Disclaimer: All characters belong to Charlaine Harris.


I woke up in complete darkness. Where was I? I was in a soft, warm bed – alone. Thank God! I seemed to be wearing a large T-shirt. I tried to remember what had happened. What time was it? What day was it? What was that strange metallic taste in my mouth? Ugh – I really had to pee. I reached around where I thought a night stand might be and knocked something down that landed with a thud. Well, that wasn't the light. I groped around some more – table lamp! I quickly switched it on and squinted. I could just make out a bathroom. Important matters first.

As I washed my hands, I noticed a new toothbrush and toothpaste on the sink. What a thoughtful host! I eagerly brushed my teeth – I couldn't get rid of that metallic taste fast enough. Surprisingly I looked good. My skin was especially clear, my hair was glossy. I moved my body parts experimentally. I didn't have any aches and pains; even the blister I had worn on my heel (damn new shoes) was gone. The T-shirt I was wearing reached almost to my knees. Was I in the house of a very big man? The Shamrock, a casino, was emblazoned on the front. I was in the house of a big man who gambled? I turned on the overhead light in the bedroom and crawled back in bed to think.

The sheets and blankets were very nice. A successful gambler? The rest of the room was Spartan, to say the least. A nondescript bed, dresser, night stand ,and lamp made up the furniture in the room. The walls held no pictures. I was in the spare room, most likely in the basement, of a big man who was a successful gambler. I cast about with my other sense. Nearby I could sense a void (when had I encountered that before?), otherwise nothing. I got up to check the closet and dresser – both completely empty. I did notice a small cooler upside down near the night stand; obviously what I knocked over earlier. Inside I found a turkey sandwich like you could find in the refrigerated section of GrabItQuick, a bag of fire Cheetos, a moon pie, and a red Gatorade. Interesting selection. I opened the Gatorade and sandwich. Then I ate the moon pie. I was still a little hungry, but I set the Cheetos on the night stand. Stuck to the side of the bag, I noticed a post-it note. It read: I will see you after dark. E

I was in the guest room of a large man who was a successful gambler, who liked fire Cheetos and moon pies, and whose name stared with an E. Earl? Evan? Ed? Eli? Eric? Elliot? Elmer? Eugene? I might have giggled just a little. Was he off at the casino now? I decided to explore the rest of the house and locate two things: a phone and my clothes. I turned the doorknob of my room and nothing happened. I tried again. Crap! I was locked in! I took a deep breath and tried to calm down. Maybe E didn't want a strange girl wondering around his fancy house while he was out gambling. How did I get here? I crawled back into bed again to think.