• Chapter 1

    Becky Lockeman was dead before she was born. Stillborn, she was the first the hospital had ever seen that had started breathing an hour after the birth. It was too late for her mother however.

    Her father told her constantly that it wasn’t Becky’s fault. Lennie Lockeman knew the truth, but she could not speak it to her living family. Lennie had long believed she had psychic capabilities, so when she had a vision of her child and herself dying in birth, she had willed away her life to her child. Becky knew this too.

    When she was seven years old, Becky had found she could not sleep and had lain awake far past her bedtime. At precisely three, there came a faint silvery light in the corner farthest from her bad. Becky had pulled the covers over her head, having seen frightening images in situations like this before. A soft, whispering voice had reached her ears a moment later, incredibly different from the malicious voices of past visitors. Somehow, Becky had known it was her mother speaking to her.

    When at last the whisperes had cleared enough for her to understand them, Becky heard her mother explain to her what she had done to save her daughter. "I will wait for you..wait for you on the other side," Lennie had said before the light vanished and Becky was left alone in her room. The next day when she had told her father, he had been angry with her, had cried. Becky didn't understand. "Never speak of these visions again!" he father had shouted. Becky had ahered to his rule, keeping the visions she had to herself; she remained an outcast anyways.

    Twenty-two years after the fact, however, Becky was starting to feel normal.

    “Damn!” The voice ran out through the empty kitchen of the small café. Standing alone in this forest of stainless steel, Becky rushed to the nearest sink, watching the blood turn the silver glint to red. She stared for a second before shaking her head, turning on the hot water, and dragging out a roll of paper towels.

    The bleeding stopped, Becky taped several of the sheets to her sliced finger and turned in anger, flinging the blood stained knife and cutting board into the sink with a growl, ignoring the vegetables that went flying. She had to force herself to calm down as a streak of pain coursed through her side. Gasping, she put a hand to the jagged scar, courtesy of the wreck that killed her father two years earlier.

    Her father had been one of the last ties keeping her from insanity, even though she quivered on the edge of it much of the time. He had decided to take her out when she announced her plans to start her own business. The dinner had been nice, however, only one of them made it home. Becky had a habit of blaming herself for things that couldn't have possible have been her fault, and this was no exception.

    Shaking her head, Becky drew herself back to the present. As the pain in her middle finger slowly faded, she leaned on her elbow and propped her face in palm of her uninjured hand, watching the blood swirl down the drain beneath the cutting board. She hadn’t cut herself cooking since she was eight years old, but she thought she knew what had brought it on this time. As she had been dicing the vegetables, she had been thinking of the tall, light haired, light eyed Will.

    She found that lately, she couldn’t quite keep her mind off of him. They had met her freshman year of highschool, her a manically depressed freak, him an outcast with a troubled past. Several times, she thought she had lost him because of her own stupidity, but their relationship had held on. Now, she couldn't push aside the feeling of complete love she held for him.

    “Hey! It’s like a damn sauna in here,” said a male voice from behind her. Becky turned to see the very same person tossing several paper bags onto one of the steel counters. William Harding was a full head taller than her with sandy blond hair and eyes an icy, crystal clear blue.

    “Look, are you going to turn that off? If you won’t I will,” he said, walking toward her. Becky didn’t realize how long she had been standing in front of the sink until she realized moisture was clinging to her skin and her long brown hair was sticking to the nape of her neck. Will reached past her and switched off the water, casting half a glance at the few drops of blood still left clinging to the dishes. In the same movement, he placed his other hand on her cheek, tilting her head back and kissing her full on the lips.

    “Well, hey to you too,” she said against his lips. He smiled and laughed as he pulled away slowly.

    “What are you still doing here? I’m taking you on a real date tonight. Come on, hurry up,” Will said, already spinning toward the door. Becky rolled her eyes and went about sweeping up the spilt vegetables from the floor while he waited impatiently. As soon as she was done he started pushing her toward the door. She only barely had time to grab her purse and coat.

