Chris spent most of the morning on the porch after finding out that Chuck and his family had been murdered, and that she was out of a job. And so, she sat on the porch, listening to the rain fall, reading Revival. She hadn’t bought any furniture for the porch yet, and always made plans to do so, but never got around to doing it. It had started to rain at fifteen minutes past nine, and it was coming down harder and harder. Fawn never came jogging by, and Chris knew that no one would want to go jogging in weather like this. As she read, Chris’ mind would drift, thinking of this monster, and when it would attack that night. I’ll probably be the first to be attacked, because I live so close by, she thought. She knew this was true, but didn’t want to believe it. It was very likely; she only lived little ways away from its watering hole. She would be the first target on its list.
“Hey Chris.” Toby’s voice broke her out of her thoughts. She looked up quickly from her book, and politely waved hello. He was now dressed in grey jeans, a black t-shirt, and a white hoodie, with the hood up. He had a black umbrella. “Aren’t you cold? It’s freezing outside.” Chris looked down at the outfit she was wearing: a tank top with a black lace pattern, black skinny jeans, and a pair of studded black boots, along with a dog tags necklace. She remembered not even feeling cold in London, where mostly everyone else did.
“I bet it’d be hard to believe that I rarely ever feel cold,” she said. Toby looked her up and down, and shrugged, then stepped up on the porch and took a seat next to her. In her mind, Chris could hear Gabby. Having a nice time with your boyfriend? Chris rolled her eyes, and placed a bookmark in-between the pages, and closed the book.
“How could you rarely feel cold?” Toby asked. He grabbed her hand, and Chris knew he found it freezing. “You feel cold.” Chris shrugged.
“I know, but I don’t feel cold,” she said. Toby smirked.
“Tough girl,” he said, and let go of her hand. Chris looked down at the book in her hands, studying the design, the big letters that read STEPHEN KING and REVIVAL and the lightning bolt. She looked down at the rose, and realized that Toby was looking at it as well.
“How did that flower grow from your neck in the first place?” he asked. Chris looked down at the ground, not sure how to respond. She remembered very well how this flower sprouted, but it sounded unreal and ridiculous.
“I don’t like to explain it because it sounds weird and fake,” she said.
“I won’t laugh. I swear,” Toby said, and made the “cross your heart” motion with his hand to his chest. Chris knew she couldn’t weasel her way out of this. She had to explain. Otherwise, it would be non-stop begging, as usual from Erin.
“Well, when I was born, I was born with a hole in my heart. My parents didn’t have the money to go through with the surgery at the time. So, every now and then, they would take me to the hospital to see if I was healthy. By the time I turned three, my parents finally gained enough money to go through with the surgery. I have distinct memories of what happened before and while I was under the anesthesia. As I was going under, I saw a sprite. You know, those flower fairy things from Spiderwick. While I was under, I dreamed that, while the doctors were going to work on my heart, there were many sprites flying and dancing around. One of them dropped a seed into the hole before it was sewed up completely. When I woke up, my family were all around me. But, from then on, I would get this tingling sensation in my chest. And, by the time I turned seven, the rose sprouted. And, that’s about it.” Chris waited for Toby to burst out laughing. When he didn’t, she asked, “Aren’t you going to laugh?”
“I promised I wouldn’t. And, really, that doesn’t sound humorous. It actually sounds pretty amazing, despite how strange it seems,” he said. Off in the distance, there was the sound of Isabelle, calling for Toby to come back, and he got down from the porch, and turned back to Chris.
“I’ve gotta go. And, be safe. That monster is going to start its hunt tonight. Grandpa said so. Oh, and put on a jacket before you freeze to death,” he said, then took off running back to his house. Chris chuckled a little, got up, the book held under her arm, and retreated into the house. Gabby was sitting in the armchair, watching as Chris came in, and smiling.
“Did you have a little chat with your boyfriend?” she asked. Chris scoffed and huffed in irritation.
“God dammit Gabby. For the last time, he’s not my boyfriend. We’re just friends,” Chris said, opening the closet and slipping on her coat.
“He may not feel that way. I think he may like you,” Gabby said.
“I think I would know if he felt that way toward me,” Chris said, feeling in her coat pocket and finding the reassuring shape of the pocket knife.
“That’s just it. You never know these things. They happen. What if he does feel that way towards you? What then?” Gabby asked. Chris placed the Revival book on the coffee table, and took a seat on the couch. As far as she knew, she and Toby were just friends, nothing more.
