as Keira walked her dog, a small terrier mix with a wagging tail.

My breath caught in my throat, and I marched towards her, my voice tight with anger.

"Keira?" I called out.

She flinched at the sound of my voice, her startled eyes flitting between me and the empty sidewalk. Her cheeks burned a deep crimson, mirroring the puffy redness around her eyes.

"What was my boyfriend doing in your house? Of all the men out there, did you get only my boyfriend to sleep with?" I barked.

"I... I don't know what you're talking about," she stammered.

"Don't play dumb, girl," I spat. "I saw you with Shawn."

Her gaze darted away, unable to meet mine. Shame and guilt contorted her features. Before I could hurl a missile of questions at her, her jaw trembled, and a fresh wave of tears welled up in her eyes.

"Please," she choked out. "You have to believe me. Shawn... he's not who you think he is."

"What do you mean?" I asked.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

"It all started with a loan I borrowed from Shawn. I had to save my Dad, but after he..." Keira poured out her story, grabbing a tissue.

"After Dad lost his battle with cancer, I couldn't repay the money to Shawn. He... he forced himself on me," Keira sobbed, her voice breaking.

"He took provocative pictures of us in bed. And threatened to post them online if I didn't 'please' him whenever he wanted," shame and fear colored her voice.

The pieces clicked into place. The secretive phone calls, the veiled excuses – they weren't for his "mother" after all. It was Keira, a victim of my boyfriend's manipulation and cruelty.

A cold fury ignited within me, a potent mix of betrayal and righteous anger. As Keira detailed the extent of Shawn's abuse, I found myself not just sympathizing, but also... uncontrollably furious.

"I want to stop this madness," Keira added. "Shawn deserves to rot in hell for ruining my life."

My eyes widened in surprise, a flicker of hope igniting in their depths. "How are you going to do that?" I asked.

"Revenge," Keira wiped away a stray tear.

"Alright," I said. "Let's do it together. What's the plan?" We sat there, united in our purpose, plotting an act of revenge as audacious and risky as Shawn's deceit.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

As the sun dipped below the horizon, casting an orange glow on our faces, we outlined a plan, one that would expose Shawn's true colors and leave him utterly humiliated.

"I'll go with you," Keira told me as we hurried back to her house to tie up her dog.

Her small terrier mix, Charlie, let out a playful bark as Keira knelt down, scratching him behind the ears. "Alright, buddy," she whispered, "you stay here. I'll be back soon."

Charlie whined and nuzzled his head against her hand. Keira wrapped him in a hug. Leaving him behind felt wrong, but bringing him to my apartment could blow our cover.

With a final goodbye kiss on Charlie's head, Keira locked the door and hurried out with me, joining me in my car. After what felt like an eternity on wheels, we arrived outside my house.

The silence in my living pressed down on me like a physical weight, thick and suffocating. Each tick of the clock felt like a hammer blow, urging me forward. We were ready. It was time to push Shawn into his own trap.

The rumble of his motorcycle echoed in the night, growing louder until it sputtered to a stop outside. Keira and I exchanged a silent glance, a shared determination hardening in our eyes. Taking a deep breath, I squeezed her hand.

"Go get ready," I whispered, gesturing towards the bathroom. "We have a show to put on."

Keira nodded, her jaw clenched tight. Her eyes, though filled with a flicker of apprehension, held a steely resolve that mirrored my own. With a shaky smile, she disappeared into the bathroom, the click of the lock echoing in the stillness.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The front door creaked open, and Shawn stumbled in, his face flushed. He blinked at the unexpected scene, his usual swagger replaced by a look of confusion.

"Iris?" He called out, his voice thick with surprise. "What's all this?"

Before he could question further, I glided towards him, a playful smile plastered on my face. My fingers brushed against his chest, sending a spark that felt foreign and wrong under the circumstances.

"Just a little surprise, babe," I purred, my voice laced with a sweetness that felt like ash in my mouth. "I couldn't let another Saturday night go by without making it unforgettable."

His confusion morphed into a leer. "Unforgettable, huh?" He reached out to grab me, but I sidestepped his touch, leading him towards the dining table.

"First, dinner," I announced, gesturing towards his chair. "Then, we can explore the 'other' ways I had in mind to make this night special."

