In The Dark
Fictional piece by Joanne Siderius
Open to Mary Beth Lacey in her car.
The heater is on, the defroster blowing as Mary Beth tries to get warm on this very cold night. She has avoided starting up the car to avoid attracting attention, but she is freezing. She is also worried. Cagney is late. Very late. This has been their first real case on major cases squad. Cagney has been undercover trying to snare a very nasty mobster. Chris was to come out tonight: meet Mary Beth here and come home with whatever evidence she had. But she was late. Chris was usually prompt. Something had happened. Mary Beth checked her watch. A half hour more and she would move. She and Cagney had agreed that if anything went wrong, they would meet at the square: a very public and well - lit place. If anything went wrong. Mary Beth checked her watch a second time and turned the car off. She settled lower in the seat, pulled her scarf around her neck and waited.
A few blocks away- In a dark alley.
The slush lies dirty between the cardboard boxes and overflowing dumpsters. The shadows are dark. Christine Cagney is crouched in one of these shadows against a wall. She is dressed in a warm army jacket and has pulled a scarf over her mouth to keep her breath from showing in the cold. She didn't have long to wait: a dark figure emerges in the alley behind her. Damn. She hadn't lost him. He was on to her. Things had gone terribly wrong. She'd been ready to wrap things up. Then she'd stumbled into the killing. Granville wasn't only on to her - he was after her. She turned to slip further into the shadows when she is grabbed from behind. She elbows the guy grabbing for her but someone punches her in the stomach. Chris doubles over, grabbing the leg of her first attacker as she goes down. The third attacker grabs her jacket and punches her in the face. Chris flies backward, her head hitting the dumpster as she falls. She lies still where she falls, surrounded by three attackers and bleeding from a head wound.
Seeing the blood and not seeing any breathing
"She's dead, Man!"
(sorting through Cagney's army jacket and pants pockets)
"Just get the money and run! Grab her watch, comm'on! (they have her wallet and watch).
"Get back here! Hurry up! " (they dump Cagney behind the cardboard boxes)
this as the flashing lights from a cop cruiser light the alley with blue and red --
-the thugs take off.
The dark figure witnesses the mugging. He makes no attempt to intervene. He melts away in the night as he hears the sirens approach. He would be back - to make sure there were no loose ends.
Back to Lacey.
Lacey starts up the car, her fingers fumbling in the cold. She is going to wait in the square. She radios in to report Cagney's failure to show up. Then she sits back to wait. She is almost frantic with worry. Nothing should have gone wrong. Cagney had the names: all potential witnesses. They had Granville. Chris had just needed to stay long enough to prevent anyone from suspecting anything. The raid was set for tomorrow. Open and shut. But there was no Chris. Major cases would set the whole search machinery in gear. Everything would be fine. Then why was there such a bad feeling in the pit of her stomach?
Back to the alley where Chris was mugged
Snow was falling, leaving dark brown splotches on the cardboard. Chris watched the cardboard slowly darkening as the snow fell and she felt the wet snow on her face. Her head and face hurt: there was blood on her forehead. There was no connection to anything. Nowhere to go, no one to turn to. The snow kept falling softly. She closed her eyes and saw him again. The man with the blue eyes. Killing the man in the overcoat. Turning to see her standing there. Those blue eyes following her. That's all she knew. Nothing else had a connection. Nothing else had meaning. Just the blue eyes. And the knife. The Blue eyes and the knife. She lay there hidden by the cardboard boxes as the snow slowly covered her.
Same alley later that evening.
Jenny moved carefully through the dark. She was careful. It wasn't always safe to be out here at night. But she was invisible. No one bothered batty old Jenny. And there was often good stuff to be had in this dumpster, if she got here before the others. As she sorted through the bags left by the bakery door, Jenny saw her. Watching her. Not saying anything, just laying there against the wall and hidden by the boxes. Jenny looked at her warily - you had to be careful of some of these junkies. Most just left her alone.
Jenny saw the blood on the woman's head. Turned to leave. But something made her turn back to look at the snow-covered woman in the black touque, red scarf and army jacket. The woman's mouth looked bloody and swollen and she'd closed her eyes again. Mugged. Probably trouble. Jenny was a survivor and she had seen her share of trouble. And her share of help. She wouldn't be alive without help. Jenny sighed. She moved her shopping cart and pulled the card board boxes aside to have a closer look.
"What's your name dear?"