“Gabby, I said it before, I’ll say it again: We’re just friends,” she said. Gabby rolled her eyes.
“It might happen one day. Just remember that,” she said.
From upstairs, Chris could hear her phone ringing, and shot up and raced up the stairs. She had left her phone on the bed, and thanked herself that she hadn’t left it on vibrate. She got to it and looked at the caller ID; it was her mother, and she immediately picked it up.
“Hi mum,” she said.
“Hello Chrissy. How’s everything going down there?” her mother asked.
“Everything is great. I’ve made a few new friends. I had a job at the library, but the owner died, so now I have to find a new one,” Chris said. She didn’t mention that Chuck had been murdered; it seemed like something that needed to be left out, as to not cause her mother worry.
“Oh, that’s too bad. How did he die?” her mother asked.
“Heart attack,” Chris lied.
“Oh, well I’m sure you’ll find a new job soon,” her mother said in a reassuring voice. Chris smiled.
“Just so I’m sure, are you making the Christmas dinner and bringing it here, or do I have to make it?” she asked.
“Oh, I wouldn’t force you to make Christmas dinner all by yourself. I’ll start it tonight, then bring it when we come to visit you tomorrow,” her mother said. Chris was relieved that she didn’t have to make dinner by herself.
“Okay, great. I’ll be happy to see you guys tomorrow. When are you coming?” she asked.
“Oh, well leave at nine and should get there by ten,” her mother said.
“Okay, well I’ll see you then,” Chris said.
“All right. Good bye, I love you,” her mother said.
“I love you too, mum,” Chris said, and hung up the phone. She placed her phone on the nightstand, and laid down on the bed, staring at the ceiling. She was still worried about the monster, wondering if it would also do its hunt tomorrow. I’ll have to make sure this thing is stopped for good, she thought.
Downstairs, the doorbell rang, and Chris got up and headed down. Gabby had disappeared again, as expected, and she answered the door. Evelyn was there, dressed in a white turtleneck shirt, a brown cardigan, a pair of skinny jeans, and brown combat boots. She smiled sweetly when Chris answered the door.
“Hi Evelyn,” Chris said.
“Hey Chris. I’ve got great news. I talked to the owner of Pure Ruby, and he wants an interview with you. It seems you could get a job at this place after all,” she said with a big smile. Chris smiled back.
“Really? That’s great,” she said.
“Come on, he’s waiting,” Evelyn said. Chris followed Evelyn to her car, and the two of them got in and headed off.
The restaurant was much fancier than Chris had expected. It was a big, black building, with a large white sign with black cursive letters that spelled Pure Ruby. There were large windows and rose bushes around the entire perimeter of the building. Evelyn led the way up and held the door open for Chris. The inside was very classy. There were crystal chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The floor was polished hardwood. The tables were all round and had white tablecloths, with silver candelabras that had lit candles and glass vases with red roses. In the center of the entire building was a circular stage with a black, polished grand piano and a guitar on a stand, along with a microphone on a stand. Everyone was dressed in very fancy clothes: the men in suits and the women in dresses. Chris was amazed by how beautiful everything was.
Evelyn and Chris were approached by a man. He was an elderly man, in his late seventies at best. He had light-grey hair that was slicked back and hazel eyes with bags under them. His face seemed freshly shaved and he smelled of a mix of an older gentleman’s cologne and strong alcoholic aftershave that burned Chris’ nose. He was dressed in a fancy suit with a top hat, white gloves, and had a black cane with a silver tip. He seemed like a kind old man who could be very serious when he needs to be. He came up and shook both of their hands politely in a proper greeting fashion.
“Hello Evelyn. I see you’ve brought the little lady,” he said in a raspy voice. He turned to Chris. “What is your name?”
“My name is Chrysanthemum Beckett, but people call me Chris for short,” Chris introduced. The old man smiled brightly.
“It’s very nice to meet you. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Nevil Forrester, the proud owner of the Pure Ruby,” the man said. He had a slight boastfulness as he said this, but Chris chose to ignore it.
“This is a really wonderful place, one of the fanciest restaurants I’ve ever seen,” she said, taking another glance around at the place.
“Why, thank you,” Nevil said, then cleared his throat. “Now, down to business. Evelyn has told me that you would like a job as entertainment here with her. Is that true?”
