A special thank you to zap-saidthelady on tumblr for helping me out with this chapter!


Lana pulled into the vacant parking spot just in front of the building. Before shifting the car into park and pulling the keys from the ignition, she double- and triple-checked the piece of paper on which an address was hastily scrawled. The numbers and street sign matched up, and she studied her reflection in the rear view mirror. She untied the scarf on her head and pulled it off, glancing at her hair before grabbing her purse and slipping out of the car.

She approached the office building and stopped at the large glass doors encasing the entrance. She studied the call buttons for a moment, her eyes scanning the names of several different professionals listed in the building, though most of the name plaques were empty. The name she had been searching for was right where he'd told her it would be: Oliver Thredson, Psychiatrist: 205. She hesitated for just a moment, and then pressed the button next to the name. She stepped back, still staring at the call box and waiting for a response.

"Dr. Thredson," the tinny voice greeted. Lana blinked at the speaker.

"Uh, Dr. Thredson, it's Lana. Lana Winters, the reporter?"

There was a moment of silence and then a soft rustling on the other end.

"Good afternoon, Miss Winters. I-I'll be right down to let you in."

"Thank you," Lana responded dumbly, knowing that he had already left the intercom and that she was talking to dead air. She glanced around her, looking towards the door as she waited for the doctor to approach.

It was only a few seconds before he appeared, looking just as she had remembered him the previous week. His dark hair was still slicked back, glasses resting comfortably on his nose. He wore black slacks, a white shirt and a thin tie. He pushed the door open for her breathlessly.

"I'm so sorry to keep you waiting, Miss Winters." He gestured with his hand for her to enter, and she stepped past him, turning to look at him once she had been admitted. "Did you have any trouble finding me?" He guided her further down the hallway and toward a set of stairs that led to his office.

"No," she replied, "I've been in this area several times to cover stories, so I had a general idea of where the building was."

When they reached the staircase, he hung back, allowing her to ascend before him.

"I'm afraid my office outside of Briarcliff isn't in the best of areas," his voice came from behind her, "It's part of the reason there's an electronic call system just outside. Better safe than sorry, as they say."

"It's a lovely building," Lana said as they approached the second floor landing, "Are there many other doctors here? It seemed as if most of the name spaces were blank."

"It's a relatively new building," he sighed as he joined Lana on the second floor, "Right this way, please."

She followed Dr. Thredson down a hallway lined with simple white doors. When they came to the door marked with his name and office number, he opened the door and stepped inside, holding the entrance open for her to join him.

She moved into the office and he kept behind her, gently shutting the door as she stood by. He led her into an adjacent room, complete with a small sitting area and a large desk. He turned to her, smiled brightly at her and gestured for her to sit, though not before helping her slip out of her coat and placing it on a hook behind the door. She thanked him quietly, took one of the chairs before her and crossed her legs. He came around to his side of the desk and sat, keeping eye contact with her.

"I'm glad you could make it," he smiled again.

"Well, thank you for having me," she returned the grin, "It's very gracious of you to take time out of your day to speak with me."

"It's not a problem, Miss Winters."

"Please, call me Lana," she shook her head, "Miss Winters is so formal. Just Lana."

He blinked and smiled softly.

"Lana," he repeated softly, "Lana it is."

She smiled again, reaching into her purse and pulling out her notepad. Her eyes scanned the wall behind his head, briefly reading over the various degrees and achievements framed in mahogany. He caught her gaze focused behind him and turned, looking at the wall himself.

"Your degrees are very impressive, Doctor." She caught his gaze, "Your patients are very lucky to be in the hands of someone as capable as you."

He turned back to her, his lips pressed into a small smile.

"That's very kind of you to say, Lana."

She returned a small smile, and raised her eyebrows.

"Shall we begin?" She asked him.

"I think, before we do, I should tell you of my experience and education. It may be helpful to you regarding your source information." He looked at her from beneath his glasses to see her nod. "I majored in biology at Boston University and from there went on to get my Master's and Doctorate degree in psychiatry. I spent four years in medical school and another three in residency. When I graduated, I was offered an position as an adjunct psychiatrist at Briarcliff Manor. From there, I operated my own practice in this building a few nights a week. Now, I'm the full-time psychiatrist at Briarcliff, but I keep this office because I have several patients who are not in the institution."

