1. Slang. extreme nervousness; jitters.

It was usually the morning sunlight that woke Peter. Streaming through the thin cotton, curtains, he could feel the rays slowly warm his skin in the summer months. He preferred that over an alarm any day. But this Wednesday, it wasn’t the sun that roused him, but the incessant ringing of his phone.

Still half asleep, Peter threw a heavy arm onto his nightstand knocking something made of plastic onto the floor. He groaned, as he willed his tired body to cooperate. Even lost somewhere between the fog of sleep and the sting of being fully awake, Peter knew he sounded more like an animal than a man and he realized he felt more like an old man than a man in his 50s.

He grabbed the phone out of its cradle, wondering what time it could be.

“Hello,”he said, more gruffly than he had intended, trying to force his voice through the sleepy cobwebs in his throat.

No one responded.

“Hello,” Peter said loudly, this time on purpose. “If you have something to say, you’d better say it before I hang up.”

He paused for a moment, a slight sound catching his ear. It was sniffling. A woman was crying.

“Pe-Peter,” a small, familiar voice said. “I don’t know where she is…”

The woman sounded close to hysteria, but what was bringing on the case of the jimjams was the all-too-familiar feeling that this call was the calm before the storm.

With almost 25 years of investigative experience, Peter Wareden had learned to trust his gut the first time around. He had retired 10 years earlier after a debilitating car accident, but retained the skills he had honed over the decades.

And he knew trouble when he heard it. But what was worse wasn’t what was being said, but who was saying it.


It seemed crazy to think he’d be able to recognize her voice after all this time, but there was something unmistakable about it. He knew it–and the rest of her–by heart. But he chalked that up to the result of having fallen in love with Miranda Pierce, only to have his heart subsequently destroyed by her.  Memories came rushing back to him. And with the memories came several emotions, including anger and regret. He could feel his pulse quicken.

He felt around for his clock. It was almost 3 in the morning.

She probably had a legitimate reason for calling, but Peter was ready to slam down his phone and never speak to her again.

“Peter… I need your help…”she said, between quick inhalations.

“Of course,” he said, without hesitation.

He winced. Even after all this time, she still had him.


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