“Yes, sir,” Chris said.
“Then, follow me to my office to talk things over,” he said, and turned and began walking away, Chris following. Evelyn stayed behind, hoping that Chris was good enough to get the job.
Nevil’s office was way in the back of the restaurant, right next to the kitchen. It was a very large office, painted a rich shade of burgundy. In the center was a desk, decorated with folders filled with papers, pens, a shoebox filled with more papers, a computer, and a little gold name plate that read OWNER. Nevil took a seat in the armchair behind the desk, while Chris took a seat in the basic chair with the leather cushion in front of it. The walls were decorated with photographs of family and friends. Behind the chair that Nevil sat in was a set of windows. To the right of the desk was a coat rack that held a black trench coat.
“So, Chrysanthemum, do you have any skills in playing music and singing?” Nevil asked.
“Well, when I was in middle school, I took music lessons and learned how to play the piano, guitar, piccolo, and violin, and I took choir too,” Chris explained. Nevil opened the file in front of him and wrote something down.
“Have you ever sung in front of a crowd before?” he asked.
“In middle school, I was in a talent show, but everyone ridiculed me, so I mainly practiced singing in my room alone. Then, when I moved here, I started singing on Karaoke Night at Jerry’s Pub,” Chris said. Nevil, again, wrote something down on the paper.
“How old are you?” he asked.
“I’m seventeen. I’ll be turning eighteen on Saturday,” Chris said. Nevil wrote something down, and Chris guessed that he was writing down her answers to his questions.
“So, your birthday is on the twenty-sixth of December?” he asked.
“Yes, sir,” Chris said. Nevil wrote that down.
“Immediate family?” he asked.
“I live alone,” Chris said. Nevil marked that down.
“Do you have any allergies?” he asked.
“No, sir,” Chris said. Nevil wrote that down. They went back and forth for a good five minutes, with him asking questions, and her answering honestly. After finishing with the questions, Nevil closed the file, and set it to the side.
“Now, judging from that, you seem to have a good work ethic. You seem to have skills for singing. Most people take choir to get started in their musical career. Now, I just have one more question,” he said.
“And what would that be?” Chris asked.
“Do you have any fancy dresses? Because you need to dress fancy if you’re going to be entertainment,” Nevil said with a smile. Chris held back an excited squeal that most girls do, and smiled.
“I’m hired?” she asked.
“That’s right. Now, for your schedule, you’ll come in on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at half six, same as Evelyn. How does that sound?” Nevil asked.
“That sounds fine,” Chris said.
“Good. Although, you and Evelyn have a break tonight for…certain reasons. Is that all right?” Nevil asked. Chris nodded.
“Yes, sir,” she said.
“Excellent. So, you and Evelyn will come on Saturday, after Christmas. And, unless you have any other questions, then that’s it,” Nevil said. Both stood and shook hands, and Chris made her way back to Evelyn, who was still where Chris and Nevil had left her.
“How did it go?” she asked. Chris smiled brightly at her.
“I got the job,” she said. Evelyn smiled.
“That’s great. Now, let’s get you home,” she said, and Chris followed her out of the store.
Later in the late-afternoon/early-evening, Chris was very on edge, wondering when this creature was going to come out. She made herself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner, and sat down on the sofa to read a section of Revival. As she read, she was sure she could hear screaming, as well as the screeching roars of the creature. Once she was certain she was not hearing things, and that the sounds were actually there, she closed the book and set it on the couch, then went into the kitchen and grabbed an especially large butcher knife, and headed upstairs to the secret room, closing the bookshelf door quietly behind her. She sat on the window seat, looking out at the world below, waiting to see if she would see this creature.
When it finally appeared, Chris hid behind the wall, but peeked around, looking at this hideous creature. It wasn’t in its full monster form, but in the human form that Isaac had described. It looked exactly like it had in her dream when it slashed her across the face. It had the blood-red hair, the arms that faded in color down to black and had the claws, and those demon eyes. She could see those eyes from where she was. Then, it turned and looked up at the window, and Chris quickly hid behind the wall. She counted the seconds in her head. When she got to thirty, she slowly peeked around again, and found that the monster was gone
Then, it appeared right before the window, staring at her with those yellow and black eyes. It appeared so suddenly that Chris fell back in shock, managing a fearful shriek. It opened the window rather than crash through, and Chris hurriedly opened the secret door and ran out, downstairs, and quickly and quietly hid in the closet, burrowing back behind the coats. She could hear its footsteps coming downstairs, then stop. It’s listening for me, she thought, and tried her best to stay as quiet as possible. She had remembered to lock the closet door after she closed it, and hoped that that would hold it off if it found her.
