Ever since her parents bought the clawfoot bathtub, Grace had felt ill at ease when she went to the toilet. Her father said it was a vintage Victorian tub, but she suspected he had just gotten it cheap from an old antique store. Almost everything they owned was used. Her father could never resist a discount.
Something about the antique bath bothered her. Perhaps it was the dark, ugly reddish-brown stains on the porcelain. Maybe it was the way the gnarled cast-iron legs of the bath jutted out at an odd angle. They looked like the paws of some monstrous, misshapen beast. Sometimes she imagined the bathtub suddenly standing up and scuttling out of the bathroom while her back was turned.
Grace was almost 13 years old, but her mother still treated her like a child, telling her when to get up, when to do her homework, when she could watch TV and when she had to go to bed.
Her parents seemed to argue constantly about everything. Even the slightest thing would spark a feud that lasted for hours. She couldn’t remember a time when there had been peace and quiet in the house. All day long, her mother and father would be at eachother’s throats, having argument after argument.
Often, at night, when her parents were yelling and screaming, Grace would put a pillow over her head to block out the noise and cry herself to sleep. With all the chaos at home, the young girl sometimes felt as if she was losing her mind.
Lately, she had begun to doubt her sanity more and more. Every time she went into the bathroom to take a shower or brush her teeth, she would see things out of the corner of her eye. Reflected in the mirror, she could see the clawfoot bathtub behind her.
Once, she thought she saw blood running out of the faucet. But when she turned to look, the taps weren’t running. On another occasion, she fancied she saw some dark, shadowy shape lying in the tub, its head barely peeking over the side. Of course, she spun around, her heart facing with fear, but the clawfoot bathtub was empty.
Whenever she undressed and stepped into the tub to take a shower, she had the strangest sensation that she was being watched. The hair on the back of her neck stood up and she felt like someone was staring at her naked body.
One night, while she was taking a shower, she dropped the soap. As she bent down to pick it up from the bottom of the tub, she lost her balance and fell backwards. Suddenly, it felt as if hands were grabbing her and holding her under the water.
The terrified girl kicked and struggled, eventually freeing herself from the invisible paws that seemed to clutch tightly at her skin. Spluttering and gasping for air, she thought she could hear faint laughter echoing around the small bathroom.
In the morning, she decided to pay a visit to the local antique shop where her father had purchased the clawfoot bathtub. When she asked the owner about the vintage bath he had sold a few days before, she was shocked by the horrifying tale he had to tell.
Apparently, the old clawfoot bathtub dated back to the Victorian era. The man said that it had once belonged to an infamous and reviled serial killer named George Haigh. Grace’s jaw dropped and she began to shake with fear.
The man said that the serial killer would lure young girls back to his house and run a bath for them. Then, while they bathed, he would spy on them through a hole he had drilled in the wall. When they least expected it, he would pounce on them and hold their heads underwater until they drowned.
The evil murderer then chopped up their bodies with an axe and disposed of the pieces in the garbage. After a number of young girls went missing in the area, his terrible deeds finally caught up with him.
A neighbor was snooping through his trash when she came across the grisly remains and contacted the police. They arrested him and put him on trial. He was found guilty and executed by hanging.
Grace was terrified beyond belief. She realized that she had to convince her parents to get rid of the clawfoot bathtub before something horrible happened. The young girl ran back to her house as fast as her legs would carry her.
When she got home, she found her father sitting alone on the living-room sofa. The TV was off and the house was deathly quiet.
“Where’s Mom?”, asked Grace.
“She’s upstairs taking a bath”, said her father. “I’ll go check on her”.
Grace sat on the sofa while her father went upstairs. The house was so quiet, it unnerved her. She wasn’t used to this much silence. Suddenly, she heard a series of short sharp clunks coming from upstairs followed by slow, deliberate footsteps that echoed across the ceiling and traveled down the stairs.
Her father appeared at the door to the living room. His eyes were glazed and he had an odd look on his face. Then, she noticed he was holding a bloody axe.
“Your mother’s finished”, he growled. “Now it’s your turn to take a bath”.
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