He chuckled, the sound devoid of genuine humor. He sank into the chair, his eyes lingering on me a little too long. I poured him a glass of whiskey, the clinking of the ice cubes against the crystal an unsettling counterpoint to the pounding in my chest.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Whiskey, your favorite," I announced, a fake smile plastered on my face as I offered him the drink infused with sleeping pills.

Shawn took the glass from my hand. He took a long gulp, the amber liquid disappearing down his throat. A twisted sense of satisfaction washed over me, quickly replaced by a cold dread that settled in my stomach like a stone.

"Dinner is getting cold, love," I said, my voice tight with a mixture of forced cheer and genuine unease.

He mumbled something incoherent, his head lolling to the side. Before he could completely lose consciousness, he managed a weak, "Mmm... spaghetti... I... I'm feeling a little..."

Shawn passed out on the table.

A brittle laugh escaped Keira's lips as she emerged from the guest room. "Looks like he's enjoying himself," she said, her voice laced with dark humor.

"What are you waiting for?" I playfully asked her. "Let the show begin!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Keira stripped Shawn down to his boxers, his unconscious form offering no resistance. We grabbed thick red lipstick, giggling like children embarking on a forbidden adventure, and began leaving our mark on his bare skin.

Kisses, crudely drawn hearts, and lipstick smears adorned his chest and stomach. We messed up his hair, crowned his head with a pair of lacy lingerie, and snapped picture after picture, the camera flash momentarily illuminating his still face and naked body.

"This is going to be epic!" I exclaimed, my voice filled with a manic glee as I clicked more pictures of Shawn. "His reputation is toast!"

A wave of nausea washed over me, the initial anger replaced by a chilling realization. This wasn't a harmless prank anymore. This was crossing a line I wasn't sure I ever wanted to cross.

But this was his punishment for cheating on me. For toying around with Keira. For treating us like dolls to fulfill his selfish desires.

Before I could voice my apprehension, a bloodcurdling scream ripped from Keira's throat. I spun around, my heart leaping in my chest. She was kneeling beside Shawn, her face contorted in a mask of horror.

"Iris," she gasped. "He's NOT breathing!"

"No," I shrieked. "This can't be happening."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"We have to try CPR!" I then yelled, rushing towards Shawn. My hands hovered over his chest, ready to begin compressions.

Keira, however, grabbed my wrist, her eyes wide with alarm. "Wait, Iris! We can't touch him. What about fingerprints?"

"We have to call an ambulance," I choked out, tears blurring my vision.

But Keira's hand shot out, grabbing my wrist like a vice. "No!" she hissed, her voice laced with fear and desperation.

"Are you out of your mind? They'll think we killed him! We'll go to jail, Iris, both of us!"

My mind reeled. She was right. The carefully crafted revenge prank, the playful photos — they would all be twisted and misinterpreted. We'd be painted as criminals, not the victims we were.

"Then what do we do?" I sobbed, my voice thick with despair. "He's dead, Keira. We can't just..."

Keira stared at me, her eyes wide with terror. "We have to think, Iris," she pleaded, her voice trembling. "Stop crying and focus."

As I looked at Shawn's corpse, a chilling truth settled in my stomach. The night had taken a terrifying turn, and the consequences, unlike the photos we had taken, were far from amusing.

In a sudden burst of resolve, my hands found the cold metal of the basement door handle. "We'll hide the body in there," I declared, my voice more steady than I felt, "and figure out the rest in the morning."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Keira's eyes widened. "Iris, no way am I staying in a house with... with that dead body," she stammered, backing away. "I can't... I need to get out of here."

I felt my resolve wobble, but desperation lent me strength. "Please, Keira," I pleaded, my voice breaking. "I can't do this alone. Please… help me."

Watching me come undone, Keira let out a heavy sigh, her resolve melting. "Fine, but let's make it quick," she muttered.

Together, we dragged Shawn's body to the basement, a task that tested our nerves and strength. The unsettling sound of rats squeaking made Keira tense.

"Iris, those rats might... you know," she whispered, fear lacing her words.

Panic spiked through me, and I dashed upstairs, returning with a can of rat-repellent spray. In the dim light, I sprayed the corners of the basement, praying it was enough. "This should keep them away until morning," I assured her.

Keira's eyes met mine, a storm of emotions swirling in their depths. "I'm still scared, Iris," she whispered as we ascended the stairs, leaving the darkness behind to envelope Shawn's corpse.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

We were too terrified to stay in there and needed a breath of fresh air. We settled in the yard, red wine in hand, a silent agreement to not speak of the horror lurking beneath us.

