Coraline had known it was a bad idea to go through the door, but she hadn't realized exactly HOW stupid an idea it had been. She realized it now, as she lay on the bed. Or rather, was tied to the bed. She was tired from struggling, and her cheeks were wet from crying. The young, blue haired girl wasn't entirely sure what she was planning to do with her, but she knew it wasn't good. She supposed that the most likely thing was be eaten, as the cat had suggested. Or maybe buttons would get sewn into her eyes. Coraline gulped, wondering if her eyes had to be removed first.

Her thoughts were interrupted as the beldam came into the room, smiling wickedly. Coraline wasn't sure entirely what expression was on her face… she thought she had seen it on TV before, on a dating show maybe? The Other Mother walked slowly to her, flicking the ropes that secured her to the bed absentmindedly. "Hello, Coraline." she said smoothly, staring intently at the girl.

"Hello, psycho witch." Coraline snapped back, undaunted by the fear that was so obvious in the air.

"Are you ready to love me?" asked the other mother, ignoring Coraline's greeting.

"No way! Let me go!" Coraline screamed at her, thrashing around as best she could, with her a limb tied to each post of the bed.

"Oh, I didn't intend to give you a choice." said the other mother hungrily. She grabbed Coraline's shoulders and leaned in towards the girls face.

"What are you-" Coralline managed to gasp out the first few words before the other mother's lips came crushing onto her own. She blushed madly, and tried to pull her head away, but to no avail. She felt the beldam's tongue dancing along her lip, and fought back the bile in her throat. Finally the other mother wrenched away, grinning hungrily at the girl

"What are you doing?!" screamed Coraline.

"Coraline, dear. Don't tell me you've never heard of rape." said the beldam, and with a wicked smile she dug her razor nails into Coraline's shirt, easily ripping the fabric, and tore it away from her body. Looking almost disappointed, she added, "I see you haven't gone through puberty yet… but you will love, don't worry."

Coraline screamed in terror, feeling her body exposed to …her. "What the hell?!" she shrieked at the other mother, still thrashing around hopelessly in her hold.

The other mother leaned toward her again, her hands scuttling up her body like spiders. "Oh, so you don't know what this is? Well, I will show you then." she smirked, and pulled back, placing on of her hands on Coraline's pant leg. Her nail dug into the denim like a knife, and soon Coraline found herself in nothing but her navy blue underwear.

Coraline shivered. She hadn't thought this would ever happen. Her mind flickered back to the thought of buttons being sewn into her eyes. Maybe this was better than that, but she supposed being eaten alive might have been slightly more pleasant.

"And now, for the final touch." murmured the other mother softly, as her claws reached Coraline's underwear. Coraline screamed, and it was not a small squeal either. This scream was real, it was a shriek of true and utter horror. She was naked now, and the other mother's cold hands ran along her stomach.

"You know I love you…." was the only thing she heard before the world dimmed, and there was nothing but a cold, black silence.

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Coraline's eyes fluttered open, and to her relief she saw the boring, cracked white walls of her real room.

She was home.

Her mind flickered to the night before. She remembered feeling exposed to the beldam, and the icy chill creeping through her spine as she tearfully wondered what was to happen. She also recalled the feeling of the other mother's needle claws tearing through her clothes, and skittering closer, closer….

Coraline shoved those thought to the deep recesses of her mind. She fantasized that perhaps the whole thing was only a dream, and the feeling of her pajamas on her skin supported this theory. She laughed weakly at herself, believing this was all reality, though it had to be no more than a vivid, horrible nightmare. She rolled onto her side lazily, trying to catch the small glare of the sun, which wafted gently through the window blinds. Suddenly a sharp pain shot up her legs. Coraline shrieked in terror and realization. It wasn't a dream. It couldn't be. She lay there motionless, clutching the covers of her own bed so tightly her fists shook, trying to ease the pain away. It was probably nearly half an hour before the sting had ebbed to only a small, throbbing burn.

Carefully Coraline maneuvered herself upright, wincing heavily at her discomfort. She knew she had to get up, she just didn't know exactly how. If she didn't get herself up, her mother certainly would, most likely dragging her out of bed like on school mornings, so that the girl harmlessly (but grumpily) fell to the floor. A headache was starting to creep into her skull, making the situation all the more uncomfortable.

Coraline gingerly dragged her foot out from under the covers, wincing heavily at the hurt it caused, and put it down gently on the floor. "Okay… that wasn't so bad…" she thought optimistically. Now she slid her left foot from bed, placing it a strategic distance from her other, hoping it would make it easier to stand. The girl took a deep breath, prepping herself for the torment she knew would become of standing. Coraline bent her knees, and began to creak herself upward, grimacing and the agony she felt. "You've got this, Coraline Jones. Be brave." she told herself, trying to keep a straight face. She stood up.

The next thing she knew, Coraline was on the splintering wooden floor, screaming in agony, hot tears crashing down her face. The headache she had felt was completely forgotten. She now felt an unbearable ache in her wrists and ankles, as if they had had no circulation for hours. The young girl knew that this was partially true, the night before drawing up again in her memory. But then it was gone, and a new pain appeared. This pain made any other afflictions seem like a minor bruise, a severe agony that burned between her legs, spreading through the rest of her body like a wildfire. Her body began to spasm uncontrollably, trying to escape the terrible, terrible pain that no one could even begin to imagine. And it was all happening to this 11 year old girl, who had made the mistake of entering the lion's den.

A rush of foot steps came thumping up the stairs, and Coraline's door swung open. Mel looked on in horror as her child convulsed on the floor, wailing in her torment. The woman jumped in surprise, not even in her worst nightmares imagining something like this could ever happen to her baby. She leapt into the room with a start, rushing to aid her fallen girl. Time slowed as she rushed to the aid of her offspring, and in what seemed like ages, reached her. Mel picked up Coraline, causing the girl to shriek in surprise and pain, and cradled her in her arms despairingly. "Coraline?! For god sakes Coraline, what did you do?! Is anything broken?! What the hell is wrong?!" she blared in a waterfall of words, each jumbling into the next so that the words lost their meaning completely, and more or less became nothing more than a yell.

Coraline shook her head violently, barely aware of a voice cutting through the pain, yelling something… what she exactly couldn't determine. The pain washed over her brain again, and Coraline let out another bawl.

