It was time to finish what she started. A quick furtive glance at the Sunflower Clock showed the hands hadn’t moved and were stuck at 11:11, undoubtedly due to the batteries being dead for years. She couldn’t help but smile as she realized that the long frozen hands had to be within minutes of accuracy; reflecting the current morning time.

Shelby immediately began descending the staircase, moving as graceful as a ballerina across a waxed stage. She chose each step carefully as not to make a hint of sound. Having lived in Gabriel’s home for several years, Shelby knew the house very well. Without understanding why, she had committed to memory each and every creak, squeak, and peep the old staircase would offer. The stairs were the only area in the house that still had carpet, everything else had been torn out several years ago, almost immediately after she moved into her boyfriend’s home. Gabriel had promised to install new carpet throughout the basement, but four years later, still nothing but dusty white concrete, and she was now thankful for his lack of motivation.

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