SLASH By: Dallas G. Releford Jenny Laker paid the cashier at the little country store on Route 68 and asked her to put the items in a plastic bag. “Nasty day out,” the cashier remarked tending to her duties, “with the rain and all, I mean.” “Sure is a lousy day for driving. I know that,” Jenny agreed. “I guess we can’t always choose our days for driving, or anything else for that matter.” “That’s very true,” the cashier commented handing her a bag. “Here are the items you purchased. Are you from around here?” “Cincinnati,” she replied. “I’m just going up to Washington Court House to visit my sister.” “Well you be careful,” the cashier cautioned, “it’ll be getting dark soon and the rain isn’t supposed to let up. It’s going to rain all night, I hear.” Jenny thanked her for the advice and ran out to the big Cadillac with her keys in her hand. She had always wanted a Cad. However, she had never been able to afford one until she finally had enough money when her first book, The Trials of Alice, had made the New York Times bestseller list. She had finally been able to afford quite a few things including taking a few days off to visit her sister. As she pulled away from the store it seemed like the wiper blades couldn’t keep up with the rain on the windows. She slowed down to thirty miles an hour but even that didn’t help much. The constant back and forth motion of the wiper blades made her drowsy and she struggled to stay awake. Suddenly the headlights hit something or somebody in the road ahead. That somebody or something was right on a curve and there wasn’t any place for her to go. Her foot pressed the brake pedal hard and she swerved to the left in an effort to miss the object but felt the rear of the Cadillac swing around and heard a “thud” as the rear end of the vehicle hit the object. After that, all Jenny saw was a high rock cliff beyond the water filled ditch to her left and a bunch of trees to her right. The vehicle spun around in the middle of the road several times before finally slamming into the embankment on the other side of the ditch. It took her a few minutes to realize that the rear of the vehicle had struck the embankment and the front of the Cadillac was facing the road. The fact that the rear of the car had hit the rocks instead of the front probably had saved her from going through the windshield. She was so stunned by the impact that all she could do was sit behind the steering wheel staring through the broken windshield and wondering what to do next. She wanted to curse her luck but then reconsidered as she began to realize how lucky she really had been. If she had gone to the right just a little more, she would have gone over the side of the road and into the trees below. As far as she could determine, she didn’t have any major injuries to worry about. She did have a few bruises where her arm had hit the steering wheel but other than that, she seemed to be fine. It was then that Jenny had the strangest feeling (maybe her six senses were kicking in or maybe her female intuition was working full time), that she was being watched. It was like someone was breathing on her neck but she knew that the back seat was empty. Or was it? Had she looked into the back seat to check when she got into the vehicle like her father had always told her to do? No, she had jumped into the car just to get out of the rain ignoring all the precautions she would normally have observed. THERE IS NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING BACK THERE. IT’S JUST MY NERVES. She knew she had been through a lot in the last few minutes and that she wasn’t thinking too clearly just yet. She figured that the shock caused by the wreck was causing her to imagine things but something still told her that something or someone was in the back seat. She had the urge to turn around and look in that direction but didn’t dare to do so because she was afraid of what she might see there. Jenny had never been in such a predicament in her life. Not only had she hit someone or something but she had also wrecked her brand new car. As if that wasn’t enough, now she was getting paranoid. Feeling that someone was breathing on her neck was one thing but now she thought that she could feel someone looking at her. It was like the feeling she often got when she was walking down the street and thought someone was watching her but when she got brave enough to look around, there wasn’t anyone there. In every movie she had ever seen, there was always someone in the back seat but she knew deep down inside that it was just her nerves and mind playing tricks on her. Her first instinct was to get out of the car and run as hard as she could but where would she run? In the movies, the heroine always did that and ended up running right into some hideous monster or something. She was frozen to the seat just sitting there watching the rain fall steadily on the window and looking at the puddles of water on the road above her. Just about the time she had convinced herself that nobody was in the back seat and that she should really get out of the car, survey the damage and try to find a nearby house or something, she heard someone breathing behind her. Before she could even react to the sounds and determine if they were real or not, something cold, hard and sharp touched her on her bare