Sunday, September 30, 2001


"Janine, Janiiiiiiiine," a soft almost echo-like voice seemed to come from all around her. She seemed to be walking, drifting almost in surroundings that seemed both familiar and strange at the same time. "Janine…," the voice was so soothing and comforting it seemed to lead her on deeper and deeper into the mists. Suddenly the air grew cold as if a gust of wind had just blown in from the north. Although she had stopped walking everything around her seemed to swirl. There was somebody or something out there she could feel it, sense it. Closer, closer. The tiny hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. "JANINE!"

With a scream she shot straight up in bed.

"It was only a dream, thank god," she thought as she stretched her arms sleepily. Yawning she leaned over the side of the bed and glanced at the clock, "11:38! I knew I shouldn’t have stayed up so late last night. Come to think of it that’s probably what gave me that horrible nightmare." Pulling on her robe she could hear the pounding surf at the cliffs below. It was an exquisite autumn morning, the air was crisp with the scent of the magnificent redwoods.

"And good morning to you sleeping beauty! Or should I say good afternoon?" called a voice from the kitchen. The voice belonged to her fiancée, Craig.

"Oh come on, it’s not that late!" she replied as innocently as possible. They both chuckled, however the happy moment was cut short.

"Why did you scream?" Craig inquired.

"It was nothing, I guess I just had a nightmare, don’t worry about it."

"Ok if you say so," he shrugged. Picking up her piece of toast Janine stood up and headed toward the stairs. "And exactly where are you of f to?" Although his tone was still good natured she could sense his agitation.

"I promised Mario I’d meet him at Lloyd’s at 1:00. I have to start getting ready." As the words left her mouth she could see Craig becoming angrier as the tension built. He had what one might call a "volcanic" personality. The fury was always there but every so often he would blow up completely.

"You’re always with him! For god’s sake you practically spend more time with him than with me! All I ever seem to hear is Mario this, Mario that!" although his voice was calm it oozed hostility. With out saying a word Janine continued up the stairs. She knew he had nothing more to say and frankly she had nothing to say in return. It seemed as if she had explained to Craig a million times that Mario and her were only good friends. In fact she often kidded with her friends that if she had a quarter for every time she did she would be rich. But for now she was resigned to the fact that Craig had a jealous streak and there was nothing she could do about it.

Lloyd’s was a quaint coffee shop right off Marina St. in town. For as long as they could remember it had always been Mario and Janine’s favorite place to meet.
"I don’t know why it scared me so much, the dream I mean. I couldn’t see what was calling my name, all I could see was that swirling, thick mist. All I know is that when it called out my name that last time… OH it was horrible like falling into a frozen lake, it seemed as though I had been surrounded by something dreadful and inescapable." With a shudder Janine took her gaze off the window and back onto her dear friend.
"Well for right now the only advice I can give you is to try not to think about it although I know that sometimes that can be easier said than done." Glancing at his watch Mario motioned to the waiter for a check. "I have to finish some errands but feel free to call me if you need anything." She nodded in response but her mind was elsewhere she couldn’t stop herself from reliving the dream over and over in her head.

For the rest of the afternoon her dream seemed to consume her. During the drive home the fog began to roll in hugging the cliff roads tightly. The sound of the roaring sea seeped in through the thick low lying clouds, softly she could hear gulls squawking in the distance. The dark of evening was slowly creeping in on the beautiful coastal scenery. When she got home the house was silent. Craig had obviously left for work and as always had forgotten to leave the porch light on. Fumbling with her keys she wandered slowly to the door. Inserting the key in the door she turned it but try as she might Janine could not get the lock to open. By now it had grown quite dark outside and the young woman was eager to get in. Suddenly a soft click came from the door like that of a dead bolt unlocking. "How could the door unlock itself?" she wondered. Carefully she reached for the doorknob and turned it, it opened with out trouble. Cautiously Janine peeked inside the darkened room. She tried to create a reasonable explanation for the door but there was none to be found. "I’m just stressed out and tired that’s all it is," she said trying convince herself. She climbed the stairs slowly and crossed the hallway to her room. A lot had happened in the last twenty-four hours and Janine was only to willing to go to bed and put it all behind her. It seemed as though she had only been asleep ten minutes when she heard it.
She was back in the abyss with the swirling mists and echoing voices, the same soothing voice called out her name. It was as though she was being taken somewhere by an invisible force she could not understand. The dream was the same as before only now there was a sense of urgency. Suddenly out of the mists the figure of a girl appeared. As she drew ever closer Janine could make out her features more easily but she was never in clear vision. She was about Janine’s age and height with chestnut hair and hazel eyes. The voices stopped and all was quiet. The girl looked up at Janine and tried to speak but no sound would come. She was becoming more and more frantic as she tried to speak.
"What are you trying to say?" Cried Janine who surprised herself with her own voice in the midst of the silence. Dark thunder clouds loomed above and suddenly there was a booming clash of thunder and lightening.

