Stockholm | Teen Ink


December 19, 2013
By Trapped-Magic SILVER, Cave Springs, Arkansas
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Trapped-Magic SILVER, Cave Springs, Arkansas
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Favorite Quote:
"If you have to live the rest of your life in a memory... you might as well make it a good one"

-Epsilon/Leonard Church from Red vs. Blue Revelation

Kate felt like she’d been hit by a semi full of bricks. There was a pounding ache in the back of her neck that reminded her of the time she fell from the wall of her father’s obstacle course. After shaking loose the cobwebs of her mind, she opened her eyes. Instead of the usual deep maroon of her bedroom wall, she was surprised to find herself in a dimly lit metallic room.
As her vision readjusted and she came to full consciousness Kate noticed some very important facts. 1. Instead of the exercise clothes she had been in, she was dressed in pair of grey sweats and a plain white V-neck. 2. She was lying on a concrete floor, with wrists and ankles bound behind her back. And 3. The cuffs were the same as the military grade restraints her father had once shown her…damn.
Training and instinct took over from that point. Katelyn’s father had taught her that in a situation such as this you should try to recall your memories as well as get your bearings. She tried sitting up, but the world spun and caused her to cough up a small bit of bile and stomach acid.
She’d been drugged.
This had to be some kind of twisted prank, or an intense training simulation. That was the only explanation. She closed her eyes once more. Hailey. She'd been helping her little sister repair the lawn mower when…what exactly? She couldn't remember. What happened?
The girl sucked in a breath and rolled onto her stomach. The urge to vomit and the burning in her throat and nostrils was pushed down, as she forced herself onto her knees. The world span again as she got up to her feet, but she managed to stay upright. Whatever was in her system wanted out, and she had a feeling it was only going to get a lot worse from here on in.
She turned at the waist, spotting a wooden door at the front of the room. A couple of iron chains hung loosely from each corner to a padlock in the center. Okay, this she could work with.
She faced forward again and sucked in a breath. Get to the door. Get to the lock. Get out. Get to her family and make sure they were both OK. That was the plan. Not a great plan, but a plan all the same. She just needed to figure out how to accomplish the moving part of the plan. Kate shifted on her heels until she was able to take a small but productive step.
"Oh, sweetheart. You woke up early."
Katelyn tensed; entire body rigid at the sound of the intruder. Strange though…she knew that voice. Kate looked over her shoulder. "Mr. Leonard?"
"I knew I took too long setting up your room," the military man said, dressed in his full army fatigues. Kate stared at their neighbor, wide eyed. This was the guy who knocked her out? The man who had lost at arm wrestling to her sister? Mike Leonard?!
The forty-something year old soldier crossed his arms, and tilted his head. "You weren't supposed to see this one. Much too bare, much too dark.
"Sir," the girl started. A sudden need to defend both her pride and training caused her to take a deliberate step forward. Even without shoes, she came to just bellow eye level with the older man. "What is going on?"
"You woke up early."
Kate bit her lip hard enough for them to bleed, as a Taser she failed to notice before was thrust into her stomach.

