Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chapter Sixty-Five

Harold was awakened from a deep sleep by Fanny thrashing about in her sleep. She was turning her head from one side to the other and flailing at something with her fists. “Fanny. Wake up, honey. You’re having a bad dream.” He put his arms around her and tried to hold her still. “It’s all right, Fanny. You’re safe.”

“Harold. It was awful.”

“It was just a dream. Close your eyes and go back to sleep. I’m right here.”

“No, Harold. It wasn’t a dream. It was real. I saw it.”

“What did you see, Fanny?” He knew what she was going to say, but for some reason he needed to hear it from her.

“I was asleep on the sofa in that tattoo parlor. Something woke me. I checked my watch. It was about 3:00. I’d been asleep for a few hours. I remember I felt like I needed to get to a telephone and call you could come and pick me up. I wanted you to go with me to the police to report my…” She hesitated. “…to report the abduction.”

“Fanny. Are you sure you want to go on? You don’t have to do this now?”

“Yes, I do, Harold. I pushed back the curtain. The red haired woman was in the back of the shop talking to a man. I only saw him from the back. Suddenly I saw the man lift his arm. He was holding a knife. I saw him plunge the knife into her face. After that, it’s all a blank. The next thing I remember is standing over her with that knife in my hand.”

“Tomorrow you can tell the police what you’ve remembered, but right now you need to sleep.”

Fanny closed her eyes. In a few minutes her breathing slowed to a steady rhythm. Harold had slept next to her long enough to know she was asleep. He’d lain next to her many nights, battling insomnia, envying the ease with which his wife fell asleep. He lay there a long time, just listening to her breathe. But he no longer envied her. She had lived through a lifetime of nightmares in the past three days.

Meanwhile forty miles away in Great Falls, Virginia, Bonnie Jaffe had woken up to a real life nightmare. She’d had the presence of mind to mumble “Sorry you’ve got the wrong number” before bolting out of bed and racing through the open door of the bedroom. When she reached the top of the stairs she heard the footsteps of her pursuer. In the seconds it took her to descend the stairs the realization formed in her brain that whoever it was had probably been lurking in the closet the whole time. Just has her hand grasped the knob of the front door she felt the blade of a knife press against her throat.



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