In this part there is a description of a dream that is not all that pleasant, it's pretty dark actually, so-
I thought I'd disclaim that. Well, actually it was my trusted and much loved beta reader who reminded me to put in a little warning. I was so busy writing, I didn't even think about it (Bad Lois).
"I guess I'll put the kettle on," Jody yawned. "Since I am up anyway, I might as will drink a cuppa."
"Good idea, honey," Sam replied. She wrapped her arms around Jody and pulled her close, resting her chin on the unruly, reddish hair.
Jody leaned back and closed her eyes, reveling in the feeling of Sam's arms enveloping her warmth and love.
"If we keep this up, there will be no tea," she mumbled. "But I guess I can live without that...if I really have to."
"You might, but Lucy can't, your sister is a tea-addict." Sam sighed, noticing the headlights of an approaching car shining through the trees. "Here they come."
Jody slowly stepped away from Sam's body and filled up the kettle with fresh water, then she lit the stove and placed it on top.
"They are fast! They must have been at the bottom of the hill," she frowned, her eyes following the slow progress of the vehicle.
Kurt, who had been laying on the verandah had jumped up as soon as he had heard the rumbling sound of an engine and had been standing stock still, His ears were perked up and his eyes were glued to the car that was climbing the hill to the house. He sniffed the air and a low sound escaped his throat. He knew that scent. It was the tall, curly haired human, who liked to play with him. Kurt yawned and sat back on his haunches, while his slowly wagging tail brushed the floor.
Behind him the door opened and Sam stepped into the darkness, deliberately leaving off the lights, so not to attract mosquitoes. Quietly she stood next to their young dog, scratching his already massive head.
As soon as Lucy and Trishia left the car and walked towards the house, Sam noticed that their faces were pale and drawn. Lucy seemed uncharacteristically quiet and had slipped her hand in Trishia's larger one.
"Hi, Sam," Trishia greeted the tall blond woman in a subdued voice. "I am sorry about keeping you up."
"I am sure you have a good reason," Sam answered, opening the door for the couple to let them step inside the spacious kitchen.
Jody welcomed their unexpected guests with a warm smile and gave her sister a quick hug.
"You look like you have seen a ghost," she said with a worried look, putting her hands on Lucy's shoulders. "Are you alright?"
Lucy's green eyes showed a mixture of pain and sadness and Jody also detected something else, fear. With a rapidly growing feeling that something was seriously wrong, Jody blindly reached out for Sam and grabbed her hand. The strong grip somehow centered her and with a shaky voice Jody asked Trishia and Lucy to sit down.
"Alright, no beating around the bush," Sam started, once they all had a cup of hot tea in front of them. "What is going on?"
Trishia cleared her throat and took a sip of tea, to gain a few extra seconds and organize her thoughts. She glanced aside and covered Lucy's hand, whose fingers were nervously drumming on the table.
"To make a long story short, there has been a murder, down at the beach, near Ocean View Gardens. The victim was a teenage girl, with long blond hair. On her body they found a picture of a girl whom she resembled. That girl is Alice."
Trishia rubbed her tired eyes with her free hand and let out a shaky breath.
"We don't know a lot at this point, but we are on top of it. We think somebody is after Alice and this....murderous display is either a real sick game, or a warning. Maybe even both. We don't know that yet. But hopefully we will find out soon."
Jody had scooted her chair closer to Sam and was relieved when the taller woman protectively wrapped an arm around her shoulders. No need to say that Trishia's announcement had shocked her to the core. It had left her feeling cold and nauseous. And before she even realized what happened, some frightening images had invaded her memory and Jody looked at Sam with eyes that had gone wide in shock.
Sam's face was set in a grim mask. Trishia's words had scared her at first, but quickly her brain had jump started, processing the information, analyzing the situation and planning a course of action.
"What is your plan?" she asked Trishia in a calm voice, while her hand softly rubbed Jody's back.
"The inspector ordered me to provide protection and I will do exactly that. But I want to discuss the details with the two of you first. I don't want to go into particulars about the....murder, since that would not be of any advantage to you." Trishia sighed and took another sip of tea. "We have every reason to believe that Alice is in danger. Somebody is looking for her. Why, we don't know. Fact is that Alice is suffering from amnesia. Whether that is caused by a physical blow to the head or the blocking of memories, we don't know. But, somehow, Alice and the murderer know each other. My guess is that as soon as Alice does start remembering things, she will be able to identify the person who is after her."
