The room was plunged into darkness. She bolted for the doorway, only to run directly into the doorjamb. Grabbing her injured arm, she struggled into the bedroom, screaming hysterically as if the woman in the mirror had wrapped her cold arms around her. As she stumbled through the darkened room, she scattered items from the dresser. They clattered to the hardwood floor and became obstacles in her path, causing her to stagger through the room.
Tara’s Theme began to play as the walnut jewelry box toppled to the floor, its contents strewn. The china vase shattered, each jagged piece finding her bare feet, slicing into them. As she stumbled in the darkness trying to find the door, the thorns from the silk roses stabbed her with the same ferocity as real thorns.
She fell to her knees, cutting one on a piece of glass, before coming back to her feet and faltering toward the door.
In the lengthening shadows the doorway had become a cavernous opening, and she squinted in a futile effort to see it more clearly.
She had come within a few feet of the door when the lights flickered back on and she was left standing face to face with Dylan.
His hair was tousled and his face was pale, his eyes wide and unblinking. His mouth was slightly open as if he was trying to form words but they wouldn’t come. He was shirtless and barefoot. And he was holding a gun.
When the lights came back on and the house came alive with the buzz of electricity, she continued to scream as if she had no control over her own voice.
Dylan stood near the door, staring at her. Finally, during a lull in her screaming, he said, “What the bloody hell is goin’ on in here?”
She pointed to his side. “You—you have a gun!”
“What did you expect me to have? A plate o' cookies?” Then without waiting for an answer, he continued, “Christ, Woman! You woke me up from a sound sleep screamin’ like a banshee. And I still don’t know what you’re havin’ on about!”
Vicki placed her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath. In the lit room, it seemed hard to believe that a gory scene existed just behind her in the bathroom. With Dylan’s eyes still upon her, she managed to point behind her. “Go look in the bathroom.”
“Just—go look. I can’t describe it.”
He remained still for a moment before motioning toward the bed. “Get over there and sit down.” His voice was authoritative and no-nonsense. She started toward the bed when he added, “Watch your step. You’re bleedin’.”
“I know,” she managed to say as she reached the bed and sat down. It felt like every muscle in her body was quivering. Dylan slowly made his way across the room, stepping around the shards of glass that littered the floor. When he reached the bathroom, he pushed the door all the way open so it thudded against the back of the wall before he peered inside. A moment later, he stepped into the room, his gun ready.