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A Silent Predator

July 23, 2010
Janet Leigh in the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock's 1960 classic thriller Psycho: The movie's suspenseful score is up for sale.

The shower in my mother’s house always seemed too small. The hot water was infrequent and the window above the blue tiled walls was covered with dust and cobwebs. Typically, from this window I would hear my aunts laughing at some old joke. Or complaining that the meat on the barbecue didn’t have any flavor. No matter what was said I looked forward to walking out onto the patio and being received with a collection of smiles.

The shower had changed. The window was gone. It amplified the sound of running water. When the curtain was thrust open I stood there, exposed and vulnerable, wondering who was standing so close to me. My eyes had difficulty focusing, so I rub them hard and came face to face with an unknown man. He was dressed like a tourist. A brightly colored shirt and black jeans and sandals. He wasn’t more than forty, but he seemed ancient when I studied his hands, cracked and dry from a lack of moisture.

In his mind I asked, “Who are you?”

He stared a moment and proceeded to rip the curtain apart. I heard him take a deep breath before he lunged at me. The question persisted. I soon understood how this question resonated loudly in his head. This infuriated him.

I slipped and hit my head against the bathtub and fell into a black slumber. As my mind stirred, I felt his hands trembling against my back. As I tried to get to my feet he dug his fingernails into my neck. I closed my eyes and  transparent walls began to rise, dividing us into separate worlds. They created a protective barrier between my body and the vicious fiend. I stared at him through the wall and shouted, “Tell me who you are!”

His head fell and he turned his back to me, still seething. He retreated, his body quivering, his mind taciturn.

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