In the dream she was being chased through the city streets by a shadow. She ran and ran, but every corner she rounded it was there. There was no escape. Then suddenly, a bang!
Sophia jerked awake in a pool of sweat. The room was hot and the dream had been intense but the bang, that was real. Without thought she jumped to her feet and ran to the bedroom window.
The police car was on the street, lights flashing and door open. She couldn’t see the officer.
Throwing on a pair of moccasins and wrapping herself in a robe for the cool outside air, she grabbed her phone and ran out front to the car. As she approached it her heart stopped.
The feet were visible sticking out from the rear end of the car. They were officer’s boots and they weren’t moving. A surge of panic over took her as she fell to the ground.
“Sergeant Cortez?!!” She prayed for a response. But none came.
Finally, she gathered the strength to stand, and walked around the police car. There was a pool of red around the officers head, and a single small red hole in the middle of his forehead.
There was an envelope sitting on his chest. One word was written on it. Sophia.
Looking around there was not a soul in sight. Sophia felt tears well up in her eyes.
Only hours ago this officer had been breathing and alive, and now he was lying dead in a pool of his own blood. It was too much.
She found herself on her hands and knees, dry heaving from the nerves. When she had managed to stop she pulled out her phone and dialed 911.
Sobbing, she told the dispatcher, and before long a fleet of officers were on their way. Neighbors had come to see what the commotion was, and soon she was surrounded by people.
It was then that she finally gathered the nerve to reach for the note.
“Leave that for the police,” Her neighbor, a middle aged man, tried to protest but she ignored him. She had to know what it said. Slowly, she opened it and read the message.
They can’t keep you safe.
A chill ran down her spine. “My pills,” the words were difficult to form, “in my medicine cabinet. Clonazepam.” She looked at the middle aged man.
His patchy beard was mostly grey, Jim was his name, and while she didn’t know him well she’d never gotten a bad vibe from him.
“No problem. I’ll be right back.”
Dizziness overtaking her, Sophia sat down on the curb as though in a dream. She asked what time it was, another neighbor, this one a woman, said it was 2:35 AM.
Less than half a day and her world had come crashing down. She wanted to give up, to lay in the street and let it happen. But it wasn’t in her.
When push came to shove she always fought if she had to. This was no different. She tried to turn her fear into anger. Into determination.
She told herself she’d stop whoever had done this to this innocent officer.
When the police arrived the crime scene was quickly cordoned off and Sophia was questioned.
She then went back to her house, with two officers inside, and two more stationed on the street. She’d tried both Scott and Rachel, but neither had answered.
A neighbor offered to come stay with her but she declined. Unable to sleep, she opted to put on a pot of coffee and chat with the officers inside the house.
It made her feel better to be in the same room as them. When going to the restroom she had visions of coming out to their slain bodies, but thankfully, the rest of the night was uneventful.
In fact, the next two days nothing happened. She finally got in contact with Rachel who had come over on the second day.
Scott was due back early the next, he’d tried to get an earlier flight but they’d been booked solid and driving wouldn’t have gotten him home any quicker.
Rachel had been helpful, making sure Sophia felt comfortable resting, making sure she took her meds, and making sure that she didn’t harm herself.
It was a bad habit she had developed when dealing with stress. The therapy, combined with medication, was helping, but the stress of this could push her over the edge.
Rachel was on guard for her mood constantly, while the officers patrolled the neighborhood.
After a week and with Scott returned, the police reduced the presence to one officer again, and life seemed to go back to normal.
There was still a killer out there, but whoever it was had left no trace, and the police couldn’t maintain the guard forever. It still made Sophia angry though.
A cop killer out there threatening her life and only one lousy officer, same as had been killed already.
She’d gone to Sergeant Cortez’ funeral. He left a wife and two children behind. She felt responsible for what had happened to him, despite the other officers insisting it wasn’t her fault.
After a month of nothing she had nearly forgotten and moved on with her life. She and Rachel were supposed to go camping together and she was actually looking forward to it.
Scott insisted she take mace and be extra careful, but Rachel was determined to have a girls weekend.
So before long, as the weather had started to warm with the spring, the two girls headed towards a camp ground on Mt Hood.
Sophia felt safe knowing that other campers would be around, but Rachel drove past the exit for the campground.
Noticing Sophia’s alarm, she answered the unspoken question, her blue eyes never leaving the road. “I just want to check out this one spot.”
“Where is it?” Rachel flicked her blonde hair out of her eyes while responding, “about 10 miles up the road, a secret spot I know about.”
“Is it safe?” Sophia became alarmed, “Will there be other people around?”
Rachel was quick to respond. “Nobody will know where you are, don’t worry.”
Sophia didn’t feel terribly reassured, the road they were on was desolate, but someone may have seen them turn on to it. Why the change of plans. “Lets just go like we planned....”
She had felt something was off, but was caught completely unaware when Rachel slammed her foot on the brake.
Not having been braced, Sophia’s slammed forward in her belt and was stunned for a moment before Rachel’s hands were around her throat.
“YOU STUPID ANXIOUS BITCH YOU DONT DESERVE HIM!!!”
Sophia grabbed Rachel’s arms and forced them off of her neck, but she didn’t see the knife that Rachel had had tucked in the door.
It came at her, gouging her in the abdomen, red blood stained her white shirt where the wound was.
Her fight or flight kicking in, her anxiety abandoned her as she instinctively tried to grab the weapon away from Rachel.
After a struggle in which she took several cuts to the hands, she had the weapon and stabbed Rachel once in the abdomen before pulling her belt loose and jumping out of the car.
The wound in her belly howled at her in anger and blood oozed out with each movement and she hobbled away. One hand clutching her side, the other searched desperately for her cell phone.
At last she got a hand on it right as Rachel got a hand on her hair. Jerking it violently Sophia was knocked to the ground as Rachel’s adrenaline enabled her to drag the poor girl behind her.
After a short struggling drag Sophia noticed they were nearing a cliff.
With a last explosion of strength she lunged forward suddenly knocking Rachel’s knees out from her and rolling her closer to the edge.
The drop was at least 60 feet and now the two girls were grappling at one another, Rachel trying to get Sophia over the side.
Then, as fast as it all began, it happened. Rachel's ankle rolled sideways on a rock and she instinctively let go of Sophia to try and regain her balance.
Unfortunately for her, her foot sought purchase off the edge of the cliff, and she tumbled off, a small avalanche of pebbles flowing behind her.
The drop was long, but not so long that Sophia didn’t hear the sickening thud of her landing. She didn’t have to look over to know that Rachel was dead.
Stumbling back toward the road, still clutching her wound, she felt dizzy while searching for her phone. After a thirty second search that felt eternal, she had it and had dialed 911 again.
This time she was taken to the hospital, where Scott was waiting. After surgery, dopey from the medication, but still alert, she told him what Rachel had said about her not deserving him.
Scott acted surprised and said she was clearly crazy, and for the moment that was that.
Three days later Sophia received a call from the chief of police. She had told them about Rachel's odd comment, and the chief thought she should know that Rachel had been pregnant.