That done, she began shoving her things into her bags and suitcases, not caring if she left anything behind. She’d buy more when she got to where she was going.
The bellhop was up a moment later and helped her take her cases down to the waiting taxi. She paid the guy an extra $100 dollars to get her to the airport as fast as possible.
She did not completely relax until the plane landed at the airport in New Hampshire and she had her hands on the keys to her car.
She had no plans to return to her apartment where he could find her easily. She was going into hiding. Knowing her cell phone could be tracked, she turned it off and threw it in the lake as she drove passed. She was going completely incommunicado until her two week vacation was over.
She was not going to allow that man to get his hands on her, not if she could help it. She would spend the time, building up her power reserves and practicing her skills. If he did happen to find her, he was not going to find an easy woman to take. She would fight him with everything she had.
—-location change, not a thread change—-
It was several hours before Carmen finally reached the cabin. She had stopped off first at the storage facility she was renting and switched her SUV for the off-road Jeep that she owned. She had taken every precaution that mattered over the years to hide her identity from any and all vampires who desired her blood so she had put several cars and houses in anonymous names for just such an emergency.
After getting some groceries and supplies (paying cash each time, no sense leaving a paper trail), she got to the cabin near late afternoon.
Parking the Jeep in the windowless garage, she covered it with the tarp to hide it, then padlocked the door closed.
She got the spare key from a hidden stone in the foundation and let herself in. Once she was inside, did she truly feel safe for the first time since her run from Hawaii.
She set the groceries on the table and took a deep, cleansing breath.
“Safe.” she whispered into the quiet. She put away her things before heading out to get wood for the fireplace. Once she had a fire going, warming up the cabin, she went out to make sure the generator had fuel to last for some time.
She went around the house, checking all the doors and windows, making sure the extra locks and alarms she had installed were in working order. No sense tempting Fate when there wasn’t a need to. Shane was resourceful, as well as dangerous, and that wasn’t a risk she was willing to take.
She stopped to eat a quick lunch before she checked the basement. It was here she kept extra supplies just in case. She checked over the food items, making sure none had spoiled, checking the fuel tanks to make sure there were no leaks and the guns she had to make sure they were in perfect condition. Everything was as she left it and there was minimal food loss to her stores.
She breathed a sigh of relief.
This would do…for now…
The black Jeep rolled into town and parked in front of the convenience store. There had been a bad storm the night before, knocking out power to the town and her cabin for almost 6 hours and some of the food she had in the kitchen refrigerator had spoiled. She had spent the morning cleaning out and disinfecting the appliance before heading into town to replenish her supplies.
The door slid open with a whoosh and she walked inside, grabbing a shopping cart. The counter clerk, a nice elderly fellow, looked up at her and smiled.
“Afternoon, Ms Freemont.” he greeted. Ever since she’d come here weeks before, she had been going by the name “Abby Freemont”, a journalist from New York City.
“Afternoon, George. How’s that pretty wife of yours?” she asked.
“Doing well as can be.” he stated.
“Oh?” she wondered as she grabbed a box of cereal and put it in her cart.
“Just getting over a late season cold. It was touch and go there for a fair bit, but she’s on the mend.”
“That’s good to hear. Tell her I was thinking about her.”
“I certainly will.” George smiled, letting “Abby” get back to her shopping. She grabbed the things she needed in due course and turned to go back to the front to check out.
Paid and bagged, she wheeled her things to the Jeep and packed them in securely before hopping in and heading back to the cabin.
She was completely oblivious to the fact that there was someone new in town…and that he or she had been watching her…
A cell phone was pulled out, and a number dialed. When the call was picked up, only three words were spoken.
“I found her…”
He had found her. Johnathon knew the woods and the small town like the back of his hand, and his mission was far from just spotting the runaway fugitive. Driving a few cars behind her in a similar Jeep, Johnathon then detoured from her path and went down to park near the lake, that was visible from Carmen’s kitchen window. When Johnathon pulled up, he took out his binoculars and made notes on what he saw, her lisence plate number and the cottage itself. Taking up his camera with telescopic lens, he took a series of photographs, then taking out the USB, he plugged it into a laptop, and emailed off the pictures to his boss, David.
Easing back in his leather seat, he thought about this woman for a moment, with the array of photographs of her, flooding his lap top screen. She may have evaded the law and those hunting her, but now…they had a lock on. He closed the lap top and put away his camera, instead reaching for his fishing hat, and then plonking it on his head. He had a license to hunt and fish in these parts, so that was as good as proof he was there innocently, and not tracking Carmen.
Getting out of the jeep, he moved around the back to get his fishing gear and rod, then strolled down to the bank.
Carmen sat before the fireplace, curled up under a blanket on the couch and reading a book. She had been reading the same sentence for the past hour, unable to concentrate.
