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Author's Chapter Notes:
Samantha is Christine's new identity and Jess is Erik's new identity.
My hands were starting to feel pruned so I got out of the shower. As I began to dry off I heard two loud thumps. My heart began to race as I became lightly preconscious. Quickly getting dressed, I ran out into the hallway and to check the front door. It’s unlocked! It was locked when I came home! To calm myself down I start to chat on MSN with my best friend Chelsea.

Sugarandspice: hey Chels, what’s up?
Pixiesticks108: the ceiling, though I saw some birds earlier.

We talked about my date with the Basketball Captain that I had been crushing on for a while named Jess. We moved on to our English Lit. Paper and how our English Lit. teacher looks like a cow. I paused between our giggle fit and listened intently. I heard something…someone was in my attic! I heard footsteps closing in on the attic door. I quickly run for the door. As I grab for the door handle, the attic door closes. I ran straight to our maid’s house and began pounding on the door until my palms hurt. No one answered. All I could do was run. My lungs seemed to fill with fire they were in so much pain. My ribs felt like they were being beaten in with baseball bats. Suddenly, I tripped. I fell into a creek. What made me scream was finding my maid-well at least her body! I jumped out of the creek as fast as I could. To my utter relief, I saw a neighborhood. I ran to the first house and pounded on the door with my now bleeding palms. A boy about my age answered, Jess!

“Please!” I was screaming at him, “Let me in and please lock everything!” He seemed disturbed at my horse screeching voice.
“Of course, why? What’s happened, Sam?” I told him everything word for word. Even my conversation with Chelsea. When I came to the end of my story his whole family and staff, I assume, was there.
“Roxanne,” he directed at the maid, “show Samantha to the guest room and have Cornelius lock the place up. Bring her toiletries, pajamas and-”
“And a book, please.” I interrupted.
“Yes, and a book,” he continued.

Roxanne dragged me, literally, to the guest bedroom. The whole while giving me an uneasy glance. It was full of mistrust and quite a horror struck glance too.
The room was beautiful. There was a canopy bed that was decorated with silk pillows of beige. The sheets were Egyptian cotton. The walls all had paintings of the sea and blooming flowers. I could almost hear the waves and smell the salt and tulips. The entire household was a masterpiece, including its residents. Jess was gorgeous! Curled black hair that was the exact right length and shade, deep brown eyes, flawless skin. Perfection! I felt guilty for being so content with this place to thinking about my parents. They should be coming home soon! They were unwarned and defenseless. I prayed they would be okay!

“Excuse me, Miss.” Roxanne startled me! She really obeyed the ‘maids must be seen and not heard’ rule! The one clue of her presence was she smelled entirely of peppermint. “Here are your things.”
“Thanks,” I said amicably.

I didn’t like her. She gave me an icy feeling. The book was one of those war stories, though, the only books I can’t stand. Each one the same, just a different reason to fight, different creatures that fight, and a different castle in the background. I went down the hall to the bathroom to freshen up. I paused at my reflection. My hair was jumbled and my makeup running down my face. I was petrified so my face was paler than snow and my pupils dilated. I started the tub and added several mixtures of bubble bath. As I dipped in, I could feel the color coming back to my face. When I came out again, I brushed my hair and added some make up, then slipped into my pajamas. I walked out of the bathroom and ran into Jess.

“You look great now… not that you looked bad then, but… with the makeup and… I’ll shut-up now.”
“That might be a good idea. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight,” he kissed me on the cheek. The heat grew on my face as I felt myself
blush. I almost skipped into my bedroom. It was almost impossible to get through the first chapter of the book. When I finally did, I tried to sleep. I would have fallen into a deep sleep if I hadn’t heard two loud thumps!

Me and the rest of the household, remembering my story, ran into the hall. Jess grabbed me and we ran out of the house. Houses were on fire! People running and screaming. Some people were already dead. What was this person after, and why had they taken such fondness in me? Jess pushed more than guided me away. He took long strides. I would’ve run to catch up with him if I hadn’t of heard the soft melody.

People dying,
children crying…
You will join them…
You, Christine and Raoul both!

The scariest thing of all wasn’t the threat, but that someone knew my true identity. A globe encircled me. I knew this day would come. February 18th, the one before I became capable of taking the thrown. There was nothing I could do now but wait. The cold voice sang.

I have you Christine!

I knew what was coming. It wasn’t good. If I only could have said good bye. The globe filled with toxins as my life drained. You know how when people are about to die they say they see their whole life flash before their eyes. That’s partly true. You see all the mistakes you’ve made and relive your worst memories. For me it was the opera. A strange duet from my past encircled me...
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Part of Strange Duet
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