She heard the doorknob jiggling, and held her breath, waiting to see what this beast would do. Then, she heard what sounded like a key unlocking the door. What? How is it doing that? she wondered. The door opened, and the monster peered in, its gaze landing on her almost immediately. It held up a hand, which grew in size until it was its regular hand in its true monster form, and grabbed her and pulled her out. Chris tried to struggle free, but to no avail. Then, she remembered the knife in her hand, and quickly stabbed it into the monster’s stomach. It howled and screeched in pain, and she kicked the knife even deeper in to the wound. The monster threw her, and she landed on the sofa, her head hitting the arm rest. When she hit it, she immediately saw stars, and sat up, rubbing the part of her head that was bruised. She could still hear the monster screeching in pain, and got up, dazed, and ran for the door. When she crossed the threshold, the monster grabbed hold of her coat sleeve.
“Let me go,” she said in a frantic voice, and pulled. She pulled free, with the monster ripping off the entire sleeve and a section of her coat. She ran down the steps of the porch, and stopped dead in her tracks when she was what was ahead of her.
There were a few corpses, all desiccated, eyes and mouth opened wide, and all pale, skinny, and wrinkled, strewn all over the road. All their hair was white, and some of it was pulled out. Chris broke out of this trance, and ran for the forest, hearing the monster behind her. She continued running as fast as she could, trying to escape from this monster. Fear took over her mind, not sure where she was going, and who she was trying to find.
“TOBY! EVELYN! SID!” she screamed out, knowing very well that they couldn’t hear her. She didn’t know where they were. She couldn’t think of anything right then. All she knew was that she needed to escape from this monster. She could hear it behind her, panting heavily, snorting, and screeching. As Chris was running, she remembered too late that she was coming up to the watering hole, and fell in. The water was freezing cold, even colder than Chris could have imagined.
“Yow, so cold!” she said. She started swimming frantically, trying to get out of the water. Then, she heard a familiar voice.
“Chris!” Toby’s voice came out of nowhere, and she looked up and found him on the other side of the watering hole. He reached out a hand, and Chris grabbed it. Then, both froze when they heard a heavy splash from behind. Then, Evelyn’s voice came, and both looked back. She had a cut on her cheek that was bleeding pretty badly.
“Guys, what’s going on?” she asked. Toby seemed to remember the heavy splash, and started pulling Chris out of the water. Chris felt something wrap around her leg, and it pulled her underwater. It happened so quickly that she didn’t get a breath of air, and she felt herself starting to suffocate.
Chris started repeatedly kicking at the monster’s face, trying to make it let her go, while also trying not to black out. The last thing she wanted was to die so young. She gave one more powerful kick, and the monster finally let go, and she pulled herself out from under the water, Toby pulling her out the rest of the way. Evelyn ran around the watering hole to them.
“Chris, are you okay?” she asked in a frantic voice. Chris coughed up some water, and nodded, taking in gasps of fresh air. Toby got Chris in a standing position, and started pulling her away from the watering hole.
“Come on, before that thing gets out,” he said. Evelyn didn’t ask any questions, and followed the two as they ran away.
Chris was freezing cold. Not only from the freezing cold water, but also from the freezing cold winter air. It was still freezing cold, even when the rain had stopped. She was shivering, but continued running, not wanting to face that monster again. As they ran, they finally came up to the edge where there was no forest. They had ran for a good mile, and now they were out in the open, with nowhere to hide. It was all an open field with grass that went up to the shins.
Evelyn touched Chris’ arm, the one where the sleeve of her coat was ripped off, and Chris found that her hands were warm. She could tell that Evelyn found her cold, judging from the look on her face. Evelyn took off the cardigan she was wearing, and handed it to her.
“Here, you’re freezing cold,” she said. Chris removed what was left of her coat, taking her pocket knife from her pocket, and slipped on Evelyn’s cardigan. It was very warm, and Chris started to stop shivering. When she saw Toby, she saw something she didn’t notice yet. He had three claw marks that were bleeding on his left side.
“What happened?” she asked. Toby put a hand to the slashes.
