Carol Branton was just sitting down to breakfast herself when she heard the commotion

out front. At first she thought that another animal had bit it out in the street when she

heard the squeeling tires. There was road kill out on the street every other day, deer and

other wild animals mostly but every once in awhile someone's pet would bite it. She

buttered her bread and prepared to eat without giving it another thought when the

screaming started. It was a scream that she recognized because she had screamed that way

once. It was the kind of scream you unleashed when something damaged you all the way

to your soul. Carol dropped her knife and it hit the table with a dull thud as she

shuddered. The scream sounded like Mary. It had to be Mary she corrected herself, she

was the only other person that lived out here, her and Alexander. The thought of

Alexander made her jump to her feet. There was only one thing that would make Mary

scream like that. Something had happened to Alexander and now she remembered the

squealing tires she had just heard.

"Oh God no." She said to herself as she got up from the table and ran out the front door.

The first thing she saw when she hit her front yard was Alexander in the street. There was

so much blood that you couldn't even tell that it was Alexander anymore but she knew it

was him. His basketball was lying in the street a couple of feet from his body. She felt her

stomach lurch and had to fight to stay on her feet as her eyes welled up with tears. Carol

didn't think that she could take this, it was too soon for her, too soon after her own son.

She watched in a daze as Mary stopped shaking the unconcious man in the street and ran

back into her house. She reappeared a moment later weilding the biggest butcher's knife

that Carol had ever seen. It was like she had stepped right into the middle of a horror

movie. Mary was running back towards the still unconcious man now. She was covered

in blood herself and had a look of pure madness on her face that reached all the way to

her eyes. She was going to stab that man to death, right here in the middle of the street.

That realization finally made Carol snap out of her daze and got her moving. She ran

across her yard and out into the street, she didn't know if she was going to make it in time

but she had to try. Half way there she had a truly terrifying thought. Would Mary try to

stab her too?

Mary hit the street at a sprint, lost deep inside her own thoughts. They were all thoughts

of murder. She only had one mental image that she could see. The bloody body of her boy

lying in the street. The next thing she knew she was on her knees next to the unconcious

trucker. She raised the knife towards the sky with both hands and thought of her boy. She

could hear voices whispering to her now, building in pitch as they repeated on word over

and over again.

"Kill...Kill...Kill...Kill!" They said.

Mary screamed at the top of her lungs and prepared to bring the knife down. At that

moment Carol hit her at full speed and tackled her to the ground. Mary grunted as her

breath was knocked out of her. She lost her grip on the knife and it went skittering across

the street and disappeared into the grass on the other side.

"Nooooooooo." Mary wailed.

The two women rolled around in the street while each one tried to gain control over the

other one. Mary rolled over and was able to climb on top of Carol. Once she had her semi

pinned she started clawing at her face.

"Mary stop it." Carol demanded.

She looked up into Mary's wide eyes and saw nothing there, she had completely snapped

and retreated back into her mind. She tried to fight off Mary's attack without hurting her

but it wasn't going very well. she hissed as Mary caused another scratch on her face, no

Carol was angry. She had a good ten pounds on Mary and now she was going to use it.

She reached up with her free hand and pulled Mary off of her by her hair. Mary continued

clawing at the air, trying to get any piece of Carol that she could as Carol climbed on top

of her. She grabbed Mary by the shoulders and shook her violently.

"Snap out of it Mary." She said.

Mary didn't listen she continued to try and claw at Carol with a permanent snarl etched

into the features of her face. She looked like a wild animal. Drastic times called for

drastic measures. Carol reached back with her open hand and smacked Mary in the face.

"Snap out of it." Carol repeated.

She got the same response so she slapped her again. This time she smacked her so hard

that it made her hand sting. Mary stopped clawing and her eyes grew wider than they had

been before, although Carol didn't know how that was possible but she was seeing it. She

saw something else in Mary's eyes then too, fear. She was back.

"My boy." Mary whimpered.

"I know." Carol replied.

Carol rolled off of her and laid beside her in the street while looking up at the sky and

trying to catch her breath. She listened to Mary sob beside her and thought of her own

son. Over to the west, the gate stood in the field, a silent witness to the madness that had

just erupted. Anyone who would have saw it at that moment would have swore that the

dark stones that made up the archway were now darker.

"Are you alright Ms. Branton?" Carol heard a voice say from what sounded like miles

away. She had no idea who the man was or who he was talking to but she was sure that it

wasn't her. Then he shook her and she came out of it slowly. Her mind had went back to

that day in Miami, the day her son had died. Now she realized that she was looking up

into the face of Clay Parker, sheriff of Morte, and everything that had happened this

morning came flooding back to her.

"Where is Mary?" She asked, sitting up.

Clay put his hands on her shoulders to keep her where she was as she looked around and

tried to get to her feet. She took the scene in. There was an Ambulance parked on the

opposite side of the road from where the trucker's truck still sat with Clay's car parked in

front of it. The trucker was awake now and sitting, cuffed in the backseat. How long had

she been out of it?

"Now just hold on a second." Clay said.

Carol stopped.

"I come out here. Alexander is dead in the street. I have an unconcious guy lying next to a

truck. You and Mary are both covered in blood. She is totally gone and you, you are lying

in the street totally unresponsive even though your eyes are wide open. I need to make

sure you are alright and what the hell happened here?" Clay asked.

"I'm fine." Carol said.

"I'll be the judge of that." Clay continued on.

"What is your name?" He asked.

"Carol." She replied with an evident I don't believe you are being this stupid tone in her


"How old are you?"

"Twenty seven. Are we done?" She asked.

"What is my name?" He asked her.

"Jesus Christ!" Carol replied exasperated.

"No." Clay replied with a perplexed look on his face.

"It was a term of exasperation Clayton." Carol said, using his whole name.

"Okay. I guess you are fine." He said as he helped her to her feet.

"What the hell happened here?" He asked. "What happened to your face?" He added.

Carol reached up and touched her face. She winced as her fingers ran across several of the

nasty scratches that Mary had caused as she headed towards her house. She would have

to treat them but that would come after she got something to drink. She couldn't believe

how dry her mouth and throat was. She didn't think her throat had ever been this dry in

her entire life.

"Come with me and I'll tell you all about it." She said as she opened her front door and

went into the house.