Jenna awoke at 3 AM in a cold sweat. She had spent a couple of hours after the agents left just sitting and reflecting. However, even a low dose sleep aid had not made sleep last, and she found herself awake just a few hours later.
By 8 AM, she’d spent the last several hours looking up news articles from the last few months. All of them read the same way: ‘Girl missing, girl’s body found, reports of stalking,’ all followed with something relating him to a surgeon. All in all, it was unnerving.
Someone had leaked crime scene photos of one of the murders, and while it completely made her utterly nauseas, she couldn’t seem to force herself to stop looking. The pit in her stomach worsened with each photo, but she continued looking at each cold, catalogued picture.
Once she had looked at them all, Jenna found that she was looking less and less forward to the prospect of sleep. Instead, she stood and went to her window.
Pulling the drapes back ever so slightly, she took small comfort in the sight of the police cruiser parked across the street. Benjamin, stirred by her movements, let out a small whine, tail wagging expectantly.
“Oh, all right,” Jenna conceded. She felt horrible for making him wait longer than he should have had to. Not only that, she hadn’t taken him on a run in a long time either. She made a mental note to do so, grabbing the leash and her house keys.
Once outside, she gave Benjamin a little more time, still feeling guilt at neglecting her canine friend. The officer across the street waved to her from within the cruiser. After returning the gesture, they headed back inside.
Warily, Jenna reached her front entry with no incidents. She sighed with relief as she unlocked her door. As soon as they were back inside, she made sure she got the deadbolt secured.
Unable to help but feel incompetent, Jenna stalked moodily through her apartment. She was not used to feeling helpless, or the fear that had not gone away since the beginning of the ordeal. Every time she found out more information, it only made things worse.
Finally, she undressed and decided to take a shower. She spent longer than she intended, but the hot water helped just a little to soothe her stiff muscles. When she got out and had toweled off, she realized she still had an hour until her first class started.
Agent Miles had warned her it might be difficult to protect her if she went to school, but she couldn’t spend the rest of her life holed up in her tiny apartment, which felt like it was shrinking each day she remained locked up.
Jenna had just finished dressing when her phone rang. She glanced at the screen cautiously, sighing in relief when Marion’s name came up. “Hey,” she said unenthusiastically.
“Hey,” her best friend greeted in same. “So, I’ve been hearing rumors about you having a stalker around campus.”
Jenna sighed. “Same guy I was telling you about.”
She made a disgruntled noise. “What’re you going to do?”
“Well, the FBI is involved, so they have a cop around at all times. Wait, who told you the rumors?” She asked with a frown.
There was a pause. “It’s all over. The cops found a local girl, Candace-something-or-other. They think it’s connected to The Surgeon.”
Jenna’s mouth suddenly felt very dry. “What?” She couldn’t respond with anything else.
“Yeah, and I heard some people talking about your stalker.” Marion’s tone was light, as if they were merely discussing everyday topics and not something possibly dangerous.
Jenna scoffed a little. “Great. So, an entire school now not only knows who I am, but they know more about what is going on than I do. As if I didn’t have enough to worry about with the person that is doing this to me.”
Marion gave a nervous chuckle. “Well, I’m just letting you know what to expect. Are you coming today?”
“Yeah, I need to. I can’t miss class, and we’ve got finals coming.”
They talked for a few more moments and then hung up. Jenna then moved to the bathroom, putting her hair into a loose clip and applying a little makeup. Mentally, she prepared herself for what she knew was coming. Really, college was like a looser version of high school. There was less drama for her because she didn’t associate with the sororities or the cliques that lived in the dorms, but people would be whispering about her as she went about her business.