Lana's pencil worked quickly, using shorthand notes to keep up with the speed of his words. He paused, allowing her to finish her hurried writing. When she had completed, she looked up at him, her dark eyes smiling. She couldn't even try to hide the excitement she felt at being given this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. No other reporter in the Boston area had a one-on-one interview with Bloody Face's court-appointed psychiatrist.

"Do you have any questions for me before we get into the generalities you're curious about?"

She narrowed her eyes at him, leaning forward in her chair.

"What can you tell me about Briarcliff? What is it like inside those walls?" Her voice was low and tinted with enthusiasm.

He watched her for a moment, and she was afraid he'd start to rethink this whole thing, that maybe it wasn't a good idea for her to be here.

"It's dark," he confided in her at last, letting out a soft sigh. "And I don't mean the physical environment-yes, that, too, but- everything about the place radiates negativity. I try to bring a little light to my patients when I come in, but it's difficult, considering. Sister Jude plays that God-awful song over and over, and then they have what they call their 'therapies'. If you're not insane when you're admitted into Briarcliff, chances are you will be soon." He reached into his desk drawer, took out a cigarette and lighter. He slipped one cigarette into his mouth and offered another to Lana, who accepted. He flicked his lighter, first to light hers and then his. She sat back and took a breath before blowing the smoke from her mouth.

"What kinds of therapies?" She asked, narrowing her gaze at him.

He watched her for a moment, taking a long drag.

"Sister Jude would kill me if she knew I was spilling her secrets to the outside world," he released the smoke from his mouth, studying Lana, and then smiled softly before continuing, "There are several different types of therapies used in Briarcliff to attempt to cure patients. You have the standard medicinal therapy, as well as some sparingly offered group therapy sessions. But it's darker than that. Electroshock, hydrotherapy, aversion and conversion therapies. There's an endless list."

She quirked an eyebrow at him, her pencil pausing in its movement on her paper.

"Aversion and conversion?" She wondered aloud. "Meaning..."

"Meaning, there are people who believe a mental disorder can be cured or rectified by exposing a patient to whatever it is that's keeping them ill, and teaching them to be disgusted or repulsed by it. This, in turn, helps the patient convert to a different state of mind. In the same way that one might be sickened by the smell of food when they're nauseous."

"I'm not sure I understand," she admitted softly, "How do you expose a patient to a mental disorder, such as neurosis, and make them feel repulsed by it?"

"Aversion and conversion therapy are mostly intended for those patients with personality disturbances, such as... nymphomania, kleptomania... dare I say, even homosexuality." He kept his gaze on her.

She felt her throat constrict and she raised her chin, clenching her teeth.

"Homosexuality?" She couldn't help but ask, and then realized her mistake. She couldn't let these people get to her. She had known going into this assignment that her sexuality would be a taboo subject, and she would have to keep fighting to prove her worth despite what people thought of who she loved. "How do you feel about that, Dr. Thredson?"

He watched her for a moment before stubbing his cigarette out in the ash tray on his desk.

"I think it's barbaric," he stated finally. "I feel as though we've come far enough in the twentieth-century to realize that there are some things psychiatry cannot change. As far as the act of the therapy itself, it can be grueling. For everyone involved."

Lana felt the tension release in her body and she let out an inaudible sigh. There was a certain beauty in knowing that he wouldn't be on a witch hunt regarding her sexuality in the few sessions they had together. She took a moment to sit back in her chair as she took a few notes while he spoke about the power of a properly prescribed medication and the wonders of modern day psychiatry. As he finished, her eyes began to scan the walls and shelves of the office again. On a small table just to the side of his desk sat a small frame containing a black-and-white picture of a beautiful young woman with dark hair and eyes, no older than Lana herself. In the picture, the woman was staring just beyond the camera, her eyes focused on a point past the lens.

"Is that your wife?" Lana asked casually, nodding to the portrait. Dr. Thredson looked surprised for a moment and turned, smiling when he saw the photograph.

"No, I'm unmarried," his voice was quiet, his fingers gently brushed the glass that protected the photo. "That's my mother. I lost her when I was very young."

"Oh," Lana said quietly, watching his brief but touching interaction with the photograph. "I'm sorry to hear that. She would be very proud of you now, I'm sure."

He glanced up at her, his thumb still on the glass of the frame. His lips curved into a tiny smile.

"I certainly hope she is," he said quietly.

