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Evil lurks in the shadows. Two boys are playing on the park swing set. They are brothers. It is chilly. The orange sun starts to drop behind the hills. Long shadows reach out like black fingers. Their mother is talking to someone on the phone. One boy sings softly to himself. Something rustles in the tall bushes. The boy stops singing. Hairs stand up on his neck. Trembling, he turns around. Nothing. Then he sees them. Two yellow eyes glint in the semi-darkness. He wants to scream for his mother. But he can’t. He can’t even breathe. Fear stifles his soul. A huge, gloved hand clamps over his mouth, nails digging into his skin. Evil laughs in the darkness.
The party was in full swing. Laughs and shouts filled the air. The house throbbed from the heavy sound system. Jason leaned against the bar sipping a drink. A guy in a dark jacket bumped into him. “Hey watch it!” the guy yelled. The glass flew out of Jason’s hand and hit the floor exploding in a thousand pieces. Muttering about his ill-luck, Jason grabbed some towels and mopped up the mess. As he picked up the glass which slid under the wall unit, his hands touched a piece of paper long forgotten. It was a picture—taken 11 years ago. Two little kids grinning, oblivious to the cruelties of the world. Jason and his twin brother, Jordan.
The image of the kidnaper flashed through his mind, like a flash of lightning. He could almost taste the foul gag in his mouth, feel the plastic ties cutting into his wrists, see the double edged knife glinting in a shaft of moonlight. He trembled.
Somebody shook him. “Earth to Jason!”
Slowly, the memory faded and Jason remembered his surroundings. He felt bile climbing his throat. He stumbled to his feet. “I need to get some air.”
“You alright man?”
“Yeah, I’m fine. Just need some air.”
Fighting to control emotions, he pushed his way through the party goers and rushed outside. Jason, glad to escape from the picture, sank down on the front steps of the house. The past was stalking him. It had no mercy. Horror had arrived.
The screen door squeaked open behind him. “Jason?”
He looked back at the girl standing hesitantly on the porch. “Do you need some water or something?”
“I still remember.”
Concern on her face, she sat down beside him and took his hand. They sat in silence for long moment. “I miss him.” Jason whispered, “He was like my other half. We did everything together. When... he got us, we were so scared.”
“I know. You can’t forget something like that.”
“No you can’t. You can’t even imagine what it’s like. I should have died in there.”
“God was looking out for you.”
“Why wasn’t God looking out for Jordan?”
She couldn’t meet his eyes. “I don’t know.”
“No matter how hard I try to forget, it still haunts me, Lauren. I can’t get it out of my mind. I wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat and fear. That twisting, scarred up face. Those crazy bloodshot eyes.”
Lauren looked up into his eyes and rubbed his arm.“It’s okay,” she soothed. “It’s over.”
“It’s not over. The FBI never found him. He’s still out there. Somewhere. Lurking. Waiting.”
A cold draft seemed to freeze the blood in his veins.
Lauren shivered. “That was nearly ten years ago. He’s probably dead.”
“He’s alive. I know it.”
“He’s only alive in your mind, because you allow him to live there.”
“They never found Jordan. The police attributed fifteen abductions to my brother’s killer that year alone. I’ve seen the pictures. The things he did...he was so sick. I was the only one who survived.”
“I’m concerned about you, Jason. I think you’re becoming obsessed. Horrible things happen to all of us. But we have to move on.”
“Trust me, there’s nothing I want more. But I can’t.”
“We can’t let the ugly things of the past consume us.”
“Only if it is the past.”
She tugged on his arm. “Come on let’s go. . .please?”
“I can’t go back in there. Not now. They don’t understand. I’m tired of pretending that I fit in. This party is over for me. Please just leave me alone.”
A wave of pain crossed her face and she stood. “Okay.”
He knew he hurt her, but he couldn’t handle his feelings right now.“Sorry.”
