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Chapter Eight

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Aspen began to wonder how the hell he had been conned into this. Wandering around in Redfield Forest after midnight was not his cup of tea. But then he remember who asked him here in the first place: the girl of his dreams. Annie had asked him, not Mickey to accompany him to the forest, that thought made him smile.

"You find anything Aspen?" Annie asked, snapping Aspen from his thoughts.

"Huh?"

"Did you find anything?" She asked again, louder this time.

"Uh, no." A look of disappointment crossed Annie face, and guilt suddenly filled Aspen's heart. "I'm sorry Annie." Annie shook her head.

"It's okay Aspen, just keep looking." Aspen paused.

"Annie was exactly are we looking for again?" Annie sighed.

"I don't really know, any sign of Brace. I know she was here before she disappeared, it's almost like I can still sense her presence." She looked at Aspen all wilde-eyed, like he was supposed to agree with her. After a minute of silence, Annie gave up on that and went back to searching. Aspen shook his head sadly. It was such a shame. Annie was really getting detached with reality over this whole Brace thing. Maybe a nice rest at a hospital would make her better, then after that they would have the rest of their lives together. Aspen smiled at the thought, but his smile vanished when he realized everything was suddenly very still. Too still. Looking around he desperately looked for the beam from Annie's flashlight.

"Annie!" He cried out urgently. "Annie, please! This isn't funny!" Sadly his cries were heard by nothing more than the creatures of the night.

Mickey was laying on his bed. The night was silent, with the exception on the radio playing classic music that he had set in the corner. It should have been like any other night, but for some reason it wasn't. Something was off, very off, and Mickey could sense it. Ever since Mickey was little he could sense when things were going to happen, and sometimes, when he was lucky enough, who it was going to happen to. His grandmother called it a "gift". Apparently his mother had the same gift, and then passed it onto him. Mickey hated it, so he had shoved his powers to the deep catacombs of his mind. But every once in a while Mickey would know things he shouldn't. And as he lay there on his bed, half way between consciousness and sleep, a single thought crept into his head. That thought grew, sending chills up and down his spine. It was at that moment Mickey knew Annie was in trouble . . .

Annie woke up in a pitch black environment. Panic instantly rose in her throat. She had no clue where she was, the last thing she remembered was being in the woods with Aspen. Annie attempted to sit up, only to be greeted by a sharp pain. Gently she set her head back down, she then tried to loosen the twine that tied her wrists and ankles together. No such luck.

Annie's eyes filled with tears. Why had this happened? And where was Aspen? Was he all right? Annie would never be able to forgive herself if her friend was in danger. Annie managed enough energy to flip herself over on her side. Reaching her bound arms over the side of what she was laying on, she groped around desperately attempting to find something she recognized. After awhile, her hand brushed against something cold. Clumsily, she somehow managed to get the object close enough to see it. A flashlight. Grinning slightly, she struggled to get the flashlight down far enough in her bound hands so she could turn it on.

"Please work." She whispered in prayer. Her prayers were answered when a bright beam emitted from the flashlight, flickered for a moment, but stayed on. Shining the light around she discovered she was in a car. A limp rose in her throat. Not just any car either. She was in the backseat of Gavin's 1963 Chevy.

A sudden lurch in movement spoiled her racing thoughts. The car was moving, someone was behind it pushing it, but why? Annie got her answer when she heard the splash of water. Looking toward the front of the car, she noticed that the car was beginning to fill rapidly with water. Suddenly it was all so frighteningly clear. This person stole Gavin's car for the sole purpose of drowning Annie in the lake. Was it to make Gavin look guilty? Maybe, but Annie knew one thing: whoever was pushing the car knew where Brace was.

Mickey dashed outside his hotel, and then stopped short. He had no clue where he was going. Gazing toward the sky he asked for something he never thought he would.

"Please God!" He spoke, his breath coming out in small puffs. "Give me another vison, help me find her!" A few seconds passed, and Mickey began to grow frustrated. "Please?" he urged more strongly. A sense of relief washed over him, but it didn't last long. This time Mickey had a full-on premonition. He saw Annie. She was in a car, a car rapidly filling up with water. Mickey could feel her panic, her fear. A feeling so strong it almost brought him to his knees.

