Chapter 35

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"Jessica, honey. Please come out, baby," her mom's voice was hoarse and on the verge of breaking down. Bethany Williams had been trying to reach through to her daughter for nearly two entire days, but the girl simply refused to leave her room. Jessica's father, Noah, leaned sleepily against the wall behind her.

"We should have never let her have the basement," he grumbled. "No windows, no way to get in."

"Baby, please," Bethany moaned into the door, ignoring her husband.

"I can't! He'll come after me again!" Jessica screamed. Although her voice was muffled by the furniture piled against the back of her door, the hysteria rang through clear as a bell.

Her mother collapsed into a chair and began to cry. Jessica had somehow managed to push everything she owned against the door of her room, and no matter what her father tried he simply could not get the door to budge. He tried to kick it down, tried to throw himself against it, all in vain. They had finally given in and called his brother who was on his way with tools to cut the door apart. He was still several hours away.

After the miraculous recovery Jessica had seemed fine, as if nothing wrong had ever occurred. Doctors were worried Jessica was repressing memories, and those memories could come back at any time with dire consequences. Bethany had refused to listen or care, seeing the memory loss as a blessing. And for a very short while it seemed like it was.

Until the nightmares began.

The first night she woke screaming it was only once, and only for a short while. The next brought three episodes of screaming, then five. As the nights passed by things only got worse for Jessica and her parents, until getting even a few hours sleep had become nearly impossible. The last couple of weeks had been the hardest for them all, especially when the terrors followed Jessica into her waking hours.

Everything came to a head the day her boyfriend Derek attacked another student at the school. Something broke in Jessica's mind that day, leaving her already fragile state nothing more than a pile of rubble on the floor. And now here they all were, utterly exhausted and on the verge of collapse. Jessica's muffled sobs could be heard coming softly from within the room, melting into Bethany's own. "What are we going to do?"

Noah shook his head while rubbing the sleep from his bloodshot eyes. "Only thing we can do for now. Once we get her out of there I'm taking her upstate to Pineridge. I've already called, they're expecting us this afternoon."

Bethany looked up through tear filled eyes. "The mental hospital?"

"It's a treatment center, yes. Beth, she needs help we can't give her."

Bethany broke down again, having no argument against Noah's decision. "I'm going to get some coffee, you want any?"

"No, thank you though," she whispered.

He sighed. "Alright, I'll be back," he said, taking a step up the stair before turning back around. "We're going to get her help, it'll just take time," he reassured her.

Bethany could only look at the floor and nod again. "I know, it's just hard."

She watched until he disappeared around the corner before leaning back and closing her eyes. Jessica had calmed again, at least for the moment. Bethany closed her eyes and prayed the girl would sleep, if only for a couple hours. She settled against the wall, trying to force her mind and body to relax.

Until the crashing upstairs jolted her out of her stupor.

The first sound was like an explosion, rocking the house down to its very foundation. Cracks formed and widened as the concrete split apart along the wall behind Bethany. She screamed and jumped to her feet in panic as the sounds of shattering glass and splitting wood rained down the stairs. "Noah!"

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