“I’ll always be here for you. Happy Birthday,” she said before disappearing back into the house. Laughter and music floated out as the door swung shut.
Jason whispered. “God? I’m afraid. I’m afraid of myself. I’m afraid of my thoughts.”
His cell-phone rang out ominously, echoing like a haunting presence. Who would be calling at this hour? Jason lifted it to his ear. “Hello?”
A strange voice crackled back.“Hi Jason.”
Jason almost hung up the phone. “Do I know you?”
“No, but I know all about you. All your darkest secrets. But don’t worry,” he laughed dryly. “They’re safe with me.”
Jason’s heart pounded. His head throbbed. His mind raced.“Who are you?”
“The proper question is, ‘Who am I?’ You don’t really know who you are. Well, I’m going show you who you really are. I’m going to show your friends. I’m going show Lauren. You can only run from your past for so long until it catches up with you. And your past has some sharp teeth. I’ll drive you over the edge into madness.”
Angry and afraid, Jason yelled. “Who are you!”
But he already knew.
“I’m your darkest fear. Don’t you remember?”
“What do you want?”
“All I want is your mind and your soul.”
The phone died. Sweat beaded on Jason’s forehead. His hands shook. How could this be happening? Something touched his shoulder. He jumped and spun around envisioning the horribly deformed face of his kidnaper.
It was Lauren.
Jason exploded. “Don’t sneak up on me like that! What’s your problem?”
She was taken aback at his harshness. “I heard you yelling. Are you alright?”
“I just wanted to remind you that I’m visiting my mom in San Francisco tomorrow so we won’t be able to study together. I’ll be taking the bus...What is wrong?”
Jason hesitated. “I think that was him on the phone.”
“Him? What are you talking about?”
“The guy who killed my twin brother. My kidnaper.”
She paled. “Are you sure?”
“Yes. I would recognize his voice anywhere.”
“It was probably just Ryan or one of the other guys playing a joke on you.”
“I don’t think so.”
Dry leaves crackled in the distance. Jason scanned the trees, the hairs tingling on his neck. “He’s out there...”
She smiled, trying to brush away his fears. “I don’t hear anything You’re just being paranoid....”
He grabbed her hand.“It’s him.”
She pulled away. “Jason! Stop it!”
Catching her shoulders, he forced her to face him.“Lauren. I had another dream and in the dream...he was watching you.”
Her eyes got wide. “Jason, you’re scaring me. I can’t be around you if you’re going act like this. You need help.”
He glared at her.“What, you think I’m crazy or something?”
“Do you know what post abduction trauma is? Sometimes people hear and even see things that aren’t there. I think that’s what you’re suffering from.”
“I can’t sit around pretending that the killer isn’t hunting me.”
Lauren lay on her bed doing homework. She heard something scraping outside the window. Standing slowly, she approached the window. “Is someone there?”
After a quick glance outside, she closed the window and locked it. She had just gotten back on the bed when a haunting voice whispered, “Anybody home?”
Panting, she rushed to the front door and slammed the locks home. She leaned against the door trying to catch her breath.
Lauren spun around, terror flaring in her mind. Her scream was choked off by gloved hands clamping over her mouth.
A voice rasped in her ear, layered with a hideous laugh. “Don’t worry, sweetheart. I’m not gonna hurt you.”
Jason came out of the dream gasping, like a drowning man coming up for air. The sheets were twisted around him. It was midnight.
His phone rang. Slowly, he answered it. “Hello?”
“Where’s your pretty friend?” The chilling voice from his nightmares.
Jason squeezed the phone, wishing he had trusted his instincts. “I’m calling the police.”
The laugh chilled Jason’s bones. “You go ahead and do that. Have you ever heard her scream?”
“Don’t touch her!”
“I’m afraid she won’t be pretty for long.”
This was impossible. Jason punched in 911. “I need to report a threatening call.” He almost yelled.
The tired, monotone voice of the operator responded. “What was the nature of the call?”
