Crime Mystery Suspense

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

Distracted. That was the best word to describe me at this moment. Struggling. I was distracted and struggling. Searching for Gate 22 in this overcrowded, hot airport. I was already 25 minutes late thanks to my uncanny ability to set off the metal detectors every single time. Part of me thinks I should just ask to be searched. Save myself the time. 

Instead, here I am, distracted as I wander down Terminal A looking for Gate 22. Grasping my phone with my ticket information all pulled up. I look down for a second to make sure that the phone hasn't lost its connection. BAM. My phone flies up and lands hard on the floor.  I stumble forward, bumping my chest into the figure in front of me. Is that a black cape? A hoodie over his head or hers? Talk about mysterious. I think I hear the figure whisper, “Be careful.” I bend down once the figure has moved away, reaching for my phone which seems to have fallen under a chair. I dig around hoping not to find any garbage left behind. I will have to find a bathroom after this to wash the grime from my fingers. I feel something smooth and rectangular, excited for my phone. I reach around it and slowly pull it from underneath. Only, it is not my phone. It is a small bright blue notebook. A journal. 

A beautiful journal with a name calligraphed along the front. “Annabella” What a lovely name, I think to myself. I look around at the people sitting in the waiting area. Three men and two older women. Not many to choose from. I clear my throat and watch as five pairs of eyes focus on me. “Excuse me, is anyone here named Annabella?” I ask loud enough even for the guests in the other waiting areas to hear. Nobody moves. Heads shake in a negative manner. I place the notebook under my arm and return to bending down. I reach under the same chair and my hand almost immediately finds my phone. Strange that I struggled to recover it earlier.

I stand up, punch in my security code and sigh a breath of relief as my boarding pass quickly appears. I look up to the Gates around me and see Gate 22 is accepting boarding now. I quickly maneuver my way to the line. Ready to go to Dallas. I have someone there I need to meet.

After what feels like three hours, but really was ten minutes, I arrive at my ticketed seat. I paid extra and requested a window seat. Happy to close my eyes and relax the moment the plane takes off. I place my small carry-on luggage under my feet and sit down. As I go to lay my phone on the small table, I realize I am still carrying the journal. I think about getting up and asking the stewardess to place it in the lost and found. I almost do. Something about the inscription on the front calls to me. I trace my pointer finger over the letters in the name. Such a peculiar name. Not Anna, not Annabelle. Annabella. Realizing, I am obsessing over an inanimate object, I stand to return it to the employees. 

“Sir, please sit down. I am about to begin the departure information,” the stewardess says, lifting the announcer from its handle.

I sit down, not wanting to slow the departure process any more.

The seatbelt light turns on while the stewardess begins her speech. I let the journal lay in my fingers as I listen to the safety precautions. My mind wanders. I feel guilty that I didn’t turn this in before I got on the plane. What if someone is out there searching for it? I think, “What if there is a name or address on the inside? Should I open it and find out?” The older gentleman sitting in the middle seat seems to be side-eyeing me. I realize I have been muttering, “Yes, I should” for a few moments. 

“Sorry, man. Just thinking something through,” I say shrugging my shoulders.

He quickly turns his legs away from me. Obviously not enjoying his seat next to the crazy person. 

I quietly lift the front cover of the journal to the first page. It is empty. No writing on it at all. I turn the page again, hoping to find a name inside. Something to help me figure out who this belongs to. Instead, I find a page full of writing. I know that I should close the book. Return it to the airport. Ask them to figure out the mystery of the author. I should, but I won’t. The words on the page jump out at me. I begin to read. A story of disbelief. Almost insane. A story that would surround me for the next three hour flight. And it began like this:

May 5, 2021

I cannot believe this has happened to me again. I wanted so badly to believe that Corey was the one. You know the one I was going to marry. Then, I heard him on the phone last night. I didn’t mean to eavesdrop, but I heard the crying. Corey never cries. He was talking to a friend. A male friend. And he was crying. And apologizing. And promising it would never happen again. At first, I thought I was listening to a confession. That my boyfriend was gay. Then I realized he was talking to Colin.  About sleeping with Colin’s girlfriend Sarah. And I lost my shit. I threw open the door and started screaming at him. I said horrible awful things. I told him I wished he was dead. I wished we had never met. I threw his phone out the window. Then my mind went blank. In my sleepy state, I felt as if something else happened. Something more sinister than yelling. I felt as if I were hovering over myself, watching things happen in slow motion. I saw me throwing his phone out the window and then I saw myself pushing Corey out the window too. Such a vivid detail of what had happened. When I woke up I was covered in blood, laying near broken glass. The apartment door was open and our neighbor Lily was calling for me, alongside three police officers. I got up and realized the blood was oozing from my own arm. As if I had put it through a glass window. The officers began talking to me. Describing a chaotic scene where Corey must have fallen through the window and to his death below. I started to cry. The scene replaying in my mind. Seeing him fall through the glass. Something seemed wrong with this scenario. I didn’t say a word to the police. They called in EMTs to clean my wound, assuming it happened when I woke up and picked up the fallen glass. Maybe that is how it all happened. Like I said, my mind went blank….again.

May 8, 2021

My therapist called me when he heard about Corey’s death. He asked me if I had any recollection of that night. I lied and told him no. I said I must have blocked out the entire night because of my sadness about his loss. I think he bought it. He usually does. I seem to have Dr. Zieggle wrapped around my fingers too. I mean, the truth is, I never do remember what really happens. Just pieces. Pieces that I keep to myself. No need to mention things that may or may NOT be true. Best to keep it hidden, just in case my memory is wrong.

May 30, 2021

Today I met someone. He was tall, handsome and funny. Reminded me some of Corey and Kyle. So sad the tragic deaths that befell upon both of them. To think my fiance and my long term boyfriend both met devastating endings. It seems so unfair that I should have to live my life as such. Anyway, back to the new guy. He was so kind. He let me go in front of him in line at the coffee shop. I called him chivalrous, and he said thank you. Jane Austen is his favorite author. We talked about books for thirty five minutes. Then he had to get back to work. I gave him my phone number. Told him to call me anytime. I looked up his online profiles when I got home. Definitely husband material. Will update soon!

June 3, 2021

He called! Finally, I was starting to think I would have to find a way to “run into” him again. I really didn’t want to be the crazy girl already. I like to save that for date number 5. He asked me to go to dinner and then a book reading. I said yes of course. Not too eagerly, though. We will be going out tomorrow night. I have the perfect dress in mind. Nothing too showy or slutty. Need to keep the appearance up that I am a good girl. At least for now.

June 5, 2021

The date was perfect. He will be calling me again. I just know it. I hope this courtship goes quickly. I didn’t tell him about my past relationships. I think I may keep them to myself. When I told Corey about how I had accidentally killed Kyle by running him over it changed things between us. He always seemed to be watching me. Concerned at my slightest outbursts. One time I fell asleep and could not recall what had happened before it. I guess I had thrown a knife at the wall or something. I completely blacked it out. Corey called my therapist and had me go in for an emergency evaluation. I just rolled my eyes. Why would he care? He knew what happened, why did I have to recall it too? Always so paranoid after that. Yes, I am definitely not telling him about the others. My lips are sealed.

Engrossed in reading, I shake the cobwebs from my brain. This handwriting seems so familiar to me. The way it is written seems intimate too. Like I may know the author of this journal. Although, that would not be a good thing. This author seems unhinged. Maybe unwell. And I don’t know anyone named Annabella. So I am just being crazy. I think about stopping. Closing the book and turning it into lost and found as soon as we land. Yes, I should definitely stop. Well, then again, maybe just a few more entries.

June 19, 2021

Everything is going so well with my new man. I am not quite ready to reveal his true identity yet. I want the mystery to stay. He brought me flowers the other night and made me dinner. We made love three times. I think this time he really is the one. No worries about cheating. Or abuse. He seems like the real deal. He is a business man. Travels some. I think this will be good for us though. Keep us both invested. This time feels different. I have been calm every time we are together. No rages. No blackouts. This is definitely different. This could be love.

June 30, 2021

He said he loved me last night. It was magical. A rooftop dinner. Roses. I didn’t think once about pushing him off. I mean, the thought came to me for one second. But not like before. It was just a fleeting moment. A what if. Not a real desire. No, this dinner was perfect. He is perfect. We are perfect. No more rage. No more blackouts. He has fixed me. I just know it this time. This time I am right.