“That thing attacked me,” he said.
The monster appeared before them in a ball of red fire, this time in its monstrous form. Its red eyes glowed red in the darkness, and it bared its black fangs in a wide smile that was the scariest thing Chris had ever seen. Evelyn screamed so loud that it was deafening. The three of them took off running, back to the forest. As Chris was running, she would look back occasionally, to see how far behind the monster was. At some points, she lost sight of it, and turned back to continue running, until she ran into a tree. The tree bark scraped her cheek, and she could feel the blood trickling down. She looked around, and realized she had lost sight of Toby and Evelyn. She went around the tree to continue running, and found herself face-to-face with the monster.
The monster was once again in its human form. She saw that it still had the stab wound that was bleeding profusely, but bleeding blood that was bright yellow, which was something that Chris had never seen before. She backed up against the tree as the monster grabbed her shoulder, and grabbed the rose by the short stem, and started to pull. It was excruciating, and Chris was crying in pain. The stem was getting longer and longer, until the monster finally pulled it free. Chris could feel blood flowing down her chest, and dropped to the ground, putting a hand to where the rose had been. When she pulled her hand back, her fingertips were smeared with scarlet. She saw the rose on the ground in front of her. The monster grabbed her around the throat, and forced her to stand, then put a clawed hand over her face.
“NO, CHRIS!” Toby’s voice came, and he pile-drived the monster to the ground, causing it to drop Chris. Evelyn came up and seemed shocked when she saw that the rose was gone. She touched where the blood was coming out, and Chris flinched. She couldn’t believe that the rose was gone. It hurt, and it was bleeding a lot. The monster had gotten up, and slashed both Toby and Evelyn across the chests, then threw them away, both hitting trees. The monster’s gaze landed on Chris again, and she stared up at it in fear.
Then, she remembered. It had taken her this long to remember the pocket knife that was in her hand. She unlatched it, and stood up as the monster approached her. Its gaze was locked on her, and it reached out to grab her. She knew it wanted her soul, but she wasn’t going to let it have it. She held up the knife, and stabbed it right in its black heart. It shrieked and howled in pain, and grabbed her arm to make her stop, but she wasn’t done yet. I’m stopping your hunt right now, she thought. She sliced the knife downward, slicing its heart in two. Its yellow blood turned to black, and was spurting everywhere, onto her shirt and in her face. She didn’t stop slicing until the knife got down to the stab wound. The monster raised its clawed hand that had morphed to its true form, and slashed her across the chest. Chris cried in pain, and fell back against the tree. The monster pulled the knife from its chest, and staggered toward her. Chris clutched her slashed chest, and stared up at the monster in complete fear. She was going to die. Nothing was going to kill this monster.
Then, she heard a familiar loud bark. She looked up, and found Sid, snarling and growling, and he leaped in front of Chris. The monster sneered at Sid, and Sid jumped and bit the monster right in the throat. Its blood was oozing out, and Sid bit harder and harder, until the flesh broke, and Sid bit out its throat, holding its esophagus and windpipe in his jaws. Then, as an extra good measure, Sid dug into the giant gash that Chris made on the monster’s chest, and bit out its heart, which slowly stopped beating, and the monster was finally dead. Sid dropped the heart and tubes, and came up to Chris, licking her face.
Toby and Evelyn got up too, and came up, never taking their eyes off of the monster’s mutilated body. Toby sighed in relief, then noticed that the rose that was once growing from Chris’ neck was gone.
“Chris, the rose…”
“It’s gone. That monster pulled it out,” Chris said, putting a hand to where the blood was coming out. Toby took another look at the monster’s body, then helped Chris get in a standing position.
“Come on guys. Let’s get back to my house and call the police and an ambulance,” he said. The three of them, with Sid following, headed back toward the town.
The ambulances were picking up the bodies that were left by the monster. Among them was Fawn, Janny, and Edith, all three found desiccated. Chris was heartbroken to find that Fawn had died. Fawn, the girl who was the first non-family person to show her true kindness and friendship. She had never even took a chance to say hello to her down at the floral shop. And, now, she was gone. As she sat on the bed in the spare bedroom in Toby’s house, with the paramedic stitching up the slashes on her chest, she couldn’t stop thinking about the events she had just endured through the night.