“A man asked where my friend was and asked if I had ever heard her scream...” his voice trailed off.
It had sounded so logical in his mind, but now the words seemed ridiculous. What was he supposed to say? I dreamt my friend was kidnaped, then the men who kidnaped me ten years ago called and asked where she was. He was a certified nutcase.
“I’m sorry sir. Is the person is question missing?”
“Well I don’t know, but—“
”Unless there is reasonable evidence to assume that a person has been abducted, they are not considered missing for at least 48 hours. Nine times out of ten, the people turn up within that time.”
Jason hung up. He dialed Lauren’s number, his fear growing with each unanswered ring. “Come on! Pick up,” he muttered.
It clicked over to voice mail. “Hi you’ve reached Lauren. Please leave me a message.”
“Hey, Lauren, this Jason. He called again. He asked about you. Please be careful.”
Jason huddled in his bed, afraid to go back sleep.
Lauren slowly regained consciousness. She was tied to a chair in a dark basement. Twisting around, she scanned the room for any sign of her kidnaper. Nobody. She wriggled, trying to loosen the ropes.
“I hope you’re comfortable.”
Lauren cringed. That creepy voice sent shivers up her spine. She still couldn’t see anyone.“Why are you doing this?”
A gloved hand reached out of the darkness and trailed a finger down her cheek.“You’re so pretty.”
“Please,” she whispered, “please don’t hurt me...”
“Maybe it’s just my imagination, but I don’t think you’re in a position to make requests. I’ll do whatever I want.”
“Although I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...” she whispered.
The shadowy figure hovered over her like a vulture.“You don’t know Jason’s little secret do you?”
“...I will fear no evil...”
He grabbed her face, squeezing her cheeks.“He’s psycho.”
“...your rod and your staff comfort me. You lay a table for me..”
“Do you know who I am?”
“... in the midst of my enemies..”
The kidnaper slapped her cheek.“Answer me!”
Tears slid down her face. “No....”
“I don’t know who you are.”
He smiled, loving her fear.“A nightmare.”
Slowly, almost reverently, the kidnaper stepped into the light. She stared in muted shock. Just before she screamed, the kidnaper slapped her and the world faded to black.
Jason climbed out of the dream again. He felt sick. It was so real. He shivered in the dark house, trying to make sense of the dream. Although he couldn’t see the kidnaper’s face he no doubt who it was. Why was this happening? Was it some type of premonition? Whatever it was, it was too much. It had to end.
“What do you want from me!” he shouted, pressing hands against his temples. “Get out of my head! I hate you. I hate you!”
Jason rapped on Lauren’s door. “Lauren!”
Last night had been horrible. He hoped she hadn’t left yet. He had to see her for himself. Make sure she was alright and his nightmare was only that, a nightmare. He banged on the door. He leaned down over the rose bushes and hunted around until he found the key she kept buried there. Fumbling with the key, he shoved into the door and pushed it open. “Lauren!”
He rushed through the house. The empty rooms echoed his screams of rage and despair. Stopping in her bedroom, he saw her necklace on the bed. He knew she would never leave it behind.
Jason fell to his knees.
He wanted to curl up on the floor and cry. How had it come to this? His phone, which was beside him on the floor, rang. Jason snatched it up, anger and bitterness in his voice.
“What did you do with her, you monster!”
“Nothing that you wouldn’t have done. Do you feel your mind falling off the cliff? Do you feel the darkness swallowing your soul? Enjoy your suffering, Jason. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
“Where is she!”
“I think you already know. I’m waiting for you. Don’t be late. And don’t bring the police or I will kill her.”
Jason dropped the phone. He tried to quell his panic and think. The kidnaper was drawing him out, forcing a confrontation.
A clinking noise came from the front room. Someone was in the house.
Sweat broke out over Jason’s face as he frantically searched for some type of weapon. If it was the kidnaper...