August 12, 2021

I know I haven’t written in a while. Things had been so good. I didn’t think I needed this outlet anymore. But then last night, my new guy was late for our date. He said traffic was busy. I guess there was an accident. I am not sure. I got so mad. I know I yelled at him when he finally showed up. I remember clearly slamming the door in his face. After that, things get tricky. I have a vague recollection of him opening the door back up. When I woke up an hour later he told me I had a knife. He said he put his hands up but I swung the knife near his chest. I don’t recall that at all. I think maybe he is hallucinating. I told him that. He said maybe he was. I told him maybe he needed a therapist. I think he was going to look for one. Since he was so quick to agree, I think maybe he's the one with the problem. I did not want to harm him. No more rage. No more blackouts. This time is perfect.

September 23, 2021

Justin. That is the name of my fiance. Yes, that's right! We got engaged. It is going to be a winter wedding. We are already planning it. Everything is perfect. No more rage. No more blackouts. And Justin has been seeing a therapist about his hallucinations. He has had a few more since the first time. Always claiming that I threaten him. Strange stories of me going crazy. His therapist thinks its a form of psychosis. Justin is so thankful that I am staying by his side through all of this. He calls me selfless. I think this time it is definitely him that has the problem. I am doing well. I haven’t even needed to see my own therapist. I blocked his number two months ago. He kept trying to push medication on me. I am not the problem. I swear I am not. No more rage. No more blackouts. Justin is the problem. He suffers from psychosis. I love him. I will be his protector.

December 12, 2021

I was supposed to get married today. It didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. The therapist claims Justin must have had a large psychotic break. The medicine he was on must have stopped working. He had called his doctor last night talking about how I had threatened him with a gun. I don’t even own a gun (not legally anyway). He was yelling on the phone that I was chasing him. Sounds like a horrible experience. Then the doctor heard a splash and the phone went dead. They found Justin’s body an hour later in the Scogner River. I guess he must have jumped off the bridge. Plunged into the freezing cold river, through the ice. The coroner said he died on impact from the fall. What a tragic ending. I cannot believe another man in my life has died. The police asked me where I was last night. Luckily, I was home tucked in bed. I have no idea what Justin was talking about. Such a sad ending to an incredible life. The police did say they would continue to investigate, since Justin claimed to his therapist I was chasing him. I told them I totally understood. Then I went home, packed up my belongings and drove away. No need for the police to dig into my past. This time was different. I was not the problem. Justin had a psychosis. 

I stopped reading. Taking a moment to catch my bearings. I grabbed the air sickness bag and dry heaved. This was not the journal I thought I would be reading. These are the writings of a monster. She knows at least three men that have died while dating her. Sounds like for most of the deaths, she blacked out. And yet, as I read the words, I can hear a voice in my head. A familiar voice. A voice of a woman that I personally know. I dry heave again. This cannot be. I flip through the pages, looking for a date in 2023. A date closer to now. A date I remember well.

February 14, 2023

I met a man today. He lives in a different state. Carl. I think he may be the one. This feels different this time. Things will be better. No more rage. No more blackouts. This time feels perfect….again.

I notice the seat belt light is back on. I have been so engrossed in this journal that I missed the entire flight. We are about to land. In Dallas. Where A.B. will be waiting for me. I heave into the bag again. Annabella lives in a different state than Carl. They met on Valentine’s Day. Annabella. I feel sick again.

I exit the plane and slowly make my way down the long corridor. I see a beautiful redhead holding a sign at the end of the hallway. It reads, “Carl.” I make my way to her. 

“Carl, I am so glad to see you! I was so anxious when all of the delays started,” A.B. states, hugging me.

I clear my throat. Thoughts swirl in my brain. And then I ask, “A.B., what is your full name?”

“Oh silly, I never told you. It’s Annabella,” she says smiling. Dragging me through the airport terminal.

May 24, 2023 01:11

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.


Hayley Chau
21:29 Jun 10, 2023

What a great spooky and haunting story! Wonderfully written, the diary had my heart thumping with anxiety and curiosity knowing the main character will die but not knowing how. Great ending!


Show 0 replies
20:22 Jun 04, 2023

Great ending! Really good twist.


Show 0 replies
Anna W
19:26 Jun 01, 2023

Wow, what a great twist! Really liked this!


Show 0 replies
Julie Addison
22:36 May 30, 2023

wow this was so nice pls upload more


Show 0 replies
Marty B
04:54 May 30, 2023

Oh great twist- I hope Carl can escape!


Show 0 replies
RBE | Illustrated Short Stories | 2024-06

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in Reedsy Studio. 100% free.