THE DOGWOOD TREE across the street glowed as the sun set behind it. Jeremey and I sat silently on the porch, watching the fire go out on the horizon as we filled the small enclosure with smoke. Wind beat against the fine mesh screens, screaming and whistling through the tiny cracks forming around the edges.
The day had passed slowly but quietly. I'd spent the majority of it consuming pain killers of various varieties and changing the bandage covering the wound on my ankle every so often. The weed we were smoking now was the final ingredient in the cocktail. My leg still pulsed in pain, but at least the fog in my mind helped to keep it manageable.
I inhaled a puff and held my breath, letting the smoke take effect as I passed to Jeremey. He took one more hit before setting the spent spliff down in the ash tray in front of himself.
I let out my breath, coughing as smoke spewed out of my mouth. "So who do you think she is?" I finally asked. We hadn't spoken about the girl all day. We hadn't spoken about much of anything since that morning, to be honest. "Where do you think she came from?"
Jeremey rocked back in the chair, exhaling heavily and running his hands over his denim pants. He shook his head. "No clue."
"She had some sort of accent." I leaned forward, absently picking at the torn fabric of my jeans. "I didn't recognize it."
"I noticed that too. It might have been European, but I don't know. I'd never heard it before."
The sky turned red. Only a sliver of sun remained, like a squinting eye peering out from beyond the horizon.
"What about the baby," I asked lowly. "Do you think it's..."
"Joshua's?" Jeremey completed my sentence for me. "That's my only guess."
"Why..." I began. The temperature dropped as twilight set, casting the world in grey. My hands had gone numb a half hour ago, and I shivered as the cold wore in. "Why is he keeping her down in the basement like that?"
Jeremey shook his head. "I don't know if I want to know, but I guess we'll find out Tuesday."
A silence fell over us. I wanted to bring up my dreams—see if Jeremey had any ideas about those—but I didn't know how to approach the subject. I wasn't sure how to explain them. They chilled me to think about—the fact that I had dreamed about her before I'd even met her—and also the fact that she recognized me too. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I wondered if maybe I'd met her that night when Joshua kidnapped me, and I just didn't remember it. I wondered if that was how she recognized me.
"What time is it?" I finally asked instead.
Jeremey took out his phone and checked the screen. "Eight forty five."
"I've got to get to work."
He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees and stared at me. "Are you serious?"
"I didn't go yesterday. I can't call in again." I slowly pushed myself to my feet. Pain shot through my ankle and I winced, leaning on my other leg heavily to compensate.
"You look like hell," Jeremey told me.
"I'm fine," I lied.
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•• Wattys 2018 Winner •• Wattpad Featured Story •• One day, a wind blew into the town of Millstone and didn't stop. Slowly people moved away. It was like the town was trying to clear itself out, as though it was preparing for something sinister. Whe...