Mel looked down on her in horror. "God damn it get the phone! Call 911 NOW!" she screamed at no one in particular. It seemed like hours to her before her husband finally came into the room, clutching the phone as if it was the only thing left in the world.

"What the hell?!" Charlie gasped, dialing three numbers into the phone hastily. "Hello?! Yeah, my daughter is dieing or something! What? YES I WANT PARAMEDICS RIGHT AWAY! Our address is…" he stepped out the door, glancing worriedly backwards before disappearing down the hall.

Mel ran her fingers through her daughter's blue hair, and Coraline shuddered as another spasm ripped through her body. Presently her eyes opened, watering up with the burn of daylight. "Mom…?" she mumbled, her voice high with agony.

Her mother lent down, kissing her forehead. "Yes, honey. I'm here. Now, would you care to explain what exactly is going on?" she asked Coraline, her voice tight with worry. Coraline shrugged weakly, barely moving her shoulders at all, and grimaced again at the ache she felt. Mel bit her lip absentmindedly, and turned her head as the sound of the front door opening caught her attention. She looked back to her daughter as the sound of footsteps again came closer, and said as soothingly as she could, "Coraline, dear, we're going to the hospital now, ok? You're going to be fine, I promise." she squeezed her hand tightly, then turned her attention to the paramedics, who were now swarming into the room, bringing a stretcher along with them. The men set the stretcher on the floor, and turned their attention to the girl, curled into a ball, trying her best to ignore the fact that every stare was on her. The pain had eased again, back down to a dull burn that ached between her legs.

Coraline was aware that one of the men was talking to her mother now, saying something about having to move the girl onto the hard platform. She groaned internally, knowing that this would only cause more pain. She also dreaded being restrained like she had the night prior. She felt herself being lifted, and then felt the pain return as she was set down on the platform, making her yelp in discomfort. Then the straps came, tightening around her body like a python, making her whine in protest. Someone patted her shoulder in what she must have been an attempt to comfort the girl, but Coraline would have none of it and snapped her teeth at their fingers violently, and the hand quickly retreated away.

The stretcher was lifted, and everyone began filing through the door, and into the crowded hallway. There was a brief pause at the top of the staircase, and then the decent began, it was a slow descent however, as no one wanted to cause any further injury to the young victim. But even with the caution the men practiced as they stepped slowly down the creaking wooden boards, Coraline still felt a sharp stab of pain every footstep. It seemed like ages before they were finally outside, on the yard. Everyone from the Pink Palace was standing outside, blatantly interested in the commotion, but not entirely interested in whether Coraline had been hurt. The 11 year old thought she heard Wybie call her name, and immediately was furious, knowing he would have an idiotic look of guilt on his face, like it was all his fault anything had happened, and would be high on the suspects list of her parents.

Then she was in the air conditioned ambulance, and shivered in the sudden cold. Coraline thought it was very dull to have the air conditioning on, when it was a chilly day outside. Her mother filed in after her, squeezing onto the small padded bench on the wall. The vehicle smelled strongly of antibiotics, and sterilizing hand wash that burned the young girl's nose. A perky old nurse stood beside Coraline, patting her head reassuringly. In response, Coraline wrinkled her nose in disapproval, and the hand moved away, the nurse's face looking hurt, like a puppy who had been denied his favorite chew toy.

Mr. Jones looked into the ambulance, and seeing there was no more room in the cramped automobile, waved and called out that he'd meet them there. Mel nodded, and then the two doors slammed shut, leaving Coraline feeling slightly claustrophobic and dizzy with the fumes of all the medicinal equipment. The nurse's lips, bright red and formless from an overdose of makeup, parted to reveal a set of yellowing chipped teeth. "Hullo there young miss. What, pray tell, be ailing you today? A broken bone, mayhap?" she asked in a sickly sweet voice, that sounded fake and forced. Coraline decided she'd be better off a clown in the circus then a nurse, and kept her lips sealed, and her eyes firmly on the woman, whose frizzy orange hair hung in clumps around her round, pimply face. The woman frowned a big, obviously fake, frown, her lip curling downward as if it were melting off of her face. "Oh, I see what you're at then. You can trust ol' misses Bacolli. I'd bet my thumb on it, what do you say?" the woman moped in a heavily British accent, having clearly performed this act numerous times. Still Coraline's face remained unchanged, looking at the woman like she'd enjoy kicking her out of the ambulance and watching her plump body crash into the street. The girl wondered uninterestedly whether she'd bounce along the pavement like a rubber ball.

Suddenly the ambulance hit a bump, and a sharp jolt of pain again flashed throughout Coraline's body, and she dug her teeth sharply into her lip, feeling blood oozing from the small puncture .She refused to cry out though, and instead just whimpered quietly. Nurse Bacolli smiled, her yellow teeth flashing in the white light. "Now see you munchkin? If you had told me what pain yous experiencin' I coulda gotten you on some morphine a while since, and you coulda been happily pain-free the entire way to the 'ospital. But not to worry young missy, we'll get you on an IV faster then you could sing the Nation'l anthem." she chuckled deeply at her bad humor, and turned to ready a syringe with the drug. It wasn't long before she turned back, and began to wet Coraline's thin freckled arm with a antibacterial pad, which smelled strongly of alcohol and made the young girl choke on the vivid scent. The needle slid easily into her skin, and nurse slowly injected the painkiller into the punctured vein. Then the syringe was gone, and the nurse padded the affected area with a cotton ball, before winding tape around the cotton ball and the arm.

The vehicle rolled to a stop, and the nurse murmured cheerfully, "Oh, here already." The back doors flew open, and more paramedics greeted Coraline happily. She thought it was weird that none of them actually seemed worried. Maybe they had just gone through the same procedure, and seen so many injured people, that any immediate anxiety had been erased from their minds. The girl pondered what their reaction would be to a man who's legs had been brutally severed from his body. A cheerful "So, what's up with you?" probably wasn't appropriate in all situations, she decided finally.

