Orange Street News




2018-07-16 (2)

By Hilde Kate Lysiak

Karen lifted her naked left foot. Then her naked right.

She continued lifting her tiny pale feet until she found herself surrounded by the checkered blue and white walls.

Those doll white feet pulled her to the painted stone sink under the large square of glass.

Look up!

Karen was in her small bathroom.

Inside the square of glass stood a person looking back at her. A young woman who seemed oddly familiar, but she couldn’t recognize.

The button nose. The short, thin sunshine blonde hair. The white tank top covering a thin, frail looking body.

But it was those large blue eyes that caught her. Pulling her closer. Making it nearly impossible to look away.

Look away!

The inhumanly large blue eyes seemed to almost shoot out of the porcelain face. Crying out with intensity. A glowing a bright version of green that she didn’t think could possibly have believed existed.

Don’t look away.

But those eyes DID exist. And she knew this because they were staring right back at her. And it was happening right now. At this very moment.

The strange vision in the square glass held her frozen.

Her left foot still.

Her right foot still.

Then she gave her body a command; to reach out and wave.

Her hand reached out.

The hand in the square glass waved back.

Then it hit her. The image looking back at her was not that of some stranger — but it was of herself.

Karen stepped back as a rush of pins and needles ran up from her toes, flew up her spine, then settled in her head where she began to feel so heavy she worried she might lose her balance.

Her hands pressed against the cold red and black stone of the little sink.

Suddenly, she became overwhelmed with the realization that she could feel both the wonder everything and numbness of nothing swirling all around.


The sharp bones in her elbows rubbing against the cotton in her pajamas.

Bath mat.

Her pale naked toes against the soft pom pom filled bath mat under the sink.

How nice it felt.

How hurtful the feeling of her hand pressing against the sink. The pain of her shoulders pointing straight to the air above her forced her to look back up.

It all seemed richer. Not just feelings. Shapes. Colors. Sounds. Movements.

The many small carvings in the large wooden frame of the mirror. There were many carvings on the mirror.

Are those messages?

Only for my eyes?

But they were not messages. They were just pictures of farm animals.

Karen stared at the frame of the mirror for a long time. Each animal carving was painted a different color. A blue elephant with its trunk up in the air.

A red ape with its tail shaped like a question mark.


Her eyes rolled back to the face in the glass box. That face.

My face.

Those eyes.

My eyes.


She didn’t know.

But now the wonder of everything and the numbness of nothing were spinning. Faster and faster.

And she was spinning with it.


But it didn’t stop.

The wonder of everything and the numbness of nothing of spun faster.


Karen clenched her fist into a tight ball and smashed it as hard as she could into the glass square.

Right through the frail face.

Bashing through the inhumanly large blue eyes.

The collision set off an angry storm of glass sprinkles all around her.

They were coming at her. She didn’t move. One piece sliced open her fore head. Another her upper lip.

Karen stood motionless as a single drop of blood dripped into her mouth.

Tastes like copper.

The girl in the glass square smiled. Karen smiled back.

Penny for your thoughts?

Karen looked down.

A large chunk of glass had fallen on the red and black stone sink.

She placed the mirror piece in the center her hand. Her pale fingers squeezed tightly. Karen opened it back up and looked down in wonder.

The spinning had stopped. He wonder of everything and the numbness of the nothing had retreated. Now there was just her hand, the blood, and the taste of copper.

Penny for your thoughts?

She took the mirror piece out of her hand and slowly dragged it down her wrist.

Karen knew it should hurt. But that was where the numbness of the nothing lived.

Then came the sound.

It was the sound of her own heart beat.

Louder. Faster.

Karen lurched up — conking her head against the reading lamp that reached over pillow.

She felt her wrists. They were dry.

A dream. It felt so real but was just a dream.

She checked the time. It was 4:12 am.

Maybe she should begin taking her medicine again, she thought. She looked up at the prescription on top of her dresser. It had been nearly three weeks since she had taken her pills.

Maybe they would stop these crazy awful nightmares?

She shook the thought out of her head. She reminded herself that the medicine made her mind feel foggy. She needed to be sharp. There was too much at stake.


The beeping noise wasn’t her heartbeat. It was coming from her phone. There was a message. It was marked urgent.

She stretched to pick up her phone and opened the message.

“It happened again. 88th Street and Pine. Victim 28-year-old female. First name Emma. Last name unknown.”

