A bowl of fresh popcorn and her laptop working off a secure, private Wi-Fi device, Gemma gets ready for a night of watching Dawn. She is feeling safer in her room, especially after a long bath and short nap. The detective keeps a notebook and three sharpened pencils at hand as well as a thermos of ice water. She considers calling Max and having him listen to some of the audio, but decides it is nicer to let him sleep. The last thing Gemma wants is to spend most of the night explaining the ravens and other strange things that she is sure to see and hear. Nervously rubbing the badge clipped to the pocket of her pajamas, she can already feel her stomach tighten from the tension.
Opening all of the screens, she can see that all of her bugs are active and still in place. The detective notices that all of the ravens are in their cages and feasting on thawing rats. One of them is pecking at a popsicle that Dawn is holding for the animal, the hotelier wearing a white t-shirt and simple pants. The woman abruptly leans forward to let the bird tap on her metal eye patch and the sound comes through the nearest bug like a gong. Adjusting the volume, Gemma hears a scramble of other voices that range from maddening screams to the whining of a young child. The collection of strange noises finally settles when she closes several of the screens and focuses on the ones in the master bedroom. No sooner has she done so than Dawn enters and pulls a jar out of a dresser drawer.
“Time for your medicine, honey!” the woman coos, dancing around the empty bed. She nimbly leaps onto the mattress and bends down to spoon the jar’s contains into thin air. “I’m sorry that it’s taking so long to get you more. Yes, I know I put my game ahead of your health and future. Please don’t be angry. I thought the kitty would help bring in fresher game, but she’s too unruly and stubborn. Not as easy to play with as the puppy was. I promise to get you a lot more in a day or two. Just hold on for a little bit longer.”
Gemma watches Dawn plant a kiss on the tip of one of the unicorn pillows before tossing the jar onto a nightstand. The camera flickers when a groan drifts from the audio, but she cannot tell if the sound is from the other woman or a hiding figure. Making another adjustment, the image switches to the walk-in closet and then to the kitchen. One of the ravens is out of its cage and hopping across the stove until it disappears into a shadow. Another camera takes over the screen, showing the living room where the television is playing cartoons. Gemma zooms in on the couch and squints because she swears there is an indent on the cushions. Before she can make sense of things, the camera changes back to the master bedroom.
“You don’t mean that,” Dawn coos as she curls up on half of the bed. She is running her hand around the sheets and stretches her neck to nuzzle the open space next to her. “Raven’s Hold was so boring and you never left the basement. I also had to share you with Grace or any of your flings. Once you’re better, we can go wherever you want. With the strength you’ve given me, I can make everything right again. Just sleep with me by your side and everything will feel better in the morning.”
“What the hell is going on?” Gemma mutters as her laptop goes black. Running her finger around the mouse pad and hitting buttons does nothing more than cause the machine to beep in protest. “I just bought you three months ago. You’re supposed to be powerful enough to handle all of this.”
The television turns on to show a shrieking ghost chasing two girls down a hallway, the movie causing Gemma to leap out of her chair. Searching for the remote, she is vaguely aware of a faint crackling noise. Looking back at the table, the detective sees that the thermos of water has frozen. Turning the television off and returning to her chair, she reaches out to tap the container, but stops when the laptop comes to life. All of the cameras are being attacked by the ravens while Dawn shouts for them to go to sleep. Gemma catches glimpses of her enemy as she runs from room to room and flails wildly at her pets. It takes a minute for her to realize that the woman is following a path that is not possible. At one point, Dawn is in the main bathroom and in the next she is racing across the master bedroom.
A burst of static is all the warning Gemma gets before a yawning face swallows all of the screens and emits a bone-chilling screech. She is falling back when the frozen thermos explodes with enough force to destroy the laptop and table. Tiny shards of ice hit Gemma in the face as she crashes to the carpeted floor. With blood trickling down her cheeks, the detective attempts to get up and reach her phone. The chair is yanked toward the balcony door that opens to let in a sweltering breeze. She is kicked into the air by an invisible foot and cranes her neck to watch the chair skid to a stop. Gemma feels one of the curtains wrap around her leg before her head bangs off the metal railing and everything goes black.