The Stranger

Elizabeth stood outside on her front porch. A gentle breeze blew at the bottom of her skirt. She loved the Southern Spring time. The trees were blooming and everything was so beautiful with color and fragrant flowers blooming. It was still cool enough to be comfortable before the humid, sticky weather of summer came. She sighed as she remembered her parents buying the old Victorian house she now lived in alone.

When she was younger, she used to think the house was haunted because it would creek when it settled at night. The old Weeping Willow Tree outside her window would cast a scary shadow on her wall at night. Of course, there was no such thing as Supernatural beings. Her father and grandmother never believed her when she would say there was "a monster" outside her window. Her father simply turned on the light and showed her the branches of the old Weeping Willow Tree outside of the window. She insisted that her grandmother put dark curtains on her window to keep the "monster" out.

Elizabeth remembered the way the baby doll pink curtains would billow in the breeze when Gran would open the window on warm summer nights. The "monster" of her youth long forgotten and the idea of a haunted house gave way to home sweet home. She realized as she got older that the pipes would make noise when the water was on and the heating would make noise that sounded like loud bangs in the basement. There is defiantly nothing supernatural about that at all. Of course, in the mind of a 6 year old girl, everything is scary after a move.

Now, standing on the porch as 26-year-old woman, she appreciated the certain charm that the old Victorian house gave. There were many memories of growing up with her grandmother and father. Her mother had died long ago. She was only 6 months old when her mother died. Her father had died from cancer when she was 13. Her grandmother raised her most of her life.

Elizabeth now lived alone in her mother's house. She had inherited it along with all of her father's assets. Her grandmother lived not that far from her house and she would go check on her and the old farm house she lived in to make sure she was taken care of the way her grandmother had taken care of her when she was younger.

Gran was getting up there in her age and loved having Elizabeth around. Elizabeth was her only granddaughter. Her parents never had any other children.

Her Dad had wanted a son. She remembered her father teasing her about wanting a baby brother. She never really knew what had happened to her mother when she was 6 months old and her father never told her. Her grandmother kept it hushed as well. She never really pushed the issue because it seemed like such a painful subject for her father. He loved his wife and missed her. He didn't plan to raise a daughter all by himself.

He had been diagnosed with lung cancer when she was 12 years old. Most of the time he seemed like a healthy man and you would never even know he was sick. He took care of her the best he could and she loved him. Elizabeth missed both of them very much and wished her father had been there to see her graduate.

Now, she worked as a nurse at the New Orleans Hospital. Elizabeth had no idea that her whole world was about to change that night.

Elizabeth went into the kitchen to make her self something to eat. After cleaning up the dishes, she went upstairs to her bedroom to change into her nursing uniform. Something outside caught her eye. It looked like a figure standing by the side of the road. She turned on the outside light to make sure her eyes weren't playing tricks on her.

Why was there a man standing on the side of the road? He was dressed in black. His face wasn't clear because he was too far away for her to determine if she knew him or not. He obviously knew her and was watching her house. It unnerved her to know someone was watching her house.

She turned her attention away from the window for a split second and turned back around to find the man gone. It was like he vanished into thin air. Elizabeth knew people didn't just vanish into thin air. That had to be the fog playing tricks on her eyes. There's just no way. Could a man run away into the woods that quickly without her noticing him? Looking at the clock, she noticed she was going to be late for work if she didn't leave the house soon. So, she grabbed her purse, keys and jacket and headed downstairs.

Making sure all the lights were off and the doors were locked she made a point to leave the porch light on so she could see to get up the stairs later that night. The full moon was shining brightly in the sky overhead. It was going to be a beautiful night. She regretted having to work already.

Starting up the car, she left her driveway and turned on the radio. They started playing one of her favorite songs. So, she started singing along.

Suddenly, she looked up and saw the man again. This time he was in front of her car. She slowed down so she wouldn't hit him. As soon as her headlights shown on him, he appeared to run off into the woods again.

Elizabeth thought maybe it was an animal scurrying off of the road. But, it was standing on two legs. It was very human looking to her and definitely a man. The blue eyes were bright and he didn't seem to blink at the bright head lights. As a matter of fact, he didn't seem to be afraid that he was about to get hit head on by a speeding car.