The bonfire crackled merrily, casting flickering shadows that danced across our tear-stained faces. The air was thick with the scent of woodsmoke, red wine, and a cloying undercurrent of despair.

I choked out a sob, the diamond on my finger catching the firelight and throwing a mocking sparkle. "A month, Keira. Just a damn month away from everything I ever dreamed of." My voice hitched, the memory of the meticulously planned wedding, the laughter echoing in our chosen venue, twisting the knife in my gut.

"That cheating son of a—!" I slammed my fist on the weathered armrest of the wooden chair, the sting grounding me momentarily. "He doesn't deserve a single tear, not a single one."

But the tears kept coming, hot and relentless, blurring my vision.

I took a shaky breath, gulping down the remnants of my wine as the firelight danced in my eyes. I scoffed, a humorless sound escaping my lips. "He thought he was being smart. Turns out, he's the biggest fool!"

"What do you mean?" Keira asked.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"I have enough diamonds and jewels safe in the bank vault... enough to start a new life in Chicago, far away from this mess," I replied, wiping away another tear that escaped.

"A fresh start using the legacy I've carefully locked up in the bank vault. No reminders of this nightmare, no whispers. Just me and enough sparkle to forget the darkness."

She squeezed my shoulder once more, her touch lingering. "We should head in, Iris. It's getting late," she said. "We've got a big day tomorrow, remember?"

"Can you stay with me in my bedroom tonight?" I nudged Keira.

"Alright. But only one night. I'm not staying in this house even a minute more after we get rid of Shawn's body," she said.

Back inside, my heart hammered a frantic rhythm against my ribs, each beat echoing in the suffocating silence of the bedroom. Keira sprawled peacefully on the bed.

I tiptoed towards the bathroom door, the floorboards groaning under my weight, the sound amplified by the oppressive quiet. I was brushing my teeth when suddenly, a burst of laughter so eerily familiar froze me in place.

It emanated from my bedroom.

Shawn? A shiver ran down my spine. It was the same chilling laugh that used to crinkle the corners of his eyes, now twisted into something unrecognizable, something sinister.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

"Just a nightmare," I whispered, trying to convince myself, the taste of minty toothpaste thick in my mouth. But the echo of his voice lingered, a malevolent whisper in the recesses of my mind.

I fumbled with the faucet, the water cascading down my face in a poor attempt to wash away the creeping terror. The lights started to flicker and dim, casting grotesque shadows that danced on the walls.

My breath hitched. In the inky darkness, a guttural chuckle sliced through the silence. The blood drained from my face. My toothbrush clattered to the sink, the plastic rattle echoing like a gunshot in the stillness.

My legs turned to lead, refusing to move towards the switch. Trapped in a nightmare made flesh, all I could do was gasp for air, my gaze darting around the room.

But there was nothing. Only the mocking shadows and the deafening silence that followed the chilling laughter. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing the voice, the laughter, and the entire terrifying experience to disappear. But it lingered like a cold, clammy hand gripping my heart.

When I finally dared to open my eyes, tears streamed down my face, blurring my vision. The bathroom lights flickered back to life, casting the room in a harsh, unforgiving glow.

I bolted to the bedroom to tell Keira. But seeing her fast asleep, I hesitated. The last thing I wanted to do was wake her up with my unfounded fear.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I glanced around. We were alone. It was just my imagination. There was nothing.

Taking a deep, shaky breath, I forced myself to calm down. Perhaps it was just a dream, a cruel trick played by my overwrought mind.

I crawled back into bed, the echo of Shawn's voice still lingering, a chilling reminder that the night was far from over. Yanking the blanket over myself, I burrowed deep into their comforting embrace. My chest heaved, each ragged breath a rasp against the dry cotton.

Sweat slicked my skin, the clammy sensation sending a fresh wave of shivers down my spine. "Just stress," I whispered to myself, the words shaky and unconvincing even to my own ears. "Just stress playing tricks on my mind."

Exhaustion, laced with a heavy dose of fear, finally claimed me. I drifted off, only to be jolted awake by a tug at the edge of the blanket. My eyes snapped open, heart pounding in my chest.

"Iris, wake up... Iris," Keira jolted me awake. "Wha-what is that?" with panic-stricken eyes, she pointed at the foot of the bed.