The doctors and nurses asked her a bunch of annoyingly pointless questions, like how old she was and what she enjoyed doing with her free time. Coraline just kept her lips glued together, not feeling the need to focus on anything but the ache that ailed her. The doctors also asked her mother questions, but Mel just answered impatiently that she didn't know anything that was wrong, and repeatedly asked them why they weren't doing their job and figuring out for themselves what was the matter with the eleven year old. They brought Coraline into the x-ray room, and the sudden darkness that enveloped her, followed by a blinding flash. Coraline was then carted back to her hospital room, a long couple of hallways away, and to her parents who looked worried and expectant, probably thinking Coraline's ankle was broken, or her foot had snapped like a twig in a colossal winter storm. However, the x-rays needed to be processed, and the Jones family had to spend another hour flipping through the channels on the little corner TV. There was nothing on though, and after a half-hour of searching they gave up and turned the television off. Mel leaned in towards Coraline, who was starting to yawn from the effects of a very eventful and unpleasant day. "Honey, do you remember anything?" she asked, her eyes tight with a motherly worry. Coraline stared silently back at her mother, her features giving away nothing. Charlie turned on the TV again and watched a World War II documentary, a dull expression on his face. Her mother sighed, and leaned back against the wall.

The door opened with a creak, and Coraline's doctor, Dr. Blithe, entered the room. His name matched him well, and his face glowed like he had just experienced the best time of his life. "Hello hello," he chirped, pausing to look at his clipboard. "Joneses! So, is this the victim?" he asked, nodding towards Coraline, who glared at him defiantly, unhappy that she was being treated as if she weren't even there. Mel and Charlie nodded simultaneously. Dr. Blithe smiled again, the wrinkles on the sides of his baby blue eyes becoming evident. He swiped away a strand of white hair from his face, and continued to happily talk, as if the situation weren't involving a child in pain, but rather a favorite flavor of ice cream. "Alrighty then! Your daughter has checked out a-ok in the broken bones section, there are no fractures, no breaks, no sprains. So, I really need to know where it hurts. It's no big deal though, don't you worry." Coraline thought to herself that maybe you have to be an optimistic nutcase to work at a hospital. She shrugged, and suddenly became very interested in the ceiling. One of the panels was slightly uneven to the others, and the girl wondered if maybe it was an outcast. She hypothesized that the poor panel had been born a midget, and lived an unpleasant life in a dirty, run down market until one day the market exploded due to a microwaved aerosol can, in which it was the only surviving roof panel, and had been carted to the hospital. Having no where else to go, it replaced a light fixture of sorts, but secretly still wished to work in a market.

Her mother and father were talking to the Doctor, and Coraline had ignored the conversation up to the word exam. Exams usually involved taking off clothes. The girl shuddered at the prospect, but listened in intently. Dr. Blithe was explaining that there was a need to examine Coraline's entire body if they were to find out what was wrong with her. "There's a chance this could be related to sexual conduct, I'm truly sorry to say, Joneses. " Mel covered her mouth, and gasped a little. Coraline grumbled, thinking the action was copied from a soap opera. The memory of the night before starting to creep back into her consciousness, and she shoved it back into the dark area of her memories again.

"How can we be sure?" Charlie asked urgently, checking his watch as if he had someplace he needed to be, more important than his daughter.

Dr. Blithe tapped his finger on the clipboard and replied, "We're going to have to perform a vaginal exam." Coraline covered her ears, not willing to hear any more. She partially wished that she hadn't stopped daydreaming and listened in, but also was glad she did, because she imagined her own consent didn't matter, and they'd just drug her until she was unconscious before performing them dreaded exam. It all depended what her parents said now. Again she listened in, and heard Dr. Blythe explaining they needed her parent's consent before performing the exam. Coraline wanted to scream "Well what about mine?!" but kept her mouth in a tight line. Mel and Charlie were silent, but one of them must have nodded, because Dr. Blythe answered, "Ok then, we'll hype up her antibiotics and be back in a few hours."

Well shit. thought Coraline, her hand tracing along the IV line, knowing soon it would be what put her into a deep sleep. She wanted to scream, to get out her anger and disappointment in her parents, but knew it would only get her in trouble. Charlie left, presumably going to some gardening conference, and Mel and Coraline were left alone in the small, windowless room. It was beginning to feel like a torture cell to the eleven year old. Mel came and sat by the bed by Coraline, and tapped her on the shoulder. "Did you hear that?" she asked softly, Coraline nodded. "I'm sorry, I just want what's best for you."

Can't I decide what the hell is the best for me?! Coraline thought furiously, but her teeth clenched harder together and she said nothing.

"Was it Wybie?" her mother asked. Coraline smacked herself mentally. Of course, you stupid ass stalker. You're going to go to court on reasonable suspicion charges. And your stupid guilty face is going to get you wrongfully arrested, because the word of the victim is useless when everyone thinks she's crazy.

Coraline shook her head. "Ew." she mumbled, almost inaudibly. Mel sighed, and leant back against the wall again.

"Are you going to tell me anything?" she questioned irritably.

Coraline shrugged. Mel groaned, and put her face into her palms.

A nurse came into the room, pulling her obnoxiously yellow scrub farther down her waist.. She patted her blonde ponytail, and adjusted the flow on Coraline's IV. Coraline wanted to hit her in the face, but knew the action would only result in pain for herself and a month grounded to her room.

Soon enough the girl's eyelids were beginning to feel heavy. She yawned, and began to feel the warm clutches of sleep pulling her under the rim of consciousness. The sleepiness was getting to be overbearing, and it was only a matter of minutes before she would be passed out in the small, uncomfortable roll away bed.

The nurse was just coming into the room, pulling on her white surgical gloves, as Coraline fell into a deep, coma-like sleep.

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Pain.

That was the first thing that came to Coraline's throbbing head when she woke up again. Her head ached and felt clouded over because of the drugs. She felt like she needed to throw up. She swallowed the acid rising in her throat. Her upper legs felt wet and sticky. She reached a hand under the covers, and brought it up to find it was covered in blood.

Wow, nothing' like going to the doctor to get you feeling better. she thought sarcastically, making a mental note to never come to a hospital again. The young girl felt like she couldn't move, her limbs were stiff like they were made of styrofoam, and whenever she so much as wiggled her toes the sting in her ____ returned more bloodthirsty than ever. Her mother had fallen asleep in the chair, and was snoring gently.

The sickly green walls of the small room kept Coraline from telling exactly what time of the day it was, but she guessed it was probably around 3 in the morning. She couldn't see the clock because of the pain in moving, so instead she looked up to the small ceiling tile again, sympathizing with it, feeling like it was the only thing in the world that really understood her. She had a little conversation in her head with this ceiling tile, talking about how she'd work in the same sad little market it would go to use for after they bombed this psycho hospital. She did this for a while, it could have been as much as a few hours, before she realized how ridiculous it was that she was talking to a ceiling tile. Coraline was thankful the conversation had taken place in her head, not out loud, and realized that there was a security camera in the corner of the room. Privacy must not be a huge concern in hospitals she thought, and glared angrily at the camera, and mouthed "A-holes" at whoever was behind the lens.

