A New Chapter
New York City
The heavy mist surrounded her, engulfing everything in its path within its cold, gray, swirling clouds. Not knowing where to go or what to do, her pulse raced and she found it difficult to breathe. She remained motionless, not making a sound, not daring to move.
He was out there somewhere in the misty fog. Searching for her. Coming closer and closer. He would not rest until he found her. There was no doubt about that. And when he found her… She trembled at the mere thought, a shot of stark terror racing through her veins. There was no telling what he would do to her.
He had already killed once and he certainly would kill again. If only she could get away from him and get home safely!
An eerie silence surrounded her. The heavy fog blanketed all the natural sounds of the woods. Not the twitter of a bird in the bare trees or the scuttle of bugs along the crushed leaves and dirt at her feet could be heard. The only sound was the wild pounding of her heart echoing in her ears.
After waiting for what felt like an eternity in the dampness, she ached to flee. The cold mist clung to her muddied skirt and jacket and her long blond hair had come loose from running and spilled wildly around her shoulders. Shivering, she longed for the warmth and security of home, which was not far off. If only she could get there.
Yet ice-cold fear filled her heart.
She’d been so foolish to venture out alone in the first place. If she made a move now, he would certainly find her. Had he gone? Was it safe for her to escape her temporary hiding spot among the trees and make a frantic dash toward the safety of home before it was too late? There was no actual choice really, for the cloud of misty fog grew thicker and the sky darkened by the second.
Night was coming.
The dark of night terrified her almost as much as he did. If she waited any longer it would be too dark to see anything at all and she would never make it back to the house alive. The thought of her warm, safe home and the protective arms of her family finally drove her to leave her hiding place. Taking a fortifying breath, she decided to run.
It was her only option.
Slowly and without making a sound, she pulled her dark cloak tighter around her body.
She took a hesitant and silent step forward, held her breath and waited. Still there was not a sound. Perhaps he had given up after all. Perhaps she had a chance!
Wild hope surged in her chest and she gathered all her strength as she began to run.
Suddenly a brutal hand reached out from the fog, grabbed her throat and—
The demanding shout startled her and Meredith Rose Remington dropped her pen, splattering black ink all over the paper she had just been writing upon.
Frowning with annoyance, Meredith crumpled up the page. She hated being interrupted when she was writing, especially when she had just reached a very exciting part in the novel. It truly was the most crucial part of her story. Her heroine had just been cornered and a dramatic plot point was about to be revealed. To be interrupted at such a pivotal moment in the story was simply maddening!
But her aunt Delilah had never understood or really approved of Meredith’s desire to write.
“You’re wasting your time scribbling such nonsense up there alone in your bedroom!” she would declare with a look of utter mystification on her face and, truth be told, a bit of disgust.
Her aunt simply could not comprehend the fact that Meredith loved to write.
Meredith needed to write. She simply had to write! The stories came to her without effort, without trying. They bubbled up within her, demanding her attention and clamoring to be told. The characters spoke through her and she was compelled to write down their words.
Ever since she was a little girl and first learned her alphabet, Meredith was writing. She loved everything about letters, words, and meanings. She loved to spell and use cursive handwriting. She loved pens, ink and pretty papers. She wrote in diaries and kept journals and sent letters. She wrote heartfelt poems, amusing little plays and involved short stories.
Telling Meredith to stop writing was like telling her to stop breathing.
“Your fingers will be permanently stained with ink if you’re not careful! No man will ever find you attractive like that. And then where will you be?”
Her aunt Delilah would wail in despair time and again, her tiny nose wrinkled in disapproval and distaste while she clutched her hands tightly together.
Delilah’s biggest worry was that Meredith would not find a man to marry her if she kept writing. She worried about it all day and all night, lamenting that her lovely niece had no interest in suitors.
Meredith needed to socialize more, not spend her time holed up in her bedroom writing nonsense that would never amount to anything. Meredith shouldn’t keep to herself so much. Meredith should attend more dances and parties with people her own age. Meredith should be focused on finding a husband. There were no worthy prospects on the horizon and at the ripe old age of twenty years, Meredith was not getting any younger and gentlemen did not wish to have old wives.
Yes, her aunt Delilah worried, but Meredith herself was not worried.
Finding a husband was certainly not something she concerned herself with. Marrying was not a priority for her. Not that she was averse to marriage. Meredith just figured it would happen when it happened, pragmatic girl that she was.
And if it didn’t ever happen, well… she would be fine too.