Though her hands were still bound, this time Kate woke on a bed. She was on top of a quilted duvet cover clad in green, yellow, and off-white. From her side, she could see a small desk covered with art pads and coal pencils sitting on a doily. There was a small floral carpet on the concrete floor, light pink. In front of her were what appeared to be a wooden dresser, covered in dolls and little ornaments. To her right was a porcelain square with a drain on the floor, squat toilet, and showerhead drilled into the wall.
At that moment, Katelyn was most concerned with the glass walls incasing her. She sat up head clearer than before and, in one fluid motion, pushed off with her feet and landed bare-foot on the carpet. With her senses on high alert, she looked around until she spotted the thin outline of a door, and a small open slot above a clear shelf just next to it.
Katelyn was in a glass solitary cell decorated to look like a bedroom.
The cell was centered in the middle of a much larger room, with a kitchen to the far right and living room to the left. Behind her there was a futon and coffee table; both facing in the direction of the bed and showerhead.
Kate tugged at her hands, and hissed when the cuffs bit into her bare wrists. They had been tightened to the max, designed to cuff someone of greater strength and muscle mass. The 19 year old huffed, and walked toward the small cut out slot.
"Mr. Leonard? Sir?"
She was met with silence, and banged on the glass. "Mr. Leonard! Please sir! Can you hear me?"
She heard the sound of keys jangling, and the turning of a lock. She had to press against the glass, between the corner and desk, but she was able to make out part of a wooden door. It was pushed open by a foot dressed in a Nike sneaker, belonging to a man juggling a few bags of groceries.
Before the brown paper could be set down, Kate made out a tallish man with soft brown hair, and dark, almost black eyes. He was in a navy blue button up, and a pair of slightly faded denim jeans.
The man stared at Kate for a full moment in shock, before smiling and saying in a voice that seemed to calm for the situation, "You always were an early riser. You keep waking up before I'm ready!"
"With all due respect Mr. Leonard, what is going on?" Katelyn asked, trying to use a tone that was both calm and respectful. "Why did you put me in a box?”
The man dropped the bags onto the kitchen counter, before walking up to the wall. "Sweetheart you already know the answer, but I can tell you that this," he tapped on the glass, "is my best use of overtime pay to date! Can you believe I got this thing at a repo auction for only a couple thousand dollars?"
"A repo auction had a mobile glass jail cell?" Kate asked, knowing she was probably doing a good large mouth bass impression.
"Amazing isn’t it!" the soldier tapped on the glass once more, as he walked around and pulled a chair closer to the wall. "There I was looking for something to make your homecoming feel really special, when the police decide to auctioned this off three weeks ago."
"My… home…come…I…what?" The man sounded like a complete basket case. "Sir, no disrespect but-ahem- What The Hell Are You Talking About!?"
"I’m talking about the end of your tour, Sally. I’ve missed you so much sweetheart.”
"Sally?" Kate stared at the middle-aged man. "Mr. Leonard, I’m Katelyn. You know, Little Katie Darrin? Jonas Darrin’s daughter? The man you’ve been best friends with since junior high and served with in Iraq and Afghanistan? Remember, for my fifth birthday how you gave me the blue play-dough and I ate half of it thinking it was my birthday cake?

Despite the stroll down memory lane Mike Leonard remained unswayed. “Sweetheart your confused right now. The doctors said you had a massive head injury; might never wake up. But you proved them wrong, always were a fighter, always were.”
"Mr. Leonard," Kate started. This was crazy. This lunatic had knocked her over the head, taken her prisoner, and quite frankly she had had enough. "Let me the hell out. NOW."
The man just smiled a touch too widely. "Are you hungry yet? I wasn't sure when the nausea would wear off, but you've been out of the hospital a while. I was thinking something light, maybe a fruit salad or those chicken sandwiches you love."
"Let me out," she said again.
"I even found the dressing you always put on it," Leonard said, pushing himself out of the chair. "What a lucky break."
"Hey, Hey, Wait!" Kate shouted, slamming her shoulder into the glass. The soldier ignored her, humming to himself as he dragged bread and chicken breast out of the bag.
Katelyn took a few steps back and sat on the bed, arms sore around her wrists. "Can you at least take the cuffs off?"
"No can do sweetie. The doctors were very adamant about keeping those on. Afraid you might hurt yourself or something.” Her captor had the audacity to laugh as he placed the warmed chicken on a piece of toast. "Bunch of quacks is what they are. But after all the effort it took to get you checked out, why give them a reason to try and take you back?"
The young girl answered with a groan and thump of her head on the glass.

Sargent Mike Leonard fed Katelyn her sandwich dressed in full army gear. It was embarrassing as hell, but at least no one was there to see it.
And Kate was freakin’ starving.
At least the man wasn’t gloating about it. He just kept talking about his new job on the army base and how much he had missed ‘Sally’, and other unrelated things while the girl tried to think.
Despite still being furious about being kidnapped-, she had to admit it was kind of impressive that the soldier knew to cover all his bases. Kate may not look it but she was a very real threat, even while cuffed. At the moment however, she was at a serious disadvantage against Leonard. That in itself was more embarrassing than not being able to eat her own food.
He held a glass of water to Kate's lips, and she drank. This was probably the biggest flaw in his plan. Keeping her at full health was going to bite him in the back later. All she needed was a second, and she'd be out. Staying hydrated and well fed would make that easier. With that thought in mind Kate downed the whole glass in three large gulps.
"Why am I really here, Sir?" she asked. "And what happened to my little sister, Hailey? I remember her standing right next to me before blacking out."
"Hailey? Sweetheart, you never had a sister. A brother sure, but he was at least a year older than you. Besides why would you be asking about that now, you cut ties off with him years ago," the man replied, stacking the glass on top of her empty plate. He backed up to the cell door and entered the code to open it—standing in a way that didn’t allow her to see it, and set so all the chimes sounded the same. Mike left and resealed the cell. "You shouldn’t worry about stuff like that, especially when you’ve just gotten home."
"You didn't answer my first question." Kate called out.
"It's late, I think I'm going to hit the hay." The soldier pulled off his helmet, and shook out his hair. "You should probably do the same. Goodnight Sally."
"Who the Hell is Sally?" the ginger yelled, in a last ditch effort to get some answers. Who was she, and why did the name sound strangely familiar? Katelyn looked up to see Mr. Leonard pull a thick black curtain around the perimeter of the cell, leaving only a sliver of dimmed light. After a second, the outside light must have gone off, as the cell went completely dark. With nothing left to do, the captive girl slammed the wall with her body. "HELP!"

