Cora was eight and a half months pregnant. She had been being plagued by nightmares of being chased by something in the dark. She never saw what it was and always woke when it pounced on her. She would wake up screaming to Abel and Abigail trying to comfort her. They both believed it was the pregnancy intensifying her gift. She asked Abel to keep a lookout for kills done by an animal like creature. He had come back with bodies found in the woods after being torn to shreds by an unknown creature. She was sure that the spirits of those individuals were haunting her and seeking justice.
“Do you have to go to work today?” Cora asked. She was so scared.
“My boss promised me I would receive a lot of time off. He says I deserve after catching Mr. White.” Abel slipped on his jacket and pulled her into his arms. She was shaking. He kissed her, trying to reassure her that everything would be okay.
“I know I’m being a coward, but I’m so exhausted and my hormones are not helping.”
“I wish you could tell them to leave you alone. Don’t they know the value of making an appointment?”
“It doesn’t work that way love.”
He kissed her again and tucked stray hairs behind her ears. “I’m not that far away, all you have to do is call.” He left, locking the door behind them. She had given him her word that it would stay that way until he came home.
She did her best to entertain herself by watching tv. It only got rid of about 2 hours for her. Then she decided to pick up a book and try to read. If she couldn’t explore herself atleast her mind could. She read a series of unfortunate events. Halfway through she set it down and started pacing. She wanted Abel to come home. She now hated she was sucha fast reader because even reading that far left quite a few hours until he’d be there again.
Abi said “Cora calm down. He’ll be home soon. Why don’t you finish your book?”
“I don’t feel like it. Would it really be so bad if we went outside for a few minuets?”
“Yes it would! Why don’t you take a bath or somthing?”
“Are you saying I stink?” Abi laughed “No, baths just relax you”
Cora huffed, but decided Abigail was right. A nice warm bath sounded amazing. She went into their room and pulled a long skirt and her yellow Bowie shirt out of the chest of drawers. She laid them on the bathroom counter and switched on the water. Putting the plug in the drain was harder than she liked, but she managed. She pulled her clothes off and stepped into the water. Abigail sat on the bathroom counter in case she needed help. She could generate enough energy now to help Cora up and down or to catch her if need be. Cora slid down into the warm water, using her toes to switch off the faucet when the tub was full. She closed her eyes and drifted off.
Abel had been called to another crime scene, a mauling. He hated that Cora was having visions and head that they kept leading him to these gruesome murders. She needed and deserved a break from the paranormal. He had decided that the creature causing this was some sort of preternatural or paranormal entity. There were huge slash marks all over the victim’s body. The man’s throat had been torn out and he stared lifelessly up at the overcast sky. He moved around the corpse, studying everything. He let CSI have the scene and went to stand next to his newly appointed partner, Joseph. It was the same officer who had sat diligently outside her house when Jovavich was on the loose.
“What are you thinking sir?” The young man asked.
“Some type of wereanimal I would guess.” Abel watched the techs gathering evidence.
“Cora wake up.” Abigail said and her eyes snapped open.
“My god did I fall asleep in the tub?” Cora sat up and drained the water. “I must be more exhausted than I thought.”
“Good thing I was here.”
“Better than a dog.” She smiled up at Abigail who rolled her eyes then smiled back.
After she was dryed off she decided to get in bed and sleep until Abel came home. It would only be about an hour now. It was hard to get comfortable but once she was she was out like a light. Abi giggled, she hoped Cora would sleep well until Abel got back. The CSIs couldn’t give Abel any information until the morning so he went to his office to file his report. When he was done it was finally time to go home. The day had taken long for him too.
He just wanted to hurry home and see his wife. Like always he was relieved the door was locked. After her kidnapping he was always nervous at work hoping she’d leave the door locked. He walked in and didn’t see Cora. So he went into their bedroom and smiled when he saw her sleeping. He was glad she was finally getting some rest. He took his hat, jacket and shoes off then crawled in next to her kissing her shoulder.
Screaming, so much screaming. She covered her ears, but the sound wasn’t even muffled. She started crying. She had never experienced a sound so horrible. It seemed to be wrenched from the very depths of hell. She begged for the sound to stop. She felt something circling her in the darkness like a shark in the ocean, toying with her. She turned in a circle, trying to catch a glimpse of the elusive creature. She got a hint of black fur with black rosettes, a panther maybe. She could feel it coming at her and she screamed, throwing her arms up in front of her face. She sat bolt upright, the room filled with her loud cry of anguish. Abel pulled her into his arms, whispering to her to calm down. She felt sick and shoved him away as she ran to the bathroom. She barely made it in time. She felt hands pull her hair away from her face and rub her back. “I need water.” She said as she flushed the toilet. He left and was back in what seemed like two seconds.