Trishia looked up at Sam and Jody and managed to produce a weak smile.
"A miracle would be nice, right now. Like, Alice waking up in the morning, knowing exactly who she really is and who is interested in seeing her suffer. But, that won't happen. So it's up to us to keep her safe and do our best to, hopefully trigger her memories, so we can catch this...monster as soon as possible."
"What do we tell Alice?" Jody softly asked.
"I wish I had a good answer to that," Trishia answered. "If we tell her what is going on, she might run away. I believe that, for the time being anyway, she is perfectly safe here. So maybe we should try and keep her here as long as we can, until we have a lead on this killer."
"Somehow Alice doesn't strike me as a kid you can easily keep within the boundaries of Murrook Farm," Lucy spoke.
"But it might be more interesting for her if Fiona was here as well," Jody added. "I had the impression they got along fine."
"Thing is to keep those two out of trouble ," Sam smiled, knowing from experience Fiona's talent of getting into messes. "And since the stables need painting, I think I have just found a way to keep them busy for a few days and in the meantime keep an eye on them as well."
In spite of the seriousness of the situation, Jody chuckled and snuggled even closer to the tall body that was already practically wrapped around her.
"That's sneaky, honey. But very smart, I like it."
"I aim to please," Sam whispered in Jody's ear, quickly kissing the skin that was so tantalizing close she could not resist.
"So, Trish," Sam continued. "Will there be any...protection around?"
"I will be here," Trishia immediately answered, seeing Lucy's surprised reaction from the corner of her eye.
"Camping out on the verandah?" Sam teased.
"No, down at the guest house, if that is alright with you. If you have other plans, I could just pitch a tent in the bush."
"Don't be silly," Jody immediately responded. "We have enough room. Of course you can have the guest house."
Jody cast a look at her sister who did not seem to be very pleased and she suppressed a smile.
"I guess you will be staying there as well?" she innocently asked.
"Depends," Lucy answered, not able to hide the hurt in her voice. She realized Trishia had been planning to stay at Murrook Farm from the very first moment, but had not mentioned a single word about it. She knew it was childish of her, but Lucy felt left out. "I don't know if I am invited."
Sam and Jody exchanged a glance, when Trishia's head jerked up and the policewoman shot her lover an irritated glance.
"It was something I just came up with," she explained, the tension in her voice clearly audible. "It's not like we had time to discuss this before now, Lucy."
Lucy knew that Trishia was right. Besides, the police woman was frantically trying to come up with a plan to, not only keep Alice safe, but also Lucy's family.
"I know," Lucy sighed, resting her head on her hands. "I am sorry. I am just tired and all this...these....this....the murder and the picture and the fact that somebody might be a threat to my family again, it's just...."
Trishia anger melted and she left her chair to kneel down next to Lucy, wrapping her arms around the dark haired woman and pulling her close to her body.
"I understand," she softly spoke, stroking the soft hair underneath her hand. "I am sorry as well. I am sorry you and your family will have to go through this whole situation. But just for the record, Luce..." Trishia put her fingers under Lucy's chin and lifted up her face, so she could look her in the eyes. "I do want you here with me."
Lucy saw nothing but pure honesty in Trishia's eyes and she produced a watery smile.
"You just want to keep an eye on me," she sniffed jokingly.
"Of course," Trishia smiled, bringing her face closer to Lucy's and lightly brushing her lips with her own. "You are so beautiful..."
"Ooookaaaay, Sam," Jody rose to her feet." Time for us to gather up some stuff for these lovebirds, so we can send them down to the apartment. Are you coming?"
"Are you kidding?" Sam smirked. "It's getting real interesting right now."
"Sam Stevens, where are your manners?" Jody playfully scolded her lover, thankful for the gentle jokes and teasing that eased the tension.
"I didn't know I had any," Sam quipped, grinning when Jody grabbed her hand and pulled her off her chair. "Alright, alright, I am coming. But seriously, love, we could have learned something from them."
