“Wake up,” I hear in my sleep. It must be part of my dream as no one is home but me. “Wake up, bitch.” Not a very polite person; I wish her out of my dream. “Now!” Someone is shaking me. I feel something cold and metallic pressed to my temple. This is the most unpleasant dream I’ve had in ages. I try to move my arms, but I can’t. “Goddamn it! Wake the fuck up!” There is an explosion across my cheek, jolting me awake. I open my eyes slowly, not wanting to give in to my dream. There, a gaunt face is inches away from my own face, the black-rimmed eyes staring at me intently. “’Bout damn time!” She backhands me once for good measure. I stare at her, not knowing what the hell is going on. She looks vaguely familiar, but I’d have to be much more awake to place her. She slaps me again.
“Stop that!” I try to move away, but I can’t. I’m puzzled until I realize that she’s sitting on top of me. Even though she’s smaller than me, she has leverage. She also has tied my hands together in front of me and has a gun pressed to my temple. I tell myself it’s just a dream, but my perspiring body knows better. My heart starts racing, and I can barely restrain my bladder from voiding itself. “How did you get in here?”
“You sure sleep hard,” the vision says critically, pressing the gun more firmly against my temple. My mouth goes dry. I don’t know if she has the safety off, and I don’t want to find out. “The front door was propped open, then I picked your lock. You really need better security.” I stare at her incredulously. She’s giving me safety tips as she presses a gun to my head. Unbelievable! I keep my mouth shut, however, not wanting to aggravate her any more than I have to. She’s already agitated, and I have a feeling it would take little to push her over the edge. Now that I’m awake, I can place her face.
“You were at Moira’s party,” I blurt out before I can think it over and understand that it may not be the best idea to let this psycho know that I recognize her. She was the one sobbing to her male friend about being dumped by Moira. What was her name again? I can’t remember, but it was an unusual name.
“Yes, I was. The bitch.” The woman’s face is taut as she moves the gun away from my temple, then places it against my left breast. “She seduced me, did you know that? I was just a kid, but she didn’t care.” The woman is talking more to herself than to me, but I know better than to interrupt.
“It must have been horrible,” I say cautiously. I want to keep her talking, but I’m not sure what to say. I don’t want to say the wrong thing and hasten my demise.
“It was wonderful!” Her eyes light up at the memory. “I went to sit for her, and she made me feel so special.” It’s clear that she’s rehashed the seduction over and over again in her mind. “Until she got tired of me. After she got me hooked on crack, of course.” She laughs, and I flinch. It’s a harsh, ugly sound devoid of hope or humanity.
“You must be Emil’s daughter, Annie!” I gasp, my mouth once again ahead of my brain. “That’s not your name, though.” I frown. I’m sure she’s Emil’s daughter, but what had her male friend called her?
“You are too damn smart for your own good.” Annie lightly taps me on the breastbone with the gun, making me shudder. “It’s Anya, by the way. Annie is a baby’s name.” Anya. That’s it. I can’t believe I didn’t make the connection earlier.
“Did your father know you were at the party?”
“Of course he did,” Anya says scornfully. “Daddy tracked me down at the party right after I—and he demanded to know what I was doing there. I didn’t tell him anything.” So Emil had lied to me. I can understand his need to protect his daughter, but it would have been nice to have had this information earlier.