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She checked the locks on the doors twice, checked every window, drew the curtains and set the security alarm before she got undressed.

Before she went to sleep, she checked one last thing. The solid, cold shape underneath her pillow reassured her, and she closed her eyes.

She hadn’t always been so careful. Even as she lay there, trying to drift off, her mind went back to that dark night. They said she had been lucky. She didn’t feel lucky. She slipped her hand back under the pillow, took a deep breath and tried to forget what he had said at the trial.

It was over now, after all. He wasn’t coming back. An injection of pentobarbital had seen to that. She took another deep breath.

A draft whispered through the room and she pulled the cover up to her neck. Then froze. There couldn’t be a draft. The windows were all shut and locked.

Her hand was still under the pillow. She opened her eyes.

He was there. Just like the last time. Standing beside her bed, a hood over his head, a sharp knife in his hand.

“Hello darlin’,” he whispered with a grin.

She pulled the gun out from underneath the pillow, pointed it at him and pulled the trigger, again and again, until it clicked.

The bullets passed through him as if she was shooting smoke. She stared in horror and tried to crawl away.


The ghost beside her bed grinned wider. “I told you I’d come back for you.”

© Kari Fay