The woman opened her eyes and looked at Jenny. She looked confused. Chris searched for the missing information. Like there was something at the edge of her mind - just beyond her grasp.
Jenny looked shrewdly at her - " who hit you dear? "
Another confused look.
It's like that is it? They got all your money?"
Chris put a hand up to her head. The man with the blue eyes in the dark coat.
"He killed him "
Jenny stepped back, but Chris had grabbed her arm.
"I've got to go"
Chris lost the thread - go where? She was grasping again. She had to run from him. But that's all she knew. Chris struggled to her feet, holding on to Jenny's arm. Chris wasn't steady on her feet. Her head, ribs and mouth hurt. But she started moving down the alley.
"Honey, where are you going? No answer as Chris turns slowly to look at her.
(sighing again) "Follow me but mind you tell no one where I am taking you."
Chris follows the old woman and the grocery cart further back into the alley, further back into the night.
"Yes, sir" Mary Beth says into the car radio.
She opens the car door and starts out into the snow. She has just won her first argument with her new boss. Capt. Lewis wanted her back for debriefing back at One Police Plaza. Mary Beth had won two more hours to search for her partner. She couldn't leave while the trail could still be hot. Major Cases was all wrapped up in proper procedure. They had all the information they needed on Granville and they would still move the next day. Mary Beth couldn't sit and talk and plan knowing that Chris might only be a few blocks away. That Chris might need her. She was good at following up leads and that's what she was going to do - now. Finding her partner was more of a priority than nailing Granville - even if her searching tipped the mobster about the sting.
The snow kept falling as Mary Beth came up to a cruiser with its lights flashing. Two uniforms were cuffing three scruffy looking young men.
"Hi. I'm Sergeant Lacey". I'm looking for a woman - blonde, about 5'5', wearing a green army jacket, probably a red scarf. Within the last two hours. Have you seen her?"
Both officers shake their heads, preoccupied with searching the three young men. One of the officers pulls a wallet and a watch. Mary Beth sees Chris' watch and wallet. The wallet with her fake id and the watch that read "To Chrissy From Charlie" on the back.
Mary Beth grabs the hood and yells:
"Where'd you get that!, huh?!"
Mary Beth shoves the hand-cuffed man up against the cruiser and shoves her face in his.
The cops look at her and the hood shrugs.
"I found it"
MB slams him harder against the cruiser
" Ya found it!? Oh yeah? Well it was attached to my partner and she's missing - you talk or you're going to prison for a very long time!'
The guy is shaken, but not willing to be held responsible for what he believes is murder.
"I'm tellin' ya I found it!" "I want my lawyer"
Mary Beth lets him go in disgust.
"You haven't seen the last of me! I will hound you til I get an answer! Trust me on that" (to the officers). Take him away!"
To the other officer who now has all three suspects in the cruiser. "Where'd you pick these guys up?"
Not far away, Chris and Jenny are huddled among some rags in a large cardboard box. Out of the snow and huddled against the cold. Chris has given the old woman her red scarf. Chris remembers very little, but she likes the scarf. The scarf is important to Chris: she has very little to cling to that is familiar, but it is also important to care for this woman. Christine falls into a fitful sleep: a sleep broken by the cold. A sleep that is also broken by a pair of blue eyes hunting for her. Blue eyes and a knife.
Mary Beth has found the dumpster where the mugging took place. She has found the cardboard box with the blood on it, but no Chris. Mary Beth stands for a while, her hand on her forehead, head bowed. Then she heads down the alley, looking - looking for anything that will lead her to Chris.
Later the same dumpster is visited by a dark figure in a great coat. Who bends to inspect the same bloodspots on the cardboard and then moves off into the night. Still not satisfied. But he is patient.
Soup kitchen/ drop-in. There are rows of tables with aluminum chairs. This shelter serves both men and women, many of whom are sitting at the tables eating hot cereal and drinking coffee. Chris and Jenny sit at the end of one table. Jenny is hungrily eating and drinking. Chris sits with her but isn't eating. An older woman has been watching Jenny and Chris. She hands a bowl to the last person waiting and then heads over to the two women. She has noticed that Chris is very distracted and apparently unable to focus on conversation. There is a no drugs policy at the shelter and she is going to make sure it is enforced. As she sits across from Chris, and is about to ask her to leave, however, she notices the blood matted in Chris' hair and her swollen mouth.