"What? There's nothing there," I groggily said, rubbing my blurry eyes.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

"It's tilting its head. The eyes... they're bulging from the sockets. It's his GHOST! It's Shawn!" Keira's scream ripped through the room, a primal sound born of raw terror.

"Go away! Please, leave us alone!" she shrieked, burying her face in her wet palms.

"Keira? There's no one there. Snap out of it," I said, cutting through her shrieks.

Keira scrambled towards me, her voice shaking as she pointed a trembling finger at the foot of the bed. "Th-there... he was there, Iris! I saw him! Shawn was standing right there… staring at us."

I flicked on the bedside lamp, flooding the room with a warm glow. There was nothing over there. Relief washed over Keira, momentarily disorienting.

I rushed to Keira's side, placing a cool glass of water in her shaking hand. "There's nothing there, Keira," I said gently. "You're just seeing things. You need to calm down."

Keira clung to the glass. "I swear I saw him, Iris. It's all your fault. You killed him and he's back to get revenge."

My eyes held a flicker of concern, but my voice remained firm. "Keira, Shawn is dead. He can't hurt us anymore. You need to rest."

"But I saw him," Keira protested, her voice thin with fear. "My eyes weren't deceiving me."

"For God's sake, Keira, Shawn is DEAD," I snapped. "Stop being silly and try to sleep. We have to get rid of his body first thing tomorrow."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

With a shaky nod, Keira surrendered to the exhaustion clawing at her. As the lights flickered once more, plunging the room back into darkness, I squeezed my eyes shut, desperately trying to outrun the terror that lurked in the shadows.

The taste of fear lingered on my tongue. Even the ticking clock above my head was terrifying. Panic burned in my cheeks. But I didn't show it out. I didn't believe in ghosts.

***

As the first light of dawn crept through the windows, Keira and I stirred from our uneasy sleep, the weight of our mission pressing down on us like a heavy shroud.

With grim determination, we prepared to face the day, our plan to dispose of Shawn's body, a dark cloud hanging over us.

Grabbing the cans of gasoline, we made our way to the desolate staff quarters, an eerie silence enveloping the abandoned building.

The plan was simple yet macabre — douse the place in gasoline, place Shawn's body inside, and let the flames do the rest, masking our deed as a 'tragic accident.'

The first sliver of dawn peeked through the dusty basement window, casting long, skeletal shadows across the concrete floor. A cold dread settled in my gut.

A scream ripped through the air. Not from me, but from Keira. Her eyes, wide with a mixture of terror and disbelief, were fixed on the empty space where Shawn's body had been laid last night. It was gone.

"Oh my God... the body is gone!" Keira shrieked.

My blood ran cold. "Gone?" I echoed, my voice barely a squeak. "But... how?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Keira shook her head, her eyes filled with a chilling certainty. "What the hell is going on, Iris? There's no way a dead body can get out on its own. The basement door was closed."

A cold dread seeped into my bones. "Unless... he... he must be alive," I stammered, the words tasting like ashes in my mouth. "Maybe he survived and escaped."

Keira's voice dropped to a chilling whisper. "No, Iris. He couldn't have escaped. Not alive. Shawn's dead. We both saw his corpse."

I stared at her, the logic of her words battling the rising tide of terror within me. "Then... then how did he—?" My voice cracked.

Keira's gaze met mine, her eyes filled with a dark glint. "Maybe last night wasn't just a hallucination, Iris. Maybe I did see him. His ghost. What if... what if Shawn's back to find his killer and avenge his death?"

A wave of nausea swept over me. The memory of Keira's chilling apparition last night flooded back, vivid and terrifying.

"No," I whimpered, shaking my head violently. "No, that can't be true."

But the tremor in my voice betrayed my fear. Keira's words, laced with a chilling certainty, confirmed the horrifying possibility gnawing at the edges of my mind.

"Maybe," Keira continued, her voice barely a whisper, "he's back. And maybe he's here for revenge. It's all your fault, Iris. You killed him by overdose. He won't rest until he's avenged his death."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Tears welled up in my eyes, hot and stinging. The world around me seemed to tilt on its axis. "No," I sobbed, clutching my head in my hands. "No, no, no!"

This couldn't be happening. This couldn't be real. But Shawn's missing body, the chilling truth in Keira's voice, painted a horrific picture that I couldn't escape.

Panic clawed at my throat. I had to get out of here, away from this house, away from this city, away from this nightmare.