Again Janine awoke with a start. Looking around she could hear the still night surrounding her room. The only sounds that could be heard were the crashing waves and the soft "Tick-Tock-Tick" of her clock. She was about to go back to sleep when something caught her eye. On the floor by her dresser something and fallen to the ground and shattered. Turning on her bedside lamp Janine walked towards the vanity. "Oh my God!" she shrieked. For on the ground lay the shattered remnants of a jar of powder and in it someone had written one word, "HELP"
As terror coursed through every inch of her body Janine now realized the true meaning of fear. Her hands trembled and the room seemed to be a spinning blur. Every thing appeared to be closing in on her. The room was getting smaller and smaller as the dizziness overpowered her.

"Janine! Janine are you ok? Can you hear me? It’s Craig… wake up Janine!" Slowly opening her eyes Janine took stock of the situation. Over come by fear during the night she had passed out on the floor. The soft glow of early morning sunlight cascaded through the sheer curtains.

"Janine what happened? Did you fall?" She peered up at Craig’s worried features. At first her mind was a blank but the memories began rushing back as if somebody had turned on the faucet.

"My god, the dream, the girl, the crash by the dresser. It’s real, she’s real!" Jumping to her feet Janine ran over to the dresser, but there was nothing on the floor. "What? But the powder and the message… where is it?" Frantically Janine searched the floor.

"What are you talking about? Oh you mean this powder?" Craig inquired. Getting to her feet she turned back to the dresser. There it was, sitting in its usual place on the dresser stood the jar of powder.

"What ever you think happened last night obviously didn’t. You must have just had another dream. The important thing is to just realize that you are ok now. Well I have to go run some errands for work but I’ll take my cell incase you need anything." Kissing Janine goodbye Craig turned and left the room.

Looking out the window she watched his car drive off, "It wasn’t a dream," she said. "I know it wasn’t."

Later in the day Janine decided to do some cleaning. She went into the study and found a large box that seemed to be filled with junk. "This looks like a good place to start" she thought and lugged it out into the living room. It was filled with the usual junk one finds in old boxes. "Hmm must be Craig’s," she thought as she flipped old car and computer magazines. All of a sudden something caught her attention. It was an envelope of some kind that had been stuffed in with the magazines. Reaching inside she pulled out a card, it was a wedding invitation. "I don’t remember being invited to anybody’s wedding," wondered Janine as she carefully opened the invitation. Sitting on the floor of the study she read the card aloud, "You are invited to the wedding of Melissa Lanting and Craig Wesley. CRAIG WESELY!" she gasped but her thought was cut short. The sound of a car could be heard pulling into the drive-way. Quickly she shoved the envelope under her sweater and pushed the box back into the study. No sooner had she left the study had Craig walked through the door.

"Janine it’s me, I just came back for my sunglasses." He called. "What’s the matter with you?" he asked as he walked into the living room, "You look guilty." Smiling Janine shrugged trying to look as innocent as possible. "Well I got what came for," he said picking up his sunglasses. And with that he left. With a huge sigh of relief Janine ran up the stairs to inspect the rest of the envelopes contents.

Emptying the envelope she examined the other papers. Among them was a newspaper article from the "San Fransisco Daily." Picking up the article Janine read.