Now there was nothing left to do in the cramped room but wait for someone to wake up. The seconds grew to minutes, which dragged on to hours. Coraline had tried going to sleep again, but she wasn't sure she could trust whoever might walk in and see her sleeping, imagining what they might do to her. Again her mind wandered back to the night… the icy claws digging into her skin and clothing, the ripping fabric, the bareness and the exposure. She shivered, and again she felt a nausea rising up in her throat. She rolled over on her side, whimpering slightly at the pain it caused her, and heaved violently onto the tile floor. Then she rolled back and looked up again at her ceiling tile. She would look forward to watching the hospital employees cleaning up the mess. She'd try to look as smug as possible.

Finally her mom began to stir, grumbling something unintelligibly, then her eyes opened and she moaned, rubbing her eyes and sitting up straight. Mel grabbed her cell phone from her corduroy pants pocket, and pressed a button. The phone woke up with an audible beep, and the time glowed brightly in blue on the small rectangular screen. Coraline's mother grumbled quietly again, then got up and walked out the door. The halls were bright, and the light shone blindingly into the dark room. Coraline squinted before the door closed again with a thunk.

She was beginning to regret puking on the ground as the sour smell began to fill the room. Again she glared at the security camera, wishing someone behind the lens had bothered to yell 'Cleanup on isle 167!" over the intercom. She waited impatiently for someone to come into the room, her head still painful from the drugs. Coraline was beginning to wonder if the world had been invaded by aliens outside of her room when finally the nurse came into the room, flicking on the light. The blonde haired woman looked at the vomit disdainfully, and put a hand on her silver walkie-talkie, which was only halfway in her pocket. "We need a janitor in Room167, second floor. Huh? Yes, right away. It's starting to stink up the place." the lady's nose wrinkled and she again walked out of the room. Coraline's stomach growled with a fierce hunger and she hoped her mother would return soon with a donut.

Mel came in the door just seconds later, holding a cup of coffee. Coraline looked at her mother like she had been seriously hurt that she hadn't been brought anything. Mel understood this, and explained, "No food. Doctor's orders." Coraline 'humph'ed , and folded her arms across her chest, blowing a stray bit of blue hair out of her face. Then she winced, even the small action had caused a stinging pain in her gut.

The janitor came in and mopped up the vomit on the floor, and Coraline grinned at him the entire time. He just smiled goofily back at her though, and eventually she gave up, lounging back into her bed. It's too bad everyone here is so damn perky. she thought grumpily. Again she resorted to looking up at the ceiling tile, having an imaginary conversation with the inanimate object.

"Hello again Pan." she called up to the ceiling. The janitor looked at her funnily, but she continued chatting with it like it were her best friend in the world. "Yes, I'm doing fine. Did you hear the president was assassinated by Batman yesterday? I know, it's too bad the guy went and did that, he seemed nice enough. Oh, but I'm still a huge fan. Not as much as the Joker though, he has some awesome makeup. I bet if all the girls wore that, eventually there would be no children." she paused to glare at her mother, who now had her face cradled in the palms of her hands again, and then added, "Well I know one person would be happy about that."

Mel raised her head slowly, her eyes boring into her daughter's head. "I don't need this from you Coraline. I thought you were going to die."

"I might still die from blood loss." Coraline mumbled.

"What? Are you bleeding?!" asked Mel, suddenly apprehensive.

"Mm-hmm. You should tell the doctors that they did a stellar job. Can we sue?" said Coraline sarcastically. Her hate for hospitals was growing by the second. The janitor, sensing a rising anxiety in the room, quickly finished mopping the floor and scuttled out the door, whistling some old show tune.

Mel stomped out the door, her eyes burning with a rage, setting out on an expedition to find Dr. Blithe. Again Coraline was alone in her room. She looked up at her ceiling tile, and realized exactly how boring it really was. Then she felt guilty for thinking such things about it, and reached a hand for the clicker instead of arguing with it. She flicked on the TV, looking for anything remotely interesting. She finally settled on just watching some toddler show, and for the fun of it counted out loud as the cartoon on the screen pointed at three flowers, one at a time, each lighting up as he pointed. She continued playing along with the show as if she were four for another few minutes, before becoming bored again. Her crotch still felt bloody. She hoped her mom was kicking the doctor's ass and threatening him this very moment. She was very good at that.

Coraline again began flipping through the channels on the TV, and suddenly her finger froze. On the screen were buttons. And a needle. A sewing show, but Coraline nonetheless quickly turned off the television and clenched her eyes shut, and tried pushing the dreadful memory back into her head again. This time is was very difficult however, and it felt like she was fighting the current of the mightiest river as images flashed across her mind, long needle-like nails, button eyes, a cold black key, singing rats, ghost children that were barely there, people stepping out of their old skins, the memories continued to blast by, like a violent typhoon. She opened her eyes, but still saw nothing but her horrible thoughts. Coraline's mouth opened to scream, but no noise escaped her throat, and her mouth sprung shut again. The memories continued, enveloping Coraline in fear and darkness. Suddenly they ended, and Coraline was left gazing up at the ceiling.

The eleven year old swallowed nervously, wishing that her mother would return quickly. She didn't dare turning the TV on again, so instead she just lay back and tried counting the little speckles on the ceiling. She had counted to 498 before her mom came into the room, her arms folded, trailed by Dr. Blythe. Coraline expected her mother to turn to the doctor and start screaming at him, but instead she glared at Coraline, her lips in a tight line.

"We know you've been involved in…. sexual activities." she said flatly, her voice like ice.

"The exam showed that you have numerous deep cuts inside your vagina." added Dr. Blythe, a look on his face like he was about to punish a naughty puppy. Coraline wouldn't of been surprised if he waggled his index finger at her,

"Yeah. Thanks for opening those up again." she replied scornfully.

Mel continued to glare at her. "Damnit Coraline, what have you been doing?!" she growled.

"What the hell mom, you know I wouldn't do that." Coraline screamed at her mother.

"I don't know what I'm going to do with you, Coraline!!!" Mel yelled back.

"Are you even listening to me?!" her daughter asked blatantly.

