Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

I didn’t hear a peep from Dad until I heard him struggling with my tweed suitcase and duffel bag against the downstairs banister. He set them down in the foyer. Puzzled, my eyes followed him into the kitchen. He picked up a chair and carried it into the living room and set it in front of me, then sat with his back straight and arms folded over his chest.

Dad glared at me with an all-too-familiar expression. It was his I-mean-business look.

After several long-drawn-out moments of our staring at each other, Dad broke the stillness of the room, “Sammy, honey… this can’t… go on any longer.” His lips moved slowly on his solemn face. Unshed tears clouded his blue eyes while he spoke. I hated this.

“You’re killing yourself—I don’t know what to do with you. You won’t talk to me; you ignore your friends.”

I looked hard and long at my father while I stiffened my body, noticing the specks of gray at his temples. When did he get so old? He stared with a flexed brow, not flinching. He knew me well. I could sit there as long as it took for him to leave me alone.

“SAMANTHA! Are you listening to me?” Startled, I gasped. “You have to tell me. Did Lucien hurt you?” My eyes wandered to the white walls. I can’t tell my dad what happened on the mountainside. I could try; if I did, Dad would lock me up forever. I have a hard time believing what I saw in the sky. How would he believe me? My hand reached for Lucien’s crystal around my neck. I squeezed it between my fingers. As I glided my fingers over the smooth stone, I felt my fingertips get warm. Lucien’s crystal generates heat; I’m not sure why yet. It’s all I have left of Lucien.

“SAMANTHA!” Dad shouted again. Startled, the hair on my neck stood on end and catapulted me back to the present. I jerked.

“Look at me, damnit…!” Dad said. I counted four deep-edged lines in his frown; god, his eyes…were so red. “Since you won’t talk to me, you leave me no choice. You’re going someplace where you will have to.” Dad stood, taking the chair with him into the kitchen, placing it back at the kitchen table. His words stung like alcohol poured into an open wound. Dazed, not fully able to comprehend what he had just said, I sat dumbfounded. Dad returned to stand in front of me.

“Get up.” I remained still a moment. His patience dwindled. He pulled me to my feet and opened the closet, pulling out my black winter parka. Stunned, I stood frozen. He held out his arm holding the coat, “Here, put it on, please.” He lifted my arm. “Come on, Samantha, put your arm in the sleeve.” Dad’s movement was harsh and unsettled. It scared me. At that moment, I didn’t know him. He lifted my coat up over my shoulders, helping me put my arms in the sleeves. That’s when it dawned on me; he wasn’t bluffing.

“If we go now, we will get there before dark.” His voice was raspy and slurred like he was exhausted or hung over. I was jolted back to reality. What did he say? I can’t go anywhere. What if Lucien comes back? He won’t be able to find me. Where’s he taking me?

“Huh? Go where?” I said as if awakened from a deep slumber.

“I’m taking you to Oakridge.”

Oakridge? Why?”

“Have you heard a word I’ve been saying?”

“Huh? Dad, what are talking about? Nooo. Just let me be.”

“You left me no choice, Sam.”

“W-what’s Oakridge?” I moaned.

“A place where you will get help.” He is sending me to Oakridge Estates? That’s where they send the kids at school who get busted for drugs.

“Oakridge is a rehabilitation center for troubled teens, Dad!”


He can’t be serious, “Samantha, you won’t eat, sleep or go to school. This can’t go on longer like this. Dad paused taking in a breath, “I’ve HAD IT. I’ve asked you a dozen times if Lucien hurt you or touched you inappropriately. You won’t talk to me. How’d you think I should react? I should’ve insisted you keep seeing a therapist after we moved. I swear, Samantha—I won’t lose you too!”

“No! Dad, don’t send me there. Lucien didn’t rape me! That’s not what this is about.  I promise. I won’t take anymore pills. Give me a rubber band. I’ll put it on. Like before! I promise. I’ll be better. I swear. Don’t send me away…please,” I sobbed.

“Sammy, there are other ways to rape someone without actually physically hurting them. And you’re not telling me. Just because the lab test didn’t find any DNA doesn’t mean he didn’t hurt you.”

“Dad––Dad––I’ll tell you. Wait… Stop and listen––I loved Lucien––he would never have forced himself on me. He’s…not like that.” I stopped. I can’t. Before I knew what was happening, Dad dragged me against my will into the Navigator, but not without fighting him. I fought every step of the way, hoping he would change his mind; but he didn’t.


Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

I slipped and ordered some Klonopin on the internet not my best choice, but without a prescription I didn’t have much of a choice. It’s amazing what you can find on the internet. If I really wanted, I could buy a two headed cat from the market place. It’s a good thing I don’t like cats.

This was a bad night. I didn’t even hear dad come in, “Sam, I have office hours. You want to tag along?”

“What?” I was staring at a recorded episode of Days of Our Life.

“You want to come with me to the office? We can grab dinner afterward.”