His eyes settled on some golf clubs leaning against the wall in the adjoining bedroom. He grabbed one and eased his way towards the noise. As he turned the corner he crashed into a body. Panicking, Jason swung wildly with the club. He succeeded in giving the intruder a few good clouts before he realized that it was his friend, Ryan. “Hey take it easy man!”
Jason leaned against the wall, trying to catch his breath.“What are you doing here!”
Ryan looked bemused, “I should be asking you the same question.”
“I called Lauren this morning and she didn’t answer my calls.”
“So you broke into her house?”
“The kidnaper called me last night. He asked me where she was and if I had ever heard her scream.”
Ryan shoved his hands in his pockets. “Jason, she’s on a bus to San Francisco right now.”
“You don’t know that.”
“I talked to her yesterday. That’s where she said she was going. She’s been talking about this trip for months—“
“Yeah, but she never returned my calls.”
“Maybe her battery is dead or she forgot her phone. There are a number of reasonable scenarios. You have to stop freaking out over nothing.”
Jason threw up his hands in frustration. “You’re not listening! The kidnaper called me. What part of that are you not getting?” he slammed his fists on the table. “This was my fault.”
“I knew he was going to take her.”
Ryan groaned. “Come on Jason...”
“It was a feeling. I don’t know...I had nightmare where she was kidnaped”
“Yeah like some kind of premonition. And right after I woke up, he called. It was like... he knew what I was thinking.”
“Couldn’t the call have also been part of the dream?”
Ryan looked at him closely. “I know you’ve been taking sleeping pills. Have you been sneaking anything....?”
“Don’t look at me like that, Ryan. Yes, I’ve been taking some sleeping pills, but that’s all. Just because I have trouble sleeping doesn’t mean that I have a loose screw.”
“Your Mom also said she hears you crying at night and talking to yourself.”
“What are you, my psychiatrist? Okay, you’ve got me figured out. I still haven’t recovered from the kidnaping. I’ve spent my whole life running from this nightmare but he’s still stalking me. ”
Ryan studied him. “Okay, I’m not saying it’s true, but just for argument’s sake suppose that this is the same guy. Why did he wait all this time to take his revenge?”
“I don’t know. He’s psychotic. The only way to figure out why is to put myself in his head. Maybe I know more about him than I think. He must of kidnaped her sometime last night....”
“We still need a motive Jason. Why Lauren?”
“Well, obviously, he’s trying to get at me through her....” Jason jumped from the chair. “How could I be so stupid? He’s reenacting my kidnaping. I bet she’s at the old basement where he held me.”
“This is ridiculous.”
“I’m going there now. Ryan I need you to stay here. I’ll try to call but if I’m not back in an hour. Call the police.”
“Jason, she’s probably on the bus right now.”
“I pray to God that you’re right.”
Ryan grabbed his arm.“Whoa! Whoa! You can’t do this. If you’re right and this is the guy who kidnaped you, he’ll kill you.”
“Don’t you understand? That’s the very reason I have to go.”
He ran out of the house and jumped in his car. It was a twenty minute drive back to the place that he swore never to return. Like a fat spider, the house stood tall and sinister. Nobody lived there— at least nobody alive. Sweating, he stopped the car a block away and got out. Approaching carefully, he noticed nothing unusual. For a moment he froze. His senses were overwhelmed with frightful memories.
Jason darted through the abandoned building, until he found the basement. He felt his heart in his mouth as he descended the dark steps. He saw Lauren slumped and unconsciousness, tied to a chair.
Just like in his dream.
Rushing towards her, he dropped to his knees and started working on the ties, praying she was alright. He had to hurry before the kidnaper returned.
A muscular arm tightened around his neck and a cold knife blade pricked his throat. “It’s been a long time.”
Fear shot through Jason like an electric shock. He wanted to scream but he couldn’t. He couldn’t even breath.
The killer’s voice was inches from his ear.“I knew you would come. You wouldn’t leave miss pretty to an ugly fate, would you?”