Abel handed her the glass and sat with her on the bathroom floor, pulling her into him so her back rested against his chest. She was covered from head to toe in sweat and the baby was going crazy, sensing her mother’s distress. He didn’t know how much more of this she or their unborn child could take. He was so worried what this was doing to them. The stress had to be immense. “Are you alright?” He asked softly.
“You have to solve this case or they won’t leave me alone. The nightmares are getting worse.” She took another sip of water and rested her head against his shoulder. “Abigail has tried communicating with them, it they refuse to show themselves to her.”
“I’m sorry baby, there is just so much that is throwing us off. The killer isn’t in the database.”
“I can tell you one thing. It might be a panther.”
“Yeah, that’s what I think I saw in my dream”
“I’ll make a mention of it to the cheif.”
“I’m so glad you’re home. I couldn’t imagine waking up like that by myself.” He sighed “I’m sorry I have to leave you alone atall.”
“Lets go back into the room. I’m sure it’ll be more comfortable in there.” He helped her up and they went back into the room. He held her on the bed, he was frustrated this wasn’t over yet. Part of him wished she’d lose her abilities so she wouldn’t have to suffer anymore. He’d never say that though because Cora would most likely slap him for thinking that. Cora liked helping people and being able to talk to Abigail.
The next morning Abel left to work and Cora thought she might go crazy. She had to get out. “Come on Abi, we’re going for a walk.” She said as she pulled on her jacket.
“I don’t think Abel would like that.” Abigail said as she followed Cora outside.
“I can’t stay in all day, I have to get some fresh air. Besides you’ll be with me.”
They walked down the sidewalk, Cora enjoying the cool morning. She loved being outside. She wanted to visit the cemetary and talk to some less forceful spirits than those that haunted her dreams. There weren’t as many as usual meaning they had either moved on or they were haunting family. Some of the older residents waved at her. They would probably never leave and some of them enjoyed the time they could spend with their grandchildren and great grandchildren. Babies and up to ten year olds could see spirits. They were the only ones besides animals and people like her. She noticed someone standing in front of one of the graves wearing a black hoodie. The person looked up at her as she passed. It was a young woman with haunted grey eyes and four scars running across her face. They looked like something a big cat would leave behind. She wanted to keep walking but something told her to say something. When she turned to talk to the woman, she was gone.
It made Cora uneasy “Abi you saw her right?!”
‘Yes, I wonder where she went. Maybe we should go back home Cora.”
“No let me go look where she was standing.” They walked over and Cora read the stone. It belonged to a women in her 20s. Abi said “Wow she died young.”
“Yeah, it’s always sad when people go when they are young.” She thought maybe it was some kind of hint and she’d give her name to Abel to look up at the police department. Sadly it would mean telling Abel she had gone out. She knew he’d be upset but he couldn’t expect her to stay inside all day every day. “Can we please go home now Cora?”
“Fine you big baby” Abi was relieved as they headed back twords the house. Cora was just picturing the woman she saw. The woman actually looked a bit sad to her. Her gift was waying her down heavily right now. Hopefully telling Abel about the girl would make a break in the case somhow. She really needed this to be over before the baby came.
Abel stood in the coroner’s office and watched the man going over the corpse. He was talking into a headset that was hooked up to a camera. He documented everything and Abel just listened. “Bruises on both wrists, looks like finger marks. It appears someone pinned him down after the initial attack.” The coroner said. “Victim died of blood loss from the large wound in his throat. There are defensive wounds on his forearms where he tried to protect his face. The attack was violent and did not end quickly.”
“Any DNA evidence?” Abel asked.
“After you informed me of Cora’s nightmare I did find some hairs that appear to be oth feline and human. They belong to a male. There is still no hit on the DNA in the database so I’m afraid that’s all I have to go on.”
“Shit, alright well keep me up to date please.”
He returned to his desk and glanced at the computer clock. More time had passed than he thought. It was lunch time. He grabbed his jacket and told his boss he was going home for lunch. His boss waved and he was out the door and in his car in an instant. He arrived home just as Cora stepped onto the front porch. She looked shocked to see him. He got out and ran to her. “What are you doing out here?” He asked. “You know there’s a psycho on the loose.”
“Calm down, I needed some fresh air. We went down to the cemetary.” She said as he helped her into the house. “I have something important to tell you. I need you to look up the name Olivia Dayton.”
