Ten minutes later I was back on the path. Paranoia was still consuming me, and I would have ran the whole way back to Sam's if it wasn't for my back.

I was riding on the hope that my aunt hand't locked her doors. Normally, I would have climbed in the window, but in this case, it wasn't going to happen.

My heart leapt when Sam's house was finally in my view. Her cream colored siding, navy blue shutters, rotting porch, and un-kept lawn had never been more welcomed in my eyes.

I quickened my pace and cautiously made my way up the stairs to her backporch. Much to my relief, the door was unlocked. The same familiar smell of oil paintings greeted me again.

What I wasn't expecting was my Aunt Sam sitting at her kitchen table.

"Bonnie!" she cried and I almost jumped out of my skin.

She skidded her chair against the bland linoleum floor, and rushed up to me.

"Your mother called," she began and I was aware of the was she was studying me. "What happened?" She asked finally.

I took in a ragged breath and began to tell her all of the day's events. I was almost in tears when I finished, my terror had come back and Sam saw it.

"She can't do anything Bonnie." She said, attempting to sooth me.

I shook my head, "She thinks I know something Sam; I don't know anything! What is going to happen to me when she finally catches me and doesn't believe me?"

"You're overreacting Bonnie - " Sam started.

"I'm not Sam! She cahsed after me - she's serious about it." I insisted.

"But that doesn't sound anything like your mother," She said thoughtfully.

"You said it yourself Sam. You said that my dad's death was no accident!" I cried.

"Bonnie," she said putting her hands on my shoulders. "You're over reacting. Your father's death has taken a toll on us all. Your mother is just distraught."

I stared at her, "But you said - "

"Don't worry about it Bonnie." She responded.

I didn't understand her change in attitude. Just yesterday she had seemed to believe that my father's death was no accident. Now she was blatantly ignoring it.

A single chime rang through the house and Sam's eyes grew large.

"One fifteen? I'm late, oh Lord." She rambled as she grabbed her matching black purse.

"Let's go Bonnie," she instructed and I jumped back before she could grab my arm.

"I can't go Sam," I told her.

She shook her head, "Nonsense, your mother won't do anything."

I was becoming frantic, I hadn't risked hiding from my mother only to be dragged to the exact place she was!

"It's your father, Bonnie," Sam pleaded with me. "Fine," she gave in, "But I've got to go. Please try to calm down Bonnie. We'll talk when I get back."

"Don't tell her I'm here," I said quickly.

Sam looked at me with an impatient look but only sighed.

"I'll go home tonight, just don't tell her Sam." I begged and she held her hands up.

"I've got to go," she repeated, " And get washed up." She said and this time grabbed her keys and hurried out of the room.

I stood fixedly where I was until I heard her car start, then drive out of her noisy gravel driveway, and let out a sigh of relief knowing I would be safe for a few hours.

With that I crossed over to her bedroom hallway and made my way into her bathroom. I took a moment and studied my appearance. My frizzy hair was even more disgruntled, leaves were caught in it and I tried to get a few of them out.

My cheeks were flushed frommy run in the woods and Jake's shirt was still tied around me.

Gingerly, I loosened it and slowly removed it from my would. I turned on the water fosset and placed the blood-stained shirt in the sink.

As the warm water ran over it, I went through her small closet and retrieved some disenfectant and clean rags. I took Jake's now wet shirt and hung it over the side of her bathtub.

I went back to the sink and soaked my rags in the water. I rolled my shirt up above my would and twisted it until it would stay. I took a rag and rang most of the water out it. With some difficulty, I managed to wipe away a little of the dirt and blood.

With a clean rag, I further cleaned around the large scrapes. It wasn't until I tried cleaning the actual wound that I had trouble. The most severely injured part was the small of my back, right about the region that was difficult to reach.

When I examined my progress in the mirror, I saw the shards of my back porch wall embedded under my skin and cringed in dread. Sam was going to have to remove those before they pushed futher into my back.

I drenched another rag in the disenfectant and softly cleansed my back, flinching every so often from the pain. I took anotherten minutes until I had removed all the dry blood, sweat, and dirt from the wounds. I walked back into Sam's bedroom and laid down on my stomach to let my back dry. This left me to go over what I was going to do when Sam got back and I was forced to go home.