“Do believe in life after death?” I asked not looking at him. My eyes still glued to the TV.

“Where’s that coming from?”


“Well? Do you want to come with me?”

“No.” He stood there a moment and left. A moment later he poked his head in the doorway to the living room. “Yes…I believe in life after death. There has to be.” He turned again and was gone.

As soon as he was gone. I ransacked his room. He shouldn’t have left his Ativan in plain sight on his night stand knowing I would check there first. It was careless of him.I popped one in my mouth. With just one fleeting moment of Lucien and went upstairs to wallow in self- pity. So Finn.

I took one too many zombie pills last night. I never made it downstairs today. After that morning Finn made his appearance, I lost track of time. I think it was mid-February. A definite chill filled the air. The long monochrome of winter caused a bleak shadow over my bedroom, reminding me of that cold December day. By the sound of the tapping on the glass, rain was beginning to turn to ice. I looked at the undraped window frame from where I lay in the security of my covers. Tiny crystal-shaped ice stars formed on the windowpane. For the first time in years, New Mexico had record-breaking snow. For the last couple days, blizzard conditions had kept dad home from work, and school had been closed.

My room felt like an icebox. No matter how many blankets I piled on my bed, the chill crept through to my bones. I was content staying curled up in a ball on my bed all day. What I really wanted was to disappear. Something happened to me when the light overshadowed Lucien and me. Whoever took me and brought me back did something to me. I wasn’t the same. I was different. Cassiel knew, but he wasn’t talking.

I opened my eyes for a moment when I thought I heard Dad’s quiet footsteps in my room. “Sammy, its way past noon,” Dad said is a low voice. I paid no attention to him. Sleep beckoned me more. I wanted to dream. I wanted to piece together the flashes of memories the shadows didn’t take. I had to know what they did to me.

I began to dream when all of a sudden I felt Dad’s hand on my arm pulling me from the comfort of my bed. I felt something hit my head. I rolled over. And lifted the package. It was opened. Damm. It was my escape.

“You want to explain?” He shouted pulling my arm.

“Dad, stop, l-let go of me!” I shrieked and kicked all the way down the stairs. He dragged me into the living room and sat me in his La-z-Boy chair.

“Now–– are you going to tell me what’s going on with you? Are you sick––in pain? Why do you need those pills? How long have you been using them? What else are you doing? Should I check for needle marks!” Dad shook me. “What happened to you? You’ve got to tell me! Did Lucien hurt you?” What did Lucien do to me? He broke my heart; that is what he did. If I hadn’t lost it that night, I lost it now. I had a full-fledged meltdown right in front of my father. He just stood there watching. He had no idea what to do with me. I didn’t blame Dad for what he was about to do. I guess me not getting out of bed was the final straw for him. I was just so exhausted. I just didn’t feel like getting out of bed.

“Sammy, please, this is crazy. I realize the doctor said you weren’t—raped. If that’s the case, you’ve got to tell me what happened,” Dad pleaded. After I sobbed like a baby, I just stared at him, thinking of something to say. How could I tell him?

“I miss mom and Finn… and Lucien. I’m sorry I bought the pills. I swear I haven’t taken anything.” My dad left the room and second later he was back holding his empty bottle of Ativan.

“You haven’t been going to your appointments with Dr. Friday?” He was my therapist. I hated going to him. All he did was pick his nose.

“I know. He just wants to pump me up with Zoloft.”

“You’d rather take these? Or buy shit on the internet that’s not even regulated.”

“What’s eating you up Sammy? You won’t tell me where you really were when you disappeared.” Daddy I don’t remember, I thought.

There was no way to say, Oh, by the way, a ship came to take Lucien to his planet, and I went with him. But his alien relatives didn’t want me, so they did what they wanted to me; then they took my memory and brought me back? Dad stood in front of me with red-rimmed eyes. His gaze was relentless; it was obvious he wasn’t backing down. I turned away, averting his burning stare, focusing my eyes on the living room walls, wishing for a crack I could slip away in. I could just imagine what he must have been thinking.

“Samantha––I can stay here––all day.” Dad frowned, looking at me a few moments, then turned and walked away.

He retreated but for how long? Why couldn’t he delve into cleaning or grading papers? Dad paced the floor in front of me until finally he gave up and walked into the kitchen. I caught a glimpse of him as he picked up the phone on the wall. I heard his voice speaking bits of gibberish, but my mind was miles away. I couldn’t make out what he was actually saying.

Dad hung up the phone. A few seconds later I heard the sound of ceramic plates clanging. He must be emptying the dishwasher. Bang. “Damn it anyhow!” Dad barked. I sat there, staring out into space. I could hear him huff and puff. Twice he came in to ask me if I wanted anything to eat, but twice I refused. With an empty expression on my face, I continued to sit in Dad’s recliner motionless and speechless. He came back and stared. I looked at him, not saying a word. He got the message, turned and walked away.


