The night never failed to make Jamie anxious. Day after day, she fought to finish her chores before the sun got low on the horizon.
It was a new fear. A new phobia that hadn’t even bothered her when she was a small child.
There was a time she loved the night, the sounds and smells. When she could sit on her back porch and do nothing for hours but think and soak up the peace after a day of hard work.
Then there was the night she couldn’t remember. It was a void within her mind. A blank space where something should be…but wasn’t.
That night two years ago, she recalled finishing dinner, washing dishes, and taking her glass of wine to the porch. Like so many nights that happened before it.
And then…nothing. She woke up the following morning with what she initially thought was a hangover, muscle soreness – especially in her neck, and the sensation that she’d had sex.
She was clean and found no outward marks to confirm the feeling she had…but she was a grown ass woman over the age of forty and she damn well knew what her body felt like after sex.
There was no sign of an intruder.
Nothing on her outdoor cameras.
No footprints in the loose soil around her deck.
One moment she was on the porch. The next, she was nowhere within her camera view. Her chair sat empty for hours…and then she woke up in her own bed…clean and confused.
Ever since, she’d feared the darkness beyond her back door. She hadn’t sat out in the open and refused invitations if she couldn’t be home before the sun fully went down.
“Sierra!” she called her little dog. It was their routine – a new one – where her terrier did all her business and settled in for the night with her fraidy cat owner. “Come, girl!” Her dog didn’t come and there was no sound from beyond the porch. “Sierra…” she asked fearfully. “Baby, come to mama.”
The twilight slowly darkened and Jamie’s heart began to race as she inspected her yard – front and back – with a high-powered flashlight.
There was no sign of Sierra anywhere. Suddenly, she wanted to sob, to scream, to beg someone to help her with a problem she didn’t understand completely but knew to be true.
Something was out there.
It waited for her.
Whatever it was had her dog.
Cowering behind the glass of her back door as the sun disappeared, Jamie tried to find her reason. The calm and rational voice that had been with her all her life.
It seemed to have abandoned her.
“Please. Please don’t take my dog. I-I don’t have much. I don’t know what you want but I need my dog.”
From the shadows stepped a being dressed all in black. His eyes glowed pale blue. The white of his teeth flashed in the bit of light from her kitchen. He was clearly taller, stronger, and dangerous.
He held Sierra in one hand, petting her with the other. “She’s a good dog. Gentle and obedient. She remembers me.”
“Please don’t hurt her. She’s just an innocent dog.”
“I won’t hurt her, Jamie. I didn’t hurt you.”
“It was you. You were here…”
The being that she was convinced was not human…laughed. “I was here. We were having a lovely time when some assholes showed up. I had enough time to wipe your memories and lead them on a merry chase. I needed to get them far away from you – and kill them all – before I returned. Are you alright?”
“Let her go.” He immediately put the dog down, scratched her behind the ears, and released her. “Sierra…come.” The terrier took two steps, returned to lick the stranger, and then ran inside. Jamie closed the door most of the way. “What do you want?”
“The same thing I wanted when I found you…the same thing I’ll want for the next two thousand years of my life. Come to me, Jamie. Overcome your fear.”
“It could only be you. It has always been you. I just hadn’t found you yet.” Straightening, he walked to the door and held out his hand. “Come, Jamie. You know.”
Pushing the door wider, the scent of basil drifted to her. One moment, she didn’t remember. The next, her memories of that night flooded her mind.
A look of satisfaction crossed his face and then he pulled the door wide, took her in his arms, and reminded her of everything.
The darkness held a new danger for her.
This danger, she liked.
© Sabrina Rue