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Her eyes burned. He was inside them like a fire but not a purifying one. Maddie Christopher opened her eyes to darkness, to the sound of snow driving forcefully against her apartment windows. Her heartbeat filled the room. 

His heartbeat was loud enough to make her feel she could drown in it.

No. Not again. Please not again, dear Jesus...

No, not Jesus, the voice whispered through her mind tauntingly, as clear as if someone had stolen soundlessly into the room with her. You know me, my sweet. I'm coming for you. Soon we'll be together forever. Soon you'll be in my arms.

With a cry of terror, Maddie flew out of the bed and across the room. When she flipped the light switch on, nothing happened. The room remained shrouded in darkness--heavy, ominous darkness that was far too familiar. His darkness. Just as he'd reminded her, she knew him.

She could feel him all around her, a prison impossible to escape. And she had tried to escape. He'd been here from the first time she'd met him. He'd never left. No matter where she tried to hide, she couldn't conceal herself from him. She couldn't wash away the dirty feeling or purge it with prayers.

As she'd acknowledged each time the darkness had descended, she acknowledged the truth now: God had abandoned her to this creature. This demon. This lover who breathed his magic, stole her senses, came inside her and seduced her into his perfect embrace.

I'm coming, my love. I'm coming...

Maddie slid down the wall beneath the light switch, wrapping her arms around herself tightly. The room was ice cold with his presence. No, I can't fight him, she thought, shivering violently. She was so tired of fighting.

Remember your loneliness? Remember your pain and your fear, Maddie? You revealed all of it to me. It'll all go away, my love. I promise. Only I will love you. Only I will take you in my arms.

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