When they returned that night from the Chinese restaurant, they agreed to check into a hotel after gathering the bare necessities, some valuables, and their cat. They didn’t talk about it inside the car or the house in case they were any cameras or bugs.
Troy made a quick inspection of the underside of the car before they left the parking lot, but didn’t find anything suspicious.
Rain knew that Troy was having a hard time swallowing what she had told him, but she also understood that it would be something hard for her to believe as well if their shoes had been swapped.
Once they were in the hotel, Rain practically cried tears of relief knowing that she would not have to go down into the basement that night. Troy gathered her in his arms and she felt truly safe and content for the first time since encountering the woman.
They discussed whether or not they should contact the police before or after the house was sold. They knew that the house could take months to sell and that the longer they went without reporting the woman, the less chance they had of catching her.
“We won’t stay in the house until it sells because that could take weeks or even months. But if we wait much longer to report this woman, they’re not going to take us seriously,” Troy said.
Rain nodded. She knew her husband was right.
They considered making arrangements with their friends to stay at their place, but they not only didn’t want to put their friends out like that, but they also didn’t want to put them at risk in case the woman tracked them down there. It was best to go to a place that had yet to be associated with them. With some things being a matter of public information, they knew it might be a little tricky to keep their new house under wraps. If people were willing to pay for it, they could look this information up on just about anyone and find out what property they owned and where.
“Why don’t we just rent a nice little condo somewhere for a while before we go buying anything else?” Rain suggested. “That way there will be more people around, and while it may be noisier, I’ll at least feel a bit safer. Also, it’s not as easy to find out what people are renting as opposed to what they own.”
“We think alike,” said Troy. “It would also be easier to get a rental in someone else’s name as opposed to a house.”
“But whose name?”
“I was thinking of my buddy Brett.”
“But he’s going to want to know why. Troy, we can’t tell anyone that isn’t a cop unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
“I know that, babe, but if there’s anyone we can trust, it’s him.”
Rain had met Brett several times and she knew that he and her husband went way back. She had always liked the guy and agreed he did seem very trustworthy.
They both slept soundly in the hotel that night. They were glad to escape and be safe, but they were sad and also angered at the thought of having to give up their home.
As Rain told Troy, even if the woman was identified, caught, and jailed indefinitely, Rain wouldn’t feel much safer just in case she really did have others working for her. “I know they say you can’t trust the word of a criminal,” Rain said. “But every single day that I was left alone in that house, I would worry that someone she was connected to would break in and harm me or maybe even kill us both.”
Troy agreed that that was no way to live and so they put their house on the market as soon as they could and began to search for a condo to rent since that would be much cheaper and more private than a hotel.
Since the following day was a Saturday, they went to the police station where Rain told a younger detective everything that had happened, except for the incident with the dog, which they had both been delighted to learn had found its way home when they stopped in the next day to pick up more of their belongings.
They decided that if the neighbors or anyone else asked why they wanted to sell out and move so soon, they would explain that they decided that the responsibilities that came with owning just weren’t for them.
As the detective listened to Rain’s story, he took notes, occasionally interrupting to ask questions. “You have no idea who this woman could be?” he asked when she was finished.
“Not a clue. I did some research online trying to get a handle on who she might be, but I was unable to find any similar stories in the area.”
“Would you be willing to work with a sketch artist to try to put together what we call an identikit?”
“Sure,” said Rain.
And so it was agreed that they would return to the station the following day where Rain would work with a sketch artist to try to put a face on paper. It took them the better part of an hour, but when the face was complete it sent chills up and down Rain’s spine. She was utterly amazed at the artist’s accuracy.
The detective promised to remain alert to any complaints similar to hers and urged her to report any further incidents. Meanwhile, their hands were tied at the moment without any additional evidence to go on. Not even a thorough check of the house had turned up any clues as to the mystery woman’s identity and whereabouts.
What hurt and offended Rain was when she was returning from using the bathroom and overheard the detective asking her husband how she had been since the attack last spring, which he felt was unrelated to this case, and also if there could be any possible way the trauma of what happened could be causing her to imagine any of it.
“No way, Detective. I didn’t imagine any of this!” Rain insisted as she stepped into view, once again showing the officer the bruises on her arms and legs.
Without another word to or from the detective, she and her husband left the station that day feeling almost as helpless as they had to begin with.
“I don’t know if he believes us or that he’s going to do much of anything,” said Rain.
Keeping his eyes on the road, Troy said, “I think he will as soon as some more evidence turns up to work with. I mean, for now, his hands are kind of tied.”
“Yeah, well, as much as I want this psycho behind bars, a part of me also hopes that no more evidence does turn up because that would mean she found us. But you don’t think she could find us if we’re really careful, do you?”
“No, I don’t,” Troy assured his wife. “We’re going to be just fine.”
Their house took a surprisingly short time to sell and they moved into their new condo as swiftly and as quietly as they could. Rain was nervous at first but was glad to find it more peaceful than she anticipated it to be. Just a few disturbances from children in the neighboring yard during the daytime, but not much else otherwise.
She relaxed more and more as the days turned into weeks. Things were going great for her husband at work, and they were saving more money since their one-bedroom condo was pretty cheap compared to the mortgage payment of their house. The only thing she didn’t like was that the place had only one bathroom. Nothing like having to pee in the middle of the night or early in the morning just to find the bathroom occupied. They both knew that it was just temporary and that after a while they would be back in a house once again with two bathrooms and no one just a wall away.
Rain was working on her job after chatting on the phone with a friend named Dana. Dana was one of the few people she had confided in after the attack in the woods, and then about the madwoman once they’d gotten out of the house.
The weeks then turned into months, and the winter turned into spring. Rain was beginning to feel confident that she would never hear from the woman again and would be left to forever wonder who she was. Better to be left wondering than to go through the hell she went through having to succumb to her every beck and call trying to keep their asses alive. Life was otherwise good. Her only problem was adjusting to her new dose of thyroid medication. The medication caused anxiety after pockets of activity within the gland flared up one last time before dying off.
Troy seemed to believe that it was triggered by the trauma of what the woman had done to them, but Rain knew that it wasn’t. “Trust me,” she told Troy, “this is totally different. Come on, I can’t have you doubting me now. This has absolutely nothing to do with her. It’s the medication. I know it is.”
And so the doctor lowered her dose.
A light drizzle was going on outside when Rain was alone one day shortly after Troy had left for work. She decided that since the condo may be their home for a while, she would search online for new décor. “If you can’t paint the walls the color of your choice,” she said to Simone that morning, “why not at least decorate them?”
She sat at her desk in the corner of the living room browsing through modern prints when she heard the floor creak behind her. Her mind instantly registered the sound as being caused by the cat… until she realized the animal wasn’t heavy enough to make the floorboards creak nearly as much.
She spun around.
The madwoman stood staring dangerously at her.
Rain’s heart began to hammer in her chest. This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening. “H-how did you find us? How the fuck did you find us?!”
A slow, chilling grin spread across the crazy woman’s face sending shivers down Rain’s spine.
“I told you that you could run but you could never hide, Rain. I’d find you in another galaxy.”
On shaky legs, Rain rose to her feet. Her legs felt like jelly and she wondered if they would support her for more than a minute or two. “The police are onto you.”
“No, they’re not.”
“They know all about you.”
The crazy woman laughed.
“They want you.”
“And I want you,” she said in a shrill cat and mouse kind of voice before she advanced toward her.