Mickey fought though the emotion, and the fog of the premonition, standing dazed for a moment. He blinked and shook his head. Where was that lake Annie had showed him? It had been by that forest. Hawk Lake. Mickey quickly gathered his thoughts, and shot off in the direction of the quickly submerging car that held Annie inside it.

It didn't take Mickey long to reach the lake, six minutes at the most, but still Mickey worried too much time had past. It hadn't. When Mickey reached the shoreline he could make out the faint, yet still distinctive, head lights of a car sinking deeper into the dark waters. Mickey tore off his jacket, and rushed into the chilling water. He swam to where he saw the car last, and dove under. The water was dark and murky, but he could still make out the shape sinking ever quickly toward the bottom of the lake.

Mickey swam faster than he ever had in his life, reaching the car in a matter of seconds. Reaching for the door handle, he grabbed it and gave it a hard tug. Nothing happened. Again he pulled – still nothing, and Mickey was running out of air. Scrambling to the surface he gulped in some much needed air, and then dove back down again. Mickey tried the door again for a third time. When it didn't work, Mickey swam around back and attempted to kick in the back window. Nothing.

Mickey was losing air again, he needed to think fast. He would have to try another door. Swimming to the back left door, he yanked hard on the handle, almost breaking it off in the process. But it was beginning to give in – he could feel it. Mickey pulled as hard as he could, and this time the door gave way. Mickey quickly rushed in the back and grabbed Annie's arms. Someone had tied them. Whoever had done this to her meant business.

Abandoning the car behind him, Mickey brought Annie to the surface. Dragging her to the beach, Mickey removed her bonds. Then, after discovering she wasn't breathing, he began CPR.

"Please Annie . . . breathe." He asked. For the second time that night Mickey's prayers were answered, as Annie began to cough. Mickey tipped her over on her side so she could cough out the water that had been in her lungs. Annie looked at him.

M-mickey?" She coughed.

"Shhh . . . " He told her "You'll be fine now."

"Oh my god." Annie managed to whisper. "I almost . . . " Mickey interrupted her.

"I know."

"You saved me?"

"Yeah."

"Thanks." Annie told him giving him a soft kiss on the lips. This shocked Mickey, but he some how managed to find his voice.

"It was nothing. Let's get going, can you walk?" Annie nodded.

"I think so." And slowly with Annie leaning on Mickey's shoulder, and with Annie telling Mickey the entire story, they made it to the March's. Mickey stalled at the door.

"Don't wuss out on me now, I need your support!" Annie told him half kidding. Mickey nodded and opened the door, he could hear hushed voice talking somewhere not far from where they stood.

"Hello?" Annie called out.

"Is that Annie?" A blonde woman rushed out somewhere. When her eyes fell upon Annie, she rushed to her side and swept her into her arms. "Oh, Annie my baby! I thought I'd never see you again!"

"Mom stop!" Annie whined, but she was still too weak to break away. Aspen and a man Mickey could only guess to be Annie's father entered then.

"Annie! Thank goodness!" Her father exclaimed.

"Yeah, you had us all worried." Aspen added.

"All of you?" Mickey questioned, looking straight at Aspen. Aspen narrowed his eyes at Mickey.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You weren't worried enough to look for her."

"You weren't even there so how would you know?"

"I don't. But I know that if I hadn't of found her, she'd be at the bottom of Hawk Lake." Aspen's eyes were now like slits.

"How'd you know where she was?" He challenged. Mickey opened his mouth to reply, but Mrs. March released Annie and wrapped Mickey in a hug.

"It doesn't matter!" She cried "He saved her!"

"Josephine, let the boy breathe." Mr. March said stepping in then. Mr. March shook Mickey's hand and introduced himself.

"I'm Robert, Annie's father."

"Mickey."

"Well Mickey, I'm very thankful you saved our daughter, but I believe Annie's had a lot of excitement for one night and needs her rest." Mickey nodded and let himself be lead to the door.

"Thanks again." Annie whispered kissing him on the cheek.

"You're welcome."

"Good night." Annie said as Mickey let the door shut behind him.