Chapter Six

Chapter Six

I leaned against the door. I wept silently to myself. I wiped my eyes and went into the kitchen to pour myself a glass of water. Somehow I wished the water would wash my pain away, but no such thing happened. I sighed, letting out a deep breath. I stood by the window above the sink gazing out into the darkness. The light from the Jeep caught my eye. I watched the snow begin to cover the windshield. After a few moments, the Jeep’s headlights beamed. I took another deep breath, rinsed out the glass. I noticed a note on the refrigerator.

“Samantha Hunter!!

For Christ sake!! I go to the store and you

take off???

I don’t like you pulling a stunt like this.

Call me as soon you get in!


The TV was blaring in the living room. Dad must have left it on. I hit the switch on the set. I dragged myself up the stairs. I crawled into my bed, not bothering to undress, too exhausted to care to call Dad. Before my head hit the pillow, my phone rang. It was Dad. I somehow managed to explain where I had gone and still have him believe me, even though I didn’t tell him the truth. I turned off the lamp on my nightstand, but my thoughts would not turn off. Sleep abandoned me too.

After I tossed and turned, I began to think of Lucien’s dark black hair, the thick silky feel of it beneath my fingers. I thought of his beautiful luminous eyes and the fullness of his lips, the boyish dimple in his chin and the incredible mischievous grin. Nothing in my future would ever be the same. I thought about how he had saved me from myself. What will my life be like without him?

“Lucien, where are you?” I buried my face in my hands, sobbing; my head throbbed once again with exhaustion. I had never before experienced such a gut-wrenching pain that burrowed so deeply through my veins. I almost threw up. Was it normal to feel this way, or did some cosmic force somehow curse me? Was I missing the one guy or one alien I will ever love? I felt worse now than when Finn died. Finn unwillingly left me, but Lucien left me by his own free will, like Mom.

“Are you going to play the victim forever?” I sat up not believing my ears.”

“Finn!” He was there clear as my reflection standing at the foot of my bed.

“Seriously sis you’re making me sick to my stomach with your self-pity.”

“How is this possible? You don’t look like the vision on the mountainside.”

“Because I’m not a vision.” Finn pushed my covers away and sat.

“What are you doing here. You’re dead.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know.” He laughed. I wasn’t.

“I don’t get it. Why is this happening.”

“Because you had to find a boyfriend from outer space.” He gave me a sideways smirk.

“Is any of this real?” I jumped out my bed and scrambled to my bathroom and tore open the medicine cabinet.  Finn followed.

“There isn’t any. You threw them out.” I pushed by him. I looked under my bed on my hands and knees. “Not there,” he said laughing.

I pulled open my dresser drawers and searched. “Sam!’ Stop. You’re not crazy. You don’t need any Xanax. I’m real.”

“Okay, so now I see dead people.” I said staring at his green eyes.

“You have the blood of an alien in your cells now.” He laughed again. “What did you expect.”

“My cells? Like my eyes and my hair?”

“Have you looked in the mirror lately?”

“Why!” I rushed to my vanity mirror. “Oh my God. They’re like Luciens,” I whispered staring at my reflection.

“You’re going to keep changing until you are no longer human,” Finn said.  with a slight grimace. “And with that comes special gifts. And one of yours is to see dead people.” He said.

“I’m not so sure that’s a gift,” I said.

“I just came to tell you to get your shit together Sam. I gotta go now.”

“Your leaving? You just got here,” I said taking hold of his hand.

As quick as he was here he was gone. Just like he was gone.

This was not a night for counting my blessings. It was a night when every loss I had ever experienced rushed back. I wanted Lucien lying next to me like the night before the Christmas solstice. I wanted to laugh off my fears of never seeing him again­ with the sound of his roguish laughter. I wanted Finn back with me not as dead ghost.

Why did they send me back? I cried myself to sleep, but my shallow whimpers never ended. My nightmares were full of images of shadows that danced around me probing, poking at me. The images never came to me clearly. Some moments were filled with intense pain; others were blissful.

Each night more and more was revealed, but I never saw the shadow’s face. Each day I struggled, trying to forget Lucien. I would pass people on the streets thinking it was Lucien. I would check my phone each day hoping to see his name pop up in a text message. I went to school hoping I would see him in AP History. The days turned into weeks, weeks into months, but still not a word from him or his family. I stopped calling the ranch; it was pointless. The rumor at school was that he decided to be homeschooled like the rest of his family. He was not coming back anytime soon. I would cry out for Finn to come again, but he didn’t.

Dad gave up asking me what had happened between us. I was tired of making excuses why he did not come around anymore; he stopped asking me about that night when the ranger found me naked. The police stopped coming around. I told Dad we broke up and left it at that, but I had no idea how I ended up at the ranger station. I felt like my arm was cut off, missing from my body. My best friend was gone forever.

I went to school, came home, did my homework and managed to keep my grades passable. Every night I would go outside to look at the heavens, searching for a sign from Lucien that he was coming back. I saw only blackness and stars, but none twinkled back at me. Would I have to wait for each equinox until I would see Lucien again, or would I ever see him again?


