They had sent her home after the incident. It was a good thing, too, because she had nearly collapsed when one of the other doctors came to help her. She didn’t want them, any of them, to touch her.

She had been conscious to hear his body collide with the oncoming car, stopping it from hitting her. She remembered the smells of blood and vomit, remembered the fumes from the vehicle as it sat idle, inches from her face.

Squeezing her eyes shut, Tessa tried to forget the images. It made her sick to her stomach to realize that Ian was dangerous, that he would hurt everyone just to get to Ava, but she couldn’t have that happen. She had to protect her patient.

Shifting on the couch, she reached for her phone. When the other end of the line kept ringing and went to voicemail, she hung up.

“That’s right,” she murmured, staring up at the ceiling. “He can’t answer.”

Alex was currently, to her knowledge, lying unconscious, bruised and broken in a hospital bed. He had suffered for her. He was always doing that, and now she owed him. This time she would save him.

Sitting up, Tessa looked at the TV; it illuminated the entire room, its light casting shadows along the wall. There was a news report about a boy who had been taken to Allendale Medical, after being shot in the chest.

Tessa pressed her fingers to the bandage on her throat. When she was brought back inside afterward, she had tried to tell them about Ian, about how he dragged her from the car and wrapped his hand around her neck to keep her still as the car headed toward them.

It was safe to say no one believed her, and when Alex was wheeled in, covered in blood and broken glass, they all rushed to help him. They had left her alone, slumped in one of the chairs in the waiting area.

Tessa was listening to the rain on the roof when she decided she would go back to Ridgewood and help Ava and anyone else who needed it. As she stood, put her phone in her pocket, and turned off the TV, thunder rumbled overhead, making her jump.

As the room was swallowed up in darkness, something caught her eye; it was a shadow against the wall across from her. It shifted slightly, moving slowly, and then stopped. Then another noise made her freeze. Over the wind and rain she heard it. It came from behind her.


She didn’t want to turn around to face the large bay window that looked out along the front yard. But something made her. Something wanted her to turn around. When she had, a bolt of lightning struck, igniting the lawn, and the figure on it.

Someone was staring at her through the window.

Tessa’s scream was drowned out by a second crash of thunder.

The End

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