Paula grumbled as she trudged down the apartment stairs to the building’s laundry room. As much as she loved her two-bedroom apartment with full on views of the San Francisco Bay from every room, she didn’t appreciate the shared laundry space.
True, that, but the schedule worked because Paula did her laundry at 6:30 a.m., when most of the other building’s occupants were either still sleeping or getting ready for work.
Sure enough, the basement room, simple with white walls, gray linoleum floors, and one industrial-sized washer and one dryer, was empty. What Donald didn’t know was that Paula had been desperate for a clean pair of undies, so she snuck down to the laundry room at 10 the night before and did a load of whites. Now, early in the morn, all she had to do was pull them out of the washer and into the dryer, and she’d be ready for work with clean clothes in 45 minutes.
Except. Wait. What was this? As Paula pulled out the damp load and began to throw the clothes into the huge dryer, a shiver ran down her spine. This pink women’s top wasn’t hers, and neither was the two pair of blue jeans – one size 6 (she only wished) and one men’s Levi’s.
Feeling a sense of I shouldn’t be doing this, Paula continued to pull out clothes that obviously weren’t hers: men’s plaid boxer shorts; a blue flannel shirt (men’s or women’s, she wondered); two long-sleeved t-shirts, one green and light blue; and a lavender nightie.
On a hunch, Paula examined the silk-like short nightgown with thin straps and lace at the hem. Was that…? Didn’t that look like….? BLOOD? Blood that had not washed away?
Paula stepped away, holding back a scream when Stefan, the neighbor who had just moved into the apartment above her, entered the room, saying softly: “Is there a problem?”