"Did you do it while your father and I were at that gardening convention?" Mel interrogated.

"Mom, I didn't do ANYTHING!" Coraline shrieked.

"Damn! Was it that weird hunchback kid?!"

"Ew! No!"

"Then what the hell happened?!"

There was an awkward silence for a few seconds. Coraline reviewed her options. She could tell the truth, or think up a lie. Somehow a lie didn't seem like a very good idea at the moment, so instead she quietly said, "I was raped."

A stunned silence lay like a blanket over the room. Dr. Blythe looked at his watch, putting on a fake expression of urgency, and quickly slid out the door. Coraline and Mel were left in a stare-down, Mel looking as if her daughter had sprouted donkey ears, a duck bill, and a giraffe neck. Coraline's face glowed bright red, her big hazel eyes starting to glisten slightly from the tears welling up in them.

"What?" asked Mel, any trace of anger leaving her face. Coraline was silent though, biting into her lip, still unsure whether she had made the right decision in telling the truth. "Coraline. Tell me what happened." said Mel sternly, gripping her daughter's shoulders.

Coraline just sat there, quietly brooding. "Coraline, did they hurt you? Who was it? For god sakes, why won't you talk to me?" Coraline shook her head, not wanting to remember that night, and willing the memory to simply vanish into the deep recesses of her mind. But Mel had other ideas in mind, and continued to hound the blue haired girl for worthwhile information. "Coraline, I need to know! You want them to be caught, don't you?! God Damnit, SPEAK TO ME!"

"You'll never find her." mumbled Coraline, a single tear rolling lazily down her freckled cheek.

"Why not?" asked Mel, relieved that Coraline had said anything.

"She isn't of this world."

"Where is she from then?"

"The little door."

Mel's relief faded immediately. "Damnit, Coraline! This is absolutely NO TIME to joke around!"

Coraline was crying now, her breath escaping her throat in huge sobs. "I'm not! It was her!"

"Who?!"

"The other mother!"

Mel stood up, throwing her purse on the floor in a rage. "DAMNIT CORALINE!"

"I'm n-not lying!!" sobbed Coraline, hiding her face under the raggy covers of her bed.

Mel stomped on her purse, hearing a resounding CRACK! as her cell phone shattered. She cursed loudly, and flung her rage back at her daughter. "God Damnit! This is not the time, Coraline! I swear, you will be grounded for LIFE. You will live the rest of your life as a fucking MAID. Tell me the truth!!" she screamed at Coraline. Coraline just cried into her pillow, breathing in the diseased smell that inhabited the fibers.

"I did!" Coraline shrieked, her voice muffled in the pillow.

"No, you didn't!" Mel yelled, grabbing Coraline and taking her from the bed. The young girl screamed, the pain inside her stinging fiercely. Mel placed her daughter in the chair haphazardly. "God Damnit, look at this blood! Do you see how stupid you are for doing this? Do you?!" Coraline just cried and curled herself into a ball, trying to lock out the storm that violently howled at her. The metallic aroma of blood filled her nostrils, and she choked.

I can't trust anyone, not even my own mother. I should run away. I should move to Italy. Anywhere but here. Coraline thought bitterly. She wished she had red ruby slippers, and could click them together and be miraculously transported to 'home'. Wherever home was. She was starting to feel maybe it wasn't in the Pink Palace. Her mother still screamed at her uncontrollably, waving her arms frantically and stomping her foot on the ground.

"I didn't!" Coraline screamed at her mother. "I didn't do anything! I didn't choose to lose my childhood! Do you think I want to be called a whore the rest of my life?! No, I don't! You underestimate me, mom! You wouldn't give a shit anyway! You're nothing but a self absorbed… BITCH!!!" Coraline buried her face into the chair again, hoping that she could just vanish into its blue cushions.

Mel stared her daughter, stunned. "I am NOT a bitch! Who feeds you, who sends you to school, who buys you mittens?" she demanded.

"Fine, but you don't listen. Am I nothing but a… dog to you? A blue puppy who will be easily cheered and eager to please?!" Coraline screamed into the chair.

"No, you're my daughter with abso-fucking-lutely no respect for all I do for her!"

"Oh what, and you're the dream mommy who trusts what I have to say, no matter how odd, and would never, ever go into a goddamn rage and curse at me for something I never fucking did?!"

Mel screamed angrily. "Don't you use that fucking language with me!"

"THEN DON'T USE IT WITH ME!"

Mel stomped her foot down angrily before storming out the door. Once the door had shut firmly, Coraline broke down, her head throbbing as tears ran in rivers down her face, dropping on the floor in what seemed like huge splashes of water, enough to cause the floor to tear up right then and flow away like a giant wave.

She knew that someone was staring at her through the security camera, and felt like their eyes were boring into her skull. The young girl just curled deeper and deeper into herself, hoping she would eventually just disappear and become the air, the wind, or maybe just nothingness, a black abyss that spiraled downward into the darkest reaches of her own soul. Hot tears continued to flow down her cheeks, dripping onto the fabric of the blue chair. Coraline didn't think her mother would believe her, but she hadn't expected Mel to act violently against her. Another sob escaped her throat, shaking her entire body with a deep depression and anxiety. The eleven year old willed the world to go away. Thoughts of suicide crossed her mind, she could finish it so quickly, so easily. She could hang herself using the bloody sheets of her bed. She could steal a knife from one of the drawers underneath the sink in the corner of the room, and slit her own throat. But instead of getting up and trying anything, Coraline just continued to sit in the chair and cry.

Finally the salty water spilling from her eyes ceased, and the young girl started to blink her eyes sleepily. Crying, especially a very emotional sob, has a way of making you extremely and unavoidably tired, and it was because of this that Coraline fell asleep in the chair, her knees still against her forehead, her pale face red and sticky from crying.

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Coraline blinked open her big hazel eyes to see her mother standing over her like a vulture, a murderous expression on her face. Mel held out a blank video cassette case as if to show her what she was about to watch, and slid it into the TV. 'Sex Ed for Kids' lit up on the screen, with a picture of a crying baby sitting on the 'x'. There aren't many more pleasant ways to wake up than when your mom decides to give you 'the talk'. thought Coraline with a groan, hiding her face in the sheets of her bed. Mel tore the sheet away from her face, and mouthed 'Watch." before sitting back down and flipping through a year old issue of 'CosmoGirl', sipping a mug of black coffee nonchalantly. Coraline shut her eyes, and Mel slapped her arm meaningfully, pointing towards the screen where some freaky old man was explaining things an elderly person, especially a guy, probably shouldn't explain. Coraline groaned again, trying her best to tone out what he was saying. It was the hand gestures he made that bothered her the most. He seemed like the kind of guy who knew these things by a lifetime of practice.

