In my reality in my drea.., p.16
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       In My Reality (In My Dreams Book 2), p.16

           Cameo Renae
 
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“I knew you were lying, bitch.” He jumped up and pulled the needle from Mason’s arm, then hopped over to me. He grabbed my hair and dragged me up to my feet, then pressed the needle to my neck. “Get the drugs, or you die. Make one sound, and I will not only kill you, but everyone else in that house. Do you understand?”

  I nodded, and he forced me out of the house. His friend was on the ground, crawling toward us.

  “Nick?” Antman held me to the side to look at the guy on the ground. “What the—”

  “She stabbed me. The fucking bitch stabbed me,” he cried, his body trembling. “I’m gonna die, Tony.”

  Antman growled and yanked my hair hard. There was a stinging pain as some of my hair ripped out. “You’re not going to die. Hold on.”

  He pressed the needle into my neck, piercing the skin. “One wrong move. One sound. Give me a reason to kill you now.”

  I moved toward the door, hoping Tyler and Emily would stay asleep. As I turned the knob, and could feel my neck burning where he was pressing the needle, and wondered if some of the poison was seeping into me.

  We went upstairs, and I pointed to the bag on the dresser. He lifted it up, and when he saw the syringe, he stuck it in his back pocket. I thought he was going to let me go, but he didn’t. The needle was still pressed in my neck as he pulled me back downstairs.

  “You caused a lot of trouble. I’m not through with you yet,” he growled, his voice low and evil.

  Where the hell were the cops? It should have been more than five minutes by now.

  He dragged me out the door, and as soon as we stepped outside, a large brown dog stood in front of us. His teeth bared, his brown eyes narrowed on Antman.

  “Where did this freaking dog come from?” he cursed, pushing behind me. He pulled the needle from my neck and held it toward the dog.

  I couldn’t tear my eyes off it.

  The dog came around, growling and snapping.

  It was protecting me.

  The dog. Its eyes…

  My heart clenched tightly inside my chest. Oh God.

  “Michael?” I breathed.

  The dog’s face snapped to me, before it whimpered, and darted away.

  Mason came charging from behind, and in a split second grabbed Antman, the two of them tumbling onto the grass.

  “Mason,” I screamed, watching him struggle. He was still weak from the fall down the stairs.

  Sirens blared through the neighborhood as two cop cars pulled up. One officer got out, gun pointed toward Mason and Antman.

  “Put your hands up,” he yelled.

  “Wait,” I hollered. “The ones in black tried to kill us!”

  “Are you the one who called?” he said, glancing at me.

  “Yes.”

  He turned back to the guys and yelled. “I said stop!” Aiming his weapon at the two of them, still rolling in the grass.

  “On your knees. Hands in the air,” he ordered.

  They both did as instructed.

  A second cop exited his vehicle. “Jones, what’s going on?”

  “Call an ambulance, and cuff both of them,” he said, his gun still on them.

  The second cop called for an ambulance, then walked over to me.

  “You all right?” he asked.

  “Yes,” I said. “They tried to break into the house next door, so I called the police.”

  “Come with me,” he said. “You’ll be a lot safer in my car until we get them situated. Then I’d like to ask you some questions.”

  “Okay,” I agreed.

  He wrapped his jacket around me and placed me in the back of his car. When he shut the door and walked away, I noticed a tattoo on his neck. It looked exactly as Emily had described it. Snakes.

  He was with Antman.

  “Mason!” I screamed, banging on the window. I tried to get out of the car, but it was locked from the outside. I watched in horror as Antman reached for something on the ground, beside him.

  The baggie with the syringe. Filled with poison.

  “No. God, help!” I cried. Mason couldn’t see him, and I wasn’t going to sit by and watch him get hurt…or…

  No!

  I wasn’t going to lose anyone else.

  Kicking the door as hard as I could, I screamed at the top of my lungs.

  “Mason!” The door wouldn’t budge. I was stuck.

  “Don’t move!” The first cop demanded, pointing his gun at Antman.