right arm. Without thinking a second thought about it, she instinctively swung her head around to the right just as the pain shot through her arm. It felt like a razor blade cutting through her skin and penetrating deep into her flesh. She had accidentally cut herself a long time ago with a single edge blade while trying to take the blade out of her father’s old razor and she had never forgotten the terrible throbbing pain it had caused. She knew what getting cut felt like and this most certainly wasn’t her over active imagination causing her so much burning pain. As she turned her head, she found herself looking into the face of the most hideous creature she had ever seen. The face was completely white and wrinkled, the eyes were huge and black and when she looked into them, she could see into forever. Her mind seemed to go almost blank as she gazed into the eyes that she had a very difficult time of not looking at. She tried her best to scream but the intense fear wouldn’t allow her to do that. The scream just seamed to sit down there in the bottom of her throat and nothing came out no matter how hard she tried. The burning, searing pain in her arm finally made her angry and she just wanted to kill whatever it was until he smiled at her and she saw the long, sharp fangs. Jenny glanced down to see what was causing her arm to hurt and what she saw almost made her faint. There was an ugly hand with long hairy fingers and long sharp fingernails. As if that wasn’t enough, the same hideous hand was holding a long, sharp knife next to the bleeding slash it had cut in her arm. “My-oh-My,” It said sneering at her, “you’re really having a rough night, aren’t you?” The voice almost sounded like a cartoon character in one of those old cartoons that were made way back in the forties. The only problem was she couldn’t find anything funny about that voice or the beast that the voice belonged to sitting in the back seat. Unable to think clearly, Jenny did the only thing she could think of doing. She grabbed the Umbrella with the shiny pointed end on it from the passenger seat and jabbed it into the right eye of the creature. Lucky for me that thing probably had not seen an Umbrella before, she thought to herself. Grabbing her purse as quickly as she could while the creature was screaming madly in pain and thrashing around in the back seat, she managed to get the door open enough to crawl out on the wet ground below. It seemed like forever before she could fully stand on both feet without feeling a lot of pain in her back. There was also a terrible pain in her left hip but with a lot of effort, she was able to make it up the slight incline and out of the ditch. She stood on the rain-soaked road and wondered what to do next. Her eye caught the sight of a body or what had been a body in the road just up ahead where she had first seen someone. It wasn’t moving but she could tell from where she stood that it was a man and a big man at that. She figured he was dead and decided that the moments it would take her to check on him might mean her own life. She decided to forget about it because he hadn’t moved since she had first noticed him. She would get help as soon as she could find someone else to help her. If at all possible, she would get someone to check the body in the road but right at the moment all she wanted to do was get out of the area and to safety. There wasn’t much time to waste because she knew that she had to do something and do it very quickly. This wasn’t a good time to make the wrong decision. It would only be a few moments before the creature recovered and came after her. She knew that from the old movies too. Jenny knew that her best bet was to find a house where she could get help. Finding one in the dark meant that she had to find a house with lights. Jenny had seen lights from houses as she had driven up the road but she couldn’t remember how long ago it had been when she had seen the last one. The rain was still falling heavily and that made her predicament even more precarious. Looking up the road didn’t produce the headlights she had hoped for. Staring through the sheets of falling rain in the other direction, she didn’t see anything there either. Just as the last hope drained from her mind, she thought she saw a light flicker through the swaying limbs of the wet trees up the road from her. If nothing else, that was a little encouragement and she needed all of the encouragement that she could get. At first, she thought it was her imagination but she stood there watching and finally was convinced that she was indeed seeing the light from a house or other dwelling. She thought she heard footsteps behind her and turned around hoping with all her might that nothing would be there waiting to pounce on her. Nothing was there, in fact, she could hardly see the Cad down in the ditch on the side of the road because it was raining so hard. Every instinct told her to put as much distance between her and that Cadillac as she could. She glanced down the road and then up the road, forgetting the light for a moment, but the only light she could see was the occasional glimmer of light back in the woods on the other side of the highway. She began running as fast as the rain-soaked road would permit toward where she thought she had seen the light. She completely