Chapter One

"Would you come to my funeral?" Wendy asked Brian on the phone as her voice shook with emotion. "You and Kristin came to Mom's funeral, but you didn't come to Warren's. So, tell me, Brian, if the serial killer murders me next, will you come to my funeral?"

"Wendy, how could you ask that - if the serial killer murders you...?! That was different. Our mother was brutally murdered."

"So was Warren!" Wendy screamed. "Suzi killed him. Your precious Suzi. You never got over her, did you? All the men wanted her. You, Warren, Cagney! You thought she was so pristine, but she killed my husband!"

"Come on. I'm married to Kristin. I love her."

"Yeah, but you loved Suzi, too. I know you did."

"You need to get over your hatred for Suzi. She was killed in a car accident. Suzi's gone."

"She only spent nine months behind bars for what she did to Warren. NINE measly months. I have to go the rest of my life without my husband and my baby! My baby died in a car accident, too... or have you forgotten? Yes, I suppose you did, since you and Kristin are having a baby of your own you'll get to love. I will NEVER have another chance to have a baby - because my husband is DEAD!" Wendy exploded.

"Wendy, you need to let go of the past. You need to..."

"I love you, Brian... but you don't understand. Warren was the love of my life. Sure, I dated Quinn in my loneliness... but no one, NO ONE could ever take Warren's place. How dare you defend Suzi to me? The last words Warren spoke after Suzi put a bullet in him was a plea for me to take care of his son - Jonah. I tried, but everyone was against me. Mom... Jo... you... Nobody let me see him again... or hold him in my arms. He's Warren's son, the only part of Warren I have left in this world."

Wendy choked on a sob. After a moment she quieted and Brian spoke. "I am sorry, Sis. Truly I am, for the loss of your baby and everything you went through. I wish you'd never met Warren Carter."

"Then I guess that means you wouldn't have met Kristin either," Wendy snapped. "You can't have it both ways. Kristin exists because she was and always will be Warren's sister."

Brian sighed. "Okay, Wendy. I refuse to argue with you. We just lost our mother to a serial killer. Jo's daughter and her niece Sarah were also murdered. It's all too much. You need to calm down... and - and you need to take care of yourself."

"Ohhh don't worry, brother dear. I always do. Just me here alone, taking care of myself as always," Wendy said sarcastically.

She hung up the phone, refusing to talk to Brian another second. It was Christmas and it was snowing outside. The tree was decorated with twinkling lights, but Wendy was all alone. There were no presents. There would be no celebration. She thought of her baby and she thought of Jonah. She and Warren should be here now, watching their son and his brother opening their gifts. Warren would have loved that so much, but he'd never celebrate again. The man she loved was gone.

It had taken her forever to put the crib away. Warren had purchased it for their son, but after she lost the baby, he had stashed it in a closet. He brought it out again, thinking they were going to be able to see little Jonah, but Suzi kept the baby away from Warren. He only got a few stolen minutes with his son before disaster struck. Right in front of the innocent baby, Suzi gunned Warren down. She took his life in a single bullet... and in that moment, she had taken Wendy's, too.

Wendy was tired of breathing in dry air and tragedy. So much loss. So many deaths. It was all so senseless.

What little did she have left? She had Brian and Kristin, but they had moved away. She'd never see her niece or nephew. She may as well pack up and leave Henderson - there was nothing in her life that remained worth saving.

She put on her fur coat over her red satin dress. It had been Warren's favorite. He had loved the dress. How they'd danced and romanced - both of them dressed as if it were a celebration. There was nothing left to celebrate now. It had all been taken from them

"Goodbye, Henderson," Wendy said as she picked up her bag. She was carrying her purse, the bag that contained her belongings, and a lanky stuffed bunny. She had slept with the bunny every night since the one Warren had died. The toy was first meant to be a present for their baby - Warren Carter Junior, but after the accident, it got stuffed into the closet along with the crib. Warren brought it out when he thought that Jonah was going to live with them. He was so happy and for once, Wendy didn't cry when she saw the forlorn little rabbit. She had tears in her eyes then but they were happy ones.

Now her violet eyes were damp with sadness. She was leaving her life in Henderson behind - the crib, the bed where she had slept with Warren, their apartment, everything. She wasn't taking any of it with her. She was walking out the door with only her memories and one super-soft bunny. She'd leave the rest for someone else to find.

She had one last stop before she left Henderson. She was wearing her black shiny heels and her red dress under the thick fur coat. She wasn't exactly dressed for a trip to the cemetery, but she needed to say goodbye to Warren. She needed to say a few words over his grave. Her heart compelled her toward her husband's final resting place.

As she stood there in the chilling wind, gazing down upon his grave, Wendy spoke to the only man she had loved with all of her heart and soul. "Warren, I'm sorry. I've failed you," she said. "Jonah isn't with me. I'm not taking care of him, although I promised you I would. I miss him... and I miss you, too."

"I know you're always there, watching over me. I can feel your presence everywhere - in the air, the trees, the sound of the rushing wind. I know you're not really gone."

"I came here today, because I have to go. I am leaving Henderson. I can't stay. Not without you," Wendy said as the snow continued to dance in her long dark hair. She shivered inside her coat, wishing it was a better day to visit her husband's grave.

A tear slid down her cheek and it promptly froze upon her cheek. "Warren, can you hear me? I miss you so much!"

Her voice echoed in the trees. She felt cold arms wrap around her, embracing her. She wanted to sink into them and never return. The endless pain was much too raw. There was a dull aching sensation deep within her.

She didn't even realize that someone had approached her from behind. It was a man, carrying a knife in his hand. The feel of his moist breath hit the nape of Wendy's neck, the only warmth in all the frigid desolation. "Who's there?" she asked, her heart beating fiercely within her chest. She didn't need to ask. She knew who had found her. It was her mother's killer!

She tried to make a run for it, but she tripped and fell in the snow. The bunny landed on Warren's grave as though it were always meant to be lying close to the tall slab of stone. "No!" Wendy screamed but her cry went unheard as it floated away upon the chilled winter breeze.