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“Oh, honey, I’m so glad you’re okay,” Cat’s mother said after the police officers left the hospital room.

Mary was a plump woman, who not only baked for her business, but baked for nearly every other reason as well, including “get well” cupcakes for her daughter, which now sat half-eaten on the food tray at the end of Cat’s bed. Leo had cleared his schedule for the day, passing off a Cesarean to another doctor and coming up to check on his daughter, which meant pretending to read a newspaper in a nearby chair to hide the concern that riddled his face. Cat’s sister, Eloise, had rushed over from the school she taught at as soon as she could and was now hovering over the bed with their mother.

“Seriously, Cat, we were all so worried.” Eloise sat down next to Cat’s legs. “Are you sure you’re okay?”

Cat nodded. “Yeah, I’m fine. Lightheaded, but the doctor said that was expected since I’ve barely eaten or had anything to drink.”

Mary’s eyes watered as she took a cupcake off the heaping plate. “I feel awful. I tried calling you, but I thought you were just busy. Do you want a cupcake?”

“No, Mom, I feel like I’ll just throw it up if I try to eat,” Cat said, shaking her head. Mary took the opportunity to eat the cupcake herself. “And it’s not your fault. I probably would have been busy if this,” she gestured vaguely, “hadn’t happened.”

Leo put his paper down and stood up from the chair to grab Cat’s chart. “It looks like your doctor is giving you fluids for dehydration.”

Cat nodded. “Yeah, he is.”

“Good, good. It’s- it’s important to be hydrated.”

She smiled and took her father’s hand. “Dad, I’m okay. I’m actually more worried about the girl who was with me and- and the dog we took from the house. How’s the dog?” “I- I think Animal Control took her, didn’t they?” Mary looked over at her husband, who gave a quick nod. “The dog will be fine.”

“Okay.” Cat looked over at the doorway and saw Jenna standing there with a smile, holding her IV pole. When Cat nodded, Jenna walked over to the bed and stood over by her head before she asked, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m doing okay. How about you?”

“Just have a banana bag on my IV, whatever that is.” Jenna chuckled. “So this is your family, huh?”

Cat nodded again. “Yeah, this is them.”

“Who are you talking to?” Cat glanced over at her sister, rolled her eyes, and motioned to Jenna. “Her.”

Eloise brought her brows together and glanced over at her mother, who looked equally worried. Still, nobody said anything.

Her father walked over to her other side and put a hand on her shoulder as he spoke. “Sweetheart, there’s nobody there.”

“What do you mean?” Cat asked, glancing back over at Jenna, who shrugged. “She’s right here. Jenna’s right here.”

He used his other hand to guide her gaze back to him and shook his head. “Cat, there’s nobody there.”

Cat’s face paled, her hearing became muffled, and she could feel her body growing weaker, but that last thing she heard before everything went black was Eloise saying, “We need to get the doctor back in here. Now.”

That and she thought she could hear the refrigerator humming again.

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