As if living on this planet isn't scary enough, Tessa is randomly attacked by a man she's never seen before in her life. Although she's escaped death, she has a mission to find out why she was attacked and who her attacker is. With the help of a close neighbor Parker, Tessa begins to find out that she never really knew anything.


1. Attacked


I put the bags down and told the kids to go in the other room while I put everything away. They pranced into the living room so innocently and even though they drove me crazy seventy five percent of the day, I would never give them up for anything in the world. Glancing down at the bags, I couldn’t help but wish they were maybe just a little bit taller. I really didn’t feel like putting anything away.

Everything was scattered across the table and I was taking my time putting everything in its designated spot when a shadow in the backyard caught my eye. My body immediately went on high alert. It was a tall shadow but that was all I could see. The lighting outside and the moon didn’t shed the necessary light for identification purposes. I had asked my dad a while ago to put in a flood light, but he’s a man and when you ask a man to do something….

There was a knock on the door to the kitchen. Suddenly, in my own home, I felt extremely vulnerable. I didn’t know who was on the other side of the door. No one I knew, that knew how I was would come to the back door. The only thing I could hear was the TV blaring from the other room and I was too afraid to leave the kitchen to go and turn the TV off.

Whoever was on the other side knocked again, this time louder, more urgent. It was obvious that I was home, I couldn’t pretend I wasn’t. Reaching for my cell phone on the table, there was a bang on the door. I jumped back from the table without my phone and from the corner of my eye saw the kids peeking hteir head into the room.

“Who is that Mommy?” Tyler asked.

Both kids wore an expression on their face that broke my heart. They were terrified, I was terrified, and I couldn’t hide in a corner hoping for the best. The mom in me sprang into action as I heard a strange sound on the other side of the door. A gun going off? My question was answered when the doorknob tilted as though it had been broken from the other side.

“Go,” I said to the kids. “Go out the front door, and run to Mrs. Griffan’s house. Don’t look back and call the cops once you’re there.”

My six and my five year old stared at me in complete horror. How could I further explain the urgency?

“Go now,” I demanded and they took off hand in hand, Tyler in the lead.

I looked back at the door, slowly opening and looked at my phone wanting so bad to take it with me but I had no time. Gym class had never been a fun experience for me and I often wondered how I would react if someone was chasing after me, trying to kill me. I was about to find out.

The first bullet buzzed straight by my head and landed deep in the door panel of the front entrance. My heart beat escalated as I made a sharp left turn out of the house. Mrs. Griffan was to the right of us and I wanted to be going in the opposite direction as the kids. The last thing I wanted was one of them getting hit by a bullet.  My attacker didn’t skip a beat.

I knew it was against all the rules to look behind your back, but I couldn’t help it. I had to see who was coming after me. He was drenched in black from head to toe. His dark hair was long and covered the majority of his face so I could see much. His arm rose again and I tried running in more of an erratic motion so he didn’t have an easy target.

“HELP,” I screamed doubtful that anyone would hear me. The houses were so far apart and the majority of residents were elderly people.

I ran towards the only house whose occupant I knew would be awake. Parker’s house was all lit up and I urged myself to run faster, I even promised to whatever being watched down on us that I would take a self-defense class or run every morning if I could be given the strength to live through this.

The footsteps of the man behind me picked up and with the sound of him gaining on me, I pushed myself to go even faster. He was trying to get me alone. Probably less of a mess if he could take me back to my vacant house and kill me.

“Parker!” I yelled at the top of my lungs but there was no response, just the whistle of a silenced bullet. My arm lunged forward and I didn’t realize it was because I was shot until the warm liquid started to drip down my arm. “Shit!”

I reached the porch and the man chasing after me continued behind me, faster than before. I banged on Parker’s door and got no answer. He had music on loud enough to deafen a person. I knew I should have, but big salty tears started dripping down my cheeks. All I wanted to do was be home with my kids and getting ready for bed. Instead, I was running around my neighbor’s house being hunted by some mysterious man like an animal.