ignored the intense pain in her back and hip and only remembered the cut on her arm when the rain drops hit it directly bringing stinging, burning pain that almost caused her to stop and scream. She knew she had to keep going. She didn’t have any choice no matter how bad she hurt. She ran for almost a mile before discovering a driveway and a sign near it. The sign was lighted and she could easily read the name of the business. GREENLEAF NURSING HOME - Home for the Happy since July, 1929. That was all the sign said but that was enough to prompt her to go on without stopping to contemplate about what it all meant. The paved driveway led back into the woods to several structures with lights and that was all she needed. The lights beckoned to her and she was willing to answer the call no matter how much pain she was in. As she ran up the long driveway toward the nursing home, she was almost convinced that she heard something behind her with each step she took. Hoping that it was only her imagination and too scared to look back, she kept on running as hard as she could. Each step brought her closer to the building and the arms of safety. Jenny could feel the pain ripping through her right arm as the cold rain hit against the open wound. She knew that she didn’t have much time in which to care for the wound before the infection set in. Perhaps the folks at the nursing home would help her, she hoped. Finally reaching the front door, she entered as the first door opened automatically. The inside door didn’t open and she looked behind her expecting to see the creature standing right behind her admiring his trapped victim. He wasn’t there, yet but Jenny didn’t want to waste any time getting into the building. She stood between the two doors looking at the guard sitting at the front desk. He didn’t notice her because he was too busy reading a book. Why didn’t he respond as she beat on the door she wondered? “Can I help you?” Her body jerked in sheer terror at the sound of the voice that emanated from the speaker of the intercom on the wall beside her. “Yes --- yes,” she yelled. “Please let me in. I need help. I’m hurt and bleeding and there’s someone or something after me.” She let out a sigh of relief as she heard the electronic lock on the door disengage and the latch released allowing her to enter. The door opened much too slowly for her so she forced it open and entered the facility. The guard at the desk smiled when he saw the beautiful young woman and asked, “How can I help? What can I do?” “First call the police. Someone or something attacked me and my arm is pouring blood. In fact, I don’t have much of it left.” “My you do have a bad cut,” the woman in the green scrub clothes said as she entered the room to see what the commotion was all about. “My goodness, you’re soaking wet. Come on with me and I’ll get that arm and your other injuries treated for you.” “I’ll call the police for you right away miss,” the guard replied not wanting to lose her attention. “What did you say your name was?” He asked as she walked away with the nurse. “Jenny Laker and my car was wrecked up the road. There was somebody in the back seat. I think he got into the Cadillac when I stopped at the little country store down the road. He cut my arm after the wreck but I got away from him. I don’t know where he is. He could be anywhere so be real careful and don’t let anyone in that you don’t know. He’s very dangerous.” “Don’t worry about a thing,” the guard boasted patting the weapon on his side and winked at her. “I won’t,” she assured him as she followed the nurse toward a treatment room in the back. “Don’t forget to call the police,” she reminded him. The guard watched her as she walked down the hall with his eyes focused on her perfect form. He waited until she was completely out of sight before turning his attention to the telephone. “Looks like you have quite an injury there,” the doctor replied looking closely at the long purple slit that ran up the outside of her arm. “You’re going to require stitches so we’re going to put you to sleep briefly. Is that something that we can do? Otherwise, there will be some pain that most people choose not to go through with.” “That’s fine,” Jenny replied, “I don’t really want to know about it. I’ve been through enough for one night.” “Now don’t you worry about that terrible man that did this to you,” the nurse assured her, “he won’t be able to get into the building even if he does come here and the police will be here shortly. There’s a guard out in the lobby keeping watch on things.” “Oh, I’m not worried,” Jenny said but she still had the feeling that impending doom hung over her like a large meteor waiting to impact just a little too close to her for comfort. The nurse inserted the IV into her left arm but after that Jenny didn’t know what was going on in the real world. “You’re really having a bad day --- aren’t you?” The voice was distant and sounded crispy like something from an old “scratchy” 78 RPM record that her grandmother used to play. JENNY, YOU’RE REALLY HAVING A ROUGH DAY BUT I PROMISE IT WILL BE OVER SOON. YOU WON’T FEEL A THING. I PROMISE JENNY. She awakened suddenly. Jenny didn’t realize that she had ever been asleep. She felt a little drowsy but other than that, she felt normal except that she couldn’t account for the missing