It should be a safe place. For Stephanie, however, it is a false sense of peace. Tucked away in privacy and security. The deer that feel comfortable enough to walk into her front yard to graze on the tender grass. It all seems designed to lull her into feeling safe. She knows better.
Stephanie moved to Kelowna to get away from a violent relationship. Peter's abuse caused her to go into hiding for six months until she felt safe enough to be outside again. She still feels his eyes on her whenever she's in public. Even now it feels like the forest has her under surveillance.
Stephanie looks at the mountains in the distance and takes a sip of wine from the glass in her hand. She pulls her thoughts away from Peter and looks at the scenery. If she were that woman, the one who has no fear, she would do a tour of every one of the wonderful wineries in the region. When she was younger, before she met Peter, she used to think she could become a vintner. He changed everything for her.
A rustling in the bushes startles her. She freezes. Her eyes dart around, fear widening them. Her heart races. A deer, with a tiny fawn, walks into her yard. Stephanie takes a careful breath and turns toward the house.
Later that night, Stephanie closes and locks all the doors and windows. She goes around and checks them again, sure she left one unlatched. She made sure to use her new identity when renting the property, so Peter would be unable to find her.
The screeching alarm yanks Stephanie from sleep. She rolls off the bed and onto the floor. Her eyes try to make out shapes in the dark as she crouches near the edge. He's here. She can sense him.
Stephanie's hand clutches the gun she keeps stashed under her pillow. A board creaks in the living room and her breath stops in her throat. Her ears strain for the tiniest sound. There. He's approaching the bedroom door. Stephanie raises the gun, her hands steady. She aims exactly where his head will be.
The dim light from the kitchen is just enough for her to see his pale blue eyes. From the doorway she can see the gun in his hand. He doesn't see her crouching in the dark, but he senses movement. His head swivels just as she fires.
Stephanie sips her wine and smiles. The detectives have gone and she's alone. Finally. They didn't even question the shooting. A clear case of self-defense they said. What they didn't know was that the week before, Stephanie sent a letter to Peter. Anonymous of course. Telling him exactly where to find her.