Coraline turned her head towards Mel, giving her best puppy eyes expression. Mel just continued to thumb through her magazine, pointing towards the TV, and then gesturing with her hand as if she were slicing her throat. Coraline looked back to the TV crossly, where the old man had vanished and now diagrams showed on the screen with arrows pointing to various areas of the body. Coraline started to tune it out about then, as she had for years in class, and starting to think about ways her life was good.Well, for one I have a friend… kinda. Coraline thought optimistically. And secondly my parents aren't pedophiles! I think. They did change my diaper when I was little. Woah, now that seems tweaked. I guess that's a parent thing though, because I was two and couldn't change myself. Third… let's see… my mom bought me mittens. Actually, that's kind of a crappy make-up present. But I guess I did want them, and they are better than nothing. I haven't even been to school yet, maybe I'll make new friends there. Coraline paused in thought, patting her blue head broodingly. Maybe not. But it could be worse I suppose. Then the eleven year old started to just imagine. She thought of a great citadel, with a kind ruler who had a fancy for ermines. One day dragons came along to destroy the castle, but one of the ermines managed to offer her hand in marriage to the lead dragon if he kept from burning the fortress to the ground. But then this thought lead right back to the sex education video, and Coraline groaned again, glaring accusingly at her mother.

"You made the decision, not me." said Mel flatly.

"But I didn-" started Coraline before being cut off by her mother. The blue-haired girl stared back to the screen moodily, displeased to learn that they were now talking about fertilization and the making of babies. Coraline thought the pictures were way too graphic to be on a children's sex education video. Actually, the prospect of a sex ed video for kids on its own is pretty screwed up. she thought to herself.

It seemed like ages before the video finally ended, and Mel got up and walked across the linoleum floor, her shoes clicking against the hard surface, to the TV, where she ejected the tape, placing it back in its case, and turned off the TV with a click! She turned back to her daughter, crossing her arms over her chest and shifting her weight to her left leg.

"I hope you learned your lesson, Coraline." she growled crossly, glaring at the blue-haired girl.

"What lesson was there to learn, mom? I was raped!" Coraline whimpered, looking up at her mom pleadingly, hoping she would believe her. A worried look flashed across her mother's face, but it was gone in an instant and a scowl returned to the woman's lips.

"Coraline, that is no excuse." Mel said flatly.

"It's not an excuse! I'm trying to tell you what happened!"

"Fine then. If you were really raped by this, this "Other Mother", you should be able to tell me exactly what happened." said Mel, smirking.

Coraline, aghast, looked at her mother , her jaw hanging open. She couldn't believe that she'd make her relive the night! Her eyes welled up with tears again, she tried to protest but when she opened her mouth no words came forth, and the girl just choked.

"I'm waiting." Mel hissed.

Coraline took a deep breath, knowing that this might be the only way to get her mother to believe her. "F-fine….." she choked, wiping her eyes and wincing as the pain in her gut intensified.

"She tricked me, made me stay for dinner. The food was good. But then she jumped me, and hauled me off to my other room, which is like my real room, just better." Mel raised an eyebrow, but Coraline continued, wiping her face on the sheet s of her bed. "She tied my feet and hands to the posts of the bed, then left for a few hours. She came back in, and k-kissed me and… and…." Coraline was beginning to sob again.

"The fake crying isn't going to win me over." her mother stated cruelly.

Coraline nodded stiffly, not bothering to say the tears were real, and continued to recount the night. "Then she asked me if I'd ever heard of rape, and ripped off my clothes. That's when I blacked out…. And when I woke up I was back in my room."

Mel got tired, and stopped standing and sat in the blue guest chair, which made a small squeak! as she sat in it, as if she had accidentally crushed a mouse. "Okay. So what are you suggesting we do then? Call the police and ask them to search for a pedophile woman in the walls? In another dimension? Honestly Coraline, I don't see how I could ever believe your story." Mel paused, grabbing her daughter's hand. "I have to hand it to you, you have a wonderful imagination."

Coraline just cried again, for what seemed like the millionth occasion in a day's time. Mel, seeing her daughter's distress, squeezed her hand. "Okay, let's say you actually were raped. Do you remember being given any narcotics? Any sleeping medicine? Or any hallucinogens?" when Coraline stared at her blankly, Mel added, "Any pills or powders that made you tired or feel funny." Coraline shook her head. Mel's lips tightened into an unhappy line. "Okay… you said you were given dinner. Did it taste funny?"

The eleven year old girl paused contemplatively. She tried to remember what the meal had tasted like. She remembered being given a huge helping of turkey, and remembered it tasted…. Real. Not like a frozen slab of meat, but tender and flavorful, as if its head had just been severed from the rest of its body that very day. She remembered the delicate flavoring of rosemary that just barely reached the edge of her taste buds, and the slight citrus tang. But nothing seemed weird, or had a bitter taste of drugs. She moved on to the milkshake. It had been soft, and creamy, as if made of melted marshmallows, and had the delicious tropical flavor and aroma of a fresh mango. She also remembered tasting a few blueberries that had been added. But there had been no trace of any medicine. The kale? No. The potatoes? No.

Then there was only one thing left.

The gravy.

Coraline remembered how eager the Other Mother had been to get the gravy to her. She remembered her enthusiasm as she mimicked a train and watched intently as the mechanism the gravy boat had been seated upon poured the hearty brown liquid onto Coraline's plate. And it had tasted a little odd. She remembered tasting what she thought had been an overdose of dandelion. A tart aftertaste that burned the back of her throat and sat uneasily in her stomach.

"Yes." Coraline said finally, staring at her mother anxiously.

"Okay, so maybe you hallucinated the entire thing." suggested Mel impatiently. Coraline shook her head. Mel frowned. "Why?"

"I wouldn't have gone to a dinner in Wonderland if I had imagined the entire thing. And I don't think I could think up…." Coraline choked and broke into sobs again, her face turning a bright red so that her freckles became nearly indiscernible.

Mel groaned. "Fine. But what can I do then?"

