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…Eighteen months later...
Alexandra woke up screaming. She threw off the covers and sat on the edge of the bed waiting for her heart to stop beating so erratically. The T-shirt she slept in was damp with sweat. The nightmares never stopped. They came back again and again to remind her of her time in the cabin. To remind her that he was still out there.
She took in a deep breath and went to the kitchen to gulp down some cold water. A lot had happened since her abduction. Because the police had failed to find the monster, she quit her job to start a freelance business that she could run from home. She was afraid to go out, especially at night. Then she moved to a new condo in an upscale part of the city. It was an expensive move but she felt somewhat safer and this building had a 24-hour concierge. She paid to get the best security system for her unit. And she had several locks installed. Overkill, probably, but even with all these measures in place she always felt a danger lurking.
Alex tried to get back to sleep. His voice kept coming back to her. Months of therapy hadn’t eradicated her memories or her fear. She opened her iPad and put on some Coltrane. That usually made her relax. She listened to tune after tune until she finally dozed off.
The cellphone on her bedside table woke her up just before 9:00am. Oh my God, I’ve slept in so late, Alex scolded herself. It was her best friend Debby on the line.
“Hey girlfriend,” said Deb, “I just got to work and Dragon Lady isn’t in yet so I wanted to call to remind you about tonight. Don’t even think about backing out again. It’s my celebration and you promised, so I’ll —”
“Hi Deb,” Alex interrupted. “I know we were supposed to go out but I had a really awful night, bad dreams, and I couldn’t get back to sleep for a long time. I’ve got to finish the project I was telling you about and the deadline is —”
“Not listening to you! You never leave your house, and that’s sick. If you know what’s good for you, you will not disappoint me this time. I’ll be waiting in your lobby at 7:30. Dinner, then drinks at Le Bar. Bring your wallet. It’ll be expensive, and you’re paying. Ciao Bella!”