A week.
Katelyn's sense of time had never been perfect, but she was fairly certain she'd been alone in the cell, walls covered and light near non-existent, for at least seven days. She was hungry, bored, and her only triumph had been maneuvering her hands to her front so she could use the toilet and operate the shower. Which, all things considered, was a pretty good victory.
Her wrists had been bleeding almost nonstop after struggling to turn them in the cuffs. Kate was starting to wish she’d paid more attention to her father’s handcuff breaking lessons some years back.
She buried her face into the thick fabric of the duvet. At first she had tried doodling in the provided journals, but they were all filled with cats and old things she’d never heard of. Afterword’s she rummaged through the dresser, but any spare clothes she could have changed into was useless thanks to the cuffs. Later still the ornaments upon said dresser lost their appeal somewhere after the third day. So she slept, and planned, and thought of all the things she was going to do to that man once she got her hands around his neck.
Sometimes she thought about home for hours on end. Did her dad know what happened to her? Was Hailey really okay, or was the situation worse than she realized? How were they coping? Kate turned onto her side and leaned her head on the wall. She really missed them.
She really, really missed them.
A scrapping filled the room, causing Kate to blink her eyes rapidly. She flopped back around, glaring at Mike who—was standing inside the cell without full army gear? What sort of game was he playing now?
Katelyn tensed as she stood on the balls of her feet. This could be her only chance. "What did my hospital report say?" Hey when the world goes crazy, go along with the crazy people.
"Oh, just the usual medical nonsense" Mike Leonard said. "You really shouldn’t be exerting yourself like that considering you’ve been without food for three days. I bet you're feeling a little out of it."
Three? Only three days? Kate sucked in a breath. She must have been more out of it than she realized. How had she lost so much time just by being left to her own devices for a couple hours? The girl shook her head.
"It was rude of me to ignore my wife."
Katelyn flinched when the older man jabbed her arm with a needle. With the press of a button, a clear burning formula injected itself into her bloodstream. She growled and pushed forward, knocking Leonard into the wall. Whatever that was, it could not be good.
She made it out the open door to the living room before her legs gave out from under her. Kate knocked her head into the coffee table as her knees buckled, and groaned as she listened to the soft footsteps of Mr. Leonard. When his feet came into vision she hissed, "What the hell was in that?"
"Paralytic agent," her captor answered. She saw him lean over, and felt him reach under her arms and pick her up bridal style. Okay, so she couldn't move but her nerves still worked. Perfect. Just perfect.
With a groan, Mike carried Katelyn onto the sofa. He breathed heavily, leaning on his knees when finished. "I am getting out of shape. I’ll have to fix that if I ever want to be romantic." Wait, what?

The older man sat down on the other cushion, less than a foot from Kate, legs crossed and leaned back. He picked up the remote from the coffee table and flicked on the flat screen. "I know that you usually watch soap operas, but they’ve come out with some new cop-shows that I think you’ll enjoy.”
The redhead couldn't believe her ears. Honestly, their beta fish made more sense than this. Kate tilted her head to the side, muscles aching and protesting the little bit of movement. "What is this? You leave me alone for sev-er-three days, paralyze me, and then ask me what I want to watch on TV?"
"The three days was to weaken you enough to make sure the paralytic worked," Leonard said flipping through channels. "Who knows what kind of training they gave you to counter drugs? The doctors prescribed the drug itself, in case you had any flashbacks or muscle spasms. Wouldn’t want you to hurt anyone while I’m out of armor, would we?"
"You're insane," she said. Her arms hung by her chest, still constrained by the handcuffs. Her body was heavy, and muscles numb. "Bat s*** crazy."
"If you keep talking like that, Sally, you're not getting any dinner." Mike flipped through the channels. "The doctors said no big meal until you were better, and I know you're hungry."
"Something is seriously wrong with you," the girl said, eyes wide and feeling a bit nauseas, though not from the shot she'd received earlier. "What the hell happened—”?
Mike backhanded Kate across the face with the butt of the remote, hitting her cheekbone. Pain exploded across her face, and her head whipped into the sofa’s arm.
"Sick girls get punished, Sally." The man turned from the screen to her. Kate coughed heavily spitting out a mixture of saliva and blood. Mike leaned over and turned her head back toward the screen. "Watch the TV like a good, healthy girl Sally."
Kate opened her mouth but shut it quickly at the sight of a titanium bat leaning against the table. And Mike Leonard's hand around the handle.

