41

For the first time in her life, Gypsy knew she finally found her place in the world. She was a mother to this perfect little girl and an accomplished artist. No longer could her father hurt her, and she found the strength inside of herself to fully walk away from the life she once lived.

“Sleep, little angel. Mommy will never leave you again,” she smiled. For the first time since her birth, Grace would spend the night with her mother. Something that Gypsy had looked forward to since the moment she knew she was pregnant. Her world finally had clarity, and the black cloud that lingered above her turned into a rainbow of hope—a family of her own.

A long hot shower, her warm bed, and her body finally relaxed. It’s in the darkness of night that you finally find the peace that you seek. For Gypsy, it was the time when she could come to grips for the first time with a darkness inside of her that she would never understand.

“I see you’ve been busy?” he asked.

The coldness of the room shook her to the bones. “I have. Why are you here?” she asked.

A small chuckle, he stood, walking over to where Grace slept, the look on his face was of disgust. “You brought that home with you?” he said. It was not a question but rather a statement.

“My daughter,” she said.

He watched for a few moments, finally reaching down to stroke the child’s cheek. “Pity,” he said.

Her body stiff, watching, she didn’t trust anyone around her daughter. “Why are you here? Oh, and I have a gift for you,” she said.

“A gift?” he asked. Rejoining Gypsy on the bed, he was curious about what this girl could have for him.

She reached under her pillow, pulling out the rosary, handing it over, “I don’t want these.”

Laughing with no regard for the sleeping child, he took the beads, and the other hand, he placed behind her head, pulled her forward.

His collection of words would forever change her life.

“If you feel that I’m done with you, you’re mistaken. I say when and if this is over. Just because you have that child doesn’t mean I won’t be back,” his voice echoed with threats of his return.

“Go. I can’t do this, not now. There is more to my daughter than I can tell you. You would never understand,” she said.

Without a word, he leaned in, his lips moving down the slender curve of her neck. Skin as pure as new snow, his teeth buried in her flesh as though it was warm butter. Without forewarning, he marked her body, staying until he finished. Her cries meant nothing to him, nor did her pleas for him to stop. This was no longer about what she wanted. The moment she brought him into her world, her life was not her own.

“I told you once that I would find you no matter where you roam. Take her and run, but I assure you, I will return for what is mine,” he warned.

Trickles of blood running down her chest, Gypsy covered the bite with her hand, her eyes closed tight. “I’m not scared of you anymore,” she said.

“Sometimes nightmares do come true,” he said.

The demons don’t live in the closet, and the boogeyman is real. Only your imagination can save you from the darkness. Dream wisely.

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