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Fingerprints #2: Haunted
Rae Voight's clock radio started blaring. Without lifting her head off the pillow, she reached over and jammed the snooze button.
"I'm watching you, Rae."
Rae scrambled out of bed, her heart scraping up against her ribs. Someone had been in her room. A stranger. The thought she'd picked up when she touched the snooze button didn't feel familiar. It wasn't from her dad. It wasn't from Alice, the woman who cleaned their house. It wasn't from anybody who had any reason to be there.
Okay, okay, she told herself. First thing you need is information.
"Come on, you freak, tell me who you are," she muttered. She ran her fingers lightly over the radio, then over her nightstand, including the little lamp.
"I'm watching you, Rae" "I'm watching you, Rae" I'm watching you, Rae" "I'm watching you, Rae" "I'm watching you, Rae"
The thoughts were full of hatred'hatred and fury. She could feel the emotions rush through her body, starting the acid pumping in her stomach, making her knees shake, increasing the temperature of her blood.
No. This can't be happening, Rae thought, her heart now ramming into her ribs. A whole...a whole team of people couldn't have been in here. It was impossible.
Impossible? Like someone planting a pipe bomb in a bathroom to kill you? Rae asked herself. 'Cause that kind of impossible, it's possible, and you know it. It hadn't even been that long since it had happened.
Slowly Rae backed way from the nightstand, her eyes locked on it as if it was going to hurl itself off the floor and attack her. She stumbled into her desk chair and grabbed itssoft leather back to steady herself.
"I'm watching you, Rae" I'm watching you, Rae" I'm watching you, Rae"
She shoved the chair away from her--"I'm watching you, Rae" I'm watching you, Rae"
--and bolted to the door, then wrenched it open.
"I'm watching you, Rae" "I'm watching you, Rae"
The hallway was quiet except for the faint sound of Rae's father snoring. She stood perfectly still, trying not to even hear her own breathing. The intruder-'no, the intruders were gone.
Shower, Rae thought, letting out her breath. Then she could think--really think'about what she should do.
Rae hurried to the bathroom and shoved open the door with her shoulder. She pulled the door closed with two fingers and locked it.
"I'm watching you, Rae" "Watching you"
Shaking, she switched on the water. These people...they had been here, too. Everywhere. What hadn't they touched in her home? She stood under the warm spray, the scent of her citrus shower gel filling her nose. She turned away from the nozzle, then leaned back her head and let the water soak her long, curly hair. She'd wash it. Then she'd come up with some kind of--
Rae's eyes locked on the showerhead. There was something glittering behind the dozens of little holes. Every nerve in her body went on red alert. Had they done something to the shower? Was this the second attempt to kill her?
Rae jerked off the water, then pried at the showerhead with her fingernails. She had to get it off, had to see what was under there. One of her nails pulled away from the skin. The pain brought tears to Rae's eyes, but she kept jerking at the showerhead. Finally the part with the little holes came free from the base, and underneath--
"A camera," Rae whispered. She leaned out of the shower and grabbed her toothbrush from the sink."Watching you"
Ignoring the thoughts from the brush, Rae used it to stab at the tiny camera lense until it cracked, then she scrambled out of the tub, banging her anklebone on the side and managing to step on one of the pieces of glass.
Damn. Rae grabbed one of the big bath sheets off the towel rack and wrapped it around herself. She needed to do a full-house search for more cameras. But she couldn't walk around leaving a blood trail. She balanced on one foot and pulled the piece of glass free, then opened the medicine cabinet--
"I'm watching you, Rae"
--and screamed. A man was peering at her between the little shelves. He reached through and grabbed her by the shoulders. Shook her. "Rae," the man exclaimed. He sounded like her father.
Rae's eyes flew open, and she saw her father standing over her, his blue eyes locked on her face. She sat up, pulling free of his grasp.
Oh God, it was a dream, she realized, glancing down at the blanket clutched in her hand.
"Sorry. I guess that dream scream came out real, huh?" she asked, trying to sound normal.
"I'll say," her father answered. "It must have been quite a nightmare." He waited, and Rae knew he was expecting her to tell him what it was about. But she didn't want to think about it for even a few seconds more.
"Yeah," she answered. She glanced at her clock radio. 4:01. "But I have time to get in a good dream before I have to get up." She hoped she didn't sound as freaked as she felt. She didn't want her dad to start worrying. For months that's all he'd done--worry about her.
"Let me get you a glass of water," he said.
"That's okay," Rae answered, but he was already out the door. Rae used both hands to shove her hair away from her face. The roots were damp with sweat.
It was just a dream, she told herself. But that didn't make her feel any better. Yeah, it was just a dream...Fingerprints #2: Haunted. Copyright © by Melinda Metz. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.