Jody closed the door behind them and looked up at her taller lover. She smiled and reached up to cup Sam's face between her hands.
"I love you, Samantha Stevens," she whispered, before kissing Sam firmly on the lips.
"And I love you, Jody McDonnell," Sam whispered back, returning the kiss with so much enthusiasm, it made her lover smile.
"Come on, Dutchie, let's get those pillows and bed sheets," she finally managed to bring out. "I want to set those two up and go back to bed. I am exhausted."
The moon was high in the sky, bathing the tall trees in a silvery light. Twinkling stars, scattered like diamonds, completed the perfect picture countless lovers had been enjoying ever since the beginning of time. The typical chirring sound of the Nightjar, hunting for insects, occasionally filled the air, while a close-by frog mouth sat perched on the branch of a tree, motionless waiting for unsuspecting prey.
Trishia sat in front of the bedroom window, staring outside without seeing much. The beauty of the night had not caught her eye. Instead she relived the scene on the beach. It was hard not to think of the young girl whose life had ended so violently and abruptly. A flower, broken and trampled on before it had fully bloomed.
With an inaudible sigh Trishia leaned her head back against the wall and briefly closed her eyes. There were things she would never get used to and sometimes she wondered if being a police officer was worth it all. Deep down inside she knew the answer. To her it was. Sometimes she was able to make a difference and actually made sure justice was done. Like when they had been chasing Megan's kidnappers, who wanted to trade Jody's friend for Sam. Had she not been there, both Sam and Megan probably would have been killed.
As always when remembering that moment, a shiver ran down Trishia's spine and her eyes opened, immediately traveling to the sleeping woman in the bed. A soft smile spread across her face, when she saw the way Lucy was hugging a pillow.
That should be me.
Trishia slowly shook her head and regretfully confessed to herself that sleeping would not be an option that night. Her brain had kicked into full gear hours ago and she knew that if she would crawl into bed next to Lucy, her tossing and turning would only keep her lover awake.
Casting a look out of the window, Trishia noticed that the guest house was situated in a perfect location to keep an eye on the property. The main house was about two hundred meters away, towards the top of the hill, while the only track that lead to the house passed the small apartment. Nobody would be able to drive up, without being noticed, unless they would choose to hike through the dense bush that surrounded the property. That would be hard to do, but not impossible and Trishia made a mental note to talk to Carol Wong about that in the morning.
A look at the illuminated display of her cell phone told Trishia it was almost three o' clock in the morning. Suddenly she realized she had not heard from Peter yet and she wondered if that would mean their inquiries had not resulted in anything they could use. Trishia frowned and thought about that possibility. Every shred of experience and instinct told her that whoever murdered that poor girl on the beach, must have done something similar before. But surely Peter would have called her if that had been the case.
With a frown Trishia looked at her cell phone, almost willing it to give her an answer to all the questions that were racing through her mind. Her slender fingers tapped the leather cover and Trishia sucked in her bottom lip, not sure what to do. After a few moments of indecision she got up from the chair and silently walked out of the bedroom, soundlessly closing the door behind her.
"What the heck," she mumbled, speed dialing Peter's cell phone number, crossing her fingers and hoping he wouldn't be at home, snuggled up with his wife. Angela Jones would have her hide.
The phone only rang once before it was answered and Trishia let out a breath she didn't know she had been holding.
"Trish!" Peter greeted, recognizing the number that had popped up on his display. "I was just wondering whether to call you or not. Can't sleep, huh? Where are you anyway?"
"Sam and Jody's," Trishia answered, seating herself on the arm of the couch and deliberately keeping her voice down, afraid of waking up Lucy. "We are staying in the guest house."
"Good idea," Peter complimented his partner. "It's a great spot to keep an eye on things. Listen Trish, I have been on the phone for hours."
The knot in Trishia's stomach tightened and she nervously wiped her hand on her shorts. Her mouth went dry and her heartbeat picked up. To calm herself down she took a deep breath and tried to focus on what Peter was going to tell her. She wanted to hear the details, she already knew the big picture.
"There are similar, unsolved murders like this in Sydney and Perth. Two years ago they found a girl stabbed to death on Watson's beach and seven months ago there was a similar murder in Perth, on Cottesloe beach."