She smiled back at him, thinking nothing of it. For a moment she saw him as the child without a mother, playing pretend at a big desk in his father's suit. She felt a pang of sympathy for him suddenly, and wanted to tell him she knew how it felt to be without a mother; it was something that they had in common. She decided against it, though, and he smiled at her again.

"Now, where were we?"

They spent the better part of an hour-and-a-half discussing the basics of what he believed constituted insanity, the most up-to-date methods of assessing mental stability, and, much to Lana's relentlessness, some unclassified information the newspapers had reported from the Bloody Face murders. She scribbled everything into her notepad, which by now was filled with several pages of small writing. When they came near to the end of their allotted time, he stood and smiled at her again.

"I'll be happy to see you out, Lana, though before I do, would you excuse me for a just a moment?" She looked up at him, smiling. He gestured to the books on the shelf near his desk. "Please, feel free to browse through my library. There may be something of particular interest to your article." He excused himself before disappearing from the room, pulling the door closed behind him.

Lana rose from the chair, stepped to the bookshelf and began scanning the titles. She found one entitled Science and Human Behavior by a name she'd remembered hearing about, B.F. Skinner, and slid it from the shelf, paging through the book. She had only had a minute to glance through the pages before the office door opened and again and Dr. Thredson stepped in, greeting her with a smile.

"I apologize for the delay. I'm anticipating a package and I thought I heard the door buzzer. I was mistaken." He slipped her coat off the door hook and offered it to her. "Shall we?"

As they made their way downstairs, Lana thanked him for his time and help.

"It's no problem at all," he assured her, "I hope you have enough to begin writing an article. We can certainly schedule another time to meet if you require it."

She grinned at him as he pushed the outside door open for her.

"I appreciate that very much, Doctor. I will certainly keep in touch." She stood for a moment before sighing. "Once again, thank you." She waggled her fingers at him in farewell and turned, walking towards her car. She could feel him watching her for just a moment, but then heard the front door click shut.

She sighed, slipping her hand into her purse to retrieve her keys and coming around to the driver's side of the car to open the door. She had just slid the key into the lock when she noticed something odd. The front of the car seemed to be sitting lower to the ground than the back half, and she stooped, looking at the tire.

The driver's side front tire had completely deflated, the car rested on the rim of the wheel. She swore quietly and glanced around. It certainly hadn't been flat when she'd arrived, that was a fact. Could she have driven over a sharp object without realizing it? She reached out to touch the rubber and immediately saw the source of the deflation: a long incision had been made into the tire, measuring nearly as long as her hand. It hadn't been an accident; someone had sliced through it.

She stood again, groaning. Now what? She didn't know how to change a tire; she knew she should, especially in her quest to be a modern-day woman, but she honestly had just never gotten around to learning. She stood for a minute, unsure of what to do next. She could walk to a payphone or a garage and call a tow truck, but she didn't see one anywhere nearby and wasn't sure if there even was one nearby.

It took a moment before the realization occurred to her to use the doctor's phone. Clutching her purse again, she returned to the door and pressed the button connected to Thredson's office.

"Dr. Thredson," his voice greeted once again. Lana took a deep breath and let it out.

"Dr. Thredson, it's Lana Winters again. I'm sorry, my car has a flat tire. Is there a way I could use your phone to call for help?" She felt foolish at having to return to his office so quickly, but didn't have much of a choice.

"I'll be right down," he answered quickly and she stepped back again to wait. As with before, it only took him a moment to appear, though some of the strands of dark hair on his head had come loose and now were astray. He pushed the door open for her once again, tilting his head at her. "Flat tire?" He asked as she entered the building, "What do you think caused it?"

"To be honest, it looks as if it's been cut," she told him as he led her down the hallway. "I suppose you were right about this not being the best neighborhood."

He glanced back at her as they came to the stairs.

"Cut?" He repeated, eyebrows furrowed, "I'm sorry to hear that. Just be thankful you discovered it before you drove away. Who knows what may have happened with your tire like that?"

She pressed a smile to her lips, and then nodded.

"You're right, Dr. Thredson. I am thankful."

They approached his office and he motioned for her to use the phone.

"Take as long as you need. I'll just be out here going through some files." He smiled and she moved into the adjacent room, reaching for the phone receiver. She dialed in her home number and waited until Wendy answered.