He was trying to brainwash her.
As ludicrous as it was, that’s what the previously friendly easygoing soldier was doing.
The starvation, followed only by food if she 'didn’t act sick.' The extended times alone, with the only human contact from Leonard himself, no matter how ‘well’ she acted. They had breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the same time every day. TV time was before dinner. If Kate was ‘feeling better’, they'd watch a cop show or a movie. If she ‘had a relapse’, they’d watch the cooking channel or the food network and she went to bed without dinner. Mike had a routine set and engrained, and then he shook it up with days she wasn't allowed out of her pen.
The end goal was clearly dependence.
Katelyn was always drugged to the gills when out of her cell. It made figuring out her surroundings and a way to escape the overly pleasant and polite captor harder than she'd like to admit. She couldn't get out of the cell without his help. She couldn't eat without him. She couldn’t even dress herself in the weird 20-year-old clothing from the dresser.
She could move around in her cell when the paralytic wore off, but she was alone.
Kate hated being alone. She never knew if she would be left for a few hours, a few days, or a week. Her mind played tricks on her. It was dark, and she was always hungry. She counted down the seconds until her abductor would return. And Kate was always off with her guesses of how much time had past.
Leonard had to tell her what time it was, and where she was half the time.
It didn't help that he rearranged the furniture when the curtain was pulled so she always came out drugged to a new environment, either. Katelyn leaned heavier on Mike each time. She fought the confusion less and less each time. She clung to whatever nonsense came out of the man's mouth in her desperation for company.

Leonard had deemed the cuffs unnecessary on her last adventure outside the cell. Dinner was three-cheese lasagna. She had to be fed because her hands were too swollen and heavy. The thing was…Kate hadn't cared, or made a fuss when her captor kissed away a bit of tomato sauce from the side of her lip. It hadn't been romantic, or intimate. What it was, was contact with another person.
Katelyn was disgustingly impressed with Mike's technique.
Kate was terrified by how much it was working.

She wasn't paralyzed today.
The world spun around Kate as her foggy mind tried to focus. She knew she was outside the cell and standing under her own power, but she wasn’t sure how she’d got there. Whatever had been in today's needle, it was different. She swayed in place, glancing around the room and its full height.
Mike had a clock shaped like a rabbit on the wall. It'd always been too high to see from the couch.
"You still like bunnies, right Sally?" he asked, slipping his hand into Kate's. He gently tugged, leading the now 20-year-old girl toward a door she'd never noticed in her constant daze. He pushed it open reveling a queen-bed in the center of a room, a dresser, and a thick stack of books. If she squinted she could see that most started with ‘Psy'. Mike rubbed Katelyn's hand with his thumb. "I learned to love them, just for you."
"Bunnies are nice," ‘I Hate Rabbits’. She felt lightheaded and needed to lean on the man.

