This Time Around (cont’d)

“Did you really think you could get away from me?” Nick sneered, advancing slowly. “I always find you. You know this.”

Sarah didn’t answer. She wouldn’t allow him the satisfaction of the fear coating her voice. Instead she focused on appearing steady, standing still in the face of impending doom. Brian’s family taught her a lot about peace and stillness over the last year.

“What’s this?” Nick’s mocking voice threatened to break her concentration, and her resolve. “The princess is trying to be brave? Hoping perhaps a handsome prince will come to her rescue?” He laughed hollowly. “Not likely in these woods, babe. The only one taking you away from here is me.”

“A prince may come, or he may not, but there’s no way I’m going anywhere with you ever again.”

Nick stopped his slithery advance ten feet away, his tone turned completely cold. “You’ll go exactly where I tell you if you know what’s good for you. And the kid.” Sarah’s blood ran just as cold at his words. “You remember the kid, don’t you?” he continued. “The proof you will never be able to forget me, or get rid of me?”

Sarah ground her teeth and growled her voice. “She. Is not. Yours.”

Nick laughed at her fading control. “Of course she is. Unless you’re saying you were not the sweet innocent I claimed off the sidewalk that sunny afternoon.” That disgusting smirk returned as she balled up her fists. “I knew what you were the moment I saw you Sarah. And I decided right then that you belonged to me. And so does she.”

Tears began to well in Sarah’s eyes even as the scream in her throat reached a boiling point. At the last second she caught hold of her resolve, and realized she’d almost fallen right into his trap. Anger. Fear. That was how he operated. She had to calmed down if she was going to keep her baby safe from this monster and his sick games. She took a deep breath, blew out a silent prayer for peace and wisdom she craved, and looked squarely at Nick’s face. “I know what you’re trying to do, Nick. I’m not falling for it.”

A sudden sound at Sarah’s back startled her, and then Brian stepped from the tree behind her and into the path between her and Nick. She didn’t know whether to be relieved or horrified. So much for protecting him too.

“We’ve done this before Nick,” Brian said. “You know how the story ends.”

“I do, but you don’t.” Nick pulled a gun from his pocket. “Last time you stood between me and my property.” He leveled the gun at Sarah. “This time I get what I came for. And this time, you’re not going to get in my way.”

to be continued…


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