Chapter 2

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            Saturday was blissfully uneventful. When I woke, I found two painstakingly wrapped presents on the kitchen table, next to a box of cake donuts with a note from my two very exhausted parents. One box contained a silver locket, the word "Grace", my name, engraved in the center. I put it on immediately, watching as it glimmered in the mirror with a smile. The second was a hardcover journal, complete with a very expensive looking pen. I spent the day in blissful silence, watching several shows and studying for a few other classes, before kissing my parents goodbye as they left for work. I even managed to forget all about the creepy man incident.

That was until I woke at in the middle of the night, groggy and confused as a shrill ringing echoed through the bedroom. I groaned and sat up in bed, rubbing my eyes so I could see. Who was calling me in the middle of the night? I grabbed my cellphone and pressed talk. "Gracie!" Jessie's voice sounded over the phone.

"What is it?" I questioned grumpily.

"I had a dream. Are you okay?" Her voice made me more awake instantly. It was truly and honestly scared. When Jessie's scared, it was best to listen. I'd learned that the hard way on quite a few occasions. I wasn't sure how she did it, but I never asked either.

"What about?"

"You. You were in your room and then the door closed by itself- like someone pushed it- but I couldn't see anybody so I didn't worry about it but then a shadow landed outside of your balcony door. It tried to come in your room but I don't know if it did or not because I woke up." Her voice was shaking.

"When was this?" I dragged out my question trying to sound calm, but my heart was beating uncomfortably fast. My eyes wandered to the French doors leading to my balcony, thoughts of the stranger from yesterday buzzing through my brain. I rose to my feet to check the knobs. Secure and firmly closed. I let out a relieved breath.

"Five minutes ago." Jessie replied and I glanced at the clock. It was 2:27 AM. "I'm really worried about this Grace. Are your parents' home?"

I sighed. "No. They have the nightshift this month but the alarm's on. No one's here. Not even my cat." I chuckled.

She laughed back nervously. "Be careful. I'll call you in the morning. Bye." Even over the phone, I could hear how upset she still was. She would have driven over here in a heartbeat if she could've. Jessie put full trust in her dreams. This one was probably just the creation of too much sugar before bed. No one could have climbed to my balcony anyway.

"Bye." I hung up the phone and laid back down on the mattress but I was too worried about Jessie's state of mind to sleep so I sat up again, padding to my door and downstairs to get some water. I sipped the liquid, safe in the light of the kitchen and taking slow breaths. I almost wished I had never answered the phone. Jessie's frightening imagination had me jumping at every living thing and I was getting real sick of—

Across the room, the doorknob for the backdoor turned slowly, opening.

My glass hit the floor and shattered. I sprinted from the room, hearing the heavy steps behind me. My feet carried me to the front door and I fumbled with the lock, my breath hitching as I felt something cold touch the nape of my neck. Something clicked.

"Scream and I'll pull the trigger."

I barely breathed as the gun was moved against my back, its hard muzzle pressing into my back. "Step away from the door." A male voice commanded. I slowly held up my hands and took a step backward. "Walk to the backdoor." He commanded next. I started to turn but his voice stopped me immediately. "Without turning around." Carefully, I backed up hoping I wouldn't trip. I felt the cold steel push steadily against my back, my heart in my throat. The door was opened by the man behind me. Moonlight flooded into the kitchen, reflecting off the shards of broken glass on the floor. A blindfold was thrown over my eyes and tied tightly. "Don't move." The voice said as his hands were suddenly on my waist, lifting me up only to set me back down again. My bare feet detected a cloth of some kind. "Sit." I obeyed wordlessly, shaking in my thin nightgown from fear.

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