"Both on a beach, huh?" Trishia voice sounded hoarse. "Were there...?"
"Pictures? Yes. In both cases. Same pic as we found today."
"That's civil, Trish," Peter tried to joke. "I vaguely remember I said something completely different. Something I would punish my kids for."
"Does the boss know?"
"Yeah, I just got off the phone with her. We could have a serial killer on our hands, Trish. But do you want to know what really bugs me?"
"What?" Trishia sighed, raking her hand through her hair.
"Sydney and Perth never communicated with each other about this. You'd think they would put the word out, huh?"
"It's not the first time things like this happened, Peter. I am sure we have done our share of screwing things up as well. I hope you didn't call them any name in the ' Vocabulary of a pissed off law enforcement officer' book," Trishia joked, knowing her partner very well.
"Who? Me?" Peter's voice was too innocent and Trishia chuckled. "Trishia! I am hurt. Of course I did not do such a thing. You know me, I kissed their lily white...."
"Alright, alright," Trishia interrupted with a laugh. "I get the picture."
"Anyway," Peter continued, this time his voice completely serious. " We have a huge problem here, Trish. "
"I know, " Trishia answered, rolling her neck to get rid of some of the tension. " I guess we need to find out if Alice has ever been to Sydney and Perth, huh?"
"Might be a good idea," Peter admitted. "I got this spooky feeling that somebody is following her around, Trish. Like some sort of predator. No wonder the poor kid was scared to death when we found her."
"She might not know about this, Pete. But I bet a year's pay that her loss of memory has everything to do with all this."
Trishia could hear Peter suck in a breath and after a few tense moments slowly release it.
"You think Alice was supposed to be the first victim? Damn it, Trish! I think you might be right. And do you know what scares the living daylights out of me? There were seventeen months between the first murder in Sydney and the one in Perth. But there's only seven months between the one in Perth and the one here."
Darkness surrounded her everywhere. Frantically she blindly reached around to try and find a way out of the blackness. Her heart pounded in her chest and her breathing came in shallow rasps, while she could feel her body tremble.
Unseeing she stumbled through the shadows, until her feet got caught in something and with a muffled scream she fell. She did not hurt herself, since she had landed on something soft and fearful her hands tried to determine the identity of the object that had broken her fall.
Her fingers touched something sticky and immediately she pulled them away, instinctively knowing that, whatever it was, she had to get away from it. The smell of blood and soot invaded her senses and a feeling of panic washed through her whole being.
She tried to get back on her feet again, but suddenly she could not move. Something was holding on to her legs and with all the power she could muster, she tried to kick herself free. The sickening sound of crunching bones almost made her throw up, but the grip on her legs did not lessen. Instead, it slowly crawled up her body, until she could not move at all. Something invisible held her prisoner and a wrecking sob escaped her body. Breathing became more difficult and the smell of smoke and soot were making her nauseous.
Suddenly there was a small light in the darkness and with hopeful eyes she turned her head to look at it. Tantalizingly slowly it came near. It was like a ray of sun and the feeling of total desolation and despair somehow dissipated.
Afraid to chase it away again, she tried to hold her breath. The light came closer and when it had almost reached her, it changed. With horror the friendly light turned into the shape of eyes that looked at her coldly.
No matter where you will run, I will always find you, a voice echoed in her mind.
Suddenly a hand materialized, just a hand. With wiggling fingers it came closer.
She tried to free herself from the invisible bonds that held her, but she found she could hardly move. She softly whimpered when the hand stroked her face. When it slid down to her throat, she sucked in a lung full of air and from deep within her chest a sound formed.
While her eyes never left the soulless ones in front of her, she finally managed to scream.
Alice's breathing was ragged and her heart was beating in her throat. The t-shirt she was wearing was stuck to her body and her hair was damp with perspiration.
With wide eyes she tried to pierce the darkness that surrounded her. Moonlight was streaming into the window, painting the interior of the room with a soft hue and slowly, very slowly realization sank in and while letting out a shaky breath, she fell back into the pillows.
It had been a dream. A very familiar one that had not made an appearance for a while. Until now.