She knows better than to ask direct, confrontational questions. So she merely touches Chris' arm and says
"Let me look at that cut for you, it could get infected. I can clean it up and bandage it for you". Silence as Chris looks at her and registers with some surprise that yes, she was cut, and yes, she would like to be clean.
The woman (whose name is Ann) waits patiently and then repeats her question. Chris slowly focuses on the woman and nods her head.
"Come with me. What's your name honey?"
Chris follows Ann, reluctantly. Jenny, watches, but continues eating. Chris looks back at Ann. Her name? Again, dancing on the edge of her mind. Teasingly out of reach. Her name. Chris puts her hand to her head, shakes her head, looks at Ann and says
" I don't know"
Ann recognizes Chris' distress and pats her arm. Ann sits Chris down in the back room with the first aid kit and starts to clean her up. There was a bump and an ugly gash. The swollen mouth was healing. Someone had knocked her around good. Probably a mugging. Taking a critical look at Cagney Ann decided the woman before her was no junkie. With the big army coat off, Ann could see no needle marks on the woman's arms. This woman was disoriented, and confused, but she was no derelict. She probably had a concussion.
"Honey, I think you hurt yourself when you hit your head. You need a doctor." Ann said this gently, not wanting to alarm Cagney.
Jenny has finished all the food she is entitled to. She wanders up at this point and seeing that Cagney is in good hands turns to leave. Just as Jenny turns, she catches a look of stark shock on Cagney's face. Blue eyes and a knife.
Ann catches Cagney's look. As both Ann and Jenny turn to see what has horrified Chris, they see, through the door of the little back room, a man in a great coat at the front of the hall. He is moving slowly among the tables. Neither woman can see his face: his back is towards them.
Christine stifles a cry. What comes out is a strangled gasp. She is on her feet and out the back door leading from the back room. Jenny is too slow to follow quickly, but she does follow. Ann watches them go without saying a thing. She feels a chill and suspects it is all for the best that this man not know that the woman was here. As she goes into the hall to keep him in sight, she notices that the woman has left her army coat behind. In this weather. Ann hides the jacket behind the door. Ann would keep it for her. Hopefully she would come back.
Jenny couldn't follow that quickly. The woman knew where to find her tonight, if she needed her. Jenny pulled her red scarf closer and pushed her grocery cart through the slush. She had been moving along for an hour or so when she saw a woman in a dark wool coat, red mittens and tall boots stop and stare at her. Jenny started to move her cart faster, pretending not to notice.
" Hey, hey, wait a minute, I just want to talk to you!"
No response as Jenny keeps her head down and carries on.
"Please! (gentler) Please, it's important to me".
Something in the woman's voice made Jenny stop, turn and wait for the woman to approach.
(chatting conversationally) "I noticed your scarf - no, please don't go, it's ok. My name is Mary Beth. I have a friend, a very good friend. Well, really, she's my partner, but we're best friends, too, really, and I'm worried about her. I think she may be in trouble. See I was supposed to meet her last night and she didn't show. See these mittens? I knit these. I had wool left over. I knit a scarf and a pair of mittens just like these that matched for my friend. And, see how these mittens match your scarf? Now, I know that maybe my friend gave you this scarf and that makes it your scarf for keeps. And if she wanted you to have it, that's ok. You can have these mittens too, because they match and all. And maybe you found the scarf, and that's ok too. But you see, I need to know about my friend. If you know where she is, or know anything about her, please let me know, it's terribly important. I'm very worried about her. Here's a picture of her. Please, have you seen her?
Mary Beth Lacey ran out of words and stopped speaking. Jenny could swear she was crying, or was it only the cold wind? Jenny took stock of the woman before her. She decided she could trust her. She took the picture. She also took the mittens - it was damn cold.
(looking at the picture): "Your friend about your height, wearing a big army coat?"
(those were tears in her eyes): "Yes, - yes. Where is she? Do you know?"
(Jerking her head in the direction of the soup kitchen): "She was at the soup kitchen. Took off like a bat out of hell when Mr. Spook came in."
"Tall guy in a black great coat. She said last night someone had killed someone. Maybe it was him. She sure ran off like it was him. "
(could the bag lady mean Granville?)
"Do you know where she went?"
" Nope. " (Jenny didn't tell anyone about her cardboard box home. She didn't trust Mary Beth that much, yet). "Ann at the soup kitchen stitched her up - talk to her."
"Stitched her up? Was she hurt?"