That was strange. Most humans that were about to get hit by a car would scream or jump out of the way. At least, hold out their hands for her to stop the car and duck the impact. The man didn't even seem to flinch. At first, Elizabeth thought she was seeing things. There was no way on earth a person could've moved that quickly out of the way of the on-coming car. It was as if there was nothing or no one there at all. Did she imagine the whole thing?

Elizabeth stopped the car and pulled over. She had to know if there was another car pulled over on the side of the road. There had to be a reason that man was standing in the middle of the road. What if someone one needed help? She took an oath to help people. As she pulled over, she didn't see anyone or any sign of a car anywhere on or off the road. Well, if there was someone in trouble out there, they weren't anywhere where she felt safe walking alone in the middle of nowhere. So she got back in her car and continued on down the road.

Elizabeth shook the crazy image out of her head and continued on to the hospital. If that man was in the middle of the road, he was obviously up to no good. He had to be looking for trouble. Why else would he be in the middle of the road? Why else would he not be afraid to get mowed down by a car?

He obviously wasn't hurt because he ran off into the woods like a scared rabbit. There was no car or any other type of vehicle on the side of the road broken down. No other visible people out waiting for someone to slow down and help them.

Maybe it was just a case of the full moon crazies. She imagined a tall, blue eyed man dressed in black standing in the middle of the road. She imagined that man outside her window. Why would he be just standing there staring at her house? Why would he be standing in the middle of the road? Why was he not afraid to get ran over? There was no logical way that a human could move that quick. No logical reason why a human would challenge a speeding car like that.

She parked her car in the garage and headed in to work. The head nurse, and her best friend, Jessica approaches her when she steps off the elevator.

Jessica: "Hey Liz."

Elizabeth: "Hey Jess. What's up?"

Jessica: "Oh nothing. I was waiting for you because I had made some changes on Mr. O'Malley's chart."

She holds up the chart and Elizabeth looks it over. Her head finally clear of the image of the strange "man" in the road.

Elizabeth: "Is he complaining about his meds again?"

Jessica: "No. We fixed the whole med thing."

She shows her some notes Jessica jotted down and Elizabeth signs off on them.

Jessica: "You looked spooked."

Elizabeth: "I'm good. I just have been having an extremely off night."

Suddenly, Elizabeth feels a strange chill go down her back. When she turned around, she saw a new doctor at the nurse's station. He was tall with dark hair and milky white skin. His back was to her and he looked good from behind.

Elizabeth: "Is my face on?"

She gestures to her make up and Jessica nods. The doctor comes over to them.

Doctor: "Hello ladies. I'm Dr. Salvatore. I'll be working with you this evening."

Elizabeth: "I'm Elizabeth and this is Jessica."

Doctor: "Nice to meet you."

He shakes both of their hands and Elizabeth tries not to stare at his amazing blue eyes and the killer smile he gave when he shook hands. He was absolutely gorgeous and very warm.

Doctor: "What have we got?"

Elizabeth: "Patient's name is Mark O'Malley and he was admitted last night for chest pains. We just did a med change because he was having complications with the previous meds."

Doctor: "Well, let's have a look at. Mr. O'Malley, shall we?"

She follows Dr. Salvatore down the hall and into Mr. O'Malley's room. There was a strong attraction to him and she couldn't figure out why he felt so damn familiar. She'd never met the guy before. Come to think of it, he didn't even look like a local. There was no way she would know him or have a connection to him.

He was charming and gave off an air of confidence that was very contagious. He had a definite connection to Mr. O'Malley. He wasn't the type to just fall in love with a doctor. He was a bit of a pain in the ass when he was first admitted and wouldn't take anything the nurses or doctors said at face value. He wanted a full explanation of everything that was being done and why he had to have certain meds.

Elizabeth understood him because he was a lot like her Gran. Gran always said it was her right as a patient to be fully informed of everything that was being done and exactly what the meds were going to do for her and what to do if there was a side effect. She called it self health management.

Mr. O'Malley talked to Dr. Salvatore like he was his long lost best friend. When they finally left the room,

Elizabeth: "Wow, he sure likes you a lot."

Dr. Salvatore: "I have a way with old people. It's why I became a doctor in the first place. I want to make friends with my patients as well as be their doctor."