“I think she was one of the killer’s victims. I saw her in the cemetary, she had claw marks on her face, old scars. I don’t know if the killer actually murdered her, but she may be connected.” She sat down on the couch and he flopped down next to her.
“I’ll check it out just please stay inside until I can catch this guy. I don’t need someone else targeting you.” He pulled her into his arms and kissed her.
“I’ll try, you know I’m a free spirit.”
“It terrifies me daily.” He smiled.
“You look hungry, let me make you a sandwich.”
She went into the kitchen and quickly made them both a sandwich and grabbed a bag of chips out of their pantry. She brought it into the living room. “I’m glad you came home for lunch”
“After seeing a corpse I had to come see you. Replace a horrible image with a beautiful one.” He smiled again and it made her smile. “Please, this pregnant I can’t be very beautiful anymore.” He gave her a look and she laughed. When thye were done eating he only had about 10 minuets before he had to go. They spent it watching TV while Cora was laying down with her head on his lap. he was stroking her hair. Still trying to relax after seeing her outside. He wondered if she had been doing that often.
He didn’t say anything though. Atleast she was keeping the door locked when she was home. When it was time to go they got up and she walked him to the door. He pulled her into his arms again to hug her. Even after all this time together he still missed her greatly when he was at work. He spent all day trying to will the clock forward so he could be home.
“Go to work before I start crying.” She said as he slipped on his jacket.
“I’ll be home before you know it, please stay inside.” He kissed her forehead and left. She closed and locked the door behind him. She sighed and sat back down on the couch. The baby kicked her in the ribs and she winced. They still hadn’t named her yet. Abigail sat down next to her and stared at the TV. There was something on about witches and the Salem witch trials.
“Pressing people? How screwed up.” Abigail said.
“They did a lot worse. They used to throw people in rivers to see if they were witches. If they sank they were human and of they floated they were a witch.” Cora said.
“Obviously the concept of swimming must have escaped them.”
“They pulled them out again.”
“Still though, screwed up people.”
They finished the documentary and Cora felt tired again. She lay down on the couch and fell asleep. She saw the girl at the cemetary standing in front of her. She was so sad, so upset. Cora wanted her to move on and she tried persuading her, but the girl kept saying she couldn’t. She had to find him, had to ask him why he had done it. “Done what sweety?” She asked and tried to comfort her.
“He hurt me, he drove me to it. I just put the gun to my head and I was gone. I have to know why. He’s mad, so mad and I don’t know why. Do you know why?” She was crying,rocking back and forth. “He’s gonna do it again, he told me so. But why?” Cora jerked awake, feeling disoriented. The dead girl was staring at her and she sat up slowly.
“Get out of here.” Abigail commanded.
“It’s okay Abi, she’s not dangerous.” Cora said.
Abel typed the dead girls name into his computer. A bunch of articles popped up, most of them on her suicide. Apparently she had shot herself in the head after surviving an attack from her husband. He had disappeared and she had been hospitalized or two weeks. There were pictures of her with scars on her face. She had been so emotionally shocked that she had taken her own life a week after being released from the hospital. He felt a pang of sorrow for this poor girl. Her husband’s name was Roger Dayton and he was still on the missing person’s list.
Olivia sat by Cora. Abi was on edge but trusted Coras judgment. Cora was just trying to comfort her. Olivia wouldn’t quit crying. “Please you have to talk to me about what happened with you? How do you know him?”
“He was my husband.” she said as she started to uncontrollably cry again. Cora wouldn’t be able to really have a conversation with her this way. She sat there comforting her hoping she’d stop so they could talk. It was now only an hour before Abel would come home. Olivia managed to contain herself finally so Abi asked “Your husband comes to you and tells you he’s going to attack?”
“Yes, I wish he’d stop. He’s so angry. He wont listen.”
“Does he tell you who he will attack?” Cora asked hopful so they could maybe save another life. “I don’t know, I just try to convince him not to. Maybe I could try to get him to tell me.”
“Maybe you should try. He can’t hurt you anymore.”
“He says this is all my fault. He’s punishing me for leaving, but I’m still here. He’s crazy, he’s lost his mind.” She wailed and buried her face in her hands. “I had to get your attention. I see you at the cemetary all the time and you help so many. I don’t want to be here anymore, but he’s holding me back. I can’t leave when he’s hurting people.”
“Shush now. Everything’s going to be okay. My husband is going to catch him.” She wished she could hold the ghost. “Now, I need you to be strong and find out where your husband is for me, find out who he’s watching.”