"Mugged I figger. She was bleedin' in the head and someone had socked her good in the mouth. Didn't know her name. Confused."
I'm going to give you my phone number. If you see her again - give her my number and tell her to call Mary Beth. Really try to convince her will ya? I think she's in real trouble here and I have to find her. Please?"
My name's Jenny. Sure. I'll look out for her.
Mary Beth turns away and heads out for the soup kitchen, her head bowed against the wind and her hands in her coat pockets. If Granville was after Chris, her partner was in real trouble. Mr. Spook was a good name for him.
Chris is freezing. It is so cold. Numbingly cold. She comes across the store backs she and Jenny had visited earlier. Here it is. She digs through the clothes discards from the thrift shop and pulls out a huge pink fibrofil jacket. Dirty and torn. But warm. At least her feet were still warm. She hugged the jacket to herself and turned to look behind. No one was following. She sank to the ground by the heating grate and closed her eyes. Blue eyes and a knife. Vividly she sees the whole thing replay itself again - Blue eyes stabbing a man, turning and seeing her as the other man sinks to the floor. She sees herself running in slow motion as he follows. Blue eyes and a knife. And she can remember nothing else. Try as she might, she can remember nothing else.
Mary Beth is running on caffeine and adrenaline. She hasn't been to bed. She reported for duty and came right back out here to follow up on her hunch - Chris was still out here and still alive. Mary Beth was almost shaking she was so focused. Chris was alive - she was hurt and in grave danger, but she was still alive. And Mary Beth was getting closer to her. Mary Beth was dogged cop and she was determined. It was hard to find a better cop at any time. Today she was absolutely obsessed. Granville had better watch his back.
"Are you Ann? I'm Sergeant Lacey of the NYPD".
Nodding her head at the badge Mary Beth held out: "What's this about? We don't let any trouble makers in here."
Mary Beth (holding out Chris' photo):
No ma'am. I'm looking for this woman - it's very important I find her.
Takes the photo and recognizes Chris:
"She in some kind of trouble?"
"Yeah, big trouble. I am trying to get to her before someone who means to hurt her does. I'm her friend - I need to find her. "
Ann goes into the back room and brings out Chris' jacket and hands it to Mary Beth:
"Someone has already hurt her. I think she was mugged. I was cleaning her up and trying to get her to go for help when she bolted like a horse that's just heard thunder. I think some guy in a big black coat spooked her".
"How long ago?"
"This morning around ten. She headed out this door and that way"
"I'm going to leave you my picture" (She hands Ann a photo from her wallet. It is a family photo of her, Harvey and the three kids. If Chris could remember anything, she would remember this) - "and my phone number. If Chris comes back could you give her this and tell her to call Mary Beth? Tell her to wait for me here and to call me. No matter what. OK?"
Ann nodded. " Sure. I hope she's OK. I'll keep the jacket here. She has to be cold out there without one". (She touches Mary Beth's arm) "Good luck finding her. Are you good friends?"
Mary Beth bows her head, purses her lips and nods "The best".
"She's lucky, then".
Ann smiles at her. Mary Beth smiles back and heads out to find Chris. She had to find Chris before Granville. Chris had obviously seen Granville kill someone. She had had to run for it. Mary Beth guessed that Chris had run headlong into some muggers and now didn't know who she was. Time was running out. Granville was ruthless and had killed more than once. Mary Beth had an advantage - she knew how her partner thought.
Jenny looks down at Chris.
"Chris. Can you hear me? Chris."
She shakes Cagney by the shoulder. Chris almost starts out of her skin "Chris!" The name was right. That was her name. An old friend that fit like a glove. But nothing else came with it. Nothing. She looked up at Jenny and smiled.
"That's my name! How did you know, Jenny?"
(Watching Chris' face closely): "I met Mary Beth."
Chris stares at her. Mary Beth. Yes. That was familiar. Familiar, but nothing else was coming. Mary Beth. A name she should know. But couldn't picture. Chris groaned and grabbed her head.
"Jenny, I should know that name. But I don't know who it is. I am so lost! All I can see is those eyes and that man. Am I nuts Jenny? " She looks up at the older woman in despair.
Jenny sits besides Chris and looks at her.
"Generally I don't give advice. Who'd listen? But. Seems to me like you have a friend in this Mary Beth and an enemy in this Mr. Spook. If it was me? I'd go find the friend."
Jenny pulls a piece of paper out of a pocket:
"Here. There's a phone at the kitchen. This Mary Beth gave me her phone number. And these mittens. (holding up the red wool mittens).
