By: Sara Graper
I never wanted to die in a towel. I feel so vulnerable, so violated. It’s like that moment when you hear a bump in the night and instinctively wrap yourself tight in the blanket and cover your head. Obviously, that’ll save you from the beast of a man hovering over your bed, like he’s thinking to himself, “Damnit, there’s no way this butcher’s knife can cut through this nice, soft, down comforter.” But at least you don’t feel vulnerable; at least you didn’t die in a towel.
I did my best to never shower past the time my housemates had gone to bed. I was too creeped out to contemplate who or what crept through the hallways of our apartment when everything hibernated until the morning.
It only seemed logical that whoever was in my house would be royally pissed that I dared interrupt their peaceful creep with my atrocious shower singing and I’d open my eyes after rinsing my hair to find a monstrous man staring at me. What’s more terrifying than not hearing or seeing your killer? Nothing. And on top of it, everyone’s asleep, so you’re just screwed…and naked. I know I came into the world that way, but that’s not how I’m going out.
But when I was too overwhelmed by my reek after a late workout and forced to shower, I’d do my best to refused to closed my eyes, preferring the sting of Herbal Essences on my pupils to the sting of a knife to my bare gut. Because along with the logic of an unknown creeper stalking about, stabbing those annoying, late night showerers, I figured if I kept my eyes peeled, I’d be able to bludgeon my killer with my aluminum can of shaving cream before he head the chance to mince me into bitty pieces.
I was a self-fulfilling prophecy, liquid scarlet draining with the soapy water. I opened my eyes, still burning with salicylic acid, to find my nude image reflected back to me on stainless steel. I heard a deep, guttural chuckle, and then felt a biting in my flesh, right above my naval. My killer was faceless and all I remember was his raspy voice as he leaned close and whispered, “Night, sweetheart,” with a twist of the knife.
He did me the favor of turning off the water and draping a towel over my body. As he slipped out, surprisingly stealthy, I stared at the remainder of my life trickle into the city sewer system. I should’ve prolonged my shower until morning.
Published July 2012.
This is a modest short story that is exactly what the title states and plays on the illogical fears we often have.