Chapter 1

31.9K 578 41

Thursday was my slow, sluggish day. I wasn't in a hurry to get anything accomplished even though I had a stack of homework about six inches tall on my kitchen table and four missed calls from my coworker, Heather, asking me to come in on my day off. I could use the extra pay, but I didn't like being called into work when Samantha, another coworker of mine, who rarely showed up, didn't make it in. She'd been doing that a lot lately.

I worked as a barista at a small coffee shop in Boston. It was right across the street from the University of Massachusetts where I studied psychology, making it a very convenient commute to work after classes were over. I was in my senior year, about to graduate with my bachelor's degree.

UMass hadn't always been my dream school. I'd actually had my heart set on Yale. My older brother had dreamed of attending UMass but never got the opportunity. He was killed in a car accident a month before classes started. I'd been sixteen at the time and when it came time for me to start applying for colleges, I decided I wanted to go to UMass Boston since Ricky never got to. Now I was almost finished with my four years and I hoped somewhere up in the clouds, he was proud of me.

I wasn't real successful with my life yet, but I had a cozy little apartment near the Harbor Walk and I'd received a job offer from a medical office that I was set to start right after graduation. I planned on putting in my two weeks' notice sometime in the next few days. Money was tight, but I was able to pay all my bills and still have a little left over to order the occasional pizza or rent a movie. For the time being, that was good enough for me.

It was around three in the afternoon and I was sorting through the mail I'd received that day. Bills, bills and more bills. One coupon card for a pizza parlor. A solicitation from an HVAC company. Nothing I was excited about. I tossed the junk mail in the trashcan and sat down at the kitchen table, pushing my homework pile aside and opening my laptop to check my emails.

Most of my inbox contained crap from random websites that I didn't know how on earth they even got my email address. I had one message from my psychology professor telling me she was interested in reading a paper I'd written the previous year for another class. I typed a short response with the file attached and continued deleting junk mail.

Just when I thought I was finished, my computer made a ding, signaling that I had a new message. I didn't recognize the sender, Richard Lux, and there was no subject. I opened the email to find a short threatening sentence with no signature.

"You should sleep with both eyes open."

I felt as though my heart had sunk to my stomach. A chill swept over my body and my hands started to shake as I hurriedly moved the eerie message to my trash folder and hoped it was just a stupid prank.

I'd been so careful, so sure I'd covered my tracks. It would be hard to find a plain Jane college student in a city as large as Boston, wouldn't it? They couldn't have tracked me down.

I sat there for several minutes staring blankly at my computer screen. I didn't know what to do. Should I tell someone? Should I call the police? Should I just ignore it? My mind was spinning with questions and concerns. The reasonable part of me wanted to blow it off and laugh at some internet troll's idea of a joke. The cautious part was too busy sorting through scenarios in my mind, trying to figure out if Boston had been a bad decision and if I should leave.

Leaving would be very drastic, but that's what I was used to. I knew I couldn't hide forever, but I'd been so sure I could outrun my past. I'd convinced myself I could start over and make things work. I'd never stopped to allow myself the thought that it may never work, that I may never make a full recovery.

The AssignmentRead this story for FREE!