Coraline's head hung as a stark realization slammed into her like a bullet. "Nothing."

And it was this feeling of helplessness and an inability to act that caused an icy shell to form around the middle-aged woman's heart. She began to feel cold, even with her white turtleneck on. Mel shivered. She suddenly felt as if she was unable to do anything to help her daughter. Tears began to spring up in her eyes.

"I'm scared." whispered Coraline.

"I know." Mel said quietly.

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"Okay then, Joneses! You're all checked out and ready to roll!" proclaimed Dr. Blythe, in his obnoxious singsong voice that would've made him the perfect choice for a kid's show host, or a Broadway musical performer. He locked his blue eyes on the back of Coraline's head, making her turn and stare at him in disgust. He averted his gaze from hers, and instead looked back at Mel. He added with a smile, "Good luck with that… daughter of yours." Mel nodded hastily, and pushed Coraline to pick up her feet.

Coraline winced, unable to speed up because of her condition. The pain had dulled, partially because of the time that had passed, and partially because of the painkillers that now made her head ache and her vision blur every so often. The front doors of the hospital opened, and a blast of cold hair hit Coraline's face, numbing her nose and making her shiver.

The girl quietly watched her feet walk towards the silver Volkswagen, making an almost inaudible scraping sound every time her boots made contact with the wet asphalt. Her father stood over the back door, creaking it open slowly and waving Coraline inside. She plopped herself down on the back seat, folding her arms over her chest and glaring out into the chilly Oregon countryside as the small car drove along the twisty road leading to the Pink Palace estate. It was another half hour before they arrived back home, and a half hour seemed like ages compared to the quick trip to the hospital in an ambulance. Mel and Charlie stepped out of the car and walked to the house, slamming the door shut and leaving the eleven year old sitting alone.

A small tapping began to sound on the metal roof of the vehicle, which soon grew to be an insistent downpour, intent on making the world seem more miserable than it already was to Coraline. She sat gazing out the window, her breath causing patterns to fog on the freezing glass. She drew hearts in the fogged glass, watching the rain gather on the roof and pour over the windows. Part of her wanted to follow her parents into the house and out of the miserable outside world, but another part of her was scared she'd be hurt again if she ventured back indoors. The fear overthrew the other side of her, and she slumped in her seat, watching the rain patter on the windshield.

The sputtering sound of an engine reached her ears, and she slowly, careful not to cause herself pain, raised herself from the seat and looked out the back window, to see the 'stalker' coming over the hill in his fake motorcycle, obviously tired from peddling. The cat was nowhere to be seen, though. Coraline narrowed her eyes and blew a strand of blew hair from her freckled face as Wybie saw her, and waved, changing his course towards the Volkswagen. He knocked on the window, looking worried and anxious as usual. Coraline rolled down the window, hoping that the rain would ruin her mother's car.

"Um.. H-hi Jonesy." stammered Wybie, waving at her sheepishly.

"Hi Why-Were-You-Born." said Coraline glumly.

"W-why are you in the c-car?" he asked, tapping his fingers on the metal door nervously.

Coraline shrugged. "Cuz I can be."

It was silent for a few minutes apart from the tap-tap of the rain. Finally the unavoidable question became too much for the boy to keep shoved in the back of his mind. "What h-happened to y-you?" he asked, his dark eyes glistening worriedly.

Coraline was silent. She didn't know what to say. She closed her eyes and thought. There seemed like no answer that would be appropriate to tell. Telling the truth was out, chances were Wybie was completely clueless on the entire subject. So Coraline kept her mouth firmly shut.

"J-Jonesy?" he asked. The eleven year old girl looked up at him to see his puppy eyes staring at her as if she were the only thing they saw in the world. Coraline groaned and folded her arms across her chest.

"Were you h-hurt?" he inquired, and the girl just looked at him as if he were an idiot. Wybie looked hurt, and mumbled, "O-Oh yeah… s-sorry…. duh…".

"D-did you break s-something?"

"No."

"Did you c-contract some r-rare disease?"

"No."

"Did y-you get c-cancer?"

"I'm 11, dude. No."

Wybie bit his lip. "Tumor? M-mental dysfunction? Pneumonia? S-sprain?"

"No."

"D-dyslexia? Anorexia N-Nervosa? Bulimia? Leprosy? Salmonella?"

"No, no and N.O."

"Lymphoma? Dep-depression? Allergies? Mel's Syndrome?"

"Now you're making stuff up."

"Mononucleosis? Skin la-lacerations? I-insanity?"

"Damnit, Wybie…."

"Come on, help me out here J-Jonesy! Do you have polio, i-influenza, malaria?"

Coraline burst out crying. "I was raped, okay?"

More silence. A few sobs escaped Coraline's throat, breaking the quiet that surrounded the car. The rain pattered incessantly on the roof, each tiny sound feeling like a shard of glass going through Coraline's skull. She flinched, and started sobbing again.

"……w-what?" said Wybie, obviously confused.

"Ugh!" Coraline screamed, throwing her fists against the back of the front seat. "Haven't you seen any shows on it? "

Wybie shook his head, his dark frizzy hair staying in its place neatly as if it had been sprayed with a gallon of hairspray. "No… Gramma says the T-TV will rot your brain, so we d-don't have one."

"So you have no idea what I'm talking about?" shrieked Coraline, her voice still high and squeaky. Wybie just shrugged and shook his head. The girl pulled her yellow hood over her head, and tightened the strings so that the outside world was shut out. "Go away." she grumbled, her voice muffled by the rain coat. After hearing nothing for a few minutes, the eleven year old girl loosened her hood and pulled it back over her head, looking outside to see that no one was there. Another unexpected surge of sobs escaped her lungs, and she hid her face in her hands, her blue hair still messed up from being in the yellow jacket's hood.

Finally as the light outside began to dim, Coraline decided it was time to face her fear and go into the house. She rolled up the window, happy to see most of the leather interior of the car had been ruined, and gently stepped outside, her boot making a squelching sound as it eased into the muddy ground. She lifted herself from the car, and slammed the silver door closed, making sure that it had shut properly and wouldn't use up the battery. She pulled her hood over her already sopping wet hair, and then limped slowly to the Palace. The girl paused at the front steps, and took a deep breath, trying to calm herself enough to enter the home without screaming in horror. She painstakingly made her way up to the door, wincing at every step she took. Finally she arrived at the entrance, and she let herself in, feeling the warm air against her numb skin. Coraline kicked off her boots and shrugged off her jacket, letting both yellow clothes sit haphazardly in the entryway. The eleven year old double locked the door, and then headed upstairs, this seemingly short trip also causing her enormous pain.