Chris stared at the mittens: A laughing dark-haired woman and a little girl - and a parcel with mittens and a scarf at Christmas. The image was gone almost before she could claim it. But she had remembered. Mary Beth.
(almost laughing): Com'on Jenny! Let's go to the kitchen.
The two women get slowly up. One slow from the effects of the cold and arthritis. One sore from bruised ribs and an aching head. A figure follows the women as they start towards the soup kitchen. It is too well lit and there are too many people around. He was patient. He would wait.
It was eight o'clock. Mary Beth was exhausted. She was cold to the bone and she hadn't slept in over 38hrs. She'd been ordered home over 12hrs ago. Mary Beth could hardly put one foot before the other as she sank into her bed after barely nibbling some toast. Harvey tenderly tucked the blankets around her and gave her a kiss. Then he turned out the lights and went back downstairs to little Alice.
Christine stared at the photo Ann had given her. Floods of memory washed over her: pushing little Alice higher and higher on the swing as the little girl squealed her delight; Harvey's big booming laugh and the tickle of his mustache as he kissed her cheek; and Mary Beth. Mary Beth right by her side as they ran down a thief; right by her side as they questioned some guy; at her side as they out-argued the brass; right by her side. As the images flooded her mind, Christine Cagney hung her head and started to laugh.
Jenny and Ann looked concerned: Hysteria now?
(Looking up and beaming at them) "I know these people! I don't remember everything, but I do know these people. I love these people!"
Ann hands her a quarter as Chris moves to the pay phone on the wall. Several people at the tables look up as the small woman in the torn pink coat goes to the phone. Not everyone here had someone to phone.
The phone rang. Harvey swore under his breath. But Mary Beth rolled over and answered it mumbling "Hello?"
(Hesitating and then speaking tentatively) "Mary Beth?"
Sits bolt upright in bed: "Chris! Is that you? Chris?
"Yes. Yes. I've got your picture, and Harv and the kids - Mary Beth - she pauses - Mary Beth I can't remember much of anything. I'm kind of lost"
"Chris, where are you. Stay where you are, I'm coming for you. Do you hear me? Where are you?"
"Yes, OK. I'm with Ann and Jenny at the soup kitchen. Mary Beth, there's a man following me. He has a knife. I saw him kill someone. I can't remember everything. He isn't here. He has a knife."
Chris may remember a few things, but she still felt like there were large holes torn in the fabric. There was a floating kind of vagueness waiting in the wings. She fought it, but the conversation was wearing on her.
"Chris, I'm going to get some uniforms out there. Wait for me! OK? You understand, Chris?"
" Yes. Yes. I'll wait. I'll be here. "
Mary Beth hung up.
Chris looked at the receiver for a while and then hung up. Her head was aching again and she was feeling very lost. She hoped Mary Beth hurried.
"Is she OK?" Harvey asked as Mary Beth picked up the phone to dial for back up.
"She knows her name - that's something. And she knows who I am, but she doesn't sound too sure of much else. We found her. I gotta go get her Harv" She smiles at him. Mary Beth looks at him for a moment puts her finger on his lips and kisses him.
The soup kitchen.
Christine is eating. She is sitting facing the main door. Ann is typing in the back room and Jenny is arguing with a man in a Mets ball cap over the last piece of bread.
Chris hears a noise behind her and realizes too late that it isn't Ann. The cold blade at her throat warns her before the voice does. Mr. Spook has found her.
Mary Beth curses softly. An ice storm. Great. Drive slowly and watch out for the maniacs on the road. And pray that Chris does what she's told and stays put. And that Granville is sitting somewhere far away - stranded by the storm.
"Keep moving, I'll tell you when to stop."
Blue eyes and a knife. He held her arm twisted behind her back and a knife to her throat. She knew that all she needed was a distraction. She also knew where Mary Beth would look if anything went wrong. Christine Cagney was beginning to remember much more than her name.
The uniformed officers made it to the soup kitchen just before Mary Beth. The ice storm had knocked lines down and left the roads an impassable mess. But they had made it. Only to find Christine gone. Mary Beth swore and made as if to punch something in the air in front of her.
"Where is she!?"
" When I came back the back door was wide open, her soup uneaten and her coat on the chair. I don't know. I don't know why she left. She seemed real happy to be meeting you"
"It was Mr. Spook."
"You saw him?"
