The story so far:
Charlie backed me into a corner. The aroma of his cheap cologne filled my lungs, a scent I did not miss. I cringed as he leaned in closer and pressed his sweaty lips hard against mine. I felt the salty saliva from the tip of his tongue as it tried to force itself between my lips. Yuck! The taste of onions was also something I did not miss. I violently pulled away and spat the bad taste out of my mouth.
“Did you miss me, my love?” he asked, knowing goddamn well that I did not, but he still waited for a response, and got nothing. “Because I missed you.”
I stared deep into his unforgiving eyes. I knew what he was capable of, and I tried my best to not piss him off. Been there, done that. One broken arm, three blackened eyes, four cracked ribs and too many bruises to count. But it wasn’t all bad. The most amazing thing in my life was a product of that disaster: Paige. Was she all right? God, I needed to know.
“So, Adara, its an interesting story as to why I’m here, funny, actually. You see…” he paused and scanned my office. “I don’t like this place. Let’s go somewhere else, shall we?”
With his hardworking hands wrapped tight around my arm, Charlie dragged me out of the office. As we crossed the waiting room, I could hear the vibration of my cell phone as it rattled across the top of my desk. I knew in my gut that it was Paige. I tried to wiggle free but his grip was too strong. I kicked him in the shin, hard enough for him to loosen his stronghold. I trampled over the files I once held as I made a beeline to my desk. I reached the phone and as I pressed, “talk”, I felt all of Charlie’s weight fall down on my back. He swiped at my arm like a football player trying to cause a fumble, and he succeeded, as I dropped the cell phone back onto the desk.
“Adara? Are you there?” a muffled man’s voice emanated from the speaker. I could tell it was Franco. I tried to scream but Charlie clenched his hand forcefully over my mouth. “I found Paige. She’s…”
While he pinned me down with his body, Charlie grabbed my phone and threw it against the wall. It shattered into a dozen pieces. My heart sunk deep into my chest as my entire body went limp. What was the end of that sentence? I began to hyperventilate as the scenarios raced through my mind. Was my baby girl alive and well or did Franco find her lifeless body left alone somewhere in the cold and dark? I needed to know the answers so I quickly gathered myself and tried to fight Charlie off me, but it was too little too late. Charlie, who must not have expected me to go quietly, came prepared, and as I landed a couple of weak blows to his body, he smothered my nose and mouth with an ether soaked rag. The room began to spin as I became extremely light headed. My lungs burned like fire as I slipped into unconsciousness.
Franco stared at his cell phone, as the line abruptly went dead, “****!”
“What happened?” Methra asked.
“I think they got to her,” Franco correctly speculated as he accelerated the vehicle down the highway, swerving in and out of the little bit of traffic he came across.
“How can we find her?”
Franco thought for a brief moment, “She was going to the office. Let’s start there.”
Charlie carried my flaccid body into a dark room. A single chair was placed in the middle of the room and Charlie callously sat me down. I was still unconscious and couldn’t hold my head up. I felt a rush of ice-cold water as it peppered me in the face. I came to. I tried to adjust my heavy eyes to the darkness, but a haze of blurriness was all I could see. My head pounded on time like a bass drum, and my neck was extremely sore.
“Chaaarrrrliee?!” I called out to the response of silence.
Just then, there was a loud noise and then the bright fluorescent lights came on above me. They were blinding and my eyes struggled to adjust to the abrupt increase of light. The flickering lights hummed, which did my headache no favors. I was able to focus just enough on my surroundings. I was being held in a dilapidated room. The monotonous sound of dripping water, which echoed off the concrete walls, felt like it was piercing my skull. The blood stained chair I was sitting in was bolted to the cold, cement ground, and my arms were buckled down with old, tattered straps.
“Welcome, Adara,” a deep voice derived from the shadows.
I could see two men as they walked towards me. I immediately recognized Charlie, and the other man, an older man, he, he looked so familiar. Where have I seen that face before?
“Adara, my love,” Charlie said. “You remember Dr. Lipscomb, don’t you?”
Ah yes, that’s right. I knew that old man looked familiar, but what the hell was he doing there? What the hell was I doing there?
“Good day, Adara,” Dr. Lipscomb said. “It’s been a while.”
“Where’s Paige?!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. “What have you done with my daughter?”
“Our daughter!” Charlie shouted. “You forgetful bitch. That’s exactly the **** I’m talking about! I understand that you wanted nothing to do with me but taking Paige out of my life really pissed me off.”
“Taking her? You were never around!”
“**** and you know it! I loved that little girl with all my heart, and now I want her back. It’s funny, I spent ten years with a head doctor as a wife but it wasn’t until you left me that I actually saw one. Dr. Lipscomb here has taught me very much about myself.”
“What, that you’re a manic-depressant with intermittent explosive disorder and an Oedipus complex? Oh, and that you’re an **** to boot?”
Dr. Lipscomb chuckled to himself, as Charlie slapped me with an open hand. “Don’t talk about my mother like that.”
The tingling that consumed my face was well worth his exasperation. I’ve examined Charlie many times without him having the slightest clue, and it was safe to say that I knew him far better than he could ever know himself. Why else would I have left him?
“Dr. Lipscomb,” Charlie continued. “Maybe you’d like to fill Adara in on what’s going on?”
“It would be my pleasure.”
I watched Dr. Lipscomb carefully as he lurched his way closer to me. His feeble frame struggled to kneel down, but was eventually successful. His sunken eyes stared intently into my own, as his decrepit body shook with discomfort.