I started to throw things at him. Garden gnomes, potted plants, ceramic decorations, anything I could to get him to slow down a little bit. I even through a plant at Parker’s window trying to get his attention. Something must have worked because the back came on. Well, at least he had a flood light.

Running up the back patio, I opened the swinging door and knocked furiously. It opened and I pushed Parker out of the way and closed the door behind me. There was a shot on the other side of the door, the man was trying to break the knob like he’d done with me. Unbeknownst to him, Parker had a deadbolt, unseen from the outside. It was going to take him a little bit longer.

“Jesus, Mac! What’s going on?”

I was out of breath but somehow I managed to say, “911. Call. Please.”

Parker took his cell phone out of his pocket and dialed, explained the situation, and came back to me. “Where are Tyler and Jamie?”

As much as I wanted to answer him, I couldn’t get the words out. I was dizzy and I felt like I was going to throw up. I didn’t know how bad the wound was, but I’m pretty sure it was the culprit for my lack of energy.

There was a crash in the front of the house. I clung onto Parker praying that he wouldn’t leave me. Turning to me, he said, “Go upstairs.”

I shook my head. Anyone who ever went upstairs in the movies got killed. But I had wanted my kids to trust me because I knew what I was thinking in my own head and they listened to me. I had to trust Parker. Using the railing, I pulled myself up the steps and managed to get into Parker’s room.

There was a scuffle downstairs and I felt like a coward hiding in a closet waiting to be saved – or killed. I should be down there helping Parker, I’d been the one to get him involved in whatever this was. I was about to go downstairs and possibly do something to help when I heard the sound of a gun go off and then the struggling ceased. I fell back in the closet hugging my knees to my chest. Parker could have been shot and it was my fault.

Footsteps sounded on the stairs and I squeezed myself tighter, blood still oozing from my arm. My body was vibrating, shaking violently but I wasn’t sure if it was from fear or the wound. I took a deep breath when I saw my attacker enter Parker’s room from a crack in the closet door. I prepared myself for how this was going to end but my kids flashed through my mind and I knew I couldn’t allow myself to go down without a fight.

The second the closet door was ripped open, I charged my attacker pushing him down onto the bed and making my way out of the room. Not used to the structure of the house, I lost my balance and fell face first toward the top of the stairs. A hand gripped around my ankle and yanked me back. I kicked as hard as I could, finally breaking the hold he had on me and pushed forward running down the steps but it was useless.

At the bottom of the stairs, the man wrapped his hands around my throat and I could finally get a good look at him. He was in his mid to late thirties but his eyes were older, tired. There was a scar that diagonally ran from his cheek bone to his bottom lip. His jaw was clenched tightly as he squeezed the air from my lungs. Spots formed in my vision and my body started to drop.

I thought I was dead when his grip abandoned my throat and I slid onto the floor. I could hear the sound of police sirens and a pounding on the door. I tried to move or say something but my throat was sore and I didn’t have the strength to move.


The voice was familiar and surely I must be dead because it was Parker’s voice and he had been shot.

“Sir, you’re going to have to step back. A medic is coming in now to take care of your wounds.”

“I’m coming with her,” Parker said.

Maybe I wasn’t dead. If Parker was talking to someone still living that means that he wasn’t dead. What the hell was going on?

“Sir, you need to be checked out first. You were shot.”

Parker was shot but he had lived. I was alive, I must have been. What about my kids? Where were they? Were they okay?

My lips parted and it hurt to breath, hurt even more to talk but somehow I managed to speak. “Are they okay?”

Parker took my hand in his own. “The police are getting them now.”

“Did they catch the guy,” I asked. I winced as they put me onto a stretcher, my hand never leaving Parker’s. “What happened?”

“He ran off.”

My eyes fluttered and Parker’s face came through. It was nice to look at and I was glad it was the first thing I saw. His blue eyes calmed, his words were soothing. But to believe that this man who not only forced himself into my house with a weapon and ran after me, but almost killed Parker and tried to finish me off was out there and gone was a bunch of bullshit. He wasn’t going to go away. For some reason, he wanted to kill me and I had a feeling that just because I lived the first attack didn’t mean that I would win in another round.

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