Chapter One: Paranoia:

Ann's condition is turning worse again. Not in the way that it previous was before she moved from South Carolina. No, it has taken on a more horrifying form. One that she can't cope with alone. Yet, she can't tell her husband and son. She doesn't want to worry them this time. However, she knows that she can't take this forming battle alone. Ann just needs someone to talk to.

December 7th, 2074.

Neko Mimi café drowned in the Christmas spirit this evening. The maids all looked like Santa's flirty elves in their costumes. Their songs made Ann tremble as she stared down into her spiced rum in her mug. She reached into her purse and looked at her phone. 10:04 p.m. She gripped her phone with all of her might.

Come on!, the woman screamed in her mind. Where are you?! You said that you would be here by ten. You would've called if you would be running late. Please hurry and get here! I'm at my wit's end! She looked up when she heard the bell on the door clang. Noiz looked around the café as the door closed behind her. Relief washed over Ann's face.

Thank God!, she thought. The Goth woman raised up her hand to flag down her boss. It took Noiz a moment to look up and see her. Ann lowered her hand as the catgirl walked over to her. She did her best to put on a brave face. Noiz gave her a small bow.

"Good evening," she said. Ann bowed back her. Noiz took a seat at her table.

"So, what's the problem?" she asked. Ann's poker face died away at that question.

"What?" she asked. Noiz gave her a puzzled look.

"You called me out here," she reminded her. "You left a frantic message saying that you needed to talk to me. Now what's the problem?" Ann relayed that message in her distorted mind before nodding.

"Oh yes," she said in a whisper.

"Then, what is it?" the kitty girl asked. Ann's eyes shifted as she hesitated at first. She reached for her rum and took a deep gulp.

"Ann?" Noiz asked. The Goth woman put up her hand.

"Waitress!" she choked out. "Get me another rum!" The waitress went back to the bar to get her order.

"What's going on?" Noiz asked. The waitress came to their table with Ann's drink. The Goth took another gulp and breathed heavily. She opened her eyes.

"I'm being followed," she said in one breath. Noiz blinked at her.

"What?" she asked. Ann's hands trembled.

"Someone is watching me," she whispered.

"Who?" her boss asked. Ann leaned in closer to her.

"God and the devil," she whispered. Noiz backed up a bit.

"Really?" she asked. Ann nodded as she tried to swallow. The kitty took a moment to ponder this over.

"Wow…" she murmured. "Are you sure?"

"Yes!" Ann whispered.

"Okay…" Noiz replied. Ann frowned at her.

"You don't believe me, do you?" she asked.

"I didn't say that," Noiz replied. "Look, just calm down and tell me what's going on here." She lightly touched Ann on the hand as she spoke. The Goth woman paused for a moment before nodding.

"Now when did this start?" she asked. Ann closed her eyes again.

"Three weeks after I stopped taking my meds," she said.

"Do you think that's the cause?" Noiz asked. The other woman shook her head.

"No?" the kitty asked.

"No," Ann whispered. "Everywhere I go, there are. They keep following me around, staring at me. It feels like they are judging me. I don't know how much more I can take of this. It's creeping me out!" Noiz nodded some, trying to piece it all together.

"What do they want with you?" she asked. Ann shook her head.

"I don't know," she said. "They just stood there and stared at me intently at first." Noiz looked intrigued now.

"At first?" she asked. Ann laced her fingers together in on the table.

"Just last night I heard them talking," she said. "They were whispering about if I was the one or not."

"The one?" Noiz asked. "The one for what?"

"I don't know," Ann replied. She reached forward and took another gulp of her spiced rum. Noiz looked at her with slight worry on her face.

"Think you might need to go back on your meds?" she asked.

"No!" Ann blurted out. "That'll make it worse!" Noiz drew back, blinking.

"Ann?" she asked. The other woman lowered her head.

"Please don't tell Chris or Stanly about this," she pleaded.

"But…" the kitty boss said.

"Please don't!" she cried. "I don't want to give them another reason to worry about me. They have been through enough. So please don't tell them." Noiz sat there as she drew her mouth closed. She gave Ann a nervous nod.

"Alright," she said. "I won't say a word." Ann bowed her head.

"I thank you," she said. The woman finished her spiced rum. Noiz looked on at her.

"Is there anything else you need?" she asked. Ann shook her head.

"No," she said.

"Are you sure?" the boss asked. "I could walk you home if it gets to be too much." Ann put up her hand as she shook her head.

"No, I'll be fine, really," she said. Noiz gave her a little smile.

"Alright then," she said. She stood up to leave. However, the cat paused and looked over her shoulder at her employee.

"Just give me a call as soon as you get home, okay?" she asked. Ann gave her a small nod.

"Alright," she said.

"Good," Noiz replied. "Good night."

"Good night," Ann said back. She stayed put until Noiz disappeared from view out the door. Afterwards, Ann quietly paid her tab and headed home for the night.

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