  The crooked cop pointed his gun at the officer. “Lower your weapon, Jones.”

  “What the hell are you doing, Frank?” Jones asked. “Lower your weapon!”

  “Then take your aim off my cousin.”

  While Jones’ attention was on the crooked cop, Antman opened the baggie and shook out the poisoned syringe.

  “What the hell are you talking about?” Jones moved his gun between him and Antman. When Antman moved, Jones bellowed, “Don’t move!”

  Antman neglected his request, and in one movement, he brought the syringe down toward Mason.

  “Mason, watch out!” I screamed, face pressed against the glass in despair.

  Mason caught Antman by his forearms, the needle inches from his face.

  “Help him!” I banged on the window, bruising my knuckles.

  Then, the ghost girl from down the road appeared. Her face was rigid, her eyes pitch black. She bent down, her face inches from Antman. There must have been recognition because her eyes burned bright red with rage. She screamed, her mouth elongated as her long fingers reached out for him, as if she were gripping his neck.

  Antman choked, his eyes rolling back, and only I could see what was happening.

  Sirens blared down the street, speeding toward us. It was at that time, Emily and Tyler ran out of their door, pausing on the porch, their eyes wide.

  There was a gunshot, and then another.

  Emily screamed. Her hands covered her mouth, and her face filled with a horror I thought I’d never witness again. Tyler covered her body and pushed her back inside.

  Antman went limp and fell to the ground, then Jones gasped and fell to his knees. He fired off a few shots at Frank, catching him in the leg, before falling to the ground and grasping his side. Blood seeped through his shirt and stained his hands.

  I’d never felt so helpless. Jones was bleeding out, and I wasn’t sure what injuries Mason was battling. I needed to get out of the car, and fast.

  Antman lay lifeless on the ground, his eyes wide open. The ghost girl pulled back, and a light surrounded her.

  I called to her, “Please! Help me. I need to get out of here.”

  Her entire appearance changed, melted from rage into a beautiful girl. She looked at me and gave me a smile, and somehow I knew her death was linked to Antman. Walking toward the police car, she reached through and popped the lock.

  I hopped out and we stared at one another. “Thank you.”

  She nodded. Her body glowed brightly, and then she dissipated into the cold night air. Another spirit set free.

  In seconds, chaos broke loose. Police surrounded the place, guns were pulled and pointed at everyone on the scene. Orders were given to drop weapons and for hands to be put in the air.

  I didn’t know how they were going to figure this mess out, but thankfully two of the cops came up to Antman’s cousin and put him in cuffs. I’d later find out that they’d arrived just in time to witness him shoot Jones.

  Mason moved from his prone position on the ground, and got to his feet. I wailed and ran over to him, despite the yelling from the cops for me to stop. Crumbling into his arms, I buried my face in his chest and cried.

  “I thought you were going to die.” I sobbed. “I tried to call you to warn you, but your phone was off.”

  “Shhh,” he said, holding me tightly in his arms. “I’m sorry. I’m all right.” His eyes were deeply concerned. “How about you? Did he hurt you?”

  His fingers brushed my neck, then lifted my chin to face him.

  “I’m fine.” I wiped t
he tears from my face as Emily rushed to my side.

  “Holy shit, Lizzy,” she cried, and I hugged her. “What the hell happened?”

  “I promise to tell you everything,” I said, sniffling.

  “Okay.”

  Tyler came and stood next to her.

  “Lizzy?” He shook his head and ran his fingers through his bedraggled hair. “We leave you alone for a few hours and World War III breaks out on our front lawn.”

  “You know me,” I said. “I couldn’t leave without a bang.”

  “Yeah, no kidding. Are you all right?” he asked, laying his hand on my shoulder.

  “I am, thanks to Mason. He came to my rescue, yet again.”

  But he wasn’t the only one. The dog had stepped in when things looked most dire. I knew, in my gut it was Michael, and I almost couldn’t deal with it. After three years, he’d come to my rescue. He was still with me. Watching over me. Protecting me.

  “We owe you big time,” Tyler said, patting Mason on the back.

