The loud, angry banging on my bedroom door was deafening and a sign Emma was beyond pissed. For the umpteenth time I regret calling her, if I hadn't, she wouldn't be here to argue with my decision. I should have just left a note she would find the next morning, when I knew I would have been long gone by then. But what's done is done, and even though she's here it didn't change anything I'm still going through with my plan.
Emma continued her unwavering assault on the poor door, I sigh knowing she wouldn't stop until I finally opened the door. I throw in the last piece of folded clothing before I zipped up the duffel bag packed with everything I would need for my journey. I walked and unlocked the door preparing myself for the coming confrontation.
“What the fuck Josie?! Why are you going back to New Orleans? And what's this new nonsense about a new job?” The door was barely opened when she barged into the room, her face almost the same shade as her red hair with her anger—asking questions she already knew the answers to. I had to quickly move out of the way before the door hit me in the face. I was used to her yelling—like I couldn't hear her without her high pitched yelling, whenever she's angry, so I merely winced and walked back to carry my bag. Hopefully my eardrums survive this abuse.
“I've already explained everything Emma, must we really do this? This is something I must do, you know that. It's been three weeks, three long weeks since Aaron went missing. I…I can't just sit here waiting, and hoping. When I can fucking do something about it.” My voice waver, shaking with the need to sob and scream until my eyes could no longer produce tears and my voice turned hoarse. But that's what I've been doing for days, crying, hoping and patiently waiting.
Crying hadn't helped, waiting wouldn't either. The PI I hired hasn't called me in three days. Now I'm left with only one option.
Emma's anger deflated,when she saw how wretched I felt, she crossed over and wrapped her thin arms around me. I hugged her back, accepting the comfort she's offering for probably the last time.
“I'm so sorry you're suffering Josie, I'm sorry I can't help you. I'm sorry Aaron is missing. I'm worried about him too, I just don't want you to put your life in danger you know.” I buried my nose in her neck breathing in her spicy scents from her hair, mumbling.
“Good, then it's settled, I'm coming with you, Aaron is like my brother too.” I quickly let go of her,pivoting, shaking my head.
“Thanks for offering, but you are not coming, I'm going alone.” She got in my face.
“The hell you are! I'm not going to sit here fiddling with my thumbs, while you go look for Aaron, we've always done things together, so step out of my way sister, you can't stop me.” She folded her hands in her chest, glaring at me.
“Em I can't go with you, please try to understand. I need to know you're here when I need help, it will be best if you stay behind. You are the only one I trust. What if I find Aaron and I need someone to come and get us. You have to be safe in order to help me, coming with me is not an option.” I tried to make it seem like I might need outside help, when I know I wouldn't even be able to communicate with her as much as I would like after I reach my destination.
“Yeah? And who the fuck is going to try and stop me?! Help? This is me trying to help you. So don't you dare, pull that shit on me.” She knows me so well. I rub my forehead and took a step towards her, softening my voice.
“No, you listen to me. After everything we've seen and what we now know, you think I'm going to let you face that dangerous situation alone?”
“That's exactly why you won't be coming with me. Emma, I can't guarantee my safety much less yours. And they're only expecting me, if I break any of their rules then I lose the only chance of finding Aaron.” Tears rolled down her pale cheeks, breaking my heart.
“Fine! But promise me you'll bring Aaron back, promise me you'll both be back safely and I will believe you. I know you don't make empty promises Josie.” We both hugged each other crying and saying goodbye.
“I promise to find Aaron and bring him back safely.” I vow.
Emma parked her Bentley in front of the single storey house with its white picket fence, the long drive hadn't done a thing to calm her, though the tears had stop the sniffles hadn't. She read the address on the piece of paper I had handed her earlier again before glancing at the address on the mailbox.
“Yep, we're here.”
I turned to open the car door and exit it. When Emma whispered.
“Is that her?”
I glance at where she was looking, there was a woman on the porch staring at us, I suspect that was the woman I'd been talking to for two days over the phone. She was younger than I expected, maybe five or six years older than me. She was tall, pretty with gray eyes, long brown hair,and pouting lips. She looked like a runway model. She had on a green strapless dress.
