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Copyright 2005




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          She hated driving home this late at night. It wasn’t that she was afraid of the dark. But after going to school all day and working all night, the last thing she wanted to do was fumble up the driveway to get inside the house.

          Groaning inwardly, Jessica Porter parked her car at the very end of the drive behind her three roommates’ automobiles and a strange navy blue sports car she had never seen before. Jessie opened her door and slid out from behind the steering wheel, slamming the door shut.

          Opening the hatchback of her old Escort, she grabbed her heavy backpack and threw the bag over her shoulder with a grunt.

          She began her breathless walk to the door, jumping at every little sound around her. It was only when she came home by herself, late at night when no one was awake, that even the trivial bark of a dog put the hairs on the back of her neck at attention. Yet something was different about tonight. There was an electric current in the air that Jessie couldn’t quite explain. Call it her overactive imagination, but she just felt like something was amiss. The problem was she couldn’t put her finger on what exactly had her so spooked.

          Jessie heard another sound in the distance, a loud thud that could have more than likely been a raccoon going through a garbage can or another dog that had simply knocked something over. Still, goose bumps rose against her flesh, causing her to shiver.

          Shrugging her shoulders, Jessie breezed past the blue sports car. One of her roommates had picked up another ‘winner’ at the bar tonight, some muscle bound jerk that had more biceps than he could spare and lacking in the intelligence department. That was their normal type of man, the kind that couldn’t hold a conversation beyond sports’ scores and beer chugging. For the life of her, she couldn’t understand why her roommates settled for the losers. All three were wonderful women and deserved so much more. Yet they seemed to gravitate towards the type of guy that couldn’t hold a job for more than a week at a time and spent his spare hours sitting at a bar and consuming more alcohol than any one person should ever drink.

          Shaking her head, Jessie continued on her trek to the front door. It must be nice not to have to worry about anything other than who would be sleeping in the bed beside of you from one day to the next. Unfortunately, for her, she had more on her plate than bedmates.

          She heaved a sigh of relief as she finally made it to the front door. Reaching into her pocket, she brought out her key and prepared to place it into the lock but the door was slightly ajar. That was odd, Jessie thought. Her roommates were often thoughtless, scatterbrained even, but they never left the door unlocked. And for some reason beyond her comprehension, a warning erupted through her mind. Something just wasn’t right here.

          Jessie pushed it open slowly, the den bathed in nothing more than dim candlelight. She hoped to God she wasn’t about to walk in on the romantic shenanigans of one of her roommates.

          Dropping her bag by the front door, she took a cautious step into the den and prepared to call out. Her mouth snapped shut, her eyes widening in horror. One trembling hand covered her lips as she stared at the image in front of her.

          All three of her roommates were sprawled out on the floor, naked and bleeding. She squinted in the semi-darkness to see better, but wasn’t given the chance as a large figure stepped in front of her view, the blade of a knife catching a glimmer of light from the glowing candles.

          “We’ve been waiting for you,” the masculine voice said with a low-keyed excitement.

          Jessie took a step back, reaching for her backpack slowly as she kept her eyes on the man in front of her. With agile ease, she lifted the bag into the air and swung. She saw the figure in front of her crumble and her first instinct was to run screaming into the night. She turned, prepared to bolt, but was halted by a hand closing around her hair and yanking backwards hard.

          Stars exploded across her eyes, the pain causing tears to sting her cheeks. She turned around slowly; wanting to see the man that she knew would surely kill her. Then, her mouth dropped again as she found herself staring into the familiar face of a man she had seen countless times day in and day out, a man she knew and trusted.

          A wry smile formed on his lips.

          Panic, fear, terror, and dread surged through her all at once. His hands were like a vice on her, holding her tight in place. She tried to scream but her voice was merely a whisper.

          “Why?” she managed, her entire body trembling.

          He gave her a look that could almost pass for pity and remorse before his deviant smile was back in place. “I’ve always wanted you, Jessica. I’ve always wanted you and could never have you. Now, no one will have you.”

          Something shiny glinted in the light, catching her attention, before the sharp pain erupted through her. She felt her throat constrict, bile rise in her mouth, and then, the world went black.


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