With trembling fingers, Alice pushed back her long hair, wondering if she had been screaming out aloud. And if she did, whether she woke up any of the other occupants of the house.
Alice turned onto her side and pulled her knees up in the characteristic fetal position. She squeezed her eyes shut, willing back the tears that threatened to come. Her throat felt thick and painful, convulsively she swallowed. But no matter how hard she tried, the tears came anyway and leaked from under her closed eyelids. They dripped down her face to be absorbed by the sheets on the bed, leaving a steadily growing wet patch on the light blue cotton.
Alice told herself to think about something else, anything else but the dream she just had. But that would require pleasant thoughts and again the young girl realized there was not much happiness in her life. Certainly not enough to chase the demons away.
Sobs wrecked the slender body and Alice pressed her face into the pillow, to stifle the sound, feeling tired, hurt and lonely.
Fiona had woke up to an unfamiliar sound and for a few minutes she was wondering if she had been dreaming. Everything seemed to be quiet, her ears only picked up the usual sounds of the night. The call of a night bird, the rustling leaves of the trees, the soft humming of the air conditioner. Nothing out of the ordinary. Deciding it had been a dream that had roused her from sleep, the dark haired teenager turned on her other side and happily snuggled back into the sheets, determined to sleep a few more hours.
Just as she started to doze off again, Fiona heard a muffled sound coming from the room next to her, where Alice had been put up. She raised her head and listened carefully. There it was again. To Fiona it clearly sounded like crying and immediately she sat up straight, debating with herself about what to do. She knew Alice was in a difficult situation and no matter how much Fiona wanted to help the other girl, she knew she ran the risk of scaring the girl into a stupor. She had seen the look on Alice's face, when she had made a few jokes before. Alice had looked like she was about to run and Fiona had decided to back off and give the girl her space and some time to adjust.
Waking up her mother to see what was going on was no option. Fiona had seen how tired her mother had been and the last thing she wanted to do was interrupt her sleep. Besides, her mom had been given some pain pills and Fiona knew how strongly her mother usually responded to medication like that. She would be zonked out.
With a deep sigh, Fiona stepped out of bed and headed towards the door. There was only one other option left to her and she just hoped Jody wouldn't bite her head off.
Fiona walked through the dark hallway towards the other side of the house, deftly avoiding crashing into the furniture she passed. It was in the middle of the night and pretty dark, but the light of the moon that floated through the windows, was enough to help her find her way without any accidents.
Since knocking would alarm the whole household, Fiona just opened the door and walked into the master bedroom. She knew Jody and Sam had been tired as well, so she was not afraid to interrupt anything that would have been considered a very private matter. She did hope however, that her sister would not be one of those people that preferred sleeping in the nude.
Fiona quickly shook her head to chase away the visions that were starting to form in her head and softly chuckled. Wow, that would be something to remember...
Tip-toeing to the bed, Fiona peered at its occupants and could not help smiling when she saw the cozy scene in front of her.
Sam was fast asleep, lying on her back, one leg under the covers, the other one sticking out. Her left hand was resting on her stomach, while her right arm was wrapped around Jody, who was snuggled up against Sam's side, with her head resting on Sam's shoulder and her right arm draped over the tall woman's stomach.
To her utter relief Fiona noticed that both women were at least wearing t-shirts, which made her feel a lot better.
Fiona stepped a little closer and knelt down next to her sister. Carefully she put her hand on Jody's shoulder and softly squeezed. Her sister was notorious for being close to impossible to wake and Fiona had already prepared herself for a persistent, relentless mission.
When Jody immediately turned her head and looked at her with startled eyes, Fiona lost her balance and landed on her rear.
"Jeez," she whispered indignantly. "You scared the heck out of me."
"Fiona?" Jody's sleepy voice asked. "What are you doing here? Are you alright?"
Jody untangled herself from Sam's loving grip, careful not to wake her lover and turned around to face Fiona, whose face was white in the light of the moon.
"What's going on?" she repeated, a little more urgent this time, because suddenly she remembered the events from the previous night.
"It's Alice," Fiona whispered, crawling back to her original position. "I woke up because I thought I heard somebody scream, but then I thought it was a dream or something. But she is crying now, so..."
Jody stared at her younger sister, trying to let the words penetrate the sleep induced fog that was still drifting around in her brain.