“I thinks so?”
I get off the car and opened the back door, I snagged my duffel and hesitantly walked up to her, Emma on my heels.
“Hi, I'm Jos…?”
“You're Joseline Wilder and your friend is Miss Emma steel. I'm Sasha, come on in, we haven't got the time to waste.”
She led us into the house, and down the basement before I could get the chance to survey the house. The basement was empty save for a table with unidentified objects, and a leather couch, the kind you find in tattoo shops.
I knew what was going to happen but even after knowing, it didn't help ease my anxiety of being pierce with needles. I hate needles, it is ironic that I'm preparing to go to a place where my flesh and veins would be pierced every day probably multiple times.
I opened the duffel bag and took out the five bundle of Benjamin Franklin bills and handed it to her, she took it, nodded with satisfaction, then she open a drawer in the table and dropped it.
“How do we do this?”
“Take off your shirt and lay down on your back on the couch.”
I quickly unzipped my hoodie, revealing the crop top I wore inside, I removed that too, leaving me in only my black bra. I went to sit down on the couch, but didn't make it when Emma grabbed my shoulders and started rambling.
“Josie! Just wait a moment, let's ... .let's think things through, maybe there's another way, a much safer way you could look for Aaron without endangering your life? I know he's your brother and you love and I love him too. It fucking hurts that he's missing and I am frustrated that I can't do anything about it, but Josie the two of you are the only family I have and I don't want to lose my family a second time.” Emma was half sobbing, her voice shook with her emotions.
I smash her into me, squeezing the breath out of her, my vision blurred with unshed tears, but I couldn't get a word out, there's a huge lump in my throat and I know if I try to speak, the emotions I've barely manage to leash will bursts free in a torrents of unstoppable tears. So I tried to convey in my hug what I couldn't say, letting her know that I know,I understand and she's my family too. And everything is going to be okay. Sasha was watching us intently, but I couldn't read her.
“I'm ready, if you are.”
I understand what she's not saying, that we are running out of time. I let go of Emma, wiped the tears on her blotchy face, and sat down on the couch.
Two hours later, I was seated in a private plane about to take off, with seven others, f were young women my age probably in their early twenties, the other three were men. They also look like they were my age, though one of them look so young he looks like a teenager. It wasn't until I arrived at Orlando international airport, that I found out I wasn't the only one traveling.
I never expected people to sign up for this kind of job, but here I am. Just like I have my reasons for applying for this job, I'm sure these people do too. And whatever that reasons might be, to each his own. As per the rules I didn't say a word to either of them,though I didn't know why there was a no talking rules on the plane. I didn't question it. I just found an empty seat and sat down.
And even if I wanted to question their rules, who would I have questioned? There's no face to march with our Overseer, Everything including the application process was done through the mail.
I winced when I felt the pain on my stomach, I still can't believe what I was about to do, or that I have a new tattoo on my navel. I was alone—not literally of course—obut alone as in I don't have anyone I know with me and on a journey that I might probably not return from. The moment seems surreal.
Earlier I'd lied to Emma, when I told her I'm not allowed to take another person with me. The truth is there's no such rule,I'm pretty sure they wouldn't mind me bringing another bag of blood along.
But just like Aaron, Emma's also my family, we've known each other since we were in our diapers. We're both orphans, have lost our parents in the same accidents six years ago and have lived together in my family mansion as family. If anything happens to her because of me I would never be able to forgive myself.
I'm already at my wits end since Aaron went missing, now I'm following a strange woman's advice, a woman who called herself a witch, a real fucking witch and the strangest part is I believe her. Crazy, I know.
But if I hadn't seen the things I did three weeks ago at the Tulane University where my brother Aaron went missing. I would probably call 911 to have the woman committed to a psychiatrist ward. But I've seen the most frightening things of my life, I've seen things believed to be fiction, something unnatural and deadly, something that shouldn't be but is.