    “I have to lock up!” she protested as he kept pushing her toward the door.
    “Hurry,” he said, tapping his foot impatiently. After dating him since high school, Becky had learned to ignore him, and so she did now. Will already had the car started and waiting for her when she was done. She climbed in and glanced over at him as he took off with the squeal of tires. She knew something was up when he didn’t relax as they got going. Becky started to speak, but Will held up a sheet of black cloth before she could.

    “It’s a surprise,” he explained. Becky was skeptical, but she went on his word and tied the cloth around her head.

    “No funny business,” she said. Will laughed rather tensely beside her. His hand fell onto her right thigh, and she placed her own on top of his. Everything seemed to be going well for once.

    A dream. That’s all it was. The old man wasn’t there, he couldn’t have been. You’re seeing things again. The doctor told you that you have to ignore the things you see. He said it’s all in your head. Remember all those times when you were little? They were all just dreams.

    “Becky!” Will was shaking her by the shoulders and calling her name.

    “Huh?” she asked, trying to look around but seeing only the black cloth.

    “You have got to stop doing that, Becky. Anyways, we’re here, but don’t take the blindfold off yet; we have to walk a ways,” he said, getting out and walking around the car to her side. Taking her hand, he led her slowly to wherever they were headed. Becky couldn't keep her mind in the present, instead thinking of the latest visitor she had had. The old man was no one she knew, just some lost soul looking for someone to torture. His voice had resembled metal scratching against metal. Becky shivered and tried again to draw her mind back. At last, Will told her she could take off the blindfold. As she did, she gasped. The hill in the park was the same; the cherry blossoms smiling down at her in the light from the stars. It was the site of their first date, if you could call it that.

    It had been a still night in March of her freshman year, and she had found she could not sleep. As was her custom, she slipped out through her window and wandered down the street. It was a strange coincidence that her cellphone began to ring. It was Will calling because it seemed he suffered a similliar problem. The had met in the park and spent the rest of the night there, only reeping back to their respective when it became necessary for them to do so. Seeing the site again brought tears to her eyes.

    “Oh Will, this is wh-“ she cut off as she turned around to find Will kneeling behind her. She found she couldn’t breathe.

    “Marry me,” he said as he opened the box he had been clutching in his shaking hands. He must have planned it Becky thought as the princess cut diamond caught the light of the distant stars and reflected it across her face in a brilliant array of colors.

    Suddenly, she threw herself into his arms sobbing.

    “Yes!” she finally choked out.

    Chapter 2

    It had been one month since the marriage. Six spirits had visited her in that time, though only three constantly remained in her mind and brought chills to her spine. One had happened the night after her wedding. It had been a young woman who had stoof by Becky's bed and glared in envy at her husband sleeping next to her. The woman was garbed in a tattered wedding gown. The next had been a young man that had come right up next to her, screaming in a voice that only she could hear. The third, and perhaps the most disturbing, had been a young girl. She stood silently, staring at Becky with sad eyes. Half of her face appeared to be missing. One of her arms was severed at the elbow, and the hand on the other was missing several of its fingers in jagged cuts.

    Now, Becky was driving home from work, trying not to think about these visitors. It was pouring rain, and that was made worse by the fact that she wasn’t paying attention. Suddenly, a truck swerved into her lane. She slammed on the brakes and screamed as her car went into a spin, hitting the other and causing it to flip. Her head slammed hard against the glass of the window and a second later, the glass shattered against the road as her car too began to flip. When she at last came to a stop, she crawled out through the window, ignoring the pain in her head. The truck was upside down, and Becky could smell gas. She ran over and tried desperately to pull the man from his vehicle. The dash had been crushed in on his legs, and she couldn’t budge him.

    The gas leaking out of the tank was ignited by something sparking beneath the care, and the liquid seeping onto the rest of the truck and the street erupted into flames. Becky threw herself backwards just in time to avoid the flames. She began to sob as the unconsious man was consumed by the fire. The pain flowering in her head finally got to her and she passed out on the road.

    It had been two months since the accident, and Becky was still shaken. She had gone to bed the same way she did every night: with Will’s arms firmly wrapped around her and the covers pulled up to her chin. As the hours dragged by though, the temperature slowly dropped in the room. Becky woke up to a bright light.