“I can try, but he scares me so much.”
“Abi will go with her?”
Abigail wasn’t so sure about it, but she was never one to let Cora down. “Alright, I’ll go but you have to stay inside. I’m serious Cora if you go out I’ll be pissed and I’ll tell Abel. I can write now you know.” She said with a frown.
“I will try my level best to not get in trouble. Now go.”
Abigail grabbed Olivia by her hand and pulled her out of the house, leaving Cora alone. She sat watching the TV nervously. She kept glancing at the clock. It was the slowest sixty minutes of her life. The moment the door unlocked and opened she flew off the couch and into his arms.
“Whoa, what’s wrong? Is the baby okay?” He asked worried.
“Olivia came to me. She said the killer is her husband.” She replied.
“I figured as much. He disappeared after she killed herself.”
“Her and Abigail went to find him. She said he has someone in his sights and she’s going to try and get a name.”
Abel was glad to hear they’d have a good lead soon and may be able to finish this. “Atleast now with you here I wont be going so crazy. I wish they’d hurry and get back to tell me.” It seemed like she was going to continue talking but he leaned down to kiss her. “Thanks for your help.”
“Are you kidding I need this to be over.” They were now on the couch and Abel put a hand in his wifes hair. She looked at him expecting him to say somthing but he seemed to just want to stare at her. She ended up waving a hand in front of his face “Staring isn’t going to distract me until Abi gets back. What’s wrong with you?” He laughed “I’m sorry” After seeing you out when i came home for lunch i worried a lot more about you while I was at work.
“I’m pregnant not helpless. I won’t break you know. My dad was in the military and always wanted a boy. He taught me everything he knew. I can take care of myself.” She ran her fingers through his hair.
“I know, but it’s still scary. You’re almost nine months pregnant and you act like you’re not,like you can still do everything.”
“Nothing is going to happen to this baby Abel, I promise you that. Believe it or not she’s my first priority.” She said, feeling wounded by his statement.
He could tell he had hurt her feeling and hugged her close. “I’m sorry Cora, that’s not what ai meant at all. I’m just scared. You’ve been chased by your psycho ancestor and kidnapped and it makes me feel like ai can’t protect you unless I have you locked away. I know you will put our daughter first and I’m sorry if it sounded any different.” He pulled back, feeling even worse when he saw she was crying. He brushed away her tears. “I just love you so much and I would die if you weren’t here, if the baby wasn’t here.”
“I know, I’m sorry I’m so emotional. I love you too.” She laid her head on his shoulder, feeling sleepy.
Abigail and Olivia appeared in the living room and she sat up. “Are they back?” Abel asked, wishing he could see them.
“What did you find out?” Cora asked and wiped her face.
“It’s not good Cora.” Abigail looked even paler than normal.
“I’m so sorry, so, so sorry.” Olivia said and started crying. “He wants you and the baby.”
“What did they say?” Abel grabbed her chin and forced her to to look at him.
She didn’t know how to tell him, He could see the fear in her eyes. “What did they say Cora!?” She couldn’t make the words come out so Abi got a paper and set it on the table. She wrote “He wants Cora and the baby next.” Abel couldn’t believe his eyes. HIs heart sunk and he pulled her close. “Well he isn’t fucking getting near you. I’m tired of this shit. You’ve delt with too damn much! Where is he Abi? When is he coming?”
She told Cora “He didn’t say. He refused to tell us.” Cora repeated it to Abel. Abel picked up his cellphone and called the station to let them know. Abels heart was racing with fear and rage. Why did everything always have to happen to his Cora. Why couldn’t she just live peacefully without all this. Cora looked at her husband pacing. She could see how upset he was and got up to hug him.
“Honey it’s going to be alright, I promise. I’m right here, safe in the house.” She said soothingly.
“How can you sound so calm?” He was angry and snapped at her. She understood.
“I see ghosts, there isn’t much that bothers me anymore. Just calm down okay. My gift pulls these people to me and pregnant I make the perfect target.”
“I’m sorry, I know that. It’s just not fair. You have too much of a burden.”
She held him close, unwilling to admit she was scared out of her mind. She wasn’t going to let that man have her baby. She would kill him herself if she had too. She wasn’t afraid to pull the trigger. “I’m staying here with you Cora, I’m not going back to work.” Abel said, holding her tight.
