"Clara. Are you awake yet?"

Clara opened her eyes just a slit, keeping the sunlight at bay as much as possible. Toby stood over her in his pajamas.

"Morning," she said, realizing that her mouth had gone dry. She turned her head away from the boy, not wanting to stun him with her nasty morning breath. "What time is it, Toby?"

"Almost nine," he answered. "My dad's making breakfast. They wanted to make sure you didn't miss it."

Clara took a couple sniffs. She detected toast, coffee, and pancakes. Her stomach gave an instant rumble.

"That sounds wonderful," she said, catching a glimpse of herself in a mirror on the guest room wall. She didn't look much better than when she'd arrived the night before. "But I really need to shower first," she added.

"My mom said you might want to do that," Toby said. "She left you some stuff in the bathroom."

"Very nice," Clara said. "Can you tell them I'll be ready in fifteen minutes?"

Toby turned and walked out of the room. Clara heard him yell, "Sure!" as he ran down the hall.

She got up and shut the guest room door, then walked into its adjoining bathroom. Clara locked both doors and looked around. Mrs. Gilmartin had laid out a washcloth and towel on the counter. And on the other side of the sink were travel sizes of toothpaste, mouthwash, and soap – as well as a new toothbrush, still in its package. And the clothes she'd worn the day before had been washed and stacked in a neatly folded pile. The woman was good.

She turned on the shower. Steam formed within a few seconds. Clara smiled and relaxed – she couldn't stand lukewarm showers. She opened the window to let the steam out, took off her clothes, and stepped in.

The hot water refreshed her. Aunt Maureen's house was cozy and Clara felt comfortable there, but now she realized that the showers she'd taken since arriving in Breach Point had been lacking. The Gilmartin shower was far superior. She took her time, watching the steam escape through the open window. Despite what had happened last night, Clara felt more relaxed than she had in weeks.

When she'd finished, she dried off and brushed her teeth before walking back into the guest bedroom. She took another couple sniffs. When she didn't smell breakfast, she worried that she'd taken too long getting ready. Clara opened the bedroom door a crack and called out, "Sorry I'm taking so long. I'll be out in two minutes!" There was no response. The house was totally silent.

With only the towel wrapped around her, Clara stepped into the hallway and slowly walked toward the kitchen. She looked down and saw her wet footprints forming on the long carpet.

"Hello?" she said again, louder now. "Nicholas? Mrs. Gilmartin?"

There was no sound or movement in any of the rooms. The house wasn't just silent – it was empty.

She stepped into the kitchen. The plates were in the sink now, with pancake bits and syrup still dripping down their surfaces. It looked like everyone finished eating quickly before rushing out somewhere.

Clara thought she'd check the driveway to see which cars were still parked there. Maybe everyone was in the backyard for some reason? She stepped through a small hallway in the center of the house which she'd only glimpsed the night before and found herself in the living room. Clara started walking toward the bay window – then stopped in place.

It took her brain a few seconds to process the image in front of her. There on the couch, looking completely relaxed, sat Kevin. He wore dirty jeans and a faded flannel shirt. He didn't look up at Clara as he stirred a steaming cup of coffee.

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