Anna worked the gag around her mouth off. “Miranda,” she cried—desperation clung to her words. “What are you doing here?” Miranda lifted the Velcro piece on her uniform and exposed the FBI logo. The truth was unfolding before Anna’s eyes, and my heart nearly beat out of my chest as I measured her response to someone she thought was a friend. Someone who hadn’t fucked her 24 hours ago. “Are you OK?” Miranda whispered, cupping her face. She nodded. “You’re with the FBI?” Miranda brushed over her hair. “I suppose I have some explaining to do,” and smiled. “You need to be looked at by a doctor first, sweetie.” “There are spiders everywhere down here,” one of the agents said. “Adam…I need to speak to Adam,” Anna exhaled out frantically clinging to Miranda. “TJ’s going to hurt him. TJ will kill him!” Nine sets of eyes fell on me. I was up. I’d never been short for words in my life. But nothing in my life had ever meant so much. Miranda stared past Anna directly at me. Then it happened, she turned around.
“Jesus Christ!” I whispered, but loud enough for all to hear. Holy mother of God, half her fucking face was swollen to more than twice it’s normal size. Instinctively my fists clenched, and when I spotted the bite mark near her neck, I spun around and furiously kicked TJ with the bottom of my foot—twice—until Hamilton lifted me in a bear hug and jerked me away from him. “Adam!” Anna cried and my eyes darted up to hers. She quickly covered her swollen face with one of her hands and looked down. “You’re FBI?” she asked. I stood there like a coward unsure of what to say and scared to death of losing her. I was going to lose her. “Get him out of here,” I ordered, glancing back at TJ who was now being transferred to a gurney. There was no way in hell he was going to witness my downfall. “Adam…you’re FBI too?” Anna asked again, her voice cracked and she wobbled unsteadily until Miranda reached out to steady her. “This victim needs medical attention. What are you all waiting on?” I addressed all of the agents watching this unfold and found it to be bullshit that they’d forgotten how to do their jobs. Miranda’s eyes narrowed and she shook her head while still glaring at me. “Adam?” Anna said as fresh tears trickled slowly down her face. “Yes, Ms. Brice. I’m FBI.” “Ma’am, we need you to come with us. We are going to be taking you to the hospital. Ok?” Anna’s eyes flickered to the paramedic unit then quickly back to mine. Desperate eyes. Hurt eyes. Wounded eyes. I pivoted to walk away. “Adam?” I cautiously glanced back at her. “Did your parents die on Halloween?” I hesitated for only a second. It seemed a trivial question, but I knew why she asked. “No.”
Waking up woozy with the blood pressure cuff tightening around my arm, I glanced around the bare room and saw a blur of someone rush through the door…leaving. A strong antiseptic smell penetrated my fog and I scrunched up my face, causing pain to ricochet off my nose and up into my eye and temple. Then a flicker of flashbacks blew threw my mind in a haze. Adam…TJ…ADAM! I lay there allowing the immense pain to engulf me…to swallow me whole. Tears came immediately at the recollection of what had happened tonight, all that had transpired. The uncomfortable, strange aloneness of this room was suffocating and I wanted out. I wanted to be in my house—the place where I could hide away from the cruelties of the world, where I could grow numb again. Trying to catch my breath, I pushed the nurse’s call button as sharp pain radiated in my back and chest. An unfamiliar man in a suit stepped into the room and glanced around, leaving as quickly as he arrived. The nurse passed him in the doorway. “Anna. You’re awake. How are you feeling?” she asked. I nodded. “I