Fake ID, all access party. The bouncer at the door didn’t give her a second glance. Though, everyone could tell he wanted to. She admired men who stuck to their guns. Placed their responsibilities above their animalistic desires. She dressed to the nines, nightclub royalty. Short skirt, blood red stilettos. Men old enough to be her father bought her drinks, ran their mouths dry with flirtatious tongues. She imagined going home with one of them. Wondered if their were the fathers of her classmates. Imagine fucking them in the living room and having someone like Stacey Hansen walk in. Imagined the rumors floating through the school. She’d add them to the list of teachers she fucked to keep her grades up. No matter the hours she spent studying, breaking her back to get the good grades, college recommendation letters. So what if she let loose once a week. It’s not as if she really sold her tight little pink pussy to these men. Those were just words spilled by girls too jealous of her success.

A split second is all it takes. The drugs are quick. She stumbles out of club, her legs giving up on her just a block later. She slumps down against the brick wall. The man who helps her up seems familiar. She knows his face, but can’t place it to a location. Maybe in passing, she thinks. The storm clouds gather above. Another wet night, she thinks before the darkness takes over.

She wondered, as a child, how it would be to die in her sleep. Her father recited the prayer with her each night. Before he left, that is. She hadn’t given much thought in her teenage years. Her only plan included leaving the small Texas town behind. Go to an out-of-state college, create a new identity. He had other plans, however.

He needed to send a message and chose her body to be his media. Like her, he often wondered what it would be like to sleep and never wake up. Would the dreams tell her that her life was slipping away. He wondered if pain would factor in. Wondered what lay behind the eternal darkness.

He needed him to know that he knew the truth. That he became interested in his history the moment he came into town. And the only way to get his attention was to drain her of all life. Because secrets like his weren’t meant to be kept forever. Something had to give.

“I know your sins,” he whispered to himself. “I know what you did. Who you are. And by the end of this, we’ll either be the best of friends or the greatest of enemies.”