“You have to leave. If he sees our car here he’ll get suspicious. Besides chances are he’s planning still. He probably knows my schedule, knows that I go to the cemetary and that’s probably how he found me. He more than likely doesn’t realize that his wife has been talking to me. We have to plan around his plan, stay ahead of him.”
“Set a trap, but how?”
“Find someone convincing enough to be me. Get one of those fake bellies. She can stay here and then go out dressed like me. She’ll lead him away and I can stay here safe while you wait for him. Abi will stay with me.” She turned to the two ghosts. “Olivia I need you to keep an eye on him and report back with anything. Chances are he’ll try to nab me in the cemetary. Find out the exact day.” The ghost nodded and disappeared.
She turned to Abel again “See look hunny we’ve got it all planned out. Everything’s going to be fine.”
“I just don’t know how I’m going to go to work. What if he figures out our plan somhow and he still gets you. I can’t lose you.”
“Abel you’re working yourself up. Please calm down for me.” He picked her up and carried her to their room. He layed her on the bed and held her tightly. He was holding her like if he let go she’d be gone. “Abel shouldn’t you call the station again and have them looking for a good double for me?” he didn’t say anything. He just held her with his face in her chest. It suddenly felt wet and she lifted his head to look at him. Tears had filled his eyes “Oh Abel, it’s going to be ok.” He kissed her. When he stopped she said aren’t you going to call? “I don’t think i can talk like this Cora. We will get it worked out at the station tomorrow.”
She sighed guessing there would be no convincing him to let her go. She just hugged him and tried humming to make him settle down some. It was actually working. He loved every moment of her humming. “You should do that more often Cora.”
“I’ll do it any time you ask”
Abel couldn’t sleep, he was too scared. Cora lay in his arms, resting soundly. Her exhaustion had finally caught up with her and he guessed the spirits had given her a reprieve from their constant assault on her mind. They wanted justice and would finally be getting it. He brushed a kiss on the top of her head and she shifted in her sleep. Her eyes fluttered open and she smiled up at him. “Is everything okay?” She asked.
“Not at all, everything sucks right now.” He answered.
“Don’t worry. I have a gun under the coffee table and between the mattress and box spring. I won’t let anyone in but the double tomorrow I promise.” He tangled his fingers in her hair and kissed her. He was so scared, his heart threatening to beat right out of his chest. He couldn’t lose her. He would go mad with grief. He wondered of that is what had happened to Olivia’s husband. Had his grief and guilt driven him to be a serial killer or was he already screwed up? He had attacked his wife. Slashed her face open with his panther claws. Abel hoped he was just sick in the head. He couldn’t afford to relate to a monster in any way, shape, or form. He hated the man for wanting Cora and his child. He swore that no matter what he would put a bullet between the man’s eyes before he would allow himself to sleep peacefully.
He whispered “please rest Cora. I’m sorry I woke you up.”
“Wont you sleep too?”
“No, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. Just let me stay awake and make sure you and the baby are ok.” She sighed and closed her eyes again. She was out in a matter of minuets. Abel just kept holding her and watching her sleep. The sound of her slow breaths were so relaxing that only his worry was keeping him awake. He would’ve loved to feel her face pressed against his lips again but didn’t want to risk waking her a second time. He may not get her back to sleep and then he’d have to feel bad.
The next morning Cora was a little surprised he had actually stayed up all night “Abel, please tell me you slept atleast a little bit.”
“No, I just couldn’t” He got up and got ready for work. He did it very slowly. Obviously not wanting to leave. “The sooner you go Abel the sooner you can find a double for me and we can get this over with”
“I know, It’s just hard to leave knowing a murderer is targeting you” He hadn’t tucked his shirt in yet so she came behind him and gently ran her fingers up his spine. It gave him goosebumps and she giggled. ‘Don’t make me go in today Cora”
“Abel” she looked at him as seriously as possible. He reluctantly finished getting ready then locked the door as he left.
Cora was sitting on the couch when Olivia appeared. “He’s coming tomorrow night. It took awhile, but I finally got it out of him. I think he thinks there’s nothing I can do so he told me.” She said nervously.
“Thank you Olivia.” She found her cell phone and texted Abel. He sent one back asking if she was okay and she said yes. An hour later there was a knock on her door. She reached under the coffee table, pulling the Smith and Wesson 500 out and approaching the door slowly. She looked out the peephole. There was a woman standing there. She held up her badge and Cora opened the door. “You must be my double.” She said as she stepped aside so the woman could come in then closed and locked the door.
“Yes ma’am. Abel wanted me to get a good look at you so I can move like you and all that.” She said with a smile and lifted a duffle bag she was holding. “I got the belly and a wig in here. I’ll need to borrow some of your clothes.”