Chapter Five


Chapter Five

Time stood still as I drove home. I was numb. I’ll never forget the beam of light carrying Lucien and me into the sky. But now… all I feel is a betrayal. After all that we’ve been through, Lucien was gone… or had he ever existed? Was it all a dream, or once again is my sanity in question? I drove the Mustang into the driveway. Squeezing my eyes shut, I held in the tears that welled there and rested my head against the steering wheel. I thought about the last time, I had felt this bad…last April. I recovered then, but this time I wasn’t so sure. Lucien—the person who sustained me through the grief—was now the one causing my sorrow.

Cassiel didn’t say a word when he opened the passenger’s side door. He climbed in and shut the door. I shut the engine off. We sat there a moment, neither of us saying a word. Cassiel reached over and took my hand. “How are your hands?” he said softly. I turned my face away, looking outside at the glimmering white night. It felt surreal… like I was dreaming. He let go of my hand.

“Samantha, I’m sorry this happened to you, you of all people…” his voice faltered. “You have to understand,” he said, clearing his throat, “why it had to be this way. Lucien didn’t know it was going to happen that night.” Cassiel looked out at the road. “It all happened so fast; it wasn’t until the last minute that any of us knew. The wormhole isn’t an exact science,” Cassiel said, trying to explain as his voice cracked.

“The wormhole?” I mocked.

“Yes, Sam, the wormhole. A window where time and space have no boundaries. It was a now or wait for the next opportune moment, whenever that would be.” I didn’t believe him. He seemed genuine, but I didn’t trust him.

“Samantha, you didn’t think your little romance was going to last a lifetime, did you?” He looked at me sideways with an icy edge to his voice, a tone I had forgotten he possessed.

I turned and looked him straight in the eye. “How dare you! You wanted this! How do you sit there pretending you’re my friend?” I shouted. My head throbbed from the sudden rush of blood pressure. My warm breath steamed up the windshield; it seemed strange that anything could be warm right now. It seemed unreal that anything could seem human.

“Samantha, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean it. I thought we were past this hostility. I would never hurt you,” he said in a calm voice. “Lucien had to go. He was the most rational choice. If he had stayed…who knows what may have developed with Banth and Dejaha? They’re not ones to mess with.”

I sat there for a few moments thinking. I peered out the window at the snow falling.

“You betrayed me, Cassiel. You are no better than Lucien. You should’ve warned me.” Catching my breath, I continued, “All of you—Jordan, Michael, everyone, except me—knew that Lucien was leaving. He made me believe we had a future. I did believe that, Cassiel.” My voice trailed off to a whisper.

“Samantha… you must have had some clue,” Cassiel said. I could hear his sneer, even if he kept his mouth still.

“A clue? …I hate you and I hate Lucien!”

“Don’t….Sam… really, what kind of future would you two have had anyways?…What would you do when you started to get old and Lucien still looked like the day he met you, just a little older?”

“I-I never thought about that.”

“Don’t you think Lucien thought of it?”

“So you’re telling me he left because I was going to get old?”

“That’s just a small part of why he left. He saw how complicated it made your life. The Alliance had to make things right. A government official was killed.” I remembered that night on Halloween when we were being tailgated. We were nearly killed. Lucien took the blame.

“But Lucien didn’t kill him. I was there.”

“It doesn’t matter…he was involved.”

I opened the car door and was about to climb out of the Mustang when Cassiel took hold of my arm. “Samantha, wait.”

With all the strength I could muster, I pulled away from his grip. I rushed toward the house, sliding on the ice-covered driveway. Damn snow! I thought it didn’t snow in New Mexico. I’ve been wrong about many things, haven’t I? I heard the slam of the Mustang’s door, and then the Jeep’s door opened. “Sam….” Out of the corner of my eyes, I could see Cassiel standing outside of the Jeep holding the door. I ignored him. I trotted to the front door, leaving Cassiel behind.

“Sam, don’t do this!”

I took my keys out of my purse and fidgeted with the lock. I tried to place the key into the tiny hole, but my hands were too shaky to steady them.

“Sam, wait,” Cassiel said, walking up behind me. “It doesn’t have to be this way.” I struggled to unlock the door once more. I started to panic. “We can figure something out. Maybe there’s a way to get him to come back…. We can work something out with Banth and Dejaha!” I halted a moment listening to him.

“You don’t get it!” I said without turning, “He chose to leave! He doesn’t want to come back, Cassiel.”


Chapter Four

Chapter Four

It was good to be home from the hospital even though Dad wouldn’t let me out of his sight for a second. I felt like I was in prison the way he watched my every move.

The hospital tests came back normal. No one detected that the blood had been switched. The only thing the tests showed was the person was a little deficient in B vitamin. Thank God nothing more was wrong with the blood Cassiel stole from the blood bank at the hospital.