"Okay," she drawled, pushing herself up to a sitting position. "And now you want me to check it out. Right?"
"She sounds really pitiful, Jody," Fiona related in a subdued voice.
"Alright, let's go then," Jody whispered. "Just wait for me outside, I need to put something on."
Fiona frowned and was about to make a reply, but Jody's raised eyebrows silenced her and the teenager felt a blush creep up her face.
"Oh," was the only thing she could utter, mentally kicking herself for thinking a t- shirt meant being completely dressed. She quickly turned around and headed for the door, grateful for the darkness that was covering up her embarrassment.
A few moments later Jody appeared in the hallway, pushing back her sleep tousled hair and yawning. She was dressed in a t-shirt and a pair of knit shorts.
In spite of the situation Fiona chuckled softly, which earned her a playful, but painful pinch from her sister.
"Not a word," Jody hissed. "Or I will come barging into your bedroom in the middle of the night in, let's say, ten years from now or so."
Fiona grabbed Jody's hand and gave it a loving squeeze.
"Sorry, sis. But thanks for doing this. I...I didn't know what to do and I really think she is very sad. It sounds like she has her face buried in a pillow or something. Maybe she had a bad dream."
"Sounds like it," Jody admitted. "Well, you hop back in your own bunk and I will check in with you afterwards, alright?"
"Sure," Fiona smiled, aware of the warm, fuzzy feeling inside her chest. She gave her sister a quick one-arm hug and a peck on the cheek.
"No worries, Red," Jody smiled, using Fiona's childhood's nickname, that originated from the time her hair had been a dark red during the summers.
Jody waited until Fiona had closed the door of the bedroom behind her, before approaching the entrance to Alice's room. Fiona had been right. Even through the thick, sturdy wood of the door, she could hear the sobs that seemed to come from the depths of Alice's body. And it was obvious that the girl was trying to muffle the sound.
Jody softly knocked on the door and listened for a few seconds, but there was no response.
Taking a deep breath she decided to take the proverbial bull by its horns and entered the room, closing the door with an almost inaudible click. It was obvious that Alice had not heard the knock on the door and the last thing she wanted was to scare the already upset girl.
Clearing her throat Jody's eyes never left the huddled form on the bed.
"Alice?" she called out softly, hoping the teenager would hear her. And she did.
Alice's head jerked up and with fearful eyes she looked towards where Jody was standing. She was about to jump from the bed, when Jody quickly stepped closer, a worried frown etched in her forehead.
"Alice, honey, it's me, Jody. You don't have to be afraid."
Slowly Alice's eyes lost their haunted expression and when she finally recognized her nightly visitor, her shoulders slumped. She drew up her knees against her chest and slowly rocked back and forth.
"I am sorry," she mumbled, avoiding Jody's inquisitive look.
"Sorry for what?" Jody asked, setting herself on the edge of the bed. Close enough to be able to look at Alice, but with enough distance to give the girl the space she needed.
"I woke you up," Alice answered with a voice that was hoarse from crying. She sniffed and used the back of her hand to wipe the moisture from her cheeks and rub her tear filled eyes.
She instantly looked like a vulnerable, little girl and Jody's heart went out to her. She reached out a hand and covered nervously fidgeting fingers.
"It's alright, Alice," she tried to comfort the upset teenager. "My guess is you had a bad dream. Want to talk about it?"
Jody could feel Alice's body jerk and she expected the girl to pull away her hand. She could almost feel the hesitation, but after a few moments of inner debate, Alice apparently decided to leave her hand where it was and slightly relaxed.
Alice did not know what caused it. Maybe the soft, soothing sound of Jody's voice. Or the human touch of the warm hand, that felt so safe. Maybe the darkness that suddenly provided a sense of security. But Alice went against one of the most important rules she had once set out for herself. She talked.
"I...I had a dream," she swallowed. "But this was the first one in a long time. I usually can keep them away....cause I...I pretend they are not there."
Jody bit her lip, not wanting to interrupt the young girl now she had reached out and grabbed the literal and figurative hand. But Alice's simple words and the defeated tone they were spoken in, filled her with an immense sadness.