“Sure, just follow me and I’ll find you something that’ll look good on a pregnant belly.” They went upstairs and the woman noticed the gun.
“That’s a mighty big gun for a pregnant woman. Don’t mean to sound rude, but it’s just a shock.”
“I get that a lot when I go to the range with Abel. I always get every bullet center mass on the targets though.”
Wow, I’m impressed. Abel talks about you all the time so I know most things.”
“I’m sorry. I’m sure that’s annoying”
“Oh no it’s sweet. He’s either talking about you or looking at the time like he can make it move with his mind.” Cora smiled then started looking through her clothes. “Here, this one looks great on me.”
“Ok, now all I’m really going to do is hangout with you today and study you. I hope it isn’t uncomfortable”
“Oh please my husband studies me much more than he should. It wont be new.” The police women laughed. “How is Abel at home? He’s always so serious and scary at work when he isn’t lit up talking about you.”
“He’s a puppy at home. Really sweet and loving. I’m lucky to have him. Do you have anybody?”
“No, Most men get intimidated by a female cop or they are just in it for the fantasy and leave after sex.”
“I’m sorry, I hope you end up with somone special. As long as it isn’t with my Abel” She winked at her to make sure she knew she was only teasing. She laughed again “Oh I don’t think anybody could pry him from you if they tried” Cora really liked this girl. She was glad sombody came who she could get along with. Abi was a little jealous of how well they were getting along.
Abel stared at his computer screen, reading every article he could find Aout Olivia and her husband. As far as he the news had reported his attack on her had been during a heated argument that got out of control. He had not been abusive before hand and he had been the one to drop her off at the hospital before disappearing. He shook his head. Cora made him mad sometimes, but he could never hit her. He would rather die than hurt her. Time seemed to move sluggishly along and he had to force himself not to check in on Cora. Officer Donald was there and he had to trust his wife to stay inside and safe.
Cora noticed Abigail looked a little upset and asked her of she was alright. “Perfectly fine.” She said and crossed her arms. She looked sad.
“Abi, tell me.” She said.
“I just wish I was alive you know. I see you with alive people and I get so mad.”
“Abi, you’re my best friend. You always will be.” That made her smile. Of course Cora loved her.
“Are you talking to a ghost?” Officer Donald asked.
“Yes, her name’s Abigail.” Cora answered with a smile.
“That must be maddening, seeing dead people all day.”
“Not really. Abi’s the best and most of the spirits I encounter are pretty mellow.”
Cora looked at the wall clock. Abel would be getting off in a bit and she was sure he would want to look over every inch of her to make sure she was okay and still alive. She understood his worry. He was Rey protective of her and their baby. He loved them both more than anything. “Do you feel like helping me make dinner?” She asked Donald.
“Of course, I’d love too.” She smiled.
They started cooking Rigatoni Pasta Pie. Cora turned the oven on and got busy. “Can I copy this recipe?”
“Of course you can. Read it to me first so I dont forget anything”
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 pinch coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can Muir Glen organic whole peeled tomatoes, crushed with your hands
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella”
“Awesome thanks! I know how to make it by heart but the ingredients I sometimes forget.” Cora began cooking, occasionally asked Officer Donald to chop something or heat something. Cora had become a really good cook. She liked making Abel happy and nothing makes a man happy like good food. “Where did you learn to make this?”
“I saw it online.” It was just getting done when Abel came in the front door. He heard them laughing and talking in the kitchen. From the smell he knew right away what she had made. He peeked in the kitchen and asked “Can I set the tabel for you?’
“Yes please” She smiled grabbing Officer Donald and running to the table.
They ate and joked around. In the back of Abel’s mind was still that growing worry. Tomorrow night was the big night. He would have to leave Cora to lay in wait for a psychopath. He wasn’t scared of facing down a mad man, just hated the idea of leaving her home alone. She arched an eyebrow at him and he smiled.
After they were done eating Donald and Abel cleaned up while Cora went upstairs to take a shower. Her back was sore and she just wanted the warm water to run over it. She couldn’t wait for their little jellybean to get here. She was at the top of the steps when she had a contraction. She breathed through it, gripping the banister.
“You okay?” Abel was suddenly beside her.
“I think so, just a small contraction.” She smiled reassuringly.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, just help me to the bathroom. I want a shower.” He lifted her and carried her to the bathroom.
“You’re sure you’re okay?”
