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Subject: CHAPTER 76

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Date Posted: 05:04:55 01/14/06 Sat


Niki looked at the florescent numbers of the small digital alarm clock for the tenth time and threw her legs over the side of the bed. Couldn’t sleep. Tired of tossing and turning. Might as well get up. Cassandra had been unusually quiet that night at supper, causing Niki to wonder if the woman suspected her attempted phone call earlier that day. Probably not. That wasn’t what was keeping her awake.

She slipped into her house-shoes and padded down the stairs to the kitchen. Maybe a glass of milk would help. Halfway down she heard a noise, freezing her in her tracks. Without turning her head, she could see the front part of the house, dimly lit by the outside light. Nothing moved. Scarcely daring to breath, she tiptoed down the rest of the stairs. Logic told her she was over-reacting, but the middle of the night wasn’t the time to be logical.

Keeping close to the wall, she edged slowly toward the kitchen. Reaching the doorway she hesitated, not anxious to leave the cover afforded her by the shadows to venture into the open. That changed, however, when she heard an unexpected creak from the other room. In two steps, she had the knife drawer open and a ten-inch butcher knife firmly in her grip. A soft touch against her leg whirled her into a bent defensive position, knife held high, ready to attack.

The cat meowed pitifully and jumped on the countertop.

“Rascal!” Niki chastened, keeping her voice stern. “You scared me half to death. Are you hungry, boy? Come here to momma.” As she made the heartfelt entreaty, she lowered her knife to the sink, and released a sigh of relief. Funny how fear could blow the most ordinary happenings out of proportion.

She opened the cat a can of beef tips and refilled his water bowl. By the time she’d left the kitchen, he was purring loud enough to wake Cassandra in the upstairs room. She called to him as she climbed the stairs, completely forgetting her original errand.

The cat was living at the house when they’d arrived and had taken up with her almost immediately. Cassandra, on the other hand, he avoided like the plague. Mostly, he roamed around the area, coming to the house only in the evening hours to eat. Niki hadn’t seen him all day and wondered how he’d gotten into the house. Maybe they’d left a window cracked.

Without making a conscious decision, she turned and once again started down the stairs. Not much use bolting the door and then leaving the window open. She’d checked about half the room when she ran into Rascal heading toward the stairs. Bending down she shook her finger at the arrogant head, demanding an explanation.

“How did you get in, Rascal? I know you were outside earlier.”

The cat looked past her and meowed, as if to signal what happened next. Without warning, a strong arm banded around her waist, pulled her back. Struggling, she started to scream, but before any sound had a chance to come out, a hand clamped down firmly across her mouth. Michael! Her mind shrieked, half in fear and half in hope.

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Subject Author Date
Don't stop here!!! Come back Kitkat! Hurry, please! (NT)Ann19:09:27 01/18/06 Wed
The suspense is becoming unbearable. Just finished this one. Now on to the next. (NT)Color me a Happy Fan20:33:31 01/18/06 Wed

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