Without another word, I bolted past Keira, the echo of her stunned silence following me like a curse. I raced up the stairs, my mind a whirlwind of terror, a single thought consuming my every fiber of being: Escape.

My heart raced, each beat echoing the pounding of my feet on the wooden stairs. Keira stumbled after me, her voice laced with concern and confusion.

"Iris! Wait! What are you doing?" she called out, her voice barely audible over the pounding in my ears.

I didn't answer. I couldn't. The only thought that filled my mind was escape, a primal urge to put as much distance between me and this house of horrors as possible.

Finally bursting through the front door, I scanned the driveway, searching for any sign of a waiting car. Relief flooded me when I spotted my familiar sedan parked at the curb.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Keira!" I screeched, my voice ragged and strained. "Get in! We need to go, now!"

Keira appeared at the doorway. "Iris, what's going on? Where are we going?"

Ignoring her questions, I fumbled with the keys, my hands shaking so badly I could barely insert the key into the ignition. "I'll explain later," I choked out. "Just get in."

Hesitantly, Keira climbed into the passenger seat. I slammed the door shut, the metallic clang echoing in the tense silence.

With a screech of tires, I tore off down the street, the familiar landscape blurring into a kaleidoscope of colors. My eyes darted nervously between the road ahead and the rearview mirror.

"Iris, slow down!" Keira's voice cut through my panic. "You're going to get us both killed!"

I ignored her, my foot pressing harder on the accelerator. Every rustle of leaves, every passing car, sent a jolt of terror through me.

"Iris," Keira's voice dropped to a low, urgent whisper, "where are we going?"

"To take out my jewels from the bank," I let out a strangled cry, the response ripping through the fragile veil of sanity I was clinging to.

My knuckles turned white as I gripped the steering wheel, hitting the brakes outside the bank.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

I briefly detoured to the bank to retrieve my grandmother's jewels from the vault. After securing the gems, I hurried back to where Keira waited in the car, her face etched with worry and impatience.

"Keira, please," I pleaded, my voice thick with emotion. "You have to promise me, swear on your life, that you won't tell anyone. Not about Shawn, not about the missing body, none of it. Please, Keira, I'm begging you!"

A heavy silence descended upon the car, broken only by the roar of the engine and the frantic rhythm of my own breathing.

"Alright, Iris," Keira whispered. "I won't tell anyone. But you need to know, I'm not doing this just for you. I'm doing it for myself. I don't want to be framed for a murder I didn't commit."

Tears welled up in my eyes, blurring my vision. "Thank you," I croaked, my voice choking with emotion. "I'll never forget this, Keira. I'll be grateful to you for the rest of my life."

The outskirts of town loomed ahead. Keira's house was just a few blocks away. As I slowed down, preparing to turn off onto her street, a flash of movement in the rearview mirror caught my eye.

My breath hitched. In the distance, a motorcycle, its sleek black silhouette stark against the fading light, seemed to be gaining on us. My heart lurched into my throat. The motorcycle... it looked eerily familiar.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Panic flooded my veins, icy and suffocating. But as I squinted through the blurring tears, a chilling realization dawned on me. It couldn't be. It was just my imagination, the product of a guilt-wracked mind.

"It's nothing," I muttered to myself, more for reassurance than anything else. "Just... just my head playing tricks on me."

But as the motorcycle drew closer, the unmistakable shimmer of the chrome handlebar and the faint rumble of a familiar engine shattered the fragile bubble of denial I had constructed.

"No, no, this can't be," I panicked.

"Iris, stop. We're past my house. Stop the car," Keira jolted me. But I was too shaken and in a hurry to listen.

The roads twisted and turned, a mirror to the turmoil within me. I kept flicking my gaze back, the figure on the motorcycle a persistent specter.

"It's just my imagination," I kept repeating, a mantra against madness. "Shawn is dead. He can't be following us. It's not him. No. Not him."

The blood drained from my face. My gaze darted back and forth between the winding road and the menacing silhouette in the rearview mirror, the horrifying truth settling in my stomach like a lump of lead.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

For illustration purposes only | Source: Getty Images

My hands trembled on the steering wheel, knuckles white against the worn leather.

"Get a grip, Iris," I hissed through gritted teeth. "You're not some fragile doll, you're strong. You don't believe in ghosts, not like your crazy Aunt Martha."