  “She’s being modest. We saved each other,” he said, smiling at me.

  After the EMT’s looked us over and released us, the police asked us for statements. Another police car pulled up, and a larger man stepped out of the passenger seat. A few of the officers directed him to us.

  “Hey, Chief.” One of the policemen nodded as he passed by. He smiled and waved.

  When he reached me, he held out his hand. “Are you Elizabeth Hayes?”

  “Yes,” I replied, shaking his hand.

  A smile adorned his chubby face. “I spoke to Officer Cross this afternoon. He mentioned you were in some trouble down here and that you’ve been a credible asset to his office. I asked him what he wanted me to do, and he told me to make sure we listened to you. I alerted my dispatch to let me know if anything came up in this area. Tonight, I got the call, so I came myself.”

  He took me to the side, and I told him everything that had happened, except for the ghost girl. At first, he was a little doubtful. I could see it on his face, but the more I explained, giving answers to all of their questions, the pieces of the puzzle came together and he began to believe me. With all the evidence, and the witnesses, he assured me the crooked cops would be taken into custody, and there would be a thorough investigation.

  Mason and I were released.

  Antman was dead, his body taken away in a bag.

  His brother, Nick, and the two officers, Frank and Jones, were packed into ambulances and taken to the hospital.

  “Maybe you should stay with us tonight?” I offered. He looked horrible, and in need of a good night’s sleep. I ran my hand down his arm, fingers entwining with his. “Then tomorrow, we can help clean up when the movers get there.”

  Mason closed his eyes. Breathing deeply, he let it out in a slow, controlled breath. “I can’t.”

  “Is everything okay?” I asked.

  “Yes,” he exhaled. Dropping my hand, he turned away, giving me his profile.

  “Then what’s wrong?”

  “I can’t spend another night with you.” He shook his head looking torn. “I try to distance myself from people, because I don’t want them to get too close to me. I can’t get attached. And we’re getting too close.”

  “What’s so wrong about being attached to someone?” I asked. His words were baffling and weren’t making any sense.

  “I’m sorry, Lizzy. I can’t do this to you. To me.” Without so much as a goodbye, or even eye contact, he walked away.

  I wanted to go after him, but somehow knew he would distance himself even more if I tried. Something was wrong, and he wasn't being straight up with me.

  I made my way to the porch, my body trembling, my heart crushed.

  “Michael,” I whispered to the wind. “Are you there?” My whisper turned into sobs. “I need you.”

  I watched Mason disappear into his house without even a glance back as I stood on the porch in the darkness. I waited for another thirty minutes, watching, hoping, and praying for that big brown dog to come back. But he never came.

  I was alone again.

  It was better this way. To have no attachments. I never asked to meet Mason, or for him to save my life on several occasions, or to invite him to the Grand Canyon and make him share a room with me.

  I couldn’t wait to get back to Alaska. I wanted everything to go back to the way it was. It was simpler there.

  I walked back upstairs at nearly four in the morning and crawled under the blanket. I wanted to close my eyes and make everything disappear. I needed it to.

  “Wake up sleepyhead,” she giggled.

  “What time is it,” I moaned, covering my eyes as they adjusted to the bright room.

  “It’s eleven. I let you sleep in.”

  “Oh, no. I’m sorry we missed breakfast.”

  “Don’t worry about it. We can still do lunch, if you’re up for it. Or, we can just stay in and relax today. I know you’ve been through a lot.”

  “No, lunch is good,” I said, blinking the sleep out of my eyes.

  “Last night was pretty intense, huh?” she asked.

  “I thought it was a dream. I wish it was. But I’m glad it’s over.”

  “Yeah, me too,” she said, taking hold of my hand.

  “Have you heard from Mason?” I asked.

  “No. But he left this morning on his motorcycle after the movers came. Maybe he’s sad because you’re leaving tomorrow?”

  “I doubt it,” I sighed. “But now that I’m up, I’m getting hungry.”

  “Good,” she chimed. “Get up and get ready. I’ll be waiting downstairs.”

  She hopped off the bed and headed for the door.

