Young social worker Molly Atkinson is spooked by the news from her neighbor, but tries to distract herself and relax, in this excerpt from An Accidental Life.
Jim’s report had disturbed Molly greatly. Long after he left, she paced about in the small living room, her agitation level increasing as she moved about the space. Finally, exhausted by her day and the emotional stress of finding out about her neighbor, she ran hot water into the tub, pouring in the scented bath beads. She closed and locked the bathroom door and while the tub filled, she noticed the steam forming a vaporous cloud. It reminded her of a scene from that thriller, Fatal Attraction; the woman played by Anne Archer is wiping the steam off of her bathroom mirror and sees the deranged character played by Glenn Close reflected there. She could almost feel the bloodcurdling scream erupting from her own lips, as she visualized a similar fate.
Sinking down into the water at last, she closed her eyes and tried to erase the frightening images…A young woman, about her age, or maybe a little older…found dead in her apartment earlier that day. Murdered. No suspects. That meant that the perpetrator was still out there, maybe lurking about. Without a suspect, there was no motive. It could have been someone who knew the young woman, but it also could have been a random act. Feeling extremely vulnerable, Molly got out of the tub and wrapped herself in the big toweling robe. Drying her hair with a separate towel, she slid between the comforter and the crisp sheets and pointed the remote at the little TV on top of her bureau. The eleven o’clock news was playing and there, sure enough, the newscaster was recounting the tragic demise of the young woman next door. Still no suspects listed.
She changed the channels, searching for something to distract her, but every channel seemed to be featuring a thriller or some kind of horror flick. Finally she tried to read and when that didn’t work, she reached for the prescription bottle containing a sedative: one her doctor had given her last year while she was still in graduate school and having a hard time falling asleep. She knew she shouldn’t keep taking them, but their comforting presence now beckoned to her. She slipped one under her tongue, washing it down with her bottled water.