Packages

by Erin Goulding

I got a package today.

The eighth Amazon package this month. Or the thirtieth, since I tend to order a lot. My mom calls it an online shopping addiction; I call it a great reason to never leave my house.

But the box I got today is the eighth one that I didn’t order. I was worried I might be sleep-ordering again.

Still, I could rationalize the mystery packages in 100 different ways—and I did. It didn’t hurt that the packages were personalized: clothes my size or my favorite snacks. My parents denied knowing anything about the deliveries, and the purchases didn’t show up in my own order history. Even without answers, it felt like a game—a fun mystery for me to solve.

Six presents just for me.

Box seven was different. Inside was a lock of my hair.

I know it’s my hair. I even found a shortened strand near the nape of my neck, though I don’t remember cutting my hair. I’m either losing it, or someone cut my hair without me noticing, and honestly, I think I prefer the former.

I went to the police yesterday, but there’s nothing they can do. It’s not like I’ve been threatened, even though I’ve never felt less safe in my life.

Without any family in town or close friends to stay with, I slept in my house last night. “Slept” might be a strong word—I stayed in my house last night, just me and the cat.

The eighth package was here early, right when I woke up. It rattled a little when I picked it up. This note was different, too:

“One for me, one for you.”

My spare house key, but in a different color metal.

A copy of the key to my house.

Erin is a senior about to graduate with a degree in editing and publishing. She has the world’s best husband named Matt and the world’s cutest cat named Knives.