“Yes, yes now go get a pillow and blankets for Donald, I’m sure she’ll want to rest before tomorrow. It’ll be stressful for everyone.” She waved him off and he reluctantly left her alone.
He set a pillow and blanket out on the couch. “Thank you for doing this”
“You don’t need to thank me. It’s my job you know. Besides I’ve had such a fun time woth Cora. Maybe her and I can hangout again after this.” He smiled “I’m glad.” Cora stood under the water and felt another contraction. She whispered to the baby “You can’t come until everything is over tomorrow ok?” She managed to finish her shower without another so she guessed her baby must have listened.
She came into the room wrapped in her towel. Abel was just sitting on the bed. When she walked in he smiled. “I’m glad to see everything was ok today.”
“I keep telling you not to worry” he laughed “Now Cora you know I can’t do that when it comes to you. I even worried about you before you told me you loved me.” She smiled “What a night that was. You and I are destined for trouble. Hopefully nothing else will happen after the baby comes. She dropped her towel and felt her stomach. She went to get dressed incase Donald came in for some reason.
Abel grabbed her hand and tugged her back. “Hey now hold on for two seconds. You can’t just walk around naked and expect me not to notice.” He said and she turned red.
“Now, now what if our guest walks in on us?” She smiled.
“You do realize cops are trained to knock right? I mean we are experts at it.”
She laughed and wrapped her arms around his neck. He had been so serious the past couple of days that she was happy to see his sense of humor was still intact. She loved it when he smiled that little lopsided, mischievous smile. It was sexy and made him look like he wasn’t about to have a heart attack. “Experts huh? I seem to remember you walking in on me in my panties.” She teased.
“Okay maybe I’m just bad at it, but everyone else is amazing at it. Don’t pretend like you didn’t like sashaying around in your underwear for me to see.”
“Maybe I did, maybe it was my plan all along to entice you with my panty clad bottom and then pull you in and make you all mine.” They laughed and the baby kicked. Abel dropped down to his knees and kissed her belly.
“Don’t beat up your mom okay? She’s had a hard enough time.” He whispered and kissed her belly again. “What are we going to name this one?”
“I was thinking Abigail Olivia. What do you think?”
“I think auntie Abi and Ms. Olivia are going to be very happy.” He stood and lifted her, carrying her to the bed and laying her down. “I love you so much.”
“I love you more” He kissed her then took off his shirt and pants. “Abel, o my god she’ll hear us.”
“Not if I kiss you to muffle your crys” She giggled “With how good you are I doubt that’ll help much” He licked her ear to hear her giggle one more time. He started to gently bite and lick her neck as he slowly slid his hand down until it was between her legs. Once he was there he quickly kissed her before she could start moaning. He wanted to do that longer but didn’t want Cora to get too excited and embarrass Donald. He made love to her passionately loving every cry he caught in his kiss.
He kissed her a few moments longer when they were done and then pulled back so they could catch their breath. The baby was going crazy. “Calm down we’re done” She sighed “Abel you better get some rest tonight or you’ll be no good tomorrow.”
“I promise I’ll do my best to get some now go to sleep” She quickly faded while Abel held her. He was happy and at peace while they made love but now he was worried again. Thankfully sex finished wearing him out so he fell asleep too.
“Abel you have to get up it’s noon.” Cora shook him and he snapped awake.
“Noon? Holy crap I must have been tired.” He sat up and stretched.
“I think Donald is already up. It smells like she made us breakfast.” Cora felt bad for not getting out of bed earlier. “Come on you have to get dressed and pretend to go to work.”
They took a quick showers, dried and dressed. They went downstairs and Officer Donald greeted them happily. She dished out bacon and eggs and had a cup of coffee while they ate. “You didn’t have to cook for us.” Abel said.
“It’s not like I had anything to do this morning besides Cora’s pregnant. If anything Abel you should be getting up and cooking her breakfast. What kind of man lets his pregnant wife do everything?” She winked at Cora who nearly choked on her eggs trying not to laugh. Abel gave both of them the look and they laughed harder.
“I cook sometimes. I make a mean roast.” Abel said.
“Your roast is delicious baby.” Cora cleared her throat to stifle her laughter.
Label finished eating and kissed Cora goodbye. He grabbed his jacket and pulled it on. It was overcast outside and he sent up a I lent prayer that it wouldn’t rain or they were screwed. “I love you sweetness, I’ll see you after work.” He said Ashe stepped onto the porch and closed and locked the door. He felt eyes on him instantly, but he acted normal. He had to force himself to drive to the cemetary and not stay there.
