Wednesday, March 30, 2016



The soft chime was just loud enough to raise Sheri Collins from the depths of sleep toward consciousness. She pushed herself up on her elbows and squinted, trying to pierce through the early morning darkness of the bedroom. The only light was a dull white glow from her phone on the bedside table. Propping herself up with pillows, she focused on the message she’d just received. It was from her fourteen-year old daughter Kate.

“Mom  My ride bailed on me. Can you come pick me up?”

Sheri frowned and began typing.

“Why are you out so late?”


“Please just come pick me up. I’ll explain. Corner of Woodland and 9th.”

What choice was there?

“I’ll be there in 15. Look for me.”



GPS was taking Sheri downtown into a dark, unfamiliar part of the city, and it wasn’t helping her mood at all. Bright window displays gave way to warehouses and fenced lots topped with razor wire.  Sheri jumped when the GPS lady announced that her destination was 100 feet ahead. She slowly pulled up to the intersection of Woodland and 9th and scanned the area, but saw no signs of life. I’m going to kill her, thought Sheri, who then pushed on the horn twice. The industrial wasteland around her was unnervingly silent, but she thought she caught something moving to her right.


She locked the doors and turned back to her phone. It was a text from Kate.

“Mom where are you?”

“I’m here. Where are you?”


“In my bedroom. I’ve been calling out for you.”

“That can’t be. What’s wrong?”


“Noises in hallway.  God, please let that be you coming into my”

“Kate? KATE?”

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