I still was trying to decipher her behavior. Why was she disreguarding all the warning she had given me the day before? And my mother was still haunting my thoughts. I was now convinced that she thought I knew something, that I knew who killed my father - which was crazy, I didn't know anything.

By now I did believe, thought, that my father's death was indeed no accident. With Sam's speculations yesterday, and my mother's actions today, something had to be wrong. Did one of them actually know who did it? Maybe Sam had said something to my mother, something that would of hinted that I knew who it was?

But who would have wanted to kill my father?

I abandoned my tiring thoughts as I felt the days events already taking their toll and I was soon asleep.

I sharply awoke about an hour later when something brushed up against me. My tensions must have carried me into a very light sleep, for it was only Sam's cat, Sugar. Stiftly, I raised myself off the bed and paused to pet the cream-colored feline that was already curled up in my place. She paused a moment to watch me with her emerald green eyes, and then closedthem.

I watched her body raise and lower with her breathing for a moment in uneasy silence. I never enjoyed being alone in any house other than my own, it was something about the way an empty house felt. The way the lonely shadows loomed.

My skin began to crawl as I began to imagine what could be lurking somewhere in Sam's large house.

Ghosts . . . that wsa my first thought and I sighed at my childness. There was no such thing as ghosts, I scolded myself. But even as the thought crossed my mind, I began to hear the creaking of old floorboards. I then remembered something Camille had once written.

She'd wrote it her Junior year. The drama club at out highschool had discovered early on to use her plays, they went over better than the classics in most cases. Th ename of the particular play had been titled "Dark Shadow." The story was situated around the main character - Catherine - an awkward orphan that grew up to be rich beyond her wildest dreams. Her servant attempted poision her, and she is sent into a paranoid depression. In one climatic scene, a nurse asks her what she fears, and Catherine shakily answers:

"Everyone, everyone and their dark shadowns."

That was how I felt now, I could just picture ghosts moving upstairs, and what were ghosts but shadows of some forgotten soul?

Fantasies, only fantasies I told myself. Ghosts weren't real. Again I heard floorboards creak and I found my imagination taking over. If it wasn't ghosts, then what was it? Maybe it was my father's murderer - coming after me?

Three sharp chimes startled me out of my haunting thought and I briefly looked around my surroundings. Sam's large four-posted bed still stodd infront of me. Her cat continued to sleep peacefully, sun from one curtained window warming her fur. The sigh - strangely - comforted me and I felt more at ease.

I sat back down on the bed and absently stroaked Sam's cat. An odd sense of guilt was beginning to settle in the back my mind. I should have been in town right now, reguardless of my mother. It was my father's funeral, besides the fact that I had hardly known him; I was sure Camille would have wanted me there.

I was beginning to feel rather selfish aswell. Camille had been the only one to notice me in my family, and I deserted her after my father had died. I did, though, feel as though we had come to an understandance as she had told me about my fatehr's first wife - Jenny.

And although I couldn't bring myself to look at her at the time, I thought Camille had understood why I had told my mother I wasn't going to my father's funeral. No matter what had happened today, nothing had squashed my curiousity about Camille's mother. Where had she been from, and why was her family so removed from our life now? Surely they would of wanted to at least see Camille?

Suddenly, she bit me - the cat that was. Obviously she had tired of my consistant stroking. I shook my hand slightly and looked down to the cat in annoyance. She simply squinted her eyes in content and went back to sleep.

The dull - yet very distinguishable - thud of Sam's front door being shut reached my ears and I was immeadiatley back in the hall and met her halfway.

She let out a sigh of relief, "Good, you're still here."

"Where would I have gone?" I reminded her.

There was silence while she studied me with an apprasing look. "Seems like you're calmer now."

I nodded, "But my back's not any better." I added and turned so she could see it.

"For Heaven's sake, Bonnie. What did you do?" She cried.

I turned back to her, "Mom cornered me and the wood was rotten - "

"Alright, but please tell me you've gotten over this fear of your mother?"