"I don't need to. I can feel him".
The world looked as if it was made of spun glass. Light played off the ice and it looked as though the stars had come to earth. Granville hurried Chris along. She was shivering violently from the cold and could barely keep her footing. A car careened around a corner and narrowly avoided colliding with the building in front of them. As the lights of the car swung by them - momentarily blinding them both -Chris took her opportunity and fell to the ice. Knocked off balance, Granville dropped the knife.
Chris lit out as fast as she could on the sheet ice. She ran for all she was worth. She ran for the square. Mary Beth would look for her there. Chris dared not look behind. She could only pray she had a good lead on Mr. Spook.
Mary Beth knew her partner - in her right mind- would head for the square - if she could. Mary Beth would take a while to get there because of the ice, but the ice would also slow Granville.
(To the two uniforms) "You two! Spread out and see if you can find them. I'm going to the square in case she's made it there".
Her lungs were burning and she'd fallen more than once. But she could see the square. She was going to make it. She could hear him panting hard behind her. But so was Mr. Spook. Dammit! Where was a cop when you needed them! Chris literally slid to a stop in front of two stores in the square. There were still lights on in the stores, but the doors were locked. Damn! Chris grabbed a brick from the sidewalk construction and heaved it at the plate glass window. The front pane shattered, spewing glass all over the unfinished sidewalk and all over Chris. She picked up another brick and hurled it at the other window. Another crash and a shower of glass shards. Two men burst out the door of one store and slide towards her just as the woman from the first store reaches her. Mr. Spook was nowhere to be seen.
Mary Beth could hear the sounds of breaking glass as she ran out of the alley, sliding into a wall as she slipped on the ice. She wasn't alone. Mary Beth reached for her service revolver just as she saw the man in the great coat pull out his knife.
Put the knife down! Now! Do you hear me? I'll shoot you in an instant you bastard! Put the knife down!
The man in the great coat puts the knife down and puts his hands up. Mary Beth puts the cuffs on him as she reads him his Miranda Rights. She reaches down and bags the knife, all the time keeping her gun trained on Granville.
"Go! Walk towards the cruiser. Now!" Mary Beth shoves her gun into his back as she pushes Granville toward the flashing lights.
The red and blue lights play like strobe lights over the ice and over the shards of glass on the sidewalk. The scene was most surreal. Mary Beth recognizes a very familiar voice raised above the chaos of voices shouting in English, Spanish and what sounded like Hindi. "I tell you I am the police!" Christine Cagney was surrounded by four very angry people who were gesticulating at her, at the broken windows and at the bricks at her feet. She wasn't wearing a coat, her clothes hadn't been washed in some time, and neither had she. Two uniformed officers slid up to contribute to the general mayhem. Mary Beth Lacey smiled as she walked very carefully over the ice with her prisoner to join her partner.
Next night in a cardboard refuge.
Jenny snuggles further into her new warm coat and wriggled her toes appreciatively in the warm boots. She had two phone numbers in her pocket. Two numbers she could call if she ever needed help. She didn't need help - she could take care of herself but it was good to have friends.
Same night in the Lacey house.
Christine Cagney is sitting on the couch dressed in a very large pair of flannel pajamas. She can't sleep. The vivid images won't let her rest. Blue eyes and a knife. The doctor had told her that it was only a matter of time. The concussion would heal along with the rest of the bruises. The memory loss would take its time in healing but it would heal. The doctor had urged that, for precaution, she wasn't to be alone for the next couple of days. So, here she was sleeping in the Lacey spare bedroom. Only she couldn't sleep. She hears a floorboard creak and looks around to find Alice and her Teddy Bear watching her. Alice snuggles up on the couch beside her.
"Can't you sleep Aunt Chris?"
(Smiling at her) "No. Not very well. What are you doing up?"
(In her housecoat): What are you both doing up?"
Christine and Alice turn to look at Mary Beth.
" I couldn't sleep. Neither could Auntie Chris. Can I sleep with you Auntie Chris?"
Christine looks at Alice and nods: "Sure, Com'on"
Mary Beth looks in on her daughter later that night. She tucks her in and kisses her goodnight as she sleeps. She moves to the other side of the bed and covers Christine with the blankets she's kicked off. Mary Beth hesitates and then gives Chris a kiss on the forehead. The door is left open a crack as Mary Beth leaves the room. The soft glow of the night light is proof that no one in the room need be afraid of the dark.
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