Most girls dream about receiving a love note, but I doubt they’d be thrilled if one was written on their house in blood. I know I wasn’t. In fact, the only thing it caused was a sickening sense of dread.

You and I are love.

Ben had uttered those words many times since we’d met. I’d always found it rather corny, but his insistence on escorting me everywhere–along with the handwritten love notes–had kept me from saying anything. Not that I would anyway. Our relationship had prevented me from imitating the 40-Year-Old Virgin. I was grateful for that.

I leaned closer to the wall and peered at the words. A few tiny feathers had been sealed onto the panels by the dried letters. I pinched one between my thumb and forefinger and eased it off the wall with a slight grimace. I held it up to the fading sun. A chicken feather. Most likely from the same creature whose life energy now decorated my house.

Ben had a posy of the creatures at his property with enough roosters to keep the genetic lottery fresh. Eating off the land, he’d called it. It’s something that had drawn me to him. I’d even helped to kill a few of his tenants for our late night dinners. Unfortunately, that’s when the creepiness had started, and I began to see his true nature.

He never disposed of the remains, but placed them in various locations around his property. To protect him from the ‘unseen trespassers’ that lurked in the woods at night. Then he’d started divining our future from the bones whose meat we’d just eaten. He always said that the flesh made our futures possible, and the bones would make it certain.

I dropped the feather and scanned the trees that enclosed my yard. Was he out there? Was he lurking in the trees and waiting for me to make this gruesome discovery so that he could observe my reaction? He’d done it before.

After our last divination dinner I’d sent him a text saying that we were done. Call me a coward, or a product of the twenty-first century, but I wasn’t going anywhere near the man. He had other ideas.

The first note–written in red marker–had been taped to my work desk. The second had been on my personal laptop. When the third had been carved into my red camero I knew that something had to be done. But there was little the police could do with only crazy theories and no witnesses. They’d told me it would pass.

I turned and made my way towards the door, my heart pounding. The growing twilight churned ominously, its silent presence whispering that he was out there. He was coming.

I forced myself to walk as I tried–and failed–to control my chaotic breathing. I’d had it. I’d call the police and get them out here. Then I was buying a one way plane ticket to Houston or New York. I’d even go to China. Anything to be free of him.

I’d just placed a foot on the bottom step when a soft rustle caused me to whip around. I peered into the shadows. Was it him? Had he come for me at last? My irrational fear made it certain, yet logic saw nothing. Either way, I needed to get inside. Now. I turned and walked up the stairs. I reached for the door.

A hand came out of the darkness and grabbed my arm.