  “Hey, Em?”

  “Yeah?”

  “I loved the photo book. Especially the last page.”

  She smiled. “I knew you would.”

  I pulled myself out of bed and headed for the bathroom. The mirror revealed a hideous, god-awful beast. My eyes were both puffy and had bags under them, while my hair was a matted mess, and my cheek and forehead were discolored.

  I carefully peeled the little, circle Band-Aid from my neck. The small hole from the needle was proof last night hadn’t been a dream. That, and the massive, residual headache from when he yanked my hair out. I pressed down on the top of my head and it was still tender.

  I would have to stall visiting my mom when I returned home. She’d have a cow if she saw me now. I dug through my suitcase and pulled out my real make-up bag, a long-sleeve blouse, and some capris. I needed help today.

  After attempting to make myself look decent, I met Emily downstairs.

  “Wow!” she exclaimed. “You don’t even look like the same person.”

  “Good or bad?” I asked, giving her an eye.

  “Definitely good. You went from crypt keeper to smoking hot.”

  “It’s the layers of makeup. I guess the mask-like effect actually works.”

  “Today, it works,” she said.

  We went to a nearby burger joint. The food wasn’t great, but the company was, and that’s all that mattered. We had a table in the corner, and for two entire hours, we talked and laughed about life and everything it had thrown at us. It was then I told her about the brown dog, and how it came out of nowhere and saved my life. And how it reacted when I said Michael’s name.

  “Do you actually believe it was Michael?” she asked.

  “I do,” I said, getting emotional. “It’s been three years. Three long years. But when I was in danger, he came to me, Em. What does that mean? Why can’t he visit me like he did?”

  “Lizzy. Have you thought about what it would really be like if he came to you on occasion, you never knowing when or if he’d show up again? Girl, you would lose yourself completely. Your entire world revolved around him, and if he came back and showed himself to you, you would regress,” she whispered. “You’ve come a long way, babe.”

  “I’ll never be able to love anyone like him, Em.”

  “And you
don’t have to,” she said, holding my hand. “You just have to love them the best you know how.”

  I wiped a stray tear from my cheek.

  “I kissed Mason,” I confessed in a whisper.

  “You what?” she squeaked. “Did you do anything else?”

  “We kind of made out like teenagers,” I said and she gasped, eyes wide. “I feel like there could be something between us, but there’s a block. I don’t know, Em. There is something puzzling about him that I can’t seem to put my finger on. His emotions are like a seesaw. Up and down, up and down, and it’s making me dizzy.”

  “Star-crossed lovers,” she sighed. “Maybe Mason was here so that you had someone who looked like Michael, to distract you from Michael.”

  “You just made my head hurt even more than it was.”

  She dug through her bag and pulled out a bottle. “Practicing nurse. I have a small pharmacy in my bag, and these will help with your headache.” She shook two pills into my hand.

  “Maybe I’m just destined to live out my life in solitude. And you know what? I’m actually okay with that.”

  “You’re okay with it just being you and a bunch of ghosts?”

  I shrugged.

  “Maybe you should join the church and become a nun while you’re at it.” She giggled.

  “Ha! I’ll pray for you and eventually send you to the light. No thanks.”

  Emily laughed and couldn’t stop. “I’ve missed you,” she said, placing her hand over mine.

  “I missed you too.”

  “Now that you’ve traveled once, you’ll have to do it more often.”

  “We’ll see if I survive the flight tomorrow. You do know this will be my first time on a plane.”

  “Oh, I love flying. Just take a sleeping pill, and you’ll fall straight asleep and wake up in Alaska.”

  “That sounds like something I can handle,” I said. “What time is my flight tomorrow night?”

  “You leave at six and have to be there by four. The airport is only five minutes away, but you’ll hop on a connecting flight in Seattle. Take the sleeping pill when you land there.”

  “Do you have anything planned for this afternoon?”

  “We had a dinner cruise scheduled for tonight, but I can cancel if you aren’t feeling up to it.”

  “No, I’m good. I’ve never been on a cruise.”

 
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