"Hello?" the other woman's voice greeted, the sound of a record playing softly in the background.

"Wendy, it's me," Lana greeted her gently, "Listen, I'm all finished with my interview, but my car has a flat tire."

"Oh no," Wendy sighed, "What are you going to do?"

"Well, I'm calling you to let you know that I'm okay, I'm just running a little late."

She heard Wendy smile on the other end. "I'm making dinner."

Lana smiled, too, and turned away from the door.

"I can't wait to see you," she confided quietly, "I miss you."

"I miss you, too," Wendy responded. "Do you want me to call you a tow truck? I just want you home safe."

"Yes, please," Lana nodded, and rattled the address off to Wendy. "You know what kind of car it is. There's no way to miss it; it's sitting right in front of the curb with a huge gash in the driver's side front tire."

"A gash?" Wendy sounded concerned, "Someone did it on purpose?"

"It appears so, but this isn't exactly an ideal area. I don't think it was meant to be any sort of personal attack, Wendy." She knew where the other girl's mind immediately went. Anytime misfortune befell either of them, she couldn't stop herself from going to that dark place. If they became victims of road rage or even bad customer service, Wendy immediately assumed it was because of their sexuality, even though she didn't say it.

"I just worry about you," Wendy said after a moment, "I'm glad you're okay. I'll call the tow truck, but I'd rather you not stay there to wait for it. Will you call a taxi to bring you home?"

Lana promised she would and whispered a goodbye to her before placing the reciever in its cradle. She poked her head out the office door, catching a glimpse of Dr. Thredson, who was slipping into his suit coat.

"I just called my roommate," she informed him, "she's going to call a tow truck. I'm just going to call a taxi to bring me home and I'll be out of your hair."

"Nonsense," came his voice as she disappeared back into the office. "I'm leaving now. I'll drive you."

"Oh, Dr. Thredson," she began, "Please, that's not necessary. I don't mind calling a cab."

"And I don't mind driving you," he retorted, "And I'm not entirely sure you should be waiting outside by yourself right now. The sun is going down and I'm on my way home. It's not a problem."

Lana hesitated for only a moment, placed the phone back in its cradle and nodded.

"Well, all right then. Thank you again, Dr. Thredson."

He gathered his things, and helped her gather hers. He saw her out of the office and followed suit, closing and locking the door behind him before they headed for the stairs.

"I hope my house isn't too far out of your way," Lana told him as they descended the steps. "I'm sure you've had a very long day."

"It's very thoughtful of you to be concerned about me," he told her, leading her out the front door and into the parking lot where his car was located, "but I assure you I don't mind. Now, please, stop thanking me."

He shot her a teasing smile and she laughed quietly.

"Okay, I'm sorry. I'll stop."

He slid into the front seat of his car and unlocked Lana's door. She pulled it open and joined him in the front. She proceeded to tell him her address and he nodded, starting the car and pulling into traffic. There was a long silence between them as she gazed out the window, her fingers tapping her leg somewhat awkwardly.

"So, Lana, we've discussed my background, but you haven't told me anything about you," he glanced at her as he turned a corner. "Are you from the area?"

"I am," Lana nodded, "I grew up about fifteen miles outside of Boston. After high school, I attended Emmanuel College in Boston, where I considered becoming a teacher. It wasn't until two semesters in that I decided journalism was my true calling, and I switched my major."

"Emmanuel?" He repeated, "You didn't strike me as a religious person. Isn't Emmanuel College a primarily Catholic institution?"

"It is," she sighed after a moment, "That was at my parents' discretion. They sent me to an all-girls Catholic school, hoping it might sort me out. They said they had some trouble with me in high school."

"Trouble?" Dr. Thredson smiled over at her, "And what do your parents think of you, now that you're a successful writer?"

Lana cleared her throat, and focused on the road ahead of them.

"I no longer speak to them," she responded. There was no reply from him, though she noticed the way he glanced at her from time to time for the next several minutes.

By the time he pulled up to her house, a light rain had begun to fall and the sun was gone from the sky. He parked in front of the curb, and they both glanced toward the house. The blinds were open, of course, since Lana wasn't home, as was the front door. A cozy orange glow emenated from inside, and Lana couldn't help the smile that pressed across her lips. Home. It was truly everything she had ever wanted, and now she had it. She still couldn't quite believe it.