But the tremor in my voice betrayed my bravado. My gaze darted back and forth between the road ahead and the rearview mirror, the image of the motorcycle burned into my mind.

"Schizophrenia is hereditary, Iris," I whispered to myself. "I swear you're alright... It's not him. It's just your imagination."

Silence, thick and suffocating, hung in the air. Keira, who had been watching me all this while, snapped me out of my thoughts.

"Iris," she said, her voice clipped and cold. "Pull over. You're not in any condition to drive."

I gaped at her, momentarily forgetting the terror gnawing at me. "What? No, I'm fine. I can drive."

"No, you're not," she retorted. "You're having a breakdown. Let me take the wheel."

Before I could protest, she unbuckled her seatbelt and reached across to me. My breath hitched as her cold, clammy fingers brushed against mine.

"This is all your fault, Iris," she hissed. "You killed him. You overdosed him. And now... your guilt is haunting you."

The accusation struck me like a physical blow. "No! That's not true!" I screamed, my voice ragged with fear and indignation. "It was an accident! We both know that!"

The terror of the approaching motorcycle eclipsed my fear. My scream tore through the car, shattering the tense silence.

"Keira! Look out! He's right behind us! He's gaining on us!" I shrieked.

"There's no one there, Iris," Keira scoffed.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Tears streamed down my face, blurring my vision. "No! You don't understand! He's there! I see him! Just like how you saw him last night."

My world had shrunk to the terrifying image of the motorcycle filling the rearview mirror, the glossy chrome handlebar an ominous presence closing in with the fading light.

Was I losing my mind? Was Shawn just a figment of my guilt-ridden imagination?

My breath formed frosty puffs in the cool evening air. Every rustle of leaves, every flicker of movement in the periphery of my vision, sent a fresh jolt of terror coursing through my veins.

"There!" I shrieked, pointing a trembling finger towards a neon sign flickering in the distance. "The Sunset Motel. Please, Keira, stop the car."

Keira pulled over onto the gravel shoulder, the screech of the brakes echoing through the desolate landscape.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Iris," she began, her voice devoid of its usual warmth, "are you sure about this?"

"I need to rest," I choked out. "Maybe... maybe if I sleep, I can forget all of this. Start over. Just a few hours of rest. I just want to forget everything and… sleep."

Keira seemed to contemplate my words for a moment, her gaze lingering on me with a strange intensity. Finally, she nodded curtly.

"Alright," she said. "We'll stay here for the night. But separate rooms. You need to be alone to clear your head. I'll call my neighbor and ask her to feed my dog."

I didn't argue. The thought of being alone, away from Keira's increasingly unnerving behavior, was strangely comforting.

The dingy motel room felt like a world away from the chaos that had consumed my life. I ordered some room service, the mundane act of opening the cardboard box and unwrapping the cellophane around the sandwiches grounding me momentarily.

I sat on the edge of the bed and examined the diamond jewelry. The gems dazzled accusingly in the harsh motel room light. One by one, I took out the pieces, each one a memory, a fragment of my life before it all went irrevocably wrong.

Suddenly, a sharp click at the door sent a jolt of terror through me. My heart throbbed, each beat echoing in the oppressive silence of the room.

"W-who is it?" I stammered, my voice barely a squeak.

The knob turned slowly, the sound grating against my already frayed nerves. The door creaked open, revealing a menacing figure standing in the doorway, shrouded in the dim hallway light.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

My breath hitched in my throat. It couldn't be. But as the figure stepped into the room, the dim light catching the familiar flicker of his eyes, the horrifying truth shattered the fragile bubble of denial I had clung to.

"Shawn?" I gasped, the word leaving my lips in a choked whisper.

A slow, chilling smile spread across his face, revealing a row of jagged teeth and a vacant stare. He took a malevolent step forward, his eyes burning with an unnatural intensity.

I scrambled back on the bed, my back hitting the headboard with a thud. My voice, when it finally came out, was a strangled cry.

"No! This can't be happening! You're dead."

Shawn's smile widened, revealing a chilling glow of madness. He spoke, his voice a raspy whisper that sent shivers down my spine.

"You killed me, Iris. Now, it's your turn to pay!"

The room seemed to shrink, the walls closing in on me. I was trapped, prey cornered by a predator, with nowhere to run and no one to save me.