It was all the more terrifying that he was unable to see the killer’s face.“All you want is me, right? So why don’t you let her go?”
“You still haven’t figured it out, have you? I never wanted to hurt her, but you forced my hand.”
“Look you can have me. I’ll do whatever you want. Please let her go.”
“How noble. But remember that whatever happens, Lauren’s blood is on your head. You know what you wanted deep inside. What you’ve always wanted. Revenge. You want someone to feel the same agony and fear that you felt. Your parents, your friends they never understood what you went through.”
“I never wanted that...”
“You don’t sound very convincing. Didn’t they spew trite nonsensical phrases? It’s alright. You’ll get over it. You’ll be fine, just forgot about what he did to you.” He spat. “It makes me sick.”
A hard shove sent Jason stumbling across the room. He landed on his hands and knees. For the first time he could see the kidnaper. The man who had killed Jordan. His face was shrouded in darkness as he towered over Jason. “Do you want to know our little secret?”
Slowly, he stepped into the light. Jason was stunned. It was like looking at his own reflection. The kidnaper had his face. Horrible. Shocking. Mind numbing.
“Ah...so you do recognize me. We share the same parents, the same fears and same sins.”
Something clicked in Jason’s brain.“Jordan?”
“I’m not Jordan! That boy died ten years ago right here in this room! He’s dead. Never mention his name again!”
Jason groped behind him searching for a weapon. His finger wrapped around a metal pipe. He snatched it up and swung the pipe at his face. The killer collapsed in a heap. Jason pulled off his belt and tied the killer to the basement furnace. He pried the killer’s knife away, rushed back to Lauren and started cutting the ties on her wrists. Suddenly she came awake, screaming and fighting him in blind panic.
“Lauren, it’s alright. Calm down.”
She screamed and slapped him. “Get away from me! Monster!”
Jason had to grab her arms to keep her from hitting him again.“Lauren! It’s me Jason!”
Her eyes were full of terror and outrage.“How could you do this to me?”
“It wasn’t me. It was Jordan, my twin. Hey, it’s me. Don’t be afraid. Look in my eyes. It’s me.”
Her eyes searched his with uncertainty. “He looked exactly like you...”
“I know. I think he’s my twin brother, Jordan. Somehow he survived the kidnaping.”
She stared at him closely, “He looked exactly like you...”
“I know. I saw him. But it’s alright, I got him.”
“Where is he?”
Jason spun around looking for the killer. “He’s gone....”
Jason grabbed her hand. “Come on lets get out of here.”
As they started for the stairs, Jason yanked out his phone and dialed 911. “I need help. There’s a somebody after us. He’s tried to kill me.”
“Yes. I will kill you...” the laugh chilled him.
Jason dropped the phone.
“What?” Lauren demanded.
“That was him...”
“What’s happening to me? How can he do that?”
Lauren was starting to cry. “I don’t know! Maybe he tapped your phone somehow.”
Jason pressed his hands to his head. “I can still hear his voice.” His was getting frantic, eyes wild. “Lauren! Help me! He’s in my head!”
“What do you want me to do?”
“I don’t know!”
She caught his face with her hands. “You’re not crazy. Listen to me. You’re not crazy. I can hear him too.”
“Yes. We’re scared and our minds are playing tricks on us. That’s what this whole thing is. He’s trying to mess with our minds. We need to get out of this wretched house.”
Slowly, Jason eased open the basement door and stuck his head out. The hall was empty. The livingroom floor creaked. Footsteps. Jordan’s footsteps.
Jordan’s voice echoed across the house.“You can’t hide from me Jason. All the doors are locked.”
Jason jumped as he heard the voice coming from behind him. He spun around. His brother was gripping a fire poker in gloved hands and striding forward
Jason stepped in front of Lauren. “Get out of here! I’ll hold him off.”
He shoved her backwards. “Run!”
