In The DarknessBy: K.M. Scott
A Project Artemis Novel
The heavy sound of the metal elevator doors closing behind her made Persephone snap her head back to check that no one stood there. She’d ridden up to the second floor alone, so she had no reason to think anyone was behind her.
But still, she looked back.
Late nights never bothered her as much as the darkness that went along with them. Working until three in the morning didn’t unnerve her, but walking to her car after her shift at the hospital always made her feel vulnerable, even if it meant she only had to walk across the bridge that connected the main building to the parking garage. She knew it was probably silly to worry since no one in the hospital’s history had ever even been mugged going to their car. In fact, if it wasn’t dark, she wouldn’t have given it a second thought.
But it was dark.
In fact, as she hurried out of the bridge and onto level two of the garage, she wished she had taken her father up on his offer to have one of his security men escort her to and from her vehicle each night.
She quickly pushed that thought out of her mind with a silent scolding for him and herself. She wasn’t a child anymore. Yes, she would always be his child—his oldest of three daughters—but she’d long passed the age when she needed anyone to guard her safety.
A twenty-eight year old woman didn’t need some guy following her around all the time. Talk about cock blocking. Her father would have sent the biggest and meanest looking man he employed. Persephone knew him far too well. He would have made her have some Cro-Magnon guy tail her day and night. She had a feeling it would have been the fulfillment of every wish he’d had since she announced she planned to move away from the estate and live on her own.
Marshall Gilmore liked to say he had more money than God, who Persephone suspected had little use for one man’s comparisons, even if he was the owner of seventeen television stations, six newspapers, and the most successful media conglomerate in the history of the world. And her father liked to throw that money around, especially when it came to getting his own way.
But Persephone hadn’t succumbed to the almighty dollar and stood her ground when she decided she wanted to live on her own and have her own career. Her parents had hemmed and hawed over her choice like she had announced she planned to give up life on this planet for a stint on Mars, dangling all sorts of offers to tempt her into staying at their twenty-five acre estate. They’d build her a home of her own if she’d only stay. It would have a private entrance away from the main house. They’d release her trust fund money in a lump sum instead of having it come to her in parts as it already did.
They offered everything under the sun, and Persephone knew her father would have put the sun on the bargaining table if he had control of it to keep her living at the Gilmore estate. What they didn’t understand was her choice wasn’t about extracting more money from them. Just by being born a Gilmore meant she’d have more than enough money for anything she’d ever want to do in life.
She chose to move away to her own two-bedroom apartment, even though it didn’t have acres of land surrounding it and even though she had not a single person to wait on her day and night there, because she wanted freedom.
The problem was at that very moment in the darkness of the Christie Medical Center parking garage that freedom she’d fought so hard for felt frighteningly lonely. And that made her feel vulnerable, something she’d hated feeling since she was a little girl.
Persephone quickly scanned level two of the garage and saw her silver BMW parked in the corner spot she tried to snag whenever she could. It meant her car had some light shining on it from the streetlight directly outside the garage. She liked to think that if anyone was lurking around that area, she’d see them because of that light.
It was probably more fantasy than reality, but it made her feel better.
The sound of her rubber soled shoes hitting the concrete and echoing around her was interrupted only briefly by the metallic sound of her keys bouncing off the tiny pepper spray can that dangled off her keychain. Tightly grasping her keys and the pepper spray, she quickly walked toward her car, her eyes darting left and right to see if anyone hid in the shadows.