The paramedic was able to stop the bleeding from where the rose was from, and taped a wad of gauze over it, as well as over the stitched-up slashes on her chest. Chris asked for the needle and thread from the paramedic, and stitched up her tank top, then put it back on, as well as the cardigan that Evelyn had loaned to her, which was stained with her scarlet blood. The paramedic headed back downstairs, possibly to head back to the hospital. Chris laid down on the bed and stared up at the ceiling. She was exhausted from running, and wanted to go to sleep, but wished to go to sleep in her own bed, and stayed awake. After a moment, she got up, and headed downstairs.
Isaac had been attacked by the monster and had gotten a broken leg, and was taken to the hospital. Isabelle had gotten a dislocated shoulder, but the paramedics were able to pop it back in place and put her arm in a sling. They had stitched up the slashes that Toby and Evelyn had gotten from the monster, and were resting on the couch. When Chris came down, Toby smiled at her.
“Are you feeling better?” he asked. Chris nodded.
“Yes,” she said, and took a seat on the couch next to Evelyn.
“Is that monster dead?” Evelyn asked.
“Yes, the monster is dead,” Chris said.
“Thank God,” Toby said. Outside, it had started to rain again, and the pitter-patter of the rain was very soothing. Evelyn rested her head back on the couch and closed her eyes. Looks like I’m not the only one tired right now, Chris thought. Toby put a hand to his bandaged side, where Chris could imagine that it stung. Isabelle came up, managing to hold the tray of tea, and set it down on the table in front of them.
“I’m so glad that that monster is dead. How exactly did it die?” she asked. Toby and Chris looked at each other, then back at Isabelle.
“Sid the wolf killed it,” Chris said. Isabelle chuckled.
“Oh, you named that wolf Sid? What a wonderful name,” she said, taking her cup of tea and taking a sip. Chris picked up her cup, and took a sip as well. The flavor made her feel better, and relaxed her.
“So, how long is Isaac supposed to stay in the hospital?” she asked.
“Oh, about six weeks,” Isabelle said. Evelyn opened her eyes, and sat up. She saw the tray of teacups, chose one, and took a sip. Chris looked at the time on the clock on the wall in the kitchen, and stood up, placing her tea cup back on the tray.
“I’m going home. I’ll see you guys later,” she said, heading for the door. When she passed the threshold and stepped onto the porch, she saw Sid laying down on the porch. His head perked up when she came out. “Hi Sid.” Sid got up, stretched, and came up to her, smiling and wagging his tail. Before she stepped down from the porch, she heard the door open behind her. When she turned, she saw Toby.
“You don’t have to walk me home now, Toby. The monster’s dead,” she said.
“I know. I just wanted to say good night,” he said. Chris smiled. Then, she remembered the jokes that Gabby always made, and what she had told her that day.
“I’ve been wondering something, and I just want to make sure. You don’t like me like that, right?” she asked. Toby quickly shook his head.
“No, not like that. Just friends,” he said. Chris nodded in understanding.
“Okay. Good night,” she said.
“Good night,” Toby said, and closed the door. Chris then started walking down the road back to her house. The rain didn’t bother her that much, and she smiled when she saw Sid following her. She scratched him behind the ears, and his tail started wagging again.
“It’s good to know that we have a guardian like you,” she said. Sid barked a happy bark, and looked at her with that same smile. When she got to her house, she opened the door, and looked down at Sid. “Would you like to come in?” Once she said this, Sid entered the house, went to the couch, and laid down, obviously exhausted. Chris headed upstairs to her room, and found Gabby waiting for her in the bed.
“I’m glad to see that you’re safe. But, where’s the rose?” she asked. Chris changed out of her torn clothes, and into her pajamas.
“That monster pulled it out. But, at least I won’t be bullied for it anymore,” she said.
“I guess,” Gabby said, and laid down. Chris got in bed, laid down, and stared at the darkness that was the ceiling. Outside, she could hear the sound of the rain hitting the house. It was a very relaxing sound, and she began thinking of all the things she went through when she first came to the town: finding new, good friends, getting one good job, and then another, gaining courage and self-confidence, and feeling like she really belonged. Aside from the monster and Janny and Edith, she felt that moving to this town was the best decision she had ever made. She felt that this was definitely her home, and she truly belonged. She closed her eyes, and slowly drifted off to sleep. She dreamed of her family coming over tomorrow, and having fun with Erin. She dreamed of celebrating Christmas and her birthday with her friends and family, and smiled.