I suddenly felt rather put out. She addressed me as though I was a child that needed scolding. Had she turned on me too?

"I think we're going to have to get John to take those splinters out." She said, now again addressing my back.

John Morgan was the town's doctor. He knew me well from my numerous injuries from the past. This visit probally wouldn't surprise him any.

"Let's go, Bonnie." Sam instructed and I follwed her slowly, my back felt tight and it somewhat restrained my walking.

"We'll take you back home afterwards." She added over her shoulder.

I almost stopped and protested, but something about her mannor towards me now told me she wouldn't be any help. I involuntarily shuddered as we stepped out her front door and I began wondering what I would do once I was back under my mother's roof.

Three amazingly long hours later I was in my mother's car on my way home. Doctor Morgan was able to remove the shards of wood embedded under my skin easily enough; but not without much pain on my part.

"Have her take one of these sedatives if she needs it, but keep them in a safe place - these are strong," he had warned my mother in the sterile- white waiting room. My mother had looked to me with such malice after he had turned away that I was sure I would receive no comfort at all that night.

Thankfully, she hadn't brought Camille with her, I knew she would want to know what I had done, and I was in no state to fabricate some lie. I was still all to weary of my mother. She said barely a word to me at the clinic, and we rode home in silence aswell. But there was something foreboding about her mannor, and I knew the storm was coming soon.

The clinic was on the outskirts of our small town, where most of the residents lived, so I had to endure ten minutes of uneasy silence. When we finally arrived home, Sean's house had never appeared more inviting. I wanted to escape again to the safety of those walls where I was so readily accepted.

But unfortunately, I had no other choice but to fumble after into my house.

"Living room, now." My mother commanded without looking at me and began up the stairs with a certain arrogance, like she knew well that I wouldn't try to escape again. And unfortunately, she was indeed right. I knew it would be foolish to anger her more, and I had no where to escape to anymore.

Slowly, I made my way into the living room. I stopped at the entrance and looked around it with little recognition. I hardly ever was in this room, I didn't like the way it felt. It was bascially anotehr showcase for my father's work. Deep cherry wood made up the couch, a small table in front of it, two desolate rockers sitting in front of the fireplace, and one Grandfather clock in a corner - all stained and polished to perfection. The floor was hardwood that always felt icy cold to my feet. A few rugs were place around the room, deep gold and laced with maroon edges to match the upholstery of the couch.

But the details didn't matter to me, and it became the last time I would ever set foot in the room anyways. My mother's footsteps were drawing near when I finally walked in and tenderly sat down in one of the rockers.

She entered the room soon after me but a first, didn't seem very intersted. She looked around the room, not bothering to sit down, and finally she spoke.

"I sent Camille down to Mike's to get you a milkshake," she began and I was instantly suspicious of her light mood. "You like those, don't you?" She continued, I only stared at her. "Probally why you're so pudgy. What am I going to do with you Bonnie?"

She supported a mocking grin and something told me she already knew exactly what she was going to do with me. The hairs on my neck stood on end, why did she hold back her rage that I saw bubbling just beneath the surface? I would of givien anything for her to yell at me. This jaunty attitude was disturbing, she was planning something.

"Go back up to your room, I'll send Camille up with your milkshake." She said abruptly and walked back out of the room.

I didn't get out of my chair right away, her brief words deeply troubled me. Why was she being so civil now? I stood up and walked back out of the living room and began to make my way up the stairs.

"Oh, and Bonnie," my mother said coming out of the kitchen. I stopped where I was and looked at her. "As punishment for you little adventure, I don't think you'll be seeing Sean anymore." She smiled and turned her back on me as she went back into the kitchen.

I ran up the steps - ignoring the pain in my back. Tears were already gathering in my eyes as I ran into my room and slammed the door behind me. She couldn't tell em that, she had no authority - no right! Fursterated tears began to fall down my cheeks. The day had been too tyring of my emotions. Too much had happened since Friday. I buried my face in my pillow and let myself cry.

No matter how hard I tried to deny it, I knew there was someway she would be able to separate me from Sean. I couldn't loose him now, I needed an ally. With Sam deserting me - I was going to go insane, I wouldn't be able to endure my mother alone.

