Remember Me(96)

By: Ashlee Mallory

Señora Sanchez’s shoes clicked on the tile floor, bringing her back to the present. She was holding a picture of Vi. Setting it on the top of the toilet seat, she propped it up so Allie could see it.

“I don’t dare forge a suicide note. Too risky. This should say it nicely, though. Single mom. Overwhelmed with life and raising a daughter who’d be much better off with her dad and his new wife, anyway, wouldn’t she? She’ll be a big sister soon. That should take some of the edge off losing her mother.”

The woman rose just as the cell phone began vibrating again. She sighed. “I’d prefer to stay, to make sure you’ll never speak to anyone ever again. But it appears someone is desperate to reach you, and I can’t have them finding us here when they come looking for you. So, we’ll be going now.”

And with that, the psychotic woman turned and left, her clipped footsteps echoing back to Allie as she walked away.

A heavy fatigue was taking hold of Allie. She knew that she was losing consciousness, despite the panic and terror gripping her heart.

She really was going to die.

Darkness was descending quickly over her. Just before she succumbed to oblivion, she thought she heard a faraway sound. A soft echo of ringing. The phone?

The trumpets of angels?

A doorbell?

Or simply the last, hopeful imaginings of a dying woman…?

Chapter Eighteen

Sam squealed into Allie’s driveway and threw his car into park. There didn’t appear to be anyone home. The squad car hadn’t yet arrived. He flew to the front door and rang the bell.

No answer.

He pressed his ear to the door and listened.

He could have sworn he heard something inside, but no one came. He jumped down the steps to the flower bed. Where was that piece of tile with the bright green frog? There. He tossed it aside, grabbed the key, and sprinted to the door.

His hands were shaking.

Please, God, let her be all right.

He’d gone to the school first, but she hadn’t been there. Not at Laney’s, not with Vi—Laney had just spoken to her. If Allie wasn’t here at home, he was out of ideas.

The creaking of a screen door opening made him freeze in place. It had come from the side of the house. Leaping down the steps, he raced across the grass to the side door. No one was there, either. He scanned all around him, including the backyard. He could have sworn he saw a movement over behind the garage. He whirled and headed in that direction when a sound from the kitchen stopped him dead in his tracks. He turned.

The screen door was shut, but the wooden back door was wide open. Could she have been working out in the backyard and not heard him?

“Allie?” he hollered, starting to sounded desperate. Silence met him. Screw this. He yanked open the screen door and raced inside, only to be brought up short by a dark-haired figure standing in the kitchen.

“Señora Sanchez?”

If she was shocked by his sudden appearance, it didn’t show. Her magenta lips turned up in a sly smile. “Señor Fratto. You startled me.”

This wasn’t right. What the hell was she doing inside Allie’s house? Where the hell was Allie? And why hadn’t she answered him when he called out?

Fear for Allie twisted at his gut, despite Señora Sanchez’s calm countenance. Or maybe because of it. Something told him not to let her see his fear. He needed to be level-headed.

“Didn’t you hear me at the front door? I’ve been trying to find Allie.”

“Oh? I’m afraid not. Señora McBride wasn’t feeling very well this afternoon. Poor thing looked so distressed, I swear she was about to faint. I offered to help get her home. She said she just wanted to take a bath. I’ve just been waiting for my son to give me a ride home. In fact, I thought you were him when I heard the screen door open.”