The exam showed no abnormalities, and the doctors had no idea what caused the bleeding or what the puncture marks behind my ears were.

Something happened but what? How did I get back here? How long was I really gone? These questions are what I had to struggle with as time moved on. Nothing made sense, and everything was baffling.

One night for the first time since I had been home, Dad left me alone. I didn’t waste any time; I had to go to the mountainside. I ran out the front door into the snowy evening air where the pitch-black sky encircled me. The moon had a purple hue, reminding me of the lunar eclipse on December twenty-first. Pondering what happened on the hillside, I stood looking up at the snowflakes before I got in the Mustang. What day was this? Was it still December? Ever since I had gotten back, my thoughts were jumbled like something was missing. Nothing could explain what happened, nothing except…. No time to rationalize. I started the engine and made my way back to the eerie spot.

I edged the Mustang right where Lucien’s Camaro was parked that night. The park was deserted. I opened the car door and trudged up to where Lucien and I had been standing. My shoes disappeared into the snow as I climbed. The cold wind bit my cheeks. I shivered. As I walked to the spot where the light had taken us, I kept my eyes on the sky for a sign. Nothing but snow fell.

“He’s not here,” said a familiar voice behind me. I turned quickly to see Cassiel walking towards me. I held my

arm around my chest, trying to keep warm. He looked sad, and his steps were heavy in the snow as he approached me.

“I remember I was with him, but I can’t remember what happened….” My voice trailed off as I searched his gray eyes, hoping he had the answers.

“Sam. Why did you hold onto him?” Cassiel said, his words slow and steady. He shook his head. “Silly female human.”

“I had to…” I said. The way Cassiel stared it was almost like he was upset with me for wanting to leave with Lucien.

“You’re right you shouldn’t have done it. You weren’t supposed to.” I have to do a better job in blocking my thoughts from him reading my mind. Think of my favorite cartoon. Fred Flintstone. Yes. That will do it.

“Fred?” Really?” He grimaced. “Why did you do it?” There was sadness in his voice, not at all like Cassiel. Was it his guilt getting the better of him for not telling me Lucien was going to leave, I couldn’t tell. “Let me look at you,” Cassiel said. He took my hands in his turning them to look at my palms. “You look better than when I saw you at the hospital.”  He was quiet a moment. “You know you’re lucky… they brought you back. Some aren’t so lucky.”

“Why didn’t you tell me he was leaving?” I said pleadingly.

“They brought you back. That’s what matters.”

“How did I get back?”

“You don’t remember, do you?” he said.

“Why? What don’t they want me to remember?” I asked, not sure if I wanted to know. Another truth I may regret.

“Everything,” he said, settling next to me looking so much like his brother, even his mannerisms. It was frightening and comforting at the same time. Part of me wanted to scream and yell and smack him for deceiving me, and part of me wanted to fall into his arms.

“How long was I gone?” I said. Cassiel blinked a snowflake away from his eyelash.

“Long enough for you to see things you weren’t meant to.” His shoulder brushed mine. “You should have a coat.”

“So they made me forget,” I said, ignoring his comment.

“Yes.” I watched the snowflakes fall one-by-one onto his black hair.

“Why? What could they possibly gain from me not remembering? They did something to me. What?” I mused.

“What they do.” Steam billowed from Cassiel’s lips as he spoke.

“Alien experiments… don’t they do unthinkable inhumane things? Don’t they, Cassiel? Is that what they did—to me? Tell me you’re not one of them” I was angry, hurt and humiliated; but most of all I was sad.

“They feel they have the right. You shouldn’t have done what you did,” Cassiel said with flared nostrils. I hated his patronizing attitude.

“What does that mean?” He edged closer, almost touching me. I hated him right then, the alien he was and the man he wasn’t. My world was upside down, all because of a freak twist of fate. I thought back to when Lucien saved me and wished it had never happened.

“Samantha, you’re lucky they let you live. What were you thinking, grabbing hold of Lucien?”

Lucky… they did something to me; how’s that lucky? You’re insane.

“I’m not insane. You’re alive,” Cassiel said, reading my thoughts.

“I would have rather died than been brought back, not knowing if I’m the same person I was before I left—and what about Lucien? I feel alienated from him. He deceived me.” What’s happening to me? This isn’t me talking. I love Lucien. Don’t I?

“He didn’t deceive you, Sam; he had to go.” He glanced around, struggling to find words.

Cassiel moved my hair from my cheek, lifting it revealing my ear. “Did you notice any marks, scars, burns anywhere?”

“How’d you know? Let me guess.” I moved his hand. “You read my mind again?”

“Sam… It’s just what they do.” A disturbing look washed over Cassiel’s face.

“Why! What for?” I touched where the doctors saw the puncture wounds behind my ears.

“It’s an implant. Jordan says it has something to do with a tracking device.”

“Why didn’t it show up on the CT-scan or MRI?”