Alice was almost the same age as Fiona. Teenage girls should go to school, hang out with their friends, enjoy their freedom and youth, not fighting demons and bad dreams. Not running away from something in their past.
"It's....dark," Alice continued. "And I am...alone in this...place. I don't know what place it is, but...it's dark. Then I try to get away and I fall on something soft and I smell blood and smoke, like there is a fire or something."
Alice looked up and shot Jody an apologetic glance.
"I think that...it's a....body, I fall on," she stammered, struggling to get the words out.
Jody's hand gave hers an encouraging squeeze and after taking a deep breath, Alice bravely continued.
"The scariest parts are the...eyes and the hand," she whispered and Jody could feel the slender hand beginning to tremble.
Knowing she is taking the risk of scaring Alice away again, Jody scooted closer and wrapped her free arm around Alice's shoulder, trying to give the frightened girl some much needed support.
She could feel Alice's body stiffen and for an endless moment, Jody was afraid she had gone too fast, too soon. But then Alice relaxed and Jody let out a relieved sigh.
"It's...the eyes are so....dead almost, so without anything. And they look at me and no matter what I try I can't get away and..." Alice's voice rose a few octaves and Jody pulled the girl a little closer, mumbling words of comfort.
"And then the hand comes.....out of nothing, all of a sudden it's just...there and it...it tries to choke me," Alice sniffed, unconsciously tightening her grip on Jody's hand. "First it....touches my cheek....real soft, but....then it just tries to settle around my throat and....I ....usually I scream then and wake up."
Alice let out a shuddering breath and hung her head. It had been a very long time since she had a conversation with anyone about anything and now all the energy had drained away from her body, leaving her cold, tired, sad, and feeling very lonely.
Again the tears threatened to fall and Alice did not understand why she did not seem to have control over her emotions. That was something she was absolutely not used to. Her almost Spartan way of dealing with her feelings had kept her alive and sane for a long time.
Having heard the story, Jody decided to try and find out more about the teenage girl.
"How long have you been having this dream, Alice?" she softly asked.
"You mean, when did it start?" Alice soft voice sounded close to her shoulder.
"Yes, that is what I mean," Jody answered, her voice equally soft.
Alice really wanted to shrug her shoulders and say she honestly could not remember when the dreams had started to invade her nights, but suddenly she realized the answer to Jody's question could matter a lot.
"I...am...not sure," Alice stammered, feeling awkward and inept for not being able to answer a simple question.
It was like Jody could feel her distress and she gently rubbed Alice's back. Unconsciously the teenager leaned into the touch, producing a knowing smile on Jody's face. The red haired woman did not say anything about it though, not wanting to embarrass the sensitive teenager. Instead, she kept up the soothing circular motion.
Alice sensed the genuine kindness that radiated from Jody and for the first time in ...years, she felt like she could let her guard down a little. And she did.
Suddenly Jody could feel the tension in Alice's muscles, when the young girl shot up straight and looked at her with eyes, full of wonder. Their eyes locked and Jody could see the surprise, hope and pain radiating from Alice's clear eyes, that seemed colorless in the light of the moon.
Alice was stunned. She could almost taste the words that were lying on the tip of her tongue. She could hear the faint echoes of a memory in the back of her mind and for a moment it was within her grasp.
"After I...had the...accident," her voice sounded, almost dreamlike and Jody held her breath. "I fell, during the night. There was a fire...and. smoke and I fell. I...." Her eyes went wide with horror and she grabbed Jody's hand between her own, not realizing how painful her vice like grip was. Her lips started to tremble and Jody saw the tears roll down her face, which had lost all color.
"The hands....he tried to choke me and...I fell....and...I hit my head."
Alice's whole body started to shake violently and Jody wrapped both arms around the girl, to provide all the support she could, hoping she had not gone too far and triggered a memory Alice had not been ready for yet.
The blond girl hid her face against Jody's shoulder and held on for dear life.
"He tried to kill me," she gasped, before her body collapsed and went limp.
"Oh, my God," Jody exclaimed.
She lowered Alice down on the bed and ran towards the door, yanking it open, to push open the door to Fiona's room.
"Fi, get Sam," she urged, knowing her sister was not asleep yet. "There's something wrong with Alice."
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