Anyone else I could go to would take my attitude about my mother lightly, probally dismissing it as a "teenager thing." But I wasn't! Not now at least, I still firmly believe that she thought I knew why didn't she just ask me if that was the case?

I sat up sharply - she must be protecting someone, she knew who did it. But who . . .?

She did it. The thought ran through my mind. But that was prepostuous! She couldn't have killed me, could she? The more I thought about it the more it began to make sense. Why else would she have come after me? That was why her eyes flared in aner when I had said the word "murderer."

I shot up off my bed and clamber down the stairs.

"Mom!" I screamed and ran into the kitchen.

She looked startled but quickly regained herself. "You're running ratherwell for someone who just got a fence taken out of her back."

I was in no mood for her jokes. "My back feels much better." I began, "You did it, didn't you?"

"Did what?" she asked airly.

How could she be in such a light mood when she was living with the knowledge that she had ended my father's life? I was apalled and said the one thing I knew would get her.

"Murderer," I hissed and the smile vanished from her lips.

"What are you talking about?" She asked but I knew I had caught her.

"You killed him, didn't you?" I exclaimed and she walked to within an inch of my face. Her face was calm, with only a clenched jaw that appeared annoyed.

"Don't you dare accuse me of such a thing you brat, you have no proof."

She raised a hand to try and slap me again, but this time I caught it.

"Why do you care anyways?" she asked wrenching her arm from my grasp.

"He was my father," I answered, "And I loved him."

She smirked, "That's why you didn't show up at his funeral, because you love your daddy so much." She mocked and turned away from mme, going back to her cooking.

"You didn't answer my question!" I cried.

"Go back up to your room you little hermit." She said darkly.

"I'll call the police!" I threated, becoming frustered at the way she was treating me. She set her knife back down and turned back to face me.

"And they're giong to believe you, over me? Nice try, go back upstairs and stop trying to be a hero. Your father was killed by accident."

I stared at her with furious eyes, but knew in the back of my mind she was right. No one would believe me. I ran back to my room feeling foolish. What was I thinking? Even if she had done it, I had no physical proof. What had I expected her to do, crumbled and confess it all?

I slammed my door behind me once more and collapsed onto my bed and winced as my back began to throb. I once again gave into my tears and this time let my mind go blank. I didn't want to think about my father's death, or anything that happened anymore.

There was a soft knock at my door what seemed to be ages later, but I didn't answer it. Four more attempts were made until I finally heard my door open.

"Bonnie?" Camille said softly and I raised my tearstained face to look at her. Hey eyes showed deep pity and she set cup she was holding down on my end table and sat beside me.

"I know it's hard Bonnie," she soothed but I only sat my head back down. She sighed and got up, "I brought your milkshake." She said and then walked back out of my room, closing the door behind her.

I waited until she was safely gone and sat up, taking the milkshake off my table. I should of suspected something after the milkshake tasted odd. With my accusations made clear to my mother, I should have been more alert. But I assumed my crying had distorted the taste and drank almost three-quarters of it before I sat back against my pillow - and slowly the room began to fade away from me.

I remembered waking up just once to the sound of my mother's voice telling a doctor that for sedatives were missing, but my mind was too hazy and I drifted back into unconciousness once more.

When I finally awoke, I found myself in an unfamiliar place. It was a hospital room, and unwelcoming, sterile, hospital room. I didn't remember driving to a hospital, what was wrong with me?

I shut my eyes and tried to clear they thoughts, I couldn't concentrate at all, I felt dizzy, disorentated. It took me a few minutes until I began to remember. My back, I'd hurt my back, was that why I was here? No, Sam had taken me to the doctor for that. And then my mother . . she had taken me home.

My mind was still too foggy and I was beginning to get frusterated. I was missing something, what had the doctor told my mother?

The sedative. . . the milkshake, she had drugged me! Four were missing was what she had said, four! I hazily remembered Dr. Morgan saying only two were almost lethal.

I looked around me for a clock, how long had I been out? I couldn't have been more than a few hours. As I laid there it began to soak in. I could have died . . . She would of killed me, her own daughter.

Sam would have to believe me now.