Maggie felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand straight. She shivered and turned to check the locks on her car door yet again. The doors were locked. Maggie couldn’t shake the thought that she was being watched.
“I am going crazy,” she said to herself. “Kestrel is not watching me. How could she possibly know where I am?”
Her headlights painted the fence around her parents’ house grey as she approached. The fence looked eerie in the fog- diffused light. Maggie pulled into the driveway and looked around. “Kestrel is not lurking in the shadows,” she told herself.
Maggie turned at a noise and saw her mom standing in the open front door, washed by the porch light. “Come in, come in. You’re safe here with us,” she called.
Maggie’s heart warmed. She opened the car door, walked quickly to the trunk to retrieve her bag, slammed the door shut, and ran to the porch. “Mom! You shouldn’t be outside. The police said we have to be very careful.”
“Maggie dear heart,” her mother said. “If I can’t meet my daughter at my door, life isn’t worth living.”
‘Mom! Don’t even think that!”
“Come inside. Your father is out back putting the animals to bed. He’ll be right in. Dinner is almost ready.”
Maggie sighed as she walked into the embrace of her childhood home. There was a fire dancing brightly in the fireplace. Her mom’s favorite candles flickered on the mantle. The dark wooden floors showed their age beneath the shine. Maggie smiled, remembering running from her brother and knocking over a table to cause that long scratch in the hallway. She breathed in the savory scent of a chicken roasting in the oven. “Chicken with roasted potatoes and asparagus?” she asked.
“Of course,” her mom answered. “Your favorites.”
Maggie felt her shoulders relax and the back of her neck release its knots. She was home. She was safe. Tonight, she would sleep in her childhood bed beneath the quilt her grandmother had made. Safe and warm. And full, because there was sure to be apple pie for dessert.