MILL VALLEY, CA – Police are still searching for Melissa Lanting. Lanting 25 years old has been missing from her home for ten days. There are very few suspects in the case however Lanting’s 27 year old fiancee, Craig Wesley, was taken into custody for questioning. After three days at County Wesley was released for lack of sufficient evidence. The investigation continues but police are not expecting any new leads. LANTING P. 7

Stapled to the article was the other half of the article. Flipping the article over Janine screamed and dropped the packet. For staring back at her from the other half of the article was a picture of the girl from her dream, Melissa Lanting.

When Craig came home later that evening Janine was ready. "Why didn’t you tell me?" asked Janine her soft voice dripping with anger.

"What didn’t I tell you?" Craig replied.

"You know what I mean, why didn’t you tell me about Melissa." She could see his face turn ashen at the mention of her name. She threw the envelope of papers towards him. He bent down and picked it up the ashen color left his face as it was replaced with purple rage.

"You were looking through my belongings?! How dare you! You ungrateful little…" with every word he stepped a little bit closer.

"Please I didn’t mean to upset you, it was by accident. I was going through a box of junk and I found the envelope. Why didn’t you ever tell me about her? About what happened to her." Her voice was soothing as she tried to calm him down.

"You shouldn’t have been going through my stuff Janine. You need to learn to mind your own business… she needed to learn that once too." A sinister smile spread across his face. The horrible realization hit Janine.

"Oh my god!" she cried, "You know what happened to her don’t you?!" Stepping closer to Janine, Craig kneeled in front of her and held her arms so tight that she couldn’t move.

"You and Melissa were very much alike you know. Same age, same height, you two could have been passed off as sisters now that I think of it." His grip tightened as he spoke. "Oh Janine, Melissa was beautiful just like you and like yourself she was quite headstrong. But there was always David. David this, David that! That’s all I ever seemed to hear from her. Just like you and Mario. SURE! You say you are just friends but I know how it is with you women you think you can get away with anything."

"But we are just fr…." Janine tried to reason with him but was cut off.

"DO NOT INTERUPT ME!!" He yelled. "And both of you thought you could meddle in my business… SHE was always getting into my business. Well I put a stop to that. I made sure she never get in anybody’s way again." A menacing laugh escaped his lips with his last sentence.
"Just like I’ll make sure you’ll never get in my way again!"

"Craig NO! " she attempted scream but he clamped his hand over her mouth. With his other arm he put her in to a head lock around the neck and squeezed. She struggled and tried to scream but no sound would exit her lips. She was becoming more and more frantic as she tried to scream.

"I’m sorry, what’s that your trying to say?" Craig chuckled. The harder she struggled the more he tightened his hold. The room began to spin as she lost more oxygen. She felt helpless, betrayed. Suddenly everything went black, Janine had fallen unconscious. She was back in her dream surrounded by mist only this time she was the one pleading for help. A voice was calling her,
"Janine, Janiiine!" The figure of a woman appeared, Melissa.
"Janine, you must wake up! You have to save your self." She had no trouble speaking now, "You must save your self. Wake up Janine. Wake up, Wake UP!"
Slowly opening her eyes Janine looked around not daring to breathe. Craig was gone. She could hear him in the kitchen washing his hands and laughing at the murder he thought he had just committed. Carefully she crawled across the floor to the fire place making sure he couldn’t see her. Picking up the poker Janine silently edged towards the kitchen. Craig was facing away from her at the sink. She knew this was her only chance. Stealthily she rushed towards him stopping less than a foot away. "This is for Melissa!," she cried. Craig tried to turn around but it was too late, Janine had already started to swing the poker. It hit him hard in the back of the head knocking him unconscious.

It was as if the world stopped. The only sound that could be heard was that of the waves down below. With sudden realization of what had just happened she dropped to her knees sobbing. Without warning a salt shaker fell from its place on the counter. Reluctantly Janine walked over to clean it up. On the ground lay the broken pieces of the salt shaker and in it somebody had written two words, "THANK YOU!"