Just as she had glanced at the open door, Wendy appeared, her face shadowed from the light coming from behind her. Her arms were crossed and her eyes carefully searched the street. When she noticed the car, she stopped and looked.

"Is that your roommate?" Dr. Thredson asked her, and Lana nodded, smiling in the darkness.

"That's Wendy." She looked toward him, "Dr. Thredson, thank you again for the ride. I truly appreciate it. I'm sorry to have taken up so much of your time."

He sat, still watching her, a soft smile on his lips.

"Please, don't feel bad. There's no need."

Lana smiled softly, reaching for the car door handle. Her fingers clutched the lever and pulled, but the door didn't move.

"Oh! I'm sorry," he apologized quickly, pushing himself out of his seat and exiting the car. He appeared on the passenger side of the car, pulling the door open for her. "Sometimes this door won't open from the inside."

He offered her a hand and she accepted as he helped her step out of the car. Lana's eyes met the doorway of the house again and she saw the grin break across Wendy's face. More than anything, she wanted to hurry into the house and sweep her lover into a hug, but she also wanted to be gracious to the man who had helped her so much recently.

"Dr. Thredson..." she began, but he shook his head.

"Don't apologize any more, I mean it," he instructed her.

"Okay." She took a few steps without noticing that he had yet to move. She turned back a few seconds later, and he was still watching her from his spot on the sidewalk. Her heart was crying out for Wendy, but she felt guilty about leaving him standing this way, especially with the suspicion that he spent his evenings alone.

"Dr. Thredson?" She asked, just as he began to move around the car towards his door. He glanced up at her. "Would you like to stay for dinner? It's the least I could do, considering everything you've done for me today."

He hesitated for a moment before shaking his head.

"No, thank you, Lana. I appreciate it, but I really must be on my way." He made his way around to the driver's side of the car and pulled the door open. "I hope to see you again soon. It's a refreshing change of pace from being surrounded by stuffy medical professionals all day long."

She smiled at him, waggling her fingers.

"Goodbye, Dr. Thredson. I'll be in touch." She expected to hear his car start by the time she reached the front door, but when Wendy pushed the patio door open, all thoughts of the doctor had been pushed from her mind.

"Hi!" She nearly squealed as Wendy stepped aside, grinning.

"I'm so glad you're home," Wendy shook her head, then nodded toward the door. "Fancy taxi."

"Oh, that's not a taxi," Lana sighed, slipping her coat off and hanging it in the closet, "That's Dr. Thredson. He said he was on his way home, so he drove me."

"Hmm." Wendy glanced at the car outside thoughtfully before she closed the door. "Awfully nice of him." She quirked an eyebrow at Lana and slipped one arm around her waist. "Does he know you're taken?"

Lana grinned, unable to suppress the soft giggle that slipped out. God, whenever they were alone together, she felt like a school girl in love for the first time. She loved that feeling.

"Oh... are we a little jealous?" She wondered, slipping her arms around Wendy's waist.

"Maybe... just a little," Wendy helped up pinched fingers, smiling.

Lana giggled again, slipping a loose strand of hair behind Wendy's ear.

"Well, I can assure you that I have no romantic interest in him or any other man, Miss Peyser." She smiled gently, "And that's all you have to worry about." She ran a finger under her lover's chin. "Lana Winters can take care of herself."

Wendy smiled again, the playfulness in her eyes replaced with sweet sincerity.

"I know you can, baby," she replied quietly before placing a quick kiss on Lana's lips. There was a quiet moment of appreciation between them before Lana ruefully broke the embrace.

"I'm starving," she moaned, "What's for supper?"

"You're always starving," Wendy rolled her eyes playfully, disappeared behind a set of beaded curtains and into the kitchen before returning carrying two plates.

"Pot roast," she announced triumphantly, then glanced down at it as she placed it on the table. "It's been cooking since three. I hope it's done in the middle."

Lana slid into a chair and picked up a fork.

"At this point, I don't even care. It looks delicious."

Wendy poured them both healthy glasses of wine and then settled into the chair across from Lana.

"So, tell me about your day," Wendy looked up to her lover. "How was the interview?"

"It went well," Lana admitted between bites. She was suddenly ravenous. "Dr. Thredson is extremely intelligent, and kind. He's very professional, but when he's speaking to you, you know you're the only one he's seeing." She shrugged, then glanced up at Wendy. "He's very nice. He wanted to know a little bit about me, but mostly we discussed psychiatry. He gave me a lot of information."

