She was so full of fear and rage she didn't even notice the few people on the street that stop to watch her bolt past. She knew that he was behind her. He would catch her if she faltered just one step. She had to reach the pub before anyone else
did. She could see the marquee just at the end of the block. It seemed so desparetly far away. Her eyes were stinging now from the rain that had picked up. She knew he was behind her even if she couldn't hear him. She never actually heard him, she just knew he was there. He had been waiting in the shadows for the right time and tonight had become that time.
Lanie always thought that she would be ready when this time came but now silently in her frantic mind mind she was wondering if she had been kidding herself this whole time.
Now just a few yards away to her safe haven she could feel him gaining on her. She slipped as she turned the sharp corner to grab the door. He was at her heels but she was able to slip just out of his grasp and slam the door on him.
The pub wasn't very full, but then again it never was. It was always the same handful of people. And they all came here for the same reason. They were all connected in a way that most people wouldn't believe or accept. But to these people it was real. There was a real threat out there and these few chosen people were only really safe within these walls. All of the familiar faces turned to face Lanie. She was soaked and out of breathe but more than anything she was relieved.
Jude came out from behind the bar with a towel and a extra work shirt from under the counter.
"Go change in my office and we will talk." he said in his low cool voice.
It took all Lanie had left to take the change of clothes and walk into the back to change. Lanie's dearest friend macy was coming out of the bathroom as she was walking into the office.
"Oh my God! Lanie! What happened? No? He didn't? Not tonight?" Macy stammered as she followed her into the office."I can't believe he tried tonight. He must have really done some digging to know what tonight was."
"Macy, please don't start. We all knew it was going to happen. I just thought I'd be a bit more prepared. I just need to regroup, walk out there and figure some things out. SO please don't stand there and gawk hand me that damn shirt." Lanie continued to pat down her bare skin and then slip into the over sized black and green pub t shirt. Really all she wanted to do was sit down on Jude's sofa in his office and cry, but she knew she couldn't. She often wondered what she had done to deserve this fate. She never thought herself to be that strong but whoever was pulling the puppet strings on life had thought otherwise.
She pulled her auburn wet hair up into a ponytail gathered herself and marched out into the pub. All eyes were on her as she seated herself at the bar. "I'm not saying a word until you pour me a drink, Jude, so just do it."
"Geez, Lanie I thought you were laying low lately... Especially today." Jude's voice was low but oozed with concern. He cared for her more than he should but he couldn't admit that to another living being.
"Jude, I am down right sick of 'laying low' anymore. I so pissed off that I just don't care anymore. Now if you wanna know what happened pour me another and don't stop pourin' until I am done talking!" Lanie slammed he glass in one gulp. She had never been known for being lady like.
Macy had taken the stool next to Lanie to offer her support. But Macy had the tendency of not being very proper and she never thought before she spoke.
"For Heaven's Sake Lanie don't you have a damn cell left in that brain of yours? This is ridiculous! If I didn't know better I'd think you wanted to him to get you. Like you wanted to die!"
"Shut the HELL up Macy. I don't want him to catch me I don't wanna die, and I don't care what the HELL you think he isn't dead either! And I swear no matter what I have to do I WILL save him! No are you gonna keep running your mouth or do you wanna her what happened?" Lanie was in no mood for Macy and her backwoods manners!
"I'm sorry, hon. I just worry about you. Go on." She whispered.
"It's okay Mace I didn't mean to snap I'm just upset. I know you worry! That's one of the reasons I love you so much! Now as for what happened."
The evening had started off like another Lanie had just walked into her tiny one bedroom apartment uptown. It was a rainy cool spring evening the stars poked through the clouds to make sure the rain drops sparkled as wet diamonds on the street. She put her kettle on the stove to make some tea to warm her up. As the water heated up she stripped out of her wet clothes and grabbed he favorite pair of sweats. After all she wasn't going anywhere she had a new book that she couldn't wait to start reading, she had tea on the stove and for the first time in months HE wasn't haunting her thoughts. Lanie sat down and pulled on some dry socks walked into the kitchen just as the kettle started to whistle. The weather outside and gone from mild steady rain to a light thunder storm. She poured herself a large mug of tea grabbed her new book and a throw blanket and headed to the couch.
The lightning flashed outside lighting up her tiny balcony she shivered off the feeling she was being watched and dove into her new book. Soon she was so deep in her reading she didn't hear the storm at all. For hours she was lost in her favorite place the pages of a good book. She was starting to get sleepy so she layed her head back to rest her eyes for a brief second. Just as she dozed off she heard the loud smash of glass shattering everywhere. She bolted up off of her couch ready to pounce. She saw her back sliding balcony door had been busted out. There laying on her floor was a heavy package wrapped in a black trash bag.
She walked over picked up the package and looked out into the courtyard from her balcony and there HE stood perfectly still peering into her apartment. Peering at here, no peering through her. Her heart sunk. She ripped back the trash bag of rocks to find a small velvet box. She opened the box and inside was a small golden locket with their wedding photo and her wedding ring. Her heart sank. Tears began falling faster than the rain. There was a small note taped to the bottom. She slowly unfolded it as she gasped for air. She stared at the note in the hand writing she used to love. Just two words scribbled for her, "You're Next"