    “You-killed-me,” said a scratchy voice. Becky suddenly became aware of the smell of burning flesh.

    “It’s him!” she screamed, throwing herself in the opposite direction. Will woke with a start and threw his arms around her as she screamed.

    “Becky! There’s nothing there, please calm down,” he said franticly. His wife was struggling hard against his arms.

    “Oh god! It’s him Will! He’s going to kill me!” Becky continued to scream until she passed out in terror. In her head she could still see the light, smell the stench of burning flesh, and hear the voice. She couldn’t escape.

    Chapter 3

    It was the desperate feeling in the pit of her stomach that led Becky to make the appointment. A little over a year of trying and it seemed Becky simply could not get pregnant. Will told her there was no rush, but her maternal instincts led her further into depression each time one of her friends conceived their first children. Jen was the latest.

    Becky had received the call at her café and had put on a face of painted happiness as she wished her friend good luck. As she waved Jen off though, she felt as if a searing hole had burnt its way through her belly.

    Now, she was driving along a crowded street to Dr. Lewis’s office. She had taken the fertility test two days before, and now she found that she almost dreaded the results. Her legs were shaking as she parked and headed into the tall and imposing building. As she opened the door to the small office, the first thing she felt was envy; Dr. Lewis was tall, slim, and pretty.

    “Welcome Mrs. Harding,” she said with a smile. Becky returned it weakly, closing the door behind her. “We got your results back from the lab and they’re... well, they aren’t great. You may want to take a seat.” Becky nodded and slowly lowered herself into a seat across from Dr. Lewis. She noticed that Dr. Lewis was holding information about an orphanage. Her heart froze. “Your eggs… well, they’re infertile. I’m very sorry.”

    The sky had fallen. The phone rang again. Will. Becky turned it off and then turned back to the road. She had been driving circles around the city for hours, and now she had been sitting on a vacant bridge with her car facing off the edge for the last twenty minutes. Tears were still streaking down her face. All around her she could hear, quite clearly, the screams of the dying. The old man, the young girl, the woman, the man from the truck, they were all screaming in her face.

    With a final sob, Becky could take it no longer. She slammed down on the gas pedal, bracing herself as her blue Honda went through the railing and plummeted. She shut her eyes with a smile on her face. As the car impacted with the water, Becky passed out thinking she would meet the child she couldn’t have and the mother she never met.

    A light. Mother is that you? Little Lily, can you hear me? I would have given anything to have you Lily, I swear. And Mother, I would have given anything to know you.

    Will nearly dropped the phone when he got the call. Without waiting for the officer to finish explaining, he was up and out the door of his office. In a few seconds he was speeding toward the ring of flashing lights and sirens on the bank below the bridge. The only thing he could think about was that Becky was dead. He didn’t know for sure, but something told him she would be. As he got to the scene, he jumped out without turning off his car.

    “Becky! Where’s my wife?” he screamed franticly. An officer approached him, pulling him away as rescuers loaded a stretcher into an ambulance that could only have Becky stretched on it.

    “Mr. Harding, your wife is going to be alright. I don’t know how, but she managed to escape the car. She’s beaten up a bit, but she’s going to be fine. I’m going to take you to the hospital. Give me the keys to your car and one of the officers will drive it to the hospital.” Like a child, Will handed over his keys, staring dumbstruck at the ambulance racing away.

    Chapter 4

    Becky woke up to a bright light. She thought for a moment that she had succeeded, but then she turned her head to see her husband slumped forward in his chair across her legs. She touched his arm gently and he woke with a start.

    “Jesus Becky. Don’t do that to me. You’ve lain as if dead for the past four days. Are you alright?” he asked, taking her hand in both of his. Becky nodded, blinking back tears.

    “I found everything out from your journal. Becky, I see your reasons, but please don’t do this to me. Everything will be okay.”
    “Then you saw that we can’t have children?”

    “Yes, but it doesn’t matter. We can adopt or something, just please tell me you won’t do this again.”

    “I won’t.”

    “How did you get out anyways? The workers found the car locked and intact.”

    “I think my mother had something to do with that.”