"Where are we?" ‘How do I get out of here?’
"This is our room Sally," Mike said. He picked Kate up bridal style over the door's threshold and set her down on the bed. His smile was bright and aimed at Kate. "It's lonely at night, isn't it Sally?"
"Yes," ‘No’ she answered. Night meant closed walls and silence and being alone. No way to tell time. Alone. She shivered. "Yes." ‘No.’
"And why is that sweetheart?" Mike asked, his voice like poisoned honey, deepening the haze. Kate narrowed her eyes and shook her head. Was this a trick question? He squeezed her hand. "Why is it lonely at night, Sally?"
"Because…you're not there?" ‘Get Away From Me!’ the girl asked, unsure. That sounded right, but wrong, too. Her head hurt.
"That's right!" Mike said. "And since you've been such a good soldier, I thought it would be good to make sure you weren't lonely tonight."
Something sliced through the haze. A single moment of comprehension that tightened her stomach and pumped adrenaline through her sluggish blood. "I'm staying with you tonight?" she asked hopefully.
"If you’re feeling better,” the man said. He moved away, but held onto Katelyn's hand. "If you talk to me during TV time, and eat all your dinner. Can you do that?"
"Yes," ‘No,’ she said. She could do that. That was easy. And she liked company, and dinnertime. She could eat on her own now. Mike let her because she was good. She could be good. "And then I don't have to go back into the cell?" ‘Leave me alone.’
"Of course not sweetheart, you can stay with me." The soldier started to rub her back. It was firm and grounding. "Would you like that, Sally?"
"Yes." ‘No.’
"You want to stay with me, don't you?"
"Yes." ‘No.’
"No one else, right?" he asked.
The girl narrowed her eyes again. Why did he keep asking the same question? Or questions? That didn't make any sense. She covered her eyes with her free hand and rubbed. "Who else is there?" ‘Dad and Hailey.’
"Exactly," Mike said. He let go of her hand, and walked away, back into the main room. "You were always so smart, sweetheart."
Kate stared at her empty hand. She breathed faster. Her hand felt cold. Empty. She had been left alone. Katelyn whined, and stumbled after the taller man.
She followed Mike.

Sleeping together was much nicer than sleeping alone. It was warm, and the blankets were thick. If she took her pills and got better, Mike would let her snuggle.
Sally clung to the man, her head buried in her husband’s chest. Mike would pet her red hair. It felt nice. Company was nice.
Sally was a getting much better.

There was no more cell. Only Mike; their living room during the day, and bedroom at night.
They talked. They kept each other company. Mike said he wasn't lonely anymore. Now that Sally was back with him. That was good.
Sally hated being lonely. It didn't feel good. Being together was much better.
Her husband had made soup tonight. Sally let him feed her. He said he did not want her to exert herself until Little Zachery came.

Sally lost track of the days. Mike threw out the calendar.
They didn't need it. She measured the days by how large her stomach got.

There was someone else in their home.
Sally stared at the black haired girl in red—Maroon something from the back of her mind told her—standing in the middle of the room. She looked up from her spot on the sofa; hands wrapped around her sleeping 4 month old in a bright green blanket. Mike had given her the fabric for Zack’s blanket. He was so caring. He was always looking out for the two of them.
The pale teen was staring at her and her baby.
"Who are you?" Sally asked. She held the bundle that was her child closer to her chest, and covered him as much as possible. This stranger couldn't have him. "Why are you here?"
"Ah Jesus’, this is bad. That sicko, just, just, stay there Okay," The teen, said. There was a loud click and the younger girl turned her head to the side and started talking to the air. "Dad…worse than we thought…eyes glazed, slurring words, some form of amnesia…he really did a number on her…pretty sure she's drugged…Okay, one other problem though…she’s holding a baby. I think it’s theirs."
"You know Michael?" Sally asked. She’d gotten off the couch, setting her son down and moved closer to the stranger that continued to ignore her. Sally tapped on her shoulder pad. "Hello?"
"Got it," the girl said. She turned back to the older girl, head tilted to the side. She talked to her; in a way one would explain something to a 5 year old. "Hey Katie, my name is Hailey, you know me you're just a little bit loopy right now. The three of us are going to go for a little trip, okay? We're going to get you two out of this hell hole."
"No, Michael will be back, soon. I can't leave! He'll be lonely!" The older girl scooted away when the younger tried to grab her. She was new. She was wrong. "Besides, my name is Sally, and if I leave I'll be bad and he'll make me go back in the cell!"
"Errgh, that son of a b****. I'm going to tear his throat out," the girl mumbled to herself. She stood back up and all but tackled "No!" Her heart was beating too fast. The whole world was spinning. "Go away!"
"Sorry, sister." The raven-haired girl said from behind her. "But this is for your own good."
The redhead didn't understand the warning, until her world went black again.