Donald went to the bathroom to get everything on. She came out resembling Cora really well. “Wow look at you.”
“Yeah I think this will be good” They talked until it was getting twords evening time. ‘Ok I have to go now Cora. We’ll come back as soon as everything’s done” Cora nodded and Donald went out the door. Cora hated sitting there waiting. Abel was ready but had his mind on the fact he felt eyes as soon as he left the apartment. A part of him worried maybe he was wise to their plan and was going to attack the real Cora at home. He shook his head. He knew he was over paranoid and just waited where he was for Donald to come.
Cora was so scared she grabbed her revolver. A contraction rippled through her and she held her stomach, breathing. A whimper slid past her lips and Abigail sat down next to her. “Are you alright?” She asked.
“Totally, it’s just a contraction.” A few minutes passed and she had another one.
“Christ Cora are you sure?”
“I’m just going to go upstairs and lay down I think.” She stood and her water broke. “Oh no, no not now damn it.” She breathed and headed for the front door. “I have to tell the neighbors, they’ll take me.” She opened the front door and saw something dark standing there. Her heart nearly stopped when she saw it was a panther. She slammed the door and locked it as the beast jumped at her. “Abi you have to keep him out, Olivia you watch him please.” She grabbed her cell phone and started up the stairs. She heard the kitchen window break and Abigail ran in there throwing her energy at the big cat so it was knocked back outside. Another window broke and Cora turned to see the panther coming up the stairs. She fired at him and missed. Abigail was between them, creating a barrier. She screamed for Cora to go. She stumbled into her room and then into the bathroom. She slammed the door and locked it. She slid down to the floor and speed dialed Abel’s phone. She hoped he still had it on.
He had it on silent so his position wouldn’t be given away. When it went to voicemail she tried again. Abel suddenly got a bad feeling waiting on the man to arrive. He went for his phone to check the time and noticed Cora was calling. He answered and before he could speak she told him the panther was there and Abi was doing her best to hold it back. Abel yelled to her decoy and jumped in the car. Just then the panther burst through the bedroom door. Abi had exhausted herself holding it back and couldn’t any longer.
It groweld as it entered the room. She heard it look under the bed and then heard it approaching the bathroom. The pain of the contractions got worse. She got the gun ready to fire again as she got to the other side of the bathroom. It burst through the door and she shot all the rounds that were left. It plopped on the floor shifting back to a human form. Cora sat there staring, shaking in terror. He took his final breath and died.
Abi came in “Cora are you ok!” Cora said nothing. The pain of the contractions were only getting worse when Abel & Donald came in the door and ran upstairs. “Abel the baby’s coming! She’s coming right now! We need to hurry to the hospital.”
“Donald call the station and give your statement and take care of this.” He scooped up Cora and ran out. When they got to the hospital th doctors were amazed she even made it. The babies head was almost out. Abel tried to comfort her and before they knew it Cora was holding their beautiful baby girl.
Cora cried while she held her daughter. Abigail and Olivia were standing just outside the door and she waved them in. “This is Abigail Olivia.” Sha said to the two ghosts. “Say high Abigail.” The two spirits hugged each other and cried. The doctors cleaned up as they all cooed to the baby.
“She’s so beautiful.” Olivia said. She suddenly froze and looked past all of them. “Is that what I think it is?” Cora looked to her left and saw the portal of light.
“That’s for you.” Cora said.
“Wow, Abigail you should come too.”
“No way,” she smiled, “I’ve made it clear to whatever is on the other side that I am never leaving. That door is one hundred percent yours.”
Olivia smiled and stepped into the light. Her scars disappeared and the light wrapped around her, taking her away. “She’s gone.” Cora couldn’t help but feel sad. She went back to looking at her little girl. She was so beautiful and already sleeping.
“I’ve never felt more lucky or more proud than I do today.” Abel said and kissed his little girl.
“Me neither.” She kissed Abel and they all watched Abigail sleep.
When Cora was too tired to keep her eyes open Abel took their little girl from her so she could rest. He couldn’t believe how beautiful and adorable she was. He was so glad the danger was over with and that he took Cora to the shooting range. The next day they got to leave and as soon as they got home they showed little Abigail her new room. “Do you like it sweetheart?” The little baby squeled. Cora smiled “I guess so” She sat in the rocking chair they bought and rocked their little one to sleep.
She layed her in her crib and quietly walked out with Abel. “I certainly didn’t picture the birth of our little girl like that”
“Well I took 2 weeks of vacation. I’ll be here to help with anything.” She hugged him “I’m glad”