“It wouldn’t; it’s undetectable.”

I thought back to Area 51 where the government had cut open Lucien’s leg to remove his chip. It seemed like a nightmare ago. The snow was beginning to increase into a squall, making me begin to shiver. “Why would they want to track me?”

Cassiel’s expression told me the obvious; he didn’t need to tell me. I already knew what he was going to say. My thoughts were spinning out of control.

He hesitated before answering, “To keep an eye on you. You have Lucien’s DNA coursing through your veins now.” I pondered his answer.

“They put one of those in me, what they took out of Lucien at Area 51 when he was kidnaped!” I couldn’t breathe… to keep an eye on me? I shuddered at my own frustration.

Cassiel nodded. “Let me see,” he said, lifting my hair again from my cheek. He took a moment to inspect the puncture wounds that were already beginning to heal. “Clean-cut, almost perfect in dimension and diameter. A highly-advanced surgical instrument made these.”

“Can you take it out…” my question trailed off.

“I don’t know, maybe.” He sighed….  “Jordan can take a look at it. Just wait and see; maybe it’s not that simple a task,” Cassiel said in almost a whisper.

“What else,” I said, “did they−do?” I said panicky.

“Sam…” Cassiel said. “I’m not sure, possibly something to make you forget.” He took hold of my shoulders. I didn’t believe him; he wasn’t telling me everything.

“I don’t feel normal…. I can’t remember…. ” I felt like I was suffocating.

“You’re overreacting,” Cassiel said.

“If they wanted me to forget, why didn’t they make me forget about Lucien?” I fell to my knees. I wanted to remember. “Why didn’t they take my memory of him?” I cried.

 “I will never stop loving you, Samantha Hunter,” Lucien had said. I remembered that much. Staring into the sky at the empty spot where Lucien had been, I couldn’t believe he was gone. I could pretend it wasn’t true, but Cassiel was there to remind me.

“I can take your memory of him,” Cassiel said in a somber tone.

“No, don’t.” I sobbed.

An icy breeze blew by me like a kiss of betrayal, an aftereffect of what was once Lucien. It started to snow heavier. I blinked, suddenly aware that Cassiel knelt beside me. My legs wobbled where they lay prone, soaked in the slush of winter. “What happened?” I asked. “What really happened to me, Cassiel? How did I get back?” I asked, not holding back tears.

“The same way they took you… through the light,” he answered. I could tell by his tone he was telling the truth. I looked up; his eyes met mine. His eyes were glassy. I was confused.

“I was naked and bleeding, Cassiel! They found me at the ranger station that way,” I said, looking at Cassiel. He frowned and nodded.

“Sam…” Cassiel said. He touched me.

My eyes met his. “What do you see?” I whispered.

Did he really not know or did he? “Why did they take my clothes? What did they do to me? I can’t stand this.” My teeth chattered from the cold.

“You really do not recall anything? They erased everything?” Cassiel grimaced, holding his chin. “You said you were bleeding….” His voice trailed off to a whisper.

“My nose, ears, just about everywhere…” He grimaced and looked away into the snowy sky. “Not good.”

“What did they do?” My eyes followed his gaze.

“I have my suspicions. Sam….. It’s not going to help matters if you know.”

“I have to know.” I could feel tears welling over.

“Your memory is completely wiped out, it seems; maybe it’s for the best.”

“I have flashes of memory. You know what they did, don’t you, Cassiel?” I tried to remember. “There were lights and sounds, nothing I’ve ever heard. I remember floating through a tunnel into a blue beam of light.”

“Let me try and help you remember.” Cassiel took his hand like Lucien did when he helped me remember the crash. He pressed his palms to my forehead.

“They speak to me. But I don’t hear with my ears; it’s as though the words are in my head—like whoever has me says thoughts—which aren’t my thoughts! I see their hands pass in front of me, touching me. My God! I’m on a table with no clothes on whatsoever! I can’t   move—and for some reason, I’m not scared. I’m not supposed to talk about what I’m seeing. That’s why they took my memories,” I said. Cassiel removed his hand and backed up with furrowed brow.

“Why didn’t you stay on the mountainside with…Why didn’t you stay with me?” Cassiel’s eyes locked with mine for a moment. We didn’t speak. “They don’t believe what they did was wrong. It’s normal for them…. it’s all they know. They have their reasons for what they do,” he said in a low whisper.

“Of course, you’re going to defend them. You’re one of them,” I snapped.

“Biologically yes, but, Samantha, I never knew them. They’re strangers to me. I know them no more than you do.” I clutched the icy substance beneath my fingers with such force that my fingertips split open my skin and heat escaped.

