A freak accident leaves Persee with an eye injury that mysteriously influences those around her, so she exiles herself to protect those she loves. Enraged by her decision, her enthralled ex becomes a danger to Persee and her family, forcing her to find a way to end his obsession or die trying.
NOVEMBER / 2014
I wake up afraid.
It’s dark, and I don’t know where I am until my fingers curl against the cardboard box I collapsed last night in the hydrangea patch behind Bethel Lutheran Church. My eyes—cursed, contagious, poisonous—are drawn to the stars overhead, visible through winter-bare oak branches, as I listen to shuffling steps approach through leaf litter and underbrush.
I thought he wouldn’t find me here.
The hydrangeas—a mass of serrated green leaves and pink blooms in the spring and summer, but no more than skeletal branches now that December is almost here—sit at the edge of a large swath of grass between the rear of the church and the caretaker’s cottage. The lawn serves as the warm-season site for potluck dinners, used clothing swaps, barbecues, make-shift flea markets, and the annual church Easter Egg hunt. It’s only a decent place to sleep—private, but a tight fit, the long, woody stems poking and prodding all night long, and, in the fall at least, riddled with deer ticks—but it’s one of the few places where I can see the stars without worrying about the police running me off, or some good Samaritan offering food or blankets or Jesus-induced salvation.
“Where are you, Persee?” Tim calls. He sounds rough, but more like the old Tim than last time. “I need to see it. To feel it. Now.”