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Ms. Adler turned right on Wickett Avenue and went through town. She turned right again when she reached Route 41, then made an immediate left onto Annie Potts Road. She pulled over and parked in front of the house numbered seventeen. The mailbox was shaped like an elaborate wooden post office. It had the name Stone labeled on its side with golden stickers. She set her head back and closed her eyes. Invisible fingers reached out from her mind as an ominous glow appeared beneath her lids. The fingers stretched forth, clawing through the air.

They slipped through the walls of the Stone family’s residence. Ms. Adler could see inside the house then. Her astral fingers expanded, distorting, molding into a ghostly duplicate of her physical form as she left her body completely. She was nearly transparent. Steven Stone stirred as she floated past his room. The air in the hall gave way to her evil presence. His sudden movement caught her attention, and she stopped. She probed his mind, easily maneuvering through the thoughts of the ten-year-old. She found exactly what she assumed would be there, confusion, and a sense of danger. Steven sat bolt upright and looked right at her. His eyes were wide with terror.

He’s very sensitive, she thought, grimacing at him.

It was true, more people were sensitive than ever knew it, especially children. She smiled a malicious, hate-filled grin.

“Go back to sleep, Steven,” Ms. Adler mentally commanded. She thrust the words into his brain. “You have seen all you are going to see. I was never really here, you know. This is only a dream.”

Bad dream! Steven thought back, scared to death. Real bad dream!

Steven was about to scream, loudly, when his body suddenly betrayed him. He fell back down on his bed. He was fast asleep a moment later. It would seem like nothing more than a fading nightmare to him in the morning. That was just the way she wanted it.

Ms. Adler passed right through Dr. Stone’s locked door. Her feet were floating several inches above the floor. She settled in at the end of his bed. She hovered just above the brass footboard, eerily rising and falling. The bright light from her eyes illuminated the room, causing him to stir. He looked, sleepily, toward her, shielding his eyes from the glow. His expression became confused.

“What… what is it…?” Dr. Stone managed to croak. His mind was swimming somewhere between being awake and being asleep.

Ms. Adler let her telepathic power flow outward. She latched onto his mind with an impossible grip. Dr. Stone’s features went blank. His eyes rolled back into his head.

“I came to remind you about your son, Sam, doctor,” Ms. Adler crooned. Her voice seemed to echo from everywhere inside him.

“Sam?” he asked, his heart sinking. “Oh, Sam… I love you, boy…”

“Yes, you do, doctor,” Ms. Adler smiled. “That is why you had to send him away.”

“No… I… sent Sammy… send…?”

“It’s a special place, remember?” She pushed him harder, dug into his mind even deeper. “Somewhere he can learn to move past his weak heart, be more like other children. A place he can be strong… a camp, doctor. Sam’s gone to camp.”

“Strong… yes… my Sammy…”

Ms. Adler locked him in the false memory. “You will remember, doctor. Sam is unavailable, but will be back sometime soon. Everyone just needs to be patient.” She smiled as she faded away. “This will all be over before you know it.”

“Sammy? I… love you…love…”

Dr. Stone fell back to sleep.

The black Mercedes roared to life a moment later, and Ms. Adler drove away, the psychotic titter of her laughter carrying on the breeze.

 

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