Cassiel took my bloody stiff hands from the snow and held them. “You have to get out of the cold.” He helped me sit. He put his leather jacket around my shoulders, unbuttoned and removed his white shirt to wrap around my bloodied hands. I watched specks of snow melt as they touched his warm skin; I wanted to pull away from him. I didn’t want his help, but I couldn’t. He was all that was left of Lucien. I met Cassiel’s dark gray eyes for a moment and then looked past him to the spot where Lucien and I had disappeared into the beam of bluish light. I tried to stand, but my feet were stuck awkwardly to the ground, and my weight wouldn’t bear me. I was rooted in a cold familiar place I knew all too well. “I will never stop loving you, Samantha Hunter.” Lucien’s words had reverberated in the air surrounding me.

“Why did they bring me back?”

“Samantha…I don’t know, but they did. You’re here now, for what’s it worth.”

“Will I ever see him again?” My eyes boiled over in tears.

“You will…” Cassiel said. “He’s not really gone.”

Cassiel held me until I felt grounded. Patience wasn’t his virtue but with his help, I gradually stood on my own. My eyes were heavy and tired. I wanted to sleep more than anything. I felt drained. “Can you drive?” Cassiel said. I nodded yes and we trudged back to my car as snow showered down on us. If it hadn’t been for Cassiel, I would have collapsed and frozen to death. He pulled me along to my car as if I were a rag doll. I paused as Cassiel opened the driver side’s door, and he took his shirt from my hands. I turned back once more to look at the spot where Lucien and I had disappeared.


Chapter Three

Chapter Three

After, the examine, boredom overtook me. I began to count the tiles on the ceiling. I wished I were home in Pittsburgh; I wished none of this had happened. I was just about to get off the bed and look for my phone when Cassiel came rushing in. Cassiel was Lucien’s brother. When I first met him, he hated me. He resented his brother for saving my life. We were not quite friends now but not enemies either.

“Sam!—you’re alive.” Cassiel hurried over to my side, taking my hand. Startled, I looked down at my hand and then my eyes met his. “We’ve been going nuts trying to find out what happened to you. Daniel finally picked up on your whereabouts. For a while, there was nothing.” Daniel was Lucien’s other brother. He could foretell the future and sense people’s locations, sort of like a GPS for humans. Cassiel held one of my hands and touched my cheek with his other. When he touched me, a feeling of déjà vu swept over me. My hand met Cassiel’s, holding it there for a moment, a little bit out of character, making me uncomfortable.

“Cassiel ?”

“You okay?” he said. I tried to block my thoughts. The Foster’s gift of head hopping a nice way of saying they could read minds.

“Maybe I should be asking you the same question.” He let go of my hand.

“I’m okay, I think,” I said. “The nurse was just going to take blood.”

“Yes, I was,” said a nurse, wheeling a girl in not much older than me. “You have a visitor, I see.” She smiled at Cassiel.

She put the girl in the bed next to me, closed the drape, then left and was back in minutes with a cart. She smiled before she pulled the drape shut behind her. A moment later she put a couple vials of blood on the counter next to me.

“You’re next,” she said, looking at me. “Okay, Samantha, I’m going to take some blood.” The nurse took a piece of paper off a clipboard and began writing on it. I can’t have my blood drawn…. It’s not normal. Lucien warned me. Lucien gave me his blood when he saved my life. They can’t find out my blood is no longer human. Cassiel’s eyes met mine as if he read my mind; then he nodded in agreement. Cassiel and Lucien, like their brothers and sister, had the gift of telepathy. They could read minds. The nurse took a rubber band and tied it just above my elbow. She took a needle and jabbed me. The pain took me by surprise. Cassiel’s face wrinkled with nervousness. I jerked as the nurse took the needle out and undid the band.

“All done, the doctor will be with you in a minute,” the nurse said. I kept my eyes on Cassiel, hoping he understood and had a plan.

As the nurse labeled my blood, a bell rang. Another nurse came in.

“The cardiac in room two just coded! We need you!” The nurse who took my blood set the blood in the caddy and scurried out into the hall.

“Did you do that?” I asked Cassiel.

“Don’t worry; he didn’t have a heart attack. The machine just malfunctioned to buy us a little time,” Cassiel said.

My eyes shot to the tray carrying the caddy with the vials of blood. Cassiel took my blood from the caddy and carefully pulled my name off the vial that contained my blood poured it down the sink and turned on the faucet and pitched the vial in the hazardous waste can.

“I’ll be right back.” Cassiel left and came back a few minutes later with a vial of blood.

“Where’d you get that,” I said watching him put my name on the vial of my blood.

“I made a visit to the blood bank.”

“Who’s it is it?”

“Yours now.”

“No one saw you?”

“The attendant did, but he’s not going to remember a thing.”

“You didn’t hurt him did you?” Cassiel smiled.

“Oh course not,” he said raising an eyebrow. I had no idea if he was telling the truth or not. The last thing I wanted to do was get anyone else involved in my messed up life.


Chapter Two

Chapter Two

The EMTs arrived and I was taken in an ambulance to Memorial Hospital’s ER. While I waited for my father, a female detective came in and asked me a bunch of questions. I tried to convince her that I couldn’t remember. She didn’t believe me. The detective was beginning to explain to me I needed to be examined when my dad walked in.

