I awoke to streams of moonlight filtering in from the window and a loud crash audible in the distance. My muscles stiffened, but the grogginess of sleep still had not departed from my mind. It tried to ignore the danger with persuasive whispers. In my laziness, I almost laid down once again upon my pillow and continued my slumber. Something stopped me, an eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach. All was not right in Elridge tonight, that was for sure. I was on my feet the instant the door opened, revealing Harold. I sighed at the familiar face. Perhaps he was here to tell me one of the maids dropped a vase. The look on his face removed all doubt in my mind that I should listen to my instincts. Harold was our butler. He stood at only 5'7" tall, equipped with a graying beard and sagging features. Obviously distraught, his features appeared more harried than usual. "Quickly, Clarissa. We must not waste time! Come with me," he grabbed my arm and began to drag me into the hallway. I wondered what was happening, but I knew not to ask. Harold wouldn't tell me anything he didn't have to. Truth be told, Harold hated women. Even though I was one of his favorite people, I was still a woman. In his mind, that meant I had less wits about me than a doormat. Lost in my thoughts, I hadn't noticed as we had descended down a marble staircase and were about to leave the house. The growing lump in my throat had not lessened. I grew more suspicious the closer were grew to the front door made up of stained glass. Daddy may have trusted the butler, but that doesn't mean I had to. As we crossed the threshold, I opened my mouth to ask Harold what was happening. The words hadn't left my mouth before the older man collapsed, a bullet hole in his neck. I shrieked and I could hear the blood pulsing in my ears as I dropped to my knees. I quickly peered out in the direction the bullet had come from. I saw nobody. Either they were very well-hidden or they had fled quickly. I rolled Harold onto his back and placed my fingers to his neck like I had seen actors do on tv. I felt nothing, which didn't mean he was definitely dead. Honestly, I didn't have a clue how to check on him. There was nothing I could do. I thought I could see his chest just barely rising with a shallow intake of breath. That had to be a good sign! I dragged him against the brick wall of the house. There was a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. There was only one man I knew that could've made a shot from far enough away not to be seen, and I wanted nothing to do with him. The front door slammed closed and I dropped to the ground, covering my eyes. I would not allow myself to believe that he had found me again. It was impossible. I had taken so many precautions, even avoiding to leave the house for anything other than groceries. "Well, well, well, princess. Never thought you'd see me again, did you?" Jared smiled crookedly, "You see, it only took me a couple of hours to realize I wasn't going to let you go." As I tugged my fingers through my auburn hair, a fire lit somewhere in me. This man was evil reincarnate. He was sick. He was foul. He was my ex-husband. "I see," I snapped, "So now you're back to kill my friends?" I wished some of the courage from my tongue would rub off on my legs. I told them to get up, to run, to walk up to him... anything! Instead, they remained on the ground as if they were made of jelly. He would never be able to tell I was afraid by the piercing look in my dark green eyes, at least, I hoped he wouldn't. "That's no way to greet me," he chuckled, "I've come a long way to take you home." "I'm not going home with you, Jared, not tonight... not tomorrow night... not ever." He glared at me dangerously and I comforted myself with the knowlege that the police should be along shortly.