time. It seemed that she had never actually been under the influence of the drugs. “I realize that you’ve had a rough day and that you’re exhausted,” the doctor said as she became aware of where she really was and that the creature wasn’t there with her, “but you will need to get a lot of rest after the police get here and you tell them what you have to tell them.” “We need someone to take you home and to care for you. Is there anyone that we can call and let them know that you are here and what happened?” The nurse asked her. “Yes, my mother,” Jenny informed her, “the address and telephone number is there in my purse. It’s in the little black address book that I keep in there.” Images began to flow through her mind and she felt like she wanted to go to sleep again but she fought it. She knew that the last thing she wanted to do was to be asleep just in case the creature did get into the building. In the flashes of memory, she could clearly see herself driving down the rain-soaked highway and then the man standing in the road before her. When she got to the part where she had turned around and seen the creature in the back seat, she shuddered in sudden fear. Her entire body shook in fear of just the memory of the gruesome creature. “You don’t have to worry about a thing,” the doctor repeated. She opened her eyes again only to be horrified by the monster standing over her with blood running from the eye where she had stuck the point of the Umbrella. That wasn’t her only concern because he still wielded the bloody knife in his right hand. “My goodness --- my dear Jenny. You really are having a bad day, aren’t you? Don’t worry about a thing because I’m not going to hurt you --- much.” She wondered if what she was seeing and hearing was real or if the drugs the doctor had given her were having some type of adverse affect on her. Hoping that she was only dreaming, she pulled the bandage on her arm down enough to observe the row of neat stitches the doctor had put in her arm closing the deep cut. That looked real enough so she touched it with her finger and felt that it was still numb from the drugs and the pain killers the nurse had given her. The nurse! The nurse had been there a few moments ago but when she looked around, she didn’t see her anywhere. Could the creature control her mind and make her see things that weren’t there? She thought he had injected something into her mind because she was sure the nurse had been standing right beside her only a few moments before. Convinced that everything must be real and she had to assume that it was, she turned her attention again to the creature standing over her. “Where’s the doctor,” she demanded. “What have you done with him? Where’s the nurse that was here?” “Why? Don’t you think I did a good job on your arm? Do you really need the doctor?” He asked taunting her with his gruesome smile that revealed the long sharp fangs that reminded her of pictures she had seen of vampires. “You were the doctor?” Jenny couldn’t believe that the creature had treated her. “What is it exactly that you want from me?” “Why Jenny,” he said showing the long sharp teeth that she was sure were covered with blood, “I thought that was clear to you. But, I guess I didn’t make myself clear enough to you. I want you Jenny. I’ve wanted you for a very long time.” He walked in front of her and then began pacing back and forth. “How long will you resist me Jenny? Why don’t you just give in to me and we can live a life of ease and complete pleasure together?” “Never!” she screamed seeing the chance she had been waiting for. She pulled both of her legs back as far as she could and then kicked him in the back as hard as she could when he was turned around. She watched as he fell forward and confronted a table in front of him with his head. She pulled both of the IV tubes from her arms and tossed them to the floor. She quickly looked around her looking for anything that she could use as a weapon. As she noticed him drop to the floor knocking over a cart full of medical instruments, she realized that there were some potential for weapons amongst the implements. The medical instruments were scattered in every direction. She looked for a knife or anything else that looked sharp that she could use. She remembered the knife the creature had cut her with but didn’t have time to look for it. The only thing that caught her eye was a syringe and several vials of the medication they had used to put her to sleep. Quickly grabbing up the syringe and a handful of the vials, she inserted the needle into one of them and pulling the plunger back filled the syringe with the liquid. She didn’t know if it would have any effect on the creature but it was the only game in town at the moment. Jenny wasn’t looking forward to inserting the needle into the body of the thing but she knew she had to do it. Cautiously, she walked near the gruesome creature and quickly shoved the syringe into its hip. After all the liquid had flowed into its body, she quickly jerked it out and after filling up the syringe again, inserted another one. She didn’t want to take any chances on having to deal with the creature in the hallway later. She only wanted to have to go through that experience once. Jenny knew that she had to do it right the first time. Satisfied that she had done