She shambled into her room, distrustfully glancing from side to side. The girl opened her closet and grabbed her pajamas and a fresh pair of underwear, before heading back down the hall and to the bathroom, where she changed quickly, keeping her eyes locked on the doorknob suspiciously. She hastily brushed her teeth and washed her face, then stumbled back down the hall, and to her room, where the eleven year old flopped herself into bed, yelping at the sudden pain that shot up her spine. Coraline pulled the covers over her head and clenched her eyes shut, a single tear rolling lazily down her cheek. Fear's icy claw gripped at her heart, and a ball of frost lodged itself in her throat. She gagged on it, and whimpered, willing the anxiety to leave her body. But it clung to her soul, disinclined to remove itself. The girl shivered, terrified of what might be standing over her this very moment. She could almost feel her button eyes burning into her skull like white-hot metal. Coraline hesitantly looked over her covers, and seeing nothing, sighed with huge relief.

Squeak!

The girl's heart froze over again in an instant. She was afraid to look in the doorway, but she knew that a mouse from the other circus was sitting there. She could feel it's tiny black button eyes on the back of her neck. She gradually rolled over, and sure enough there was a jumping mouse sitting in the doorway, waiting to lure her back to the other mother. The worst bit was that there was a part of her trying to drag her through the little door. She bit down on her lip, feeling blood ooze down her chin.

It seemed as if an otherworldly force pulled Coraline onto her feet. She was following the mouse back to the other world. She couldn't control her legs… it felt as if she had been swallowed up by an invisible current, which was leading her directly back to…

She tried not to think about it. She tried to fight against the pull… but the struggling was of no use. She found herself crouched before the little door, once again. Coraline's arm, as if having a mind of it's own, shakily moved towards the door. It creaked open, and a musty wind blew in Coraline's face. She opened her mouth to scream, but no noise escaped her throat, and her feet continued along the passage, a dim light appearing farther down the path. She tried to scream again, but one again her voice was mute. Tears ran down her cheeks, and her face turned red. She knew that she was going to be hurt again… she wanted to die sooner than be hurt again.

Coraline emerged in the other flat, where her other mother stood, grinning at her ravenously. She clutched the Coraline doll, and slowly moved it's little arm upwards. Coraline's own arm shot up in the air, mimicking the dolls actions. The witch then moved the dolls little legs, in a walking motion, and Coraline found herself stepping towards the Other Mother without hesitation. Again the young girl's mouth opened in a terrified scream. "I did a little research… and I found a way to get you back to me, dearest." the Other Mother said triumphantly.

Coraline bravely took a small, shaky step backwards, her fists clenched tightly together at her sides. She ground her teeth together, and glared at the other mother with a pure hatred. The beldam merely smirked, and maneuvered the puppet so that Coraline was right back to her. The girl felt a lump lodged in her throat. She couldn't breathe. She knew that she was done for. She knew that the beldam could make her do whatever she pleased. A sob escaped the eleven year old's throat. She wanted to die. There was a horrible, nagging thought that clung to the back of her mind, shrilling at her, "Once she's had her fun, you'll be left for dead. She'll sew you like a rag doll. You'll be forever locked behind the mirror, along with the other ghost children."

Coraline stepped back again, this time running a few paces backward. She hastily glanced around for anything that could aid her in even the slightest bit. She spotted a pen, just behind her, on the mantel beside a NYC snow globe. She quickly thought of a plan. Taking a deep lungful of air, the girl slowly walked back to the other mother. "You win." she said quietly, keeping her eyes locked to the ground, afraid her nervous expression would give her away.

The other mother cocked an eyebrow. "That's it?"

Coraline faked a sob, and nodded. The other mother smiled victoriously. Coraline looked up to the witch, and flatly said, "Just one condition." The beldam bit her lip, obviously cautious of being tricked. Finally she nodded, and signaled the girl to continue. "I want to see your voodoo doll. They fascinate me, truly they do."

The eleven year old could've sworn she saw a smile flash across the woman's face. "Fine, take it." she said icily, handing the puppet over without indecision.

That was too easy. thought Coraline, paranoia gripping her firmly. She stepped back towards the mantel. Another step. Button eyes watched her every move carefully, like a cat who was playing with its doomed prey. Abruptly Coraline made a lunge for the pen, and revealed the sharp pen tip with a click!. The other mother made no move to stop her as she jabbed the pen into the doll, ripping it down its back, shredding the fabric.

Coraline yelped, and fell to the ground screaming in agony, a furious sting burning in her back. She precariously reached a hand to the pain, feeling a long gash parallel to her spine. She brought her hand to her face, seeing it was coated with blood, and noticing the tiniest dabbling of black ink swirling within the red liquid. The helpless girl watched the beldam step towards her.

"That was brilliant." said the other mother, sneering. Coraline could feel her life draining out of her with every scarlet drop that trickled onto the wooden floor. "But you were going to die one way or another, the only difference is that you won't be awake for the best part." the beldam continued, shrugging calmly as if there was nothing wrong with the situation.

The other mother picked the child up, who screamed in agony, and placed her haphazardly on the couch. She peeled off Coraline's blood-soaked shirt. The girl was too weak to scream. Tears rolled silently down her face. She didn't feel her pants being slipped off, and drew a final breath before being engulfed in a sea of darkness, drowning in confusion and numbness.

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Coraline's eyes shot open. She was hyperventilating. Confusion surrounded her head. Was it real? she thought. Am I dead? She pulled her head over the edge of the covers. The off-white, cracked ceiling of her room stared back at her. She felt her back. It was smooth and unmarked. She got out of bed and jumped up and down on the splintering wood floor. There was no pain. Coraline laughed, and smiled, and even cried a little. She had never been so happy, so relieved, so glad to be alive. The girl climbed back into bed, and rubbed her eyes of the thankful tears that clouded her vision. Coraline looked outside, where the night was cool and still. Stars gleamed brightly, and the smallest haze of purple was visible on the horizon. A feeling of safety overtook the eleven year old, and, smiling, she fell back asleep,

Two blue eyes stared at her quietly through the window. The cat sat there for a while, watching over the girl, then left without a sound, vanishing into the Oregon forest.