Chapter 4

Christine was right on schedule that night, her first cries coming only an hour after Sam had put her to bed. He walked upstairs and flipped on the light, and was surprised to find Christine, up in bed, scared still, yet looking calmer. As soon as he flipped on the light she looked right at him.

"She’s gonna come back, you know," the little girl said. "Daddy said she never would. Grandma said that, too. But she’ll be back."

He knew who she was talking about but asked the girl anyway. "Who’s going to come back?"

She just shook her head. "Promise me you’ll change things. I like the way it is. I don’t want Mommy to come back." Her eyes were filled with tears. Sam swallowed the lump in his throat and sat down next to her.

"Why don’t you want her to come back?"

Christine’s tears just grew worse. " ’Cause," she answered and then buried her face in her blankets.

Even after he had calmed her down, Sam wondered what exactly what she meant. He walked out of her room, and came back into it twice more to calm her cries that night, but couldn’t get the girl to tell him anything else. It seemed as if something had happened between mother and daughter. He was going to find out what.


Morning came too quickly for Sam, who had stayed up, not able to fall asleep because of Christine and the questions behind her nightmares. He was running around the house looking for Christine’s favorite hair bow when Linda walked in.

"Scott?" Sam looked up from his position on the floor at her. "What are you doing?"

"Hair bow," he said simply. "Pink one."

Linda smiled and nodded. "You mean that one right under the coffee table?"

Sure enough when he looked there, he found it. "Thanks," he mumbled as he picked it up off the floor.

Linda shook her head. "You look terrible," she said as he straightened up. "You know, you could call into work sick today, and while you sleep, I’ll take care of Christine."

As tempting as the offer sounded, Sam knew he couldn’t take it. "I’ll be okay."

Linda just eyed him. "Are you feeling okay?" she asked, her voice serious and concerned. "You have been looking worse than usual these last couple of days."

Sam sighed. "I’m fine," he protested as she shoved him down onto the couch and placed her hand across his forehead. She frowned.

"You feel warm," she muttered.

"Do I really?" He didn’t have time for this. It was 7:30 and he had to get to work and stop his -Scott’s- death. He had to find Cara before she found him.

"Stay put," Linda told him as she scurried off into the other room, past Christine.

"Linda’s going to watch me today?" Christine said with a delighted squeal.

"Yes, I am," Linda answered as she reentered the room, holding something in her

"I’m running late," he started and began to get up, but Linda shoved him back down.

"I told you to stay put," she said and he saw the item in her hand was a thermometer.

"Linda," he started, trying to plead with the woman he barely knew, but she only took the opportunity to shove the instrument into his mouth.

Christine looked at him, her little face frowning. "Is Sam sick?" she asked.

Linda gave Sam a warning glance as she turned to Christine. "Who’s Sam, honey?"

Christine looked confused, but then remembered. "Pretend," she said to herself. "I mean Daddy. Is Daddy sick?"

"Maybe," Linda told her as she took the thermometer out. "101.1, Scott."

"What? No." He couldn’t be sick. He was just tired. Linda handed him the thermometer to see for himself. Sure enough it read 101.1. he thought.

"I’ll call work if you’d like," she offered and took the hair bow out of Sam’s hands and handed it to Christine.

"No, that’s okay," he said, pushing himself up. "I’ll just go into work."

Linda sighed. "You are sick, Scott. Fevers don’t just show up just because they want to. God, why do you have to be so stubborn?"

He just ignored her as he walked into the kitchen. Truth was he would love to stay home from work. He had a headache and would give anything for another hour of sleep. He probably shouldn’t be surprised that he had a fever. He sighed and poured himself a cup of coffee. He almost jumped when he saw a hand place a couple of pills on the counter beside his cup.

"If you are going to go into work, which I know you are, at least take these." He heard Linda’s tone and swallowed the pills with a gulp of coffee.

"I’m going to be late," he said when he placed the cup back down.

He heard Linda just sigh behind him. "Then you better get going. Here’s your keys." She placed the keys on the counter as well. "Just try to get home early, Scott. I’d hate to see you at the hospital as a patient instead of a doctor."

Sam just simply nodded, gulped down the rest of his coffee, and headed out to the car.


Linda though as she heard the car pull out of the driveway. Her mother had told her that some people could be stubborn, but Scott was the extreme. She got Christine to help clear the breakfast dishes and pulled the pink hair bow into her brown curls. One thing that always melted her heart was Christine. Since the first time she had met Scott, she discovered he was a daddy to a beautiful 1 year-old. He was also married.

she thought They were good friends, nothing more. For the rest of the morning she watched videos with Christine. Then came lunch and Sesame Street. Not a bad day off, it was relaxing. Christine was energetic, but Linda didn’t mind. She enjoyed it; it reminded her of how she used to play with her little sister when she, too, was younger.

She was in the kitchen cleaning up after lunch when she heard something fall. Loudly. She rushed to the living room, where the sound had come from and found Christine standing in the middle of the room, shaking. The coffee table was tipped over; it seemed almost as if Christine had tripped and taken it with her.

"Christine?" The girl didn’t answer, she just stared. Linda followed the little girl’s gaze and caught it, barely out of the corner of her eye. A black-haired woman was ducking out of sight before Linda could even give her a second glance.

She didn’t know why the women gave her a chill, but she did. As if on autopilot, Linda grabbed Christine and stuck her into her car, driving them both down to the hospital.

Chapter 5