an adequate job on the creature, or whatever it was, she threw the syringe and the vials to the floor and grabbing up her purse headed out into the hallway only to find it completely deserted. She ran toward the front of the building to where the security guard had been. To her dismay, the guard was positioned over the desk. How could that worthless slime be sleeping on the job at a time like this she thought all full of anger? Jenny walked up to him and patted him on the shoulder to get his attention but when there wasn’t any response, she pushed him with her hand. He fell to the floor revealing a long, bloody slash across his throat. She stumbled backwards, turned around and ran down the hallway in the opposite direction. She wasn’t sure where she was going, she just wanted to get away from the body in the lobby and maybe seek help from some of the staff. The first room she came to was an examination room. She quietly opened the door wide enough to peek in and it was then that she wished she hadn’t done so. The nurse who had helped her was on a bed with her throat cut, blood all over the place and her eyes had been pulled out and were hanging down on her upper cheeks just below her eye sockets. She was lying on her back and all her clothes had been removed. A long slit left her intestines exposed. Jenny wondered just what kind of monster would do such a thing and Jack the Ripper came to mind. She wondered if there was a connection. Terrified, she ran on down the hallway only to find that all of the staff had been murdered. She wondered how all that could have happened during the short time she was asleep. The murderer wasn’t impartial about who he killed because many of the residents of the nursing home who had been in the clinic for treatment were killed also. Jenny wasn’t able to respond to all that she had seen because the horror of it all simply blanked everything out of her mind. In the last several hours, she had been through more than most people could possibly imagine. In a state of shock, exhaustion and frustration, she ran back down the hallway with the intention of getting out of the building just as quickly as possible but someone grabbed her by the arm and threw her to the hard tiled floor as she ran around a corner. She was on the floor on her stomach with her nose bleeding from the impact her head had made when it hit the floor. She was almost afraid to turn over, even if she could. Her ankle hurt because she had twisted her leg when she fell. Her hip still hurt but that was the least of her troubles. She was struggling to turn over to see what had thrown her to the floor when the voice that she dreaded most echoed down the hallway: MY, YOU SURE ARE HAVING A BAD NIGHT JENNY. I REALLY DIDN’T APPRECIATE WHAT YOU DID TO ME AND WE NEED TO HAVE A LONG TALK YOUNG LADY. Her heart began to beat faster as she managed to turn over to face the beast that stood above her. She struggled to get on her feet hoping that she might be able to get away from her but her legs were just too weak to support her. What she saw was even worse than she could have possibly imagined. The creature was standing directly over her but he didn’t seem to be solid anymore. It was more like a shadow or a cloud of dark smoke. She could make out the form that looked almost like the shape of a large man but that was where the resemblance ended. “What --- what are you and what do you want from me?” Jenny asked feebly falling back to the hard floor no longer able to stand because of the terror that had weakened every muscle in her body. WHY JENNY, I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU WHAT I WANTED. YOU SEE JENNY, I’VE BEEN AROUND YOU ALL YOUR LIFE. I’M THE SHADOW THAT YOU SAW IN THE CLOSET WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE GIRL. I’M THE NOISE THAT YOU WERE TERRIFIED OF THAT CAME FROM UNDER THE BED OR THE THING THAT STOOD ABOVE YOUR BED WHEN YOU PEEPED OUT FROM UNDER YOUR COVERS. YOU CREATED ME JENNY; CREATED ME FROM YOUR OWN MIND AND NOURISHED ME WITH YOUR FEAR AND FED ME WITH YOUR TERRIFIFIED MIND. EVERYTIME YOU WERE SCARED, I WAS GROWING THERE BEHIND YOU. WHEN YOU TURNED AROUND, I WAS THE SHADOW ON THE GROUND THAT NEVER LEFT YOU. I WAS SLOWLY ASSUMING A HUMAN FORM LIKE YOU BECAUSE THAT WAS THE ONLY WAY I COULD STAY WITH YOU. THE MEDICINE YOU INJECTED INTO MY SYSTEM CAUSED SOMETHING TO HAPPEN AND YOU CHANGED ME BACK TO WHAT I AM NOW BUT WE CAN STILL BE TOGETHER JENNY AND YOU KNOW JUST AS WELL AS I DO THAT YOU NEED ME AS MUCH AS I NEED YOU. WITHOUT THE TERROR, THE FEAR AND THE INSECURITY THAT YOU RECKLESSLY CREATE, I CAN’T EXIST. “Great,” Jenny replied forcing herself to stand up despite the pain in her hip. “Great and what am I supposed to do for the rest of my life, keep on helping you to scare me and to kill all the people that I come into contact with?” NO, ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS JUST BE YOURSELF JENNY. I’LL TAKE CARE OF THE REST AND YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AFRAID OF ME BECAUSE I CAN’T HURT YOU. I CAN’T HURT THE PERSON THAT HAS CREATED ME. THAT WOULD BE GOING AGAINST ALL LOGIC. “Well, since I created you then I guess I can destroy you,” she replied. “And while we’re playing the “game of truth”, why did you kill all those people?” THEIR FEAR MADE ME GROW AND MADE ME FEEL