Wendy grinned. "I'm glad. I was half afraid you'd come home still determined to sneak into that damn asylum."

Lana chewed, wrinkling her nose at her girlfriend.

"You know I have to do what I have to do," she teased, "I don't even like it sometimes."

"I know," Wendy said after a moment, her hand slipping across the table to rest on Lana's. "You know I'm so proud of you."

"I know," Lana smiled, placing her fork on the table. "I'm proud of you, too, sweetheart."

Wendy smiled, watching Lana for a moment.

"I'll be right back," she whispered before disappearing from the room. Lana sat alone for a moment, waiting until Wendy returned, taking her seat back at the table. "I got you something. A little present. For all your hard work recently."

She slid a small square box across the table to Lana, keeping her gaze on her girlfriend's face.

Lana blotted her mouth with a napkin before placing her fingers on the box and picking it up.

"You didn't have to..."

"I know," Wendy sighed, and then grinned, "Go ahead, open it up."

Lana's fingers opened the lid, her eyes falling to the item nestled on a soft velvet background. It was a cursive L, a golden pin with diamonds running the length of the uppermost curve. She gasped slightly, her fingers tracing the fine piece of jewelry.

"It's beautiful," she glanced up at Wendy, "Thank you so much." She leaned forward in her seat, catching Wendy in a tight hug, the fingers of her available hand running up her lover's back.

"I thought you might be able to wear it now that you're actually allowed to leave the office for legitimate interviews," Wendy chuckled slightly.

Lana laughed, too, and took the pin from its box. She fastened it on the lapel of her shirt and looked up at Wendy.

"I love it," Lana sighed happily, "And I love you."

"I love you, too," Wendy returned the sentiment, unable to tear her eyes away from Lana.

The rest of the dinner conversation focused on the topics Lana loved discussing the most with Wendy: unimportant and even silly items that left both of them in tears from laughing. Once their plates were cleared and their stomachs ached with the weight of a delicious meal, Wendy cleared the dishes from the table and Lana ran the hot water in the sink. They stood side by side, washing and drying as The Supremes sang in the background.

Lana, humming, tied up the small white trash bag and pulled it from the trash can as Wendy disappeared into the living room. Lana unlocked the back door and slipped into the dark night. She had removed her stockings during dinner and the cool, damp grass tickled her feet as she walked. She moved toward the back of the house, and suddenly felt as if someone were watching her. She turned to the back door of the house, which was still open, but vacant. Wendy was nowhere in sight. She glanced around at the alley behind their home, but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Several cars, none of them out of place. Still, she couldn't shake the feeling that someone was there.

The wind blew, causing goosebumps to rise on her skin, and she hurried to the trash can. She dumped the bag in and raced back inside, shutting and locking the door quickly behind her. She took a moment to catch her breath and collect herself, and by the time she reached the living room, Wendy was on the couch with a joint between her fingers.

She glanced up, smiling, then frowned when she saw the look on Lana's face.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," Lana sighed, "It's just... weird out there tonight."

"Weird?" Wendy repeated.

"Yeah," Lana nodded, looking at her, "I don't know, hard to explain. It just felt like someone was watching me."

"Watching you, huh?" Wendy teased, taking a drag. "Now who's the paranoid one?"

They spent the rest of the evening on the couch, watching television and talking. Wendy was working on lesson plans and Lana was reviewing some of the notes she'd taken during their interview. She knew that tomorrow would be a long day of picking and choosing the most important information to form into an article that would have to impress Emmerman.

Eventually, Wendy had set her lesson plans aside and Lana pulled a blanket over them as they curled together on the sofa. They fell asleep to the blue lights of the television set and didn't wake until a few minutes after midnight, when the television station had already signed off for the evening. Lana gently woke Wendy and they moved into the bedroom, where Wendy fell back to sleep nearly as soon as she was tucked beneath the covers.

Lana blinked sleepily in the darkness of the room, and noticed a light shining in from outside. She dragged herself from the bed and peered between the blinds. A car was still just in front of the house, a pair of headlights piercing the darkness. She squinted, but couldn't make out any details of the car. She knew there were a pair of college students who lived just across the street, but had never seen them leave their house so late. She yawned, closed the blinds and returned to bed.

That night, she dreamt of Briarcliff.