"Do you know them?" she asked as her father leaned back again. His emerald eyes were distant. "In the dream you said you didn't, but you must if they knew you."

"If you were in my head, then you know I don't."

Zoe frowned. "I wasn't in your head. I was—"

In my own. The words stayed unspoken on her lips, the taste of them vile in her mouth. Her father was staring at her with a newfound horror, and she hated that she'd been the one to give it to him. He knew what she'd been about to tell him.

She'd seen the dream through her own eyes—and she had always, without exception, had her dreams from the perspective of the victim intended for death.

She stared at her father with wide eyes. "But I didn't die. I didn't."

"Maybe because I woke you up before you got that far."

Zoe liked her explanation better—but there was a strong possibility that her father was right. She'd been screaming before the end of her dream, which didn't often happen. He'd been alerted to her troubles before they'd made it to their end; he'd been able to pull her out of the nightmare before it could get any worse. But that didn't change the fact that her father had died—that she had seen this for certain—and that she needed to find a way to stop it from happening.

But her father's focus had shifted solely to her. "What did they want from you? Did any of them say?"

"No." And that was infinitely worse. At least if she had known what they wanted, she could have given it to them and spared everybody the trouble. "You woke me up before they could say."

Her father cursed.

"Maybe we should get out of town," she suggested. "They can't get to us if they don't know where we are."

It had been a half-hearted suggestion at first, but the moment she'd spoken it out loud it had become more appealing—packing up their car and just driving; leaving Granton Ridge and never looking back. She would miss Matt and Luke dearly, and she knew her father had friends at work, but if leaving them was the price they would have to pay for their lives...

Her father ran a hand through his hair. If he did it anymore, she feared that the strands might stand up permanently. "You said it was pasta night. Did you get anything more than that?"

Zoe knew what he really meant: Do you know how long we have?

She had just opened her mouth to remind him that wasn't how her dreams worked when it hit her: "My Biology test."

Her father raised an eyebrow. "You dreamed the answers to your Biology test? I think they'd call that cheating, Angel."

She resisted the urge to reach out and hit him. If making a joke was the way he wanted to deal with this, then who was she to deny him that right? "I told you I thought I'd nailed it. That same day." Seeing his raised eyebrow, she added, "That test is next week."

Her father counted. "Ten days. That gives us ten days."

Having such a short time limit on her father's life terrified her, but there was a spark in his eyes as he considered it. Could it really have been...hope?

She tapped his knee with her foot. "What are you thinking, Dad?"

"I'm thinking this." He leaned forward, holding her gaze with his own. "We can't just pack up and leave—we have nowhere to go, and we don't have the money for motels or endless fuel refills. But if you give me a week, I should be able to fix that."

"How? You planning on robbing the Commonwealth down on Main?"

Her father shook his head. "I'm going to sell the Torana."

Zoe's heart skipped a beat.

That car was her father's most prized possession. She had never personally seen the appeal in the ugly old thing, but she'd loved seeing how happy it made him. He had spent years building it back up from little more than a shell while she was still a child, back when times had been better and they'd still had the money to be able to do things like that. He'd had a number of offers from people wanting to buy it over the years, but he'd turned down every one of them. The sentimental value of the thing was through the roof.

The car itself had been a gift to him from Zoe's mother.

Now it was the only thing that either of them had left of her.

She shook her head. "Dad, you can't sell the Torana. You love that car."

Her father didn't even hesitate: "I love you more, Angel. I always will. Right down to the last damn freckle on your nose."

Zoe hated those freckles.

"If anybody asks," he said, "we'll tell them we're going to visit family in Sydney for a few weeks. Nobody has to know we're not coming back. If these bastards think we are, it might give us more time to put in some distance."

"And where are we really going to go?"

"Leave that with me." He reached over to give her knee a quick, reassuring squeeze. "I'll take care of everything, all right? All I want you to do is focus on getting through the rest of the week."

Without telling Matt or Luke. Without letting anybody know that there was something amiss. She rubbed her eyes at the thought; as if she hadn't been exhausted enough already.

"You should try to get some sleep," her father said.

There was a blanket hanging over the back of the couch that Zoe specifically kept there for nights that her father fell asleep in front of the television, and he pulled it down now to throw over her legs. But Zoe was shaking her head. She dreaded the thought of going back to sleep. She didn't want to dream again.

But her father was insistent. "You can't stay awake forever, Angel. And I'll be right here the entire time, okay? If you so much as start twitching..."

"You'll make sure Freddy doesn't get me?"

"I'll make damn sure."

Zoe leaned back, propping one of the cushions up so that she could rest her head on it. Her father's hand settled on the blanket over her leg—a reassuring weight; a reminder that she wasn't alone.

She didn't intend on sleeping. She thought she might just shut her eyes for a few minutes, to give them a little rest after a night of crying.

But the moment she closed them, she was lost.  


A/N: I wasn't too sure about whether I should leave this chapter or not. Does it slow down the action too much? I felt it was necessary to give Zoe and her father their time limit, to create that impending sense of doom, but there are other ways to integrate it into the story. So let me know what you think! 

And as always, if you enjoyed this chapter please consider leaving a vote and/or comment! <3 

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