STRONG. “So, you killed everyone you came into contact with just so you could grow, is that what you’re trying to tell me?” YES! “Well guess what, since you told me what the real truth is, I’m not a bit afraid of you anymore and you can go back to what you once were, nothing.” JENNY. JENNY DON’T DO THIS --- JENNY PLEASE DON’T DO THIS TO ME. Jenny wasn’t quite sure about it but she thought the creature was beginning to break up just like a cloud of smoke dissipates. As she stood there trembling from her nose to her feet, she made every effort not to feel any fear and then the thought came to her about how ridiculous the entire thing had been and she started laughing out loud. Before she knew it, she was hysterical. The more she laughed at the creature the smaller he became. In a few minutes, the figure that she had been so afraid of didn’t exist anymore. She wasn’t even sure what she was laughing about but she knew that the laughter gave her some relief from the fear and that anything that could get rid of the fear, even if it were only for a few seconds was something that she needed to take advantage of. Some thoughts and emotions didn’t really occur to her while she watched the creature blow away with the four winds. In reality, she was watching him slowly being sucked up into the ventilation system that circulated the air throughout the facility. The real emotions flowed when it was all gone and she suddenly realized that she was alone. Well, she wasn’t exactly alone if you counted all the mutilated bodies that were scattered throughout the complex but thinking of them just made her even more sad. Why did all those people have to die just because of her? After all, she had created the monster in her mind and gave it what it needed to survive and grow. The next big question was one that concerned her present predicament. What was she going to tell the police? Would they believe that the creature had killed everyone in the nursing home and that she had created it with her imagination? She didn’t think so. A scheme began to form in her mind. Having been the culprit that created the entire situation in the first place, she decided that she had to set things right. Whatever she did, it had to involve the truth as much as possible. She just couldn’t lie to the police but then on the other hand, she couldn’t exactly tell them the full truth either. Whatever she told them had to be believable and it had to justify what had happened. In other words, she’d have to make sure that the murders were discovered and the police had some clues as to who did it. There had been a crime but the criminal had already met his fate but she couldn’t tell them that so she would have to make up a story. Before she reached the front door of the facility, she had a plot all figured out. She had just been driving up the road minding her own business when someone stumbled out of the bushes and walked right in front of her. She wrecked in an attempt to miss hitting him. Before he had died, he had whispered a few words to her. The man had said something like, “murder, over there in the nursing home.” She was sure that was what he would have said in such a situation and that was what she would tell them. After all, even the worst of criminals usually told the truth with their dying breath. Going to the nursing home to get help would be natural thing to do but when she arrived, she found everyone dead. That was what she would tell the police. Every indicator would point to the man in the road as being the killer and she would be off the hook. Who are you fooling, she asked herself? The cops will need some clues, some kind of evidence that he really did that. There has to be a connection to the nursing home. What if he was one of the residents or worse yet, one of the employees? Maybe it would be better if he were one of the employees that had a grudge against someone there, had gone mad and had taken out his frustrations on the staff. Perhaps he just did in the residents for good measure? But what kind of evidence could she provide that would convince them she wondered, trying to think of something that would make the connection foolproof. Her first thought was the knife. She had to find it and find it quick before someone came into the nursing home and found her there. She would have a lot of explaining to do. She made it back to the one room that she really didn’t want to go to, the examination room where the doctor had tended to her injuries. The last thing he ever did on this earth, thanks to her and the monster she created. After a long search, she finally found the “blood stained” instrument of death and destruction. She was amazed at how heavy the long knife really was. Someone in her past, her uncle as she recalled had called a similar instrument a “bowie knife” but she didn’t think that would be really important to the police. The only thing they would be looking for were fingerprints. She took a paper towel, saturated it with alcohol and cleaned her prints from the handle being careful not to touch any other part of it. She hurried from the room as best as she could and struggled down the hallway toward the front door. She stopped dead in her tracks. Jenny had forgotten one thing. The wound that the doctor had stitched up would be hard to explain. She walked back to a closet