See Jane Runby Joy Fielding, Julie Finneran
Jane Whittaker has awakened to a nightmare. She doesn't know her name, her age ...or even what she looks like. Frightened and confused, she wanders the streets of Boston wearing a blood-soaked dress-and carrying $10,000 in her pocket. Her life has become a vacuumher past vanished...or stolen. And all that remains is a handsome, unsettling stranger who claims to… See more details below
Jane Whittaker has awakened to a nightmare. She doesn't know her name, her age ...or even what she looks like. Frightened and confused, she wanders the streets of Boston wearing a blood-soaked dress-and carrying $10,000 in her pocket. Her life has become a vacuumher past vanished...or stolen. And all that remains is a handsome, unsettling stranger who claims to be her husband, whispered rumors about a dead child whom she cannot recall...and a terrifying premonition that something truly horrible is about to occur.
- Brilliance Audio
- Publication date:
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- Product dimensions:
- 4.31(w) x 7.08(h) x 1.74(d)
Read an Excerpt
She quickly located the small bathroom just inside the storage area. It was a tiny, small closet of a room, containing an old toilet and a broken mirror above a stained sink. The walls were lined with boxes of supplies. A half-filled bucket of water, a mop balanced precariously at its side, rested by the door.
She dashed toward the sink and twisted open the cold water tap, burying her magazine underneath her arm, quickly catching the icy water in her hands and splashing it against her face until she felt as if she could straighten up without fainting. What was going on? If this was a nightmareand this was a nightmare surely it was time she woke up!
Slowly, she lifted her face toward the mirror, then had to clutch the sides of the sink for support. The woman who stared back at her was a complete stranger. There was nothing even remotely familiar about her face. She scrutinized the pale skin and dark-brown eyes, the small, faintly upturned nose and full mouth painted the same shade as her nails. Her brown hair was perhaps a shade lighter than her eyes and pulled back into a ponytail by a jeweled clasp that had come loose and was threatening to fall out. She pulled it free of her hair, shaking her head and watching her hair fall in soft layers to her shoulders.
It was an attractive face, she thought, objectifying it as if, like CINDY CRAWFORD, it was on the cover of a magazine. Kinda pretty, the young man had said. Maybe slightly better than that. Everything was in its proper place. There were no unsightly blemishes. Nothing was too big or too small. Nothing jarred. Everything was where it was supposed to be. She estimated her age as early to mid-thirties, thenwondered if she looked older or younger than she really was. "This is so confusing," she whispered to her image, which seemed to be holding its breath. ''Who are you?"
"You're nobody I know," her reflection answered, and both women dropped their heads to stare into the stained basin of the white enamel sink.
"Oh, God,'' she whispered, feeling a bubble of heat explode inside her. "Please don't faint," she cried. "Whoever you are, Please don't faint."
But the wave of heat continued to wash across her body, sweeping past her legs and stomach into her arms and neck, getting caught in her throat. She felt as if she were melting from the inside out, as if, at any minute, she might burst into flames. She splashed more water on her face, but it did nothing to cool her off or calm her down. She began tearing at the buttons of her coat in an effort to free her body, give it more room to breathe. The magazine under her arm slipped to the floor, and she quickly bent down to scoop it up, pulling open her coat as she stood up.
She took a deep breath, then stopped dead.
Slowly, as if she were a marionette and some unknown force were manipulating her strings, she felt her head drop toward her chest in one seamless arc. What she sawwhat she had seen when she was down on her knees retrieving the magazine but had managed to ignorewas a simple blue dress, the front completely covered in blood.
She gasped, the soft, frightened cry of a small animal caught in a trap. The sound quickly grew into a moan, then emerged as a scream. She heard footsteps, the sound of other voices, felt herself surrounded, overwhelmed.
"What's going on in here?" the proprietor started, then stopped, his words retreating into the open hole of his mouth.
"Oh, my God," a young boy groaned from some where at his side.
''Gross!" his companion exclaimed.
"What have you done?'' the store owner demanded, his eyes searching the tiny cubicle, undoubtedly for signs of broken glass.
She said nothing, returning her gaze to the front of her bloodied dress.
"Look, lady," the man began again, shooing his two young customers away from the door, "I don't know what's going on here, and I don't want any part of it. Take your blood and your hundred-dollar bills and get out of my store before I call the police."
She didn't move.
"Did you hear what I said? I'm going to call the police if you don't get out of here right now."
She looked toward the frightened proprietor, who suddenly grabbed the mop from the bucket and brandished it at her as if he were a matador and she the bull. "Blood,'' she whispered, her disbelieving eyes drawn back to the front of her dress. The blood was reasonably fresh, still a little damp. Was the blood hers or someone else's? ''Blood," she said again, as if the repetition of the word would pull everything into place.
"You got ten seconds, lady, then I'm calling the cops. Now, I don't want any trouble. I just want you out of my store."
Her eyes returned to his, her voice so soft she noticed that he had to bend forward in spite of himself to hear it. "I don't know where to go," she cried, and felt her body crumple, like a piece of paper in someone's clenched fist.
"Oh, no, you don't," the man said quickly, catching her before she could fall. "You're not fainting in my store.''
''Please," she began, not sure if she was pleading for understanding or unconsciousness.
The young man, while not very tall or muscular, was surprisingly strong. He gripped her tightly around the waist and marshaled her quickly to the door. Then he suddenly stopped, looking uneasily around the store. "Is this one of them hidden video shows?" he asked warily, a hint of embarrassment creeping into his voice, as if he might have been had. "You have to help me,'' she said.
''You have to get out of my store," he told her, re gaining his composure and pushing her outside. She heard the door click shut behind her, saw him angrily shooing her away.
"Oh, God, what do I do now?" she asked the busy street. Again, the puppeteer took charge, buttoning her coat, tucking her magazine beneath her arm, directing her gaze toward the traffic. Seeing a taxi approach, the string pulling her right hand shot up, jerking her arm up and out. The taxi came to an immediate stop at the side of the road in front of her. Without further thought, she opened the cab's rear door and climbed inside.
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