Sally shivered. She was always too cold, or too hot, her head hurt, and everything ached. Nothing she ate would stay down and there was a constant ringing in her ears.
Michael was missing and couldn't give Sally her pills.
Instead of home, she was inside what looked to be a teenager’s room, once again cradling her sleeping child. The older man had said she was his daughter. That she had been kidnapped. That her name was Katelyn Darrin. That man clearly had no idea what he was doing.
Did Michael miss her?
Sally flinched when the bedroom door opened. The girl from before—Hailey—Kate's mind provided, sat down next to them with a slice of pizza. She let the dish rotate in her hands before setting the plate down. Sally reached for it, hand shaking.
Hailey rubbed her sister’s back, sighing deeply. "Make sure you eat slow Kate, or it'll come back up like last time."
Sally grunted, and forced the tip of the slice into her mouth. It was hot and burnt the roof of her mouth. "Where's Mike, Hailey?"
"Not here," the younger answered. She smiled a little crookedly at the elder, as if satisfied with something Katelyn had done. She patted her sister on the back. "And you remembered my name."
"I'm not stupid," Sally mumbled. She licked a bit of tomato sauce off her fingers. "I miss Michael, and Zachery needs his father."
"I know." Hailey sighed heavily and leaned on Kate's shoulder. "You're going to be okay."
Sally didn't believe her.

Hailey closed the door to her sister’s room, leaning against it with her head hung. Her sister was a wreck. Every day it was the same thing. ‘Where’s Michael? When can I see Mike? I want to go home to my husband.’ God what were they going to do?
"How is she?" Hailey looked up to see their father, looking like he’d aged 10 years in the course of 10 minutes.
"A little better, she remembered my name this time." The teen answered. “Dad, she keeps calling herself Sally. That name sounds so familiar; do you know who she is?”
With a sigh the girls’ father spoke the tale he had been keeping for more than twenty years. "Sally is… my younger sister and your aunt. She and Mike met when the three of us were in high school. After the two of us joined the army she went off to college, then joined a few months after she finished. During her first week of actual combat her unit got attacked and she had to be sent home with a massive head injury. I came to see her the next day only to find out she’d disappeared. I haven’t seen her since.”
Once finished the younger of his two daughters looked at him with tears in her eyes. In a voice shaking with a mixture of fear and grief she asked, “Dad why did Mr. Leonard call Kate that?”
The man embraced his daughter before replying. “Forensics called earlier. When they were going through his house they found red hairs that weren’t your sister’s. They said that it was a familial match.”
The father held his daughter as she continued to weep. Over the lives that the man they once called friend ruined. And for the uncertainty the future held for all of them.

"You know Michael?" Sally asked. She’d gotten off the couch, setting her son down and moved closer to the stranger that continued to ignore her. Sally tapped on her shoulder pad. "Hello?"
"Got it," the girl said. She turned back to the older girl, head tilted to the side. She talked to her; in a way one would explain something to a 5 year old. "Hey Katie, my name is Hailey, you know me you're just a little bit loopy right now. The three of us are going to go for a little trip, okay? We're going to get you two out of this hell hole."
"No, Michael will be back, soon. I can't leave! He'll be lonely!" The older girl scooted away when the younger tried to grab her. She was new. She was wrong. "Besides, my name is Sally, and if I leave I'll be bad and he'll make me go back in the cell!"
"Errgh, that son of a b****. I'm going to tear his throat out," the girl mumbled to herself. She stood back up and all but tackled her sister to the floor. "Come here, Kate!"
"No!" Her heart was beating too fast. The whole world was spinning. "Go away!"
"Sorry, sister." The raven-haired girl said from behind her. "But this is for your own good."
The redhead didn't understand the warning, until little pinpricks of darkness filled her vision. This was bad. This was wrong. This was death.
“No, no, please no!” the girl screamed as she tried to shake the younger girl off. Then just as suddenly as it had started the conflict ended.
“Ahh No N-…” With the weight now off her Sally was able to get up and see who had saved her. Behind her, with a knife through her throat, was the girl held by the father of her child.
“Michael! I was so worried.”
“It’s all right now sweetheart,” Mike said in a voice that simply oozed sympathy. “Are you or Zack hurt? What did the girl say?”
“Nothing important, just a case of mistaken identity. Thought I was someone named Katie”
“And you know she was lying right?”
“And you don’t want to leave me? Do you?”

It was strange, but this line of questioning gave Sally the strangest sense of Déjà vu. “Why would I want to leave?”

“Exactly.” With the ordeal now over Mike kissed Sally on the cheek before going back to the now dead body staining their living room carpet. He picked it up, and with a call of ‘just let me take care of a few things’ over his shoulder left Sally in the position she had been in before the intruder came.

“Don’t worry Zachery,” she told her slumbering infant. “Daddy’s going to make sure no one ever tries to hurt you or Mommy ever again.”

Sally had the strangest feeling that she should feel bad for the dead girl. But for the life of her, she could not tell why.

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