in the lobby and opened the double doors. She found just what she needed, a long sleeved shirt that was just about her size. Putting the shirt on to cover the wound and picking up her purse from the desk near where the dead guard still lay sprawled in the floor, she made her way out of the building and down the road. Finding that the body was still there and nothing had been discovered yet she walked cautiously up to the man on the ground and touched his throat to see if he were still breathing. He wasn’t alive so she pried the fingers on his right hand apart and placed the knife in the palm of his hands before forcing the fingers back into position around the knife again. Luckily, for her rigor mortis hadn’t set in yet but she would have to hurry because the night was getting late and someone might come by at any moment. It really didn’t matter who the man was on the ground now because he had a knife in his hand that had killed many people. Their blood was on the knife and that would be enough evidence to convict him in any court if he were alive to stand trial. She relaxed a little bit and started to walk down the road where she would try to find someone else to call the police for her. She was clearly too disoriented to do that for herself. She didn’t have time to think about all the things she had done as light suddenly flashed into her eyes startling her. The first thought that entered her mind was that the police had discovered her but she quickly realized that someone else was coming down the road and around the curve. She just stood there as a tractor-trailer rig slowed down when the driver obviously saw something in the road ahead of him. She waited wondering how she should act and began planning what she would say. He pulled up and slowly came to a halt. The driver opened the door of the tractor and the biggest man she had ever seen got slowly and carefully out of the cab. “You need help lady?” He asked, his eyes quickly surveying the area including her wrecked Cadillac in the ditch but they eventually settled on her. “Yes,” Jenny replied, “I had a wreck. I swerved to miss him but I hit him anyway with the rear of the Cad and then I went into the ditch. I think he’s dead.” “Sure looks that way,” he said, “but let me get on the cell-phone and call for help anyway. Are you hurt?” “Just my hip and I’m a little shook up,” she answered hoping he wouldn’t notice the bulge on her right arm. Jenny stood there shaking and her stomach quivering inside. She knew whatever happened that she would have to face it without any fear because she didn’t want the “boogey man” to come back again. Yes, the police would come and they would take the man to the morgue where he would be cut up into many pieces and each part of him would be inspected and analyzed but in the end, they would come to the same conclusion. He had been the person that gone crazy and killed a lot of people and the knife would be the item that would convict him. They would ask her a lot of questions but there wasn’t any reason for them to suspect anything about her because she really hadn’t done anything wrong personally except create a monster that had done all the things that horrified her. Perhaps one of the things they would ask her was how her fingerprints got on the doors and in many places in the nursing home but she hadn’t thought of that yet. Maybe she could explain that she had gone to the nursing home in a stupor and had seen all the dead people and had left. But she would still have to explain how she got in the door if the guard and everyone else in the place were dead. Maybe she could explain that the door had been left blocked open but that would raise other questions. Jenny would have to do all this without any fear even when they took her to the police station to explain a few things but being the smart, intelligent, cunning and beautiful girl that she was, she would think of something. Maybe the fear she would feel when they got close to the truth would bring the monster back again. She wondered about what other things she had missed in her haste to develop a story the cops would believe. The more she thought about it the more she became unsure of herself. After all, she wasn’t a trained liar and she hadn’t had much time to plan the entire thing. What if she forgot some minor detail or left something in the clinic that the cops would find? She had read enough mystery novels to know that a criminal always leaves some clue at the scene of the crime. Maybe a hair, a bit of a fingernail, blood or just about anything. She trembled knowing deep inside that her fear was trying to come back. YOU AND I BELONG TOGETHER JENNY. WE ARE DESTINED TO BE TOGETHER AND NOTHING THAT YOU CAN DO OR SAY WILL CHANGE THAT. THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF. The sounds were inside her head and she thought that she was imagining things but then again, she had heard the voice before, many times. Jenny started thinking again and she wasn’t so sure of her future anymore and all because she had the same feelings as the rest of the human race. After all, we’re all capable of creating evil because of the fear that accompanies us sometimes. The End Story Description: A young girl on a trip to see her relatives in another town has a passenger in the back seat that she is unaware of.