“Sammy, baby… I’ll kill him. I swear.” My dad ran to my side. He looked as though he hadn’t slept in days. I was glad to see him but had no idea what I was going to tell him. He would never understand. I had a hard time believing it myself.

“Daddy,” I said, hugging him. “Lucien didn’t do this.” He sat down next to me, taking hold of my hands.

“You weren’t like this when you left the house, Sammy! Someone did this to you!”

I sat up, letting go of his hands, and pulled the sheet tightly against me, somehow shielding myself from their unwanted penetrating glares. I felt defenseless.

“It wasn’t Lucien.” My ears began to ring. It was hard to hear my father’s voice. I started to get restless. He directed his attention to the detective.

“Then where is he? Well?” Dad raised an eyebrow and rubbed the weariness from his eyes. “You know what happened to my daughter?” Dad asked, looking at the detective. The detective pursed her lips tightly. She shook her head.

“And you are?” Dad said.

“I’m Detective Marshall, the lead investigator in your daughter’s disappearance.”

“Well then, are you going to tell me where my daughter’s been for two weeks?”

 “I’ve been gone for two weeks? Are you sure?” I said wincing, trying to make sense of all this.

“Sam,” Dad said. “What happened to you?” he asked with a furrowed brow. When I didn’t answer, he squeezed his eyes closed as if in pain. He was as clueless as I was.

“I don’t know,” I replied, holding my hands to my ears, trying to ignore the ringing that was growing with intensity.

Dad grimaced. “Are you in pain?” He took hold of the bedrail.

“My ears,” I moaned, looking at my dad, pleading with him to relieve my pain. I closed my eyes, wishing it would go away.

“Sammy?” Dad moved in close to me with a puzzled look on his face. “Detective, get the nurse,” my dad said in a frantic voice.

The nurse then came in with Detective Marshall. “I don’t see anything,” the nurse said.

She left and returned with a tall, dark-skinned man.

“My ears… they’re ringing,” I said to the doctor. I opened my eyes facing my dad. “It won’t stop,” I said. “Make it stop,” I pleaded. My dad’s eyes met the doctor’s.

“There seem to be two small puncture wounds right behind your daughter’s ears. Neither MRI nor the CAT scan found anything, so I’m not sure what these are,” the doctor said with a slight accent. They both looked dumbfounded. My dad grimaced and said nothing.

“What the hell is it?” The lines on dad’s face edged with worry.

The doctor frowned, turning to the detective, “I’ve never seen anything like it before.” I’m sure he hasn’t.

“And, unfortunately, your daughter really needs a rape kit,” the detective said.

Dad grimaced, holding his brow. “A rape kit! Sammy, Christ!”

“I wasn’t raped; this is a mistake!” I yelled.

“Your daughter is bleeding. She’s not menstruating; we should do a pregnancy test as well,” the doctor said.

“Sammy, you aren’t pregnant, are you?” Dad shot me a disturbing look. His patience seemed to be starting to dwindle.


“Is it a possibility?” said Detective Marshall, staring at me.

“No! I swear I’m not…. I’m not.”

      “At any rate, we can do a pregnancy test to eliminate that in the meantime. I’ll let you two decide about a rape kit.” The doctor said, “You’re going to be fine, Samantha.” The doctor turned and walked out of the room.

“We need to find the person who did this. There may be evidence, and a rape kit will find the DNA we need,” Detective Marshall said. Why is he listening to her? I pleaded with my dad not to believe any of this. She was mistaken. She had to be.

I wish I could remember. The ringing was getting stronger with every moment. The more I tried to remember, the stronger the sound became.

“Sammy, what happened to you…just tell me!” The vein in Dad’s temple pulsated. “I’ll kill him….”

“That’s exactly why I would never tell you anyways!” He raised his brow.

“Sam?” I could tell my father was losing his patience. I didn’t blame him; I wouldn’t believe me either.

“Nothing. Lucien didn’t do anything …. It was my fault.” I tried to explain.

“What was your fault?” the detective asked.

“Lucien didn’t rape me.” I began to get more irritated at this thought.

“Samantha,” Detective Marshall said. “The nurse will be in, and a doctor will do an exam. They’re going to take a sample of your blood and check under your fingernails to see if there were a struggle between you and the person who did this. They’ll check for sexually transmitted diseases. The nurse will collect fluid samples, urine, semen and hair samples. Okay?” She patted my hand. I pulled away.

“Do I have any choice in the matter?” I looked at my dad, then at the detective.

“Samantha, it’s up to your father.” Detective Marshall glared at my Dad. By the looks on their faces, I had to come to grips with their decision.

“Do it. She doesn’t have a say in it. She’s under 18.” My dad stood and walked out. I watched him leave, gritting my teeth.

Detective Marshall smiled. “It’s going to be quick. Everything is going to be fine. Okay?”

She smiled again and left me to my thoughts.