“I’m sure you are wondering why you are here,” Dr. Lipscomb asked in his deep and raspy voice. “You are here because of your gift.”
I couldn’t say I was that surprised that he knew about my gift, considering I let it slip out one day while I was with Charlie. Back when I was pregnant with Paige, I was naturally emotional and Charlie would stay out all hours of the night. Of course, he would blame it on his job but seriously, how many used car salesman need to work til one in the morning? One night, I fell asleep on the couch waiting for him to come home. During my slumber, I had a vision of Charlie and some young, blonde wannabe model having sex in a rundown hotel room. I felt like I was there with them. She looked so familiar. When they were done, they both put back on their clothes, him in his cheap suit, and her, well she put back on her waitress uniform. She worked at the diner down the road that Charlie and I would frequent. Her nametag read ‘Stephanie’ and she has served us coffee and soggy fries many times. I awoke in a fit of rage and stared at the clock until that son-of-a-bitch came home. As I heard his poor attempt of silencing the keys when he unlocked the door, I jumped to the edge of the foyer and greeted him as he tip-toed inside. “Who the **** is Stephanie?” I shouted.
He staggered backwards. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“I’m talking about the ugly bitch you’ve been **** in that stingy hotel room!”
He cowered in my presence, as he stared at me with his back leaned up against the front door. “How did you know?” his voice quivered like a teenage boy.
“Because I **** saw you and her in one of my visions!”
Dr. Lipscomb paused, if only for a moment, then continued, “You see Adara, Charlie came to me a few years ago, complaining of horrible nightmares. His mind was so scattered over losing you and Paige. He needed a release. He needed to feel alive again.”
Charlie raised his arms and nodded his head like he was in attendance at a gospel service.
“So,” Dr. Lipscomb went on, “I introduced him to my very first subject.”
I think he expected me to respond, but I remained quiet as I listened intently to Dr. Lipscomb tell his story. He huffed in frustration as I sat there holding my emotions in check. I wanted to break out of that chair and tear them both apart but I stayed calm. Dr. Lipscomb’s back must’ve started to tighten because he stood up and stretched ever so slightly, trying to hide his weakness from me.
“Jimmy Garcia,” he pronounced. “Ever heard of him?”
“Yeah…” I had two options. Either I could have said that he was on death row for murder, or, “…wasn’t he the singer for the Grateful Dead?”
Another open hand slap was once again well worth it. “You need to be careful, honey. You should really think about Paige before you decide to run off at the mouth.”
Charlie was right, so I bit my tongue and allowed Dr. Lipscomb to continue.
“Jimmy Garcia was gifted beyond his years. He had abilities that people could only dream of. But he isn’t without flaws, and that’s where you come in.”
As if he didn’t already have my attention.
“He’s scheduled to be executed in three days, and we need your help to set him free.”
A long silence consumed the room.
“Set him free?” I asked.
“Yes,” Charlie stated. “You need to help him escape.”
“You see, Adara,” Dr. Lipscomb added. “Jimmy is far too valuable to this world to allow some badge toting monsters take his life. They’re the criminals, not him!”
“And how exactly do you expect me to pull off a prison break?”
“Well I’m glad you asked,” Dr. Lipscomb pleasantly said. “Jimmy’s gift is unlike yours, whereas you can take a glimpse into the future, Jimmy can take over a host, or agent, and control their actions by using their mind.”
Was this man serious?
“So, we need you to allow him inside your head. That way, he’ll be one step ahead of the guards and be able to liberate himself. With the two of your minds working together, we can be unstoppable!”
We? I thought to myself.
“What if I refuse?” I inquired.
“Well then Paige will be murdered!”
“I swear to God,” I yelled. “If you harm one hair on her head I will rip your **** eyes out!”
“So…is that a yes?”
Franco, Methra and Paige arrived at my office. As they walked up to the door, Franco knew that something wasn’t right. He tried to push the front door, hoping that is was locked. It wasn’t, and the door swung open. As they stepped inside, they noticed all the files scattered across the floor.
“Mom?” Paige called out.
“Adara? Are you in here?”
They only heard silence as they cautiously made their way through the waiting room.
“You guys check her office,” Methra ordered. “I’ll search around here for any clues.”
Franco and Paige entered my office and carefully examined the room. Paige immediately noticed my broken cell phone lying on the carpet. Before she could call to Franco, he was right behind her. Paige kneeled down and picked up a little piece of the phone.
“It’s my mom’s.” she confirmed.
“Methra,” Franco called out. “She was here. Her cell phone is in a hundred pieces…” He finished his thought quietly. “…that’s why it went dead.”
Methra didn’t respond.
“Methra?” Franco summoned. “Did you find anything?”
“Yes,” she responded. “I know where they took here!”
Franco and Paige hurried out of the office and as they crossed the threshold, stopped dead in their tracks. Methra stood in their way. She had a Beretta 9mm pointed at Franco’s head.
“Methra?” Paige innocently asked.
“Shut up, Paige! Don’t make this harder than it has to be! Do as I say or Adara dies.”
“Ok,” Franco cooperated, as he raised his arms in surrender. He turned to Paige. “Just do as she says.”
“Good boy,” Methra smirked. “No wonder why Adara loves you so much. Don’t worry, Paige, you’ll be with your mother soon enough.” She waved the gun, as she led them out the door.