The message was from her source at the Bloomsburg Police Department.

Karen sighed. She knew exactly what that message meant.

If she was right, this would be the fourth unexplained murder in the last three weeks.

Even worse, she knew the first three victims. Not very well. But she knew them. Not that strange in a town of 900 especially when you are the only reporter in town, but still…This wasn’t just a reporting assignment to her.

She took it very personally. She did with every murder.

Karen grabbed her press pass and lurched out of bed, knocking the pile of criminal complaints she had been reading on to to the hard wood floor.

She through a pink hoody over her white tee-shirt, put her press pass around her neck, and grabbed her tan messenger bag before exiting out of her apartment door.

88th and Pine. Thats only a few blocks away.

Karen began sprinting through the light cold early morning drizzle and got to the crime scene just in time to see the medical examiner truck pull up.

To the right of the truck, in a patch of grass under a large oak tree she saw a large black tarp with bright yellow nike cross trainers sticking out.

A chill rode up her spine.

Emma Luna!

Like the other victims, Karen knew Emma Luna.

Karen looked around for witnesses. No one.

Crime scene was still investigating. She decided not to approach, yet.

Behind the tree there was a driveway leading to the house. She made a note that they would have to door knock later.

Karen knew it was risky to go closer. The police were touchy. She lifted her camera and zoomed in on the scene, looking for clues.Karen continued studying her pictures when a young male police officer began walking over. She didn’t recognize him. Younger police officers are always more likely to talk.

“This is an active crime scene,” he muttered.

“Hi I am Karen Trucy, a reporter for the Bloomsburg Press and I was wondering if you could give me any information about what happened to Emma Luna.”

“I know who you are,” he said.

The young officer took a step closer. His name tag read M Fitz.

“Well, all I can tell you is that they are taking the body to a lab to get tested for any evidence that could lead to who ever did this,” he said.

“So did they confirm that Emma Luna was murdered?” Karen asked, her voice rising with excitement.

The officer rolled his eyes.

“I’m not confirming anything,” he answered. “Now you need to call the Chief if you have any questions.”

“Right,” said Karen, sarcastically. “Because the Chief is always so chatty.”

Officer Fitz shrugged his shoulders and walked away.

The light early morning drizzle had turned into a steady downpour.

Karen realized that her excitement in her voice when she mentioned the murder must have sounded weird to Officer Fitz. Usually she always felt excited because it was the thrill a journalist gets from working a good story. But this time it felt different. Karen thought about how Emma Luna was someone she hated.

Karen and Emma used to be best friends when they were little. But when they were both seven Emma started lying about a lot of stuff, cheating in the games they played, and more. Finally Karen had enough and confronted Emma about her lying. After that they got in a huge fight and they were never again friends.

Karen grabbed a picture of the body being loaded on to the Medical Examiner truck. The crime scene began wrapping up. The officers didn’t like standing in the rain any more than she did.

She stared down at her notepad. Her mind began to race.
Karen tried not to feel satisfied when she heard the news that Emma had been murdered. Was she a bad person for feeling so satisfied for her death?

She didn’t know. But then her mind wandered to the dream she had. Was there a connection?

She didn’t know. She may not have liked Emma, but it didn’t matter. She had a job to do. Who was committing these murders? If she didn’t find out, the incompetent Chief of Police certainly wasn’t going to find out.

After thirty years where there were no murders up until this week, the town of Bloomsburg was on edge. A serial killer was on the loose. And while it might have been terrible for the town, it was great for business. Before the murders began she was stuck covering plant vandals and fallen branches. She was nearly on the verge of having to shut down.

But now that a serial killer is on the loose, the only reporter in all of Bloomsburg saw her subscribers to the Bloomsburg Press triple for 200 to 600 in a week.

That number would probably double again after this latest murder.

She thought about possible book deals, like the Son of Sam.

Maybe a television show.

Or a movie deal.

She had a small dance to her step as she walked home, when she opened her door and saw the words written on the living room wall.

“I have been watching you closely. I am a huge fan of your work. I think you are very talented. If you do not publish this letter on the front page of your newspaper another person will be killed,” read the first few sentences of the message.

Her messenger bag dropped to the floor. The words were written in blood.






  1. Skip Press (@skippress)
    July 22, 2018

    Rock on, Hilde, you’re an inspiration to young writers.


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