The voice grew progressively louder with each repetition of the name, 'Colin. . .'
It was coming from the bedroom. Greg jumped up to take a look. He hurried down the short hall and threw open the bed-room door. The whisper steadily increased in volume each time it repeated its simple message. The message in turn grew a little more complex. 'Colin. . .Kill. . .Colin. . .'
He reached in and hit the light switch. Nothing happened. He tried again with the same result. A few more attempts convinced him that the bulb had burned out. Planting a hand on either side of the doorway, he leaned forward and squinted against the darkness. Light from the hallway lamp exposed a dim partial view of the room. The beautiful woman lounging on his bed in a black negligee was somewhat veiled in harsh shadows.
'Kill. . .Colin. . .'
The voice was not hers. It came from behind her, though no one seemed to be there. Greg instantly recognized her sea green eyes and felt their familiar magnetic pull. 'You!' he cried. 'What are you doing here?'
Two or three voices joined in the eerie chant. Each voice spoke independently of the others in no particular pattern. Greg grew angrier despite his fear. 'Who are you? How did you get into my apartment?'
She didn't answer. Instead, more voices joined in the aggressive chant.
He tried to move, but it felt as if his hands had been glued to the doorway and his feet had been nailed to the floor. As he tried to pull himself free, he screamed, 'What's going on? What are you doing to me?'
Slowly, the woman got up from the bed with a determined, unyielding stare fixed on Greg's wild eyes.
'Colin. . .Colin. . .Kill. . .'
Frantically, he kept trying in vain to free himself. Still mostly bathed in shadow, the girl slowly extracted a knife from beneath the covers of Greg's bed. It was long and sharp, with a delicately designed wooden hilt. She gazed at it with calm admiration, as Greg continued trying to break free.
Her gaze grew stormy as it returned to her helpless prey. The feeble light afforded by the hallway lamp illuminated the evil intentions displayed in those dangerous eyes.
'Who are you?' he demanded. 'Why are you doing this?'
Only the voices responded. 'Colin. . .'
She took a step toward him, then another. She slowly drew the flat edge of the knife down against the palm of her hand as she walked. Greg was sweating and gasping for breath, as the girl took another step.
Suddenly, the curtains erupted into a blazing fire. Within seconds the walls themselves were engulfed in flames.
Greg shrieked in terror.
Freshly immersed in blatant shades of hungry orange and flirtatious yellow, the girl took on a new lethal beauty. She stepped forward again, as taunting shadows licked at her high cheek bones. Her long hair reflected the white heat of the burning walls. She drew the flat edge of the blade back up along her palm while staring incessantly into his frightened eyes. Greg stopped struggling when the woman pressed the cold blade firmly against his quivering cheek. He gasped, as she slowly drew the shiny, broad steel surface down along the side of his face.
Poking his chin with the point of the blade, she stated, 'You will kill Colin. With this very knife.'
'B-but, I d-don't even know who you're talking about,' he protested.
Using the same route that brought its tip to his chin, she ran the icy blade back up his cheek. She pressed it back to its original position. 'Nonetheless, you will do it, because I asked you to.'
'Please,' he begged. 'Just tell me what's going on! Why are you doing this? Who are you?'
'Watch the fire, Greg Laird,' she said. 'It is you. It is me. It is our joining.'
'Colin. . .Kill. . .Colin. . .'
'No!' he shouted. 'NO-O-O!'