Then Jordan was upon him, swinging the poker. Dodging aside, Jason heard the iron rod whistle over his head and tear plaster out of the wall. Jason caught the poker, trying to twist it out of Jordan’s hands.
“Jason!” Lauren was still there. When Jason risked a quick glance over his brother’s shoulder, she looked even more scared than before, if that was possible. Jason groaned. Why hadn’t she obeyed? Jordan took the opportunity to slam his fist into the Jason’s chin.
“Jason, what are you doing?” She was yelling, screaming.
Jason rolled out of the way as his brother tried to stab him with the fire poker. “What does it look like I’m doing!”
“There’s no one there!”
Was she insane? Couldn’t she see the guy trying to kill him? Jason kicked out hard.
Lauren seemed on the verge of hysteria.“There’s nothing there!”
The expression on her face stopped him cold. She really didn’t see his twin. Reality had taken a little spin. He groped for an explanation. “Are you a ghost?”
Jordan smiled. “No.”
Lauren went deathly white.
Warning bells were going off in Jason’s mind. He knew there was something horribly wrong but he couldn’t put his finger on it. “Are you real?”
His twin swung the poker like a bat and caught Jason in the side. Pain throbbed through Jason’s body and he staggered backwards.
Jordan leaped forward and grabbed Lauren, holding the sharp poker to her throat.“You really don’t know who we are, do you?”
“Let her go.” Jason ordered.
“She needs to suffer Jason. Don’t you understand? The world is a cruel place filled with suffering and injustice. Lauren can’t be our friend until she understands suffering, until she understands what we went through.”
Jason took a careful step towards them, but stopped when his saw that the poker was drawing blood.
“Jason stop it, you’re hurting me. Please,” Lauren gasped, tears sliding down her face.
Suddenly, everything slammed into Jason like a train. The truth clicked into place like tumblers in a lock and it made sense, in a horrible, insane way. It was true. He knew it, deep in his soul. The unimaginable had somehow become a reality.
“God help me.” he whispered.
Lauren knew now that there was no kidnaper. There was only Jason. She stared at him. She could see his face twisted as if in pain. Her heart nearly stopped when she heard her kidnaper’s chilling voice oozing out of Jason’s mouth.
“Lauren...” She hated the way he said her name. The poker glinted in his hands and his eyes burned through her. “We’re gonna have lots of fun.” Then his face softened, and he whispered in his normal voice, “I’ll kill you if you touch her!”
The pieces were falling into place in her mind with stunning, terrifying clarity. “No...God help me. Jason don’t do this to me...”
He looked confused.“What?”
“There’s nobody there! Can’t you hear yourself? You’re talking in the killer’s voice.”
Jason looked shocked.“What? He’s standing right in front of you.”
Jason interrupted himself.“Shut up!”
Jason, face twisted in rage, raised the poker over head. But before he could swing, he groaned was knocked off his feet by some invisible force. As he crashed to the floor, he shouted in his normal voice. “I said don’t touch her!”
He rolled and thrashed on the floor, fighting with himself. Lauren felt helpless. She had know idea what to do and could only watch Jason struggling with his invisible enemy. “Jason, please. You’re not enslaved to this thing. You have control Jason. Please, take control.
Jason crumbled to the ground. He couldn’t make any sense of what was happening. The thing grabbed his face. “Look at you. You’re a weak, pathetic parasite. Again you’re powerless, just like all those years ago. Is this what you want? The only way you will ever be strong is if you let me take over.”
It would be so easy just to give in. Why keep fighting? Jason felt like he was sliding down a dark hole and there was no way to catch himself.
Lauren watched, shell shocked, as Jason slammed his head into the wall. There was a horrible crunch and he flopped over, falling on his face. Blood dripped down his forehead. She wondered if he was still conscious.
She approached cautiously, praying that he wasn’t dead. “Jason?”
Suddenly, his eyes flicked open, tainted in a crazed light.“Hi, Lauren.”