Ever since she’d come back from town, she had this feeling like she was being watched. Which was clearly impossible since no one knew who she really was.
She had looked out the kitchen window at one point during the day and saw a guy out on the lake fishing and making a camp. Not unusual for this time of year so she thought nothing of it.
Slamming the book closed, unable to concentrate, she got up and started pacing back and forth.
She had ignored her instincts once before, and an innocent woman was killed.
Something was telling her, she may have been compromised, but it was too late in the day to try and leave. There were too many hiding places in the woods and she wanted to be prepared to fight.
She turned out the lights in the cabin and cut the fire down so it burned low. She was as prepared as she was ever going to be, having spent the last few weeks fine-tuning her powers and abilities.
She’d put up one hell of a fight if anyone attacked her now.
In the darkness of the night, the cabin started to creak and moan, as the timbers of the walls expanded and contracted from the changing temperatures, caused by the dulling of the fire, and the bitter cold outside. Down by the lake, there was a fire burning bright, a camp fire, and seated on a log was Johnathon, smoking a pipe, and enjoying the sounds of the night.
Up at the cabin, the generator, that had been powering much of Carmen’s appliances suddenly made a loud bang sound, and wound down, as the entire cabin was completely in darkness. Her radio, everything that required power shut down. A large owl landed on the balcony railing, and let out a loud HOOT sound, while opening up its wings, and from the shadow it cast, it may wake a sleeping Carmen.
A dull scratching sound was heard in the ceiling, then the padded footfalls of a possum, running along the beam in the attic. All these noises would be amplified in the middle of the night, while the full moon glowed through the frosted windows of her bedroom.
It was the bang that woke her. She sat up, startled, heart racing. There was nothing but absolute silence.
“Shit.” she grumbled, realizing the generator must have gone down. She tossed off her blankets and pulled on her jeans, tshirt and boots before bundling up in her coat.
Grabbing the flashlight from beside the door, she had to struggle with the door as the winds were blowing hard up in the mountains. Somewhere an owl hooted as she went around the side of the house to check the generator. A tree branch had broken from a tree and smashed into the generator, making it inoperable.
“Shit.” she repeated. She’d have to make a trip into town in the morning for a new generator. She headed back into the house, slamming and locking the door against the winds raging outside.
She hung up her coat and went into the living room, restoking the fire so it blazed brightly once more, casting flickering shadows in the room behind her. She could feel the cold seeping into her bones and decided to bunk down in the living room for the rest of the night. She went into the bedroom and found the air mattress she kept in the back of the closet and brought it downstairs. Placing it a safe distance from the fire, she inflated the bed and covered it with the sheets and blankets she’d brought with her.
Crawling beneath the blanket, she stared into the fire, allowing the flickering flames to lull her back to sleep.
A dark shadow moved along the veranadah of the sprawling cabin. The foot falls made the decking creep, and as the shadow approached the doorway to the lounge room, the being could be seen trying to look inside the frosted glass where just by the fire, the sleeping Carmen lay, on a blow up mattress by the fire. Slowly the lock started to turn with a dull click, and the door slid open, causing a heavy breeze to swirl in and this made the fire erupt, crackling and spitting, before the door suddenly SLAMMED shut. The figure moved with the speed of a supernatural, leaving the curtain to fall back in its place. The room went silent, aside from the crackle of the fire.
She looked around groggily for the source of the sound but saw nothing out of the ordinary.
But her senses were on high alert. There was something different. She could feel it. Grabbing the flashlight from beside her, she turned it on and shone it around the room, lighting the shadows in its bright glow. There was nothing. She shone it on the landing of the second floor, and again saw nothing.
“Jumping at shadows, Carmen my girl. Ugh. I must be more tired than I thought.” she muttered, curling back under the blankets. She had spoken out loud because she had caught a glimpse…of something…she wasn’t sure what. But she was sure, now more than ever, that someone had been in town that she hadn’t noticed and had reported her whereabouts, and they were now in her home. She pretended to be asleep, prepared for anything.
If she was going to die this night, she was going down fighting with all that she was.
“I can’t save you from him this time.”
The voice traveled, as the shadows lengthened and then the television came on. It was showing the news report and flashing up a picture of Carmen, marked as a fugitive. Shane in his fury, had managed to get the police department to believe his story that Carmen had killed Louisa. Now, she was wanted in fifty two states. The reporter shot to an interview with Shane, where he was standing in his office, with the picture of Louisa on his desk. He was really putting it on, telling the world that Carmen had murdered Louisa and then went into hiding rather than face her accuser.
“We will find her and bring her to justice, or my name is not Shane Williamson.”
The television then flickered and turned off, as the shadows continued to move around, before an aura appeared by Carmen.
“But your not alone.”
A very strong presence graced Carmen’s cheek.