Ember jerked awake, springing up in her bed and blinking at the thick darkness. For a moment, she wasn’t sure where she was, and then the past month’s events came rushing back. The outline of her bedroom window came into focus, the curtains somewhat illuminated by a bright moon. It was her old bedroom. Home.

Her cell phone buzzed from its spot on the nightstand, casting its own blue light into the space before erupting with sound. The ring tone was a harsh one, meant to grab Ember’s attention so she wouldn’t miss a call. It worked.

Rubbing at her eyes, she snatched the phone up, worried that something was wrong with Becky or a member of her family. Who else would be calling in the middle of the night? Glancing down at the painfully bright screen, she saw that it was just past 2am, and it was an unknown caller.

“Hello?” Her voice was harsh. She didn’t appreciate the scare for what was likely a wrong number.

“Is this Doctor Burns?” The man’s voice was filled with urgency.

“Yes …” Ember answered, cautious. “I’m Doctor Burns. How did you get this number? Who is this?”

“I’m sorry to wake you, but I have an emergency with a foaling mare. Mrs. Stratton gave me your number. There isn’t time for pleasantries, but I’m Morton Ellsworth. I understand you live at the Burns’ place out on Crystal Lake? This mare doesn’t have much time, Dr. Burns.”

Jumping from the bed, Ember displaced Daenerys, who she didn’t even notice was curled up alongside her legs. The dog had started out the night in her own bed on the floor but must have decided at some point to join her.

Pinching the phone between her chin and shoulder, Ember yanked on her blue jeans that had been cast onto the floor a few hours before.