Jason smiled, looking down at his body as if seeing it for the first time. “Finally. After all these years. This body is mine! Jason was afraid of power. Afraid of fulfilling our carnal instincts of pain and destruction. But I’m not.”
Lauren tried to run, but Jason caught her by the hair and pulled her so close to him, she could feel his hot breath on her neck “You know, I always liked you. Unfortunately, now you know my little secret. So I’ll have to kill you.”
“Jason don’t let him control you.”
A cruel laugh crackled from Jason’s throat. “Jason’s not home.”
Tears spilled from her eyes. “Who are you?”
“I’m Jason as he should have been.”
Slowly, he squeezed her throat. Lauren gurgled, struggling to pry loose his fingers and fill her lungs with air. “God help me!”
“God can’t help you now, sweetheart.”
“Jason! I know you’re there! Listen to me. You can’t allow him to have dominion over you.”
Jason laughed. “He can’t hear you Lauren. You’ll have to call louder.”
“Jason I love you.”
That touched him. His grip loosened from her throat. She could see the crazy light fading from his eyes. “Lauren, I’m sorry. It’s too strong for me. I can’t... stop it.”
“Jason! Stay with me. Don’t leave. You have to fight him. Don’t let him take over.”
His grip tightened and he growled. “This is over. Jason is dead.”
Lauren was having difficulty thinking clearly. She knew she was losing oxygen and would pass out soon.“You have power over him. The kidnaper is all in your imagination.”
Jason looked confused, falling back into his normal voice. “I don’t understand—“ His face puckered and he interrupted himself in the kidnapers voice. “Of course you don’t understand. The girl is crazy.”
“Listen to me Jason! You can stop him. It’s all in your mind.”
His mind was a mess. Jason watched the kidnaper choking Lauren, knowing that he was the one actually killing her. It was an odd, out of body sensation. He heard Lauren’s screams almost like background noise, distant and echoing. Yes, those were his fingers around her throat. But wasn’t this what he wanted? Someone to understand what it was like to be stalked, kidnaped and killed? He wanted somebody to actually feel his pain, to feel everything he went through, everything Jordan went through.
The absurdity of his thoughts hit him like a freight train. This was not what he wanted.
Not at all.
He realized what he had to do. Slowly, Jason reached out his hand and touched the kidnaper. His hand passed through the kidnaper’s body as if it was a holographic projection. They melded into one person, one mind.
Lauren finally saw recognition in Jason’s eyes. His fingers were still around her throat, but she could tell he was fighting internally. He trembled. After what seemed like a lifetime, he let her go. His face was ashen and he stumbled to his knees. A tear trailed down his cheek, he looked up at her. “I’m so sorry. I tried so hard to fight it.”
Lauren backed away.“I don’t know what to say.” Then she turned around and fled.
The look in her eyes wrenched out his heart. How could he ever fix what he had done to her? The suppressed memories came to Jason in a flood. He remembered everything.
He bowed his head to the floor. He thought he might die. As his hands touched the wooden floor, he fingers felt a slight crack in the floor. Absently, he traced the crack in a square around where he was kneeling until it dawned on him, a trapdoor. He slid his finger into a knothole and pulled. Inside, a ladder stretched down into a cave like space. By the fading light, Jason could see pictures and newspaper clipping posted to the walls. One picture arrested his eyes. It showed two boys playing in a park. Jason and Jordan.
Jason surfaced from the dream, crying—screaming. He was in his bedroom. The door flew open. Lauren ran in and came to the bedside, worry in her eyes. “Jason it’s alright! Calm down. It’s alright.
Slowly, Jason relaxed. “I had the dream again.”
There was pity in her voice. “Where I was being stalked?”
“It’s just a dream. Jason none of that ever happened.”
His phone started ringing. Jason froze.
Hardly daring to breathe, he reached for the phone and held it to his ear. “Hello?”
Silence. Then a raspy breath. “Hello Jason.”