The air hung heavy with the stench of decay, a revolting cocktail of decaying flesh and something far more disturbingly human. My stomach lurched, the urge to vomit rising in my throat.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Shawn's face, illuminated by the harsh motel lamp, was a grotesque caricature of its former self. Chalky white skin stretched taut over his cheekbones, punctuated by a network of angry red cracks.

His eyes, once warm and familiar, now bulged from their sockets, vacant and unseeing. His clothes, once a reflection of his meticulous personality, were now caked in grime, emanating a putrid odor that made my eyes water.

He stood there, a horrifying mockery of the man I once knew, his gaze fixed on the bag of jewels clutched in my trembling hands. A low, guttural growl emanated from his throat, a sound that made my blood run cold and froze me in place.

He took a lurching step forward, the floorboards groaning under his weight. The smell of death intensified, a sickening wave that threatened to drown me.

"The jewels, Iris," his voice rasped, a dry, sandpapery whisper that scraped against my raw nerves. "Give them to me."

A primal scream ripped from my throat, a sound born of pure terror and revulsion. I flung myself off the bed, my legs giving way beneath me as I scrambled back towards the bathroom door.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

But escape was a distant dream. The small room seemed to shrink with each passing second, the walls closing in on me like a suffocating tomb.

The world dissolved into a horrifying haze of sights and sounds. Through blurry eyes, I saw the grotesque silhouette stuffing the jewels into a bag. Then, darkness swallowed me whole. My consciousness slipped away.

***

At the entrance of the motel, I saw Shawn and Keira, both sporting matching sets of handcuffs, being escorted to a waiting police car. A triumphant smile spread across my face.

"Did you really think I would fall for your cheap tricks, you fools?" I scoffed, the air thick with the sting of my words. "I may not be a detective, but I can spot a phony scheme easier than a five-year-old can spot a birthday cake. Your little act was about as convincing as a toddler trying to pass off a crayon drawing as a masterpiece!"

"You did a good job, ma'am. Your call got us here just in time," an officer approached me, smiling.

In truth, "just in time" was an understatement. My call had been the final piece of the puzzle, the culmination of weeks of suspicion and mounting unease. It all started the previous night when I heard Shawn's laughter coming from my bedroom.

The initial terror had been paralyzing, fueled by the family history of schizophrenia that loomed over me like a dark shadow. But the inexplicable voices I kept hearing and the mysterious disappearance of Shawn's so-called dead body — all chipped away at my initial fear.

Keira's unfazed demeanor, her sudden insistence on separate rooms at the motel, and the way she dismissed my concerns as hallucinations despite alleging to have seen "Shawn's ghost" and trying to scare me with what she claimed to be apparitions the previous night— it all fit into place.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

I suspected they were working together, playing me for a fool. But the joke's on them. I played them right back, and now they were trapped in their own little game.

Finally, Detective Miller laid it all bare. Shawn and Keira, the couple I thought I knew, were nothing but con artists. They preyed on rich, vulnerable women, luring them into a meticulously crafted love trap.

"They'd make their victims believe Shawn was cheating," Detective Miller revealed the disturbing details. "Then, they'd lead them to Keira's place, where the fake tears and accusations would flow. Spiked drinks, switched at the last minute, and a staged 'murder.' Their plan was to terrify and rob you."

I shuddered, the memory of Shawn's decaying form flashing in my mind. "The rotting smell... the dead body..." I whispered, the words catching in my throat.

"Makeup and dead rat remains," Detective Miller confirmed, her gaze unwavering. "A gruesome but effective way to complete the illusion."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

The weight of Shawn's deception pressed down on me. The man I thought I loved, the one I'd entrusted with my heart, was only using me in his twisted scheme.

Watching Shawn and Keira being led away, the weight that had been crushing me lifted. Justice, though delayed, had prevailed.

In the quiet aftermath, a single thought echoed in my mind: I had survived. Not just the ordeal, but the web of deceit that had threatened to consume me.

As the police car carrying Shawn and Keira disappeared into the distance, I let out a shaky breath, the morning sun warming my face. A new day dawned, and with it, a new beginning.

The nightmare was over. The sweet taste of vengeance surpassed my wildest expectations, revealing a side of me that was both cunning and resolute — a side I never knew existed.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

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"He's a monster. Please save me," a taxi driver gets a chilling note from a young female passenger accompanied by an older man. The cabbie decides to help her, oblivious to the horror awaiting him. Here's the full story.

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