Vicky never dreamed her role as Katie’s bridesmaid would include being the getaway driver as they bolted from the church like Katie’s dress was on fire. Vicky couldn’t let Katie go through with the wedding. She knew Katie loved Sam, but when she saw Katie sliding to the floor having a panic attack, she convinced Katie that walking down the aisle would be a mistake. Vicky was all about instincts, and intuition and Katie’s body was telling her to run. Vicky trusted Katie’s Uncle’s instincts as well. Something made him question if Sam was Katie’s soulmate. Who asks such a question of a bride about to walk down the aisle if it wasn’t meant to stop the wedding?
It was a quiet drive to Katie’s condo. The only thing she could get out of her was that her Mom and Dad were soulmates and that a cold case she was working made her doubt her relationship with Sam, but she couldn’t put her finger on why. When her Uncle Caleb went on about soulmates, she had to admit that Sam wasn’t the one. He wasn’t her soulmate.
It had only been two hours since Vicky dropped Katie off. She cursed herself for leaving Katie alone at the condo. Katie insisted she was okay and just needed a good night’s sleep. Vicky knew it was something deeper and that Katie was on the edge of something dark. Vicky’s senses remained on hyper alert as she drove home. When she felt Katie’s cries for help, she reached for her phone and hit the speed-dial. Damn. No answer. She didn’t bother leaving a voicemail.
The sick feeling in her stomach and the tightness in her chest increased. Vicky was rarely wrong. She knew Katie was a private person and was adamant that her struggles with depression remain hidden from the Department. She didn’t want to get Katie in trouble if her instinct was wrong. The memory of little Ella surfaced like a shotgun in the back of her head. It made her shudder. A lump caught in her throat. She was positive that Ella had passed shortly after her kidnapping. She shared her suspicions with the parents. They didn’t believe her, but after a year, they stopped searching when Ella’s backpack was found in the woods covered in blood. Ella was found five years after that chained to a pole in a basement of a known pedophile. The media had a field day and blamed her for the delay in finding Ella. Vicky stopped giving readings. Her confidence was rocked. The guilt of causing the search to end and living with the fact that she was the reason Ella endured five more years of torture coupled with the media scrutiny was too much for her to bare.
She was certain Ella was dead. The only thing she could think of was that it was possible that Ella was near death and in and out of consciousness during the reading. It took her a few years to give readings again. When she did, she made it a practice to continually check in after each reading if there was no supporting evidence such as a body or a sighting. If she felt the victim was alive, she continued to check in as well. The horror of giving a family false hope was just as devastating as having a search stop.
This time she was 100% certain that Katie was in trouble. To be safe, she decided to call Carlos, one of Katie’s favorite EMTs. Vicky knew him from happy hours and even went on a few dates with him. They hit it off as friends, but nothing more. Carlos was never able to get comfortable with her skills. Admittedly she left him sitting alone at the table more often than not when she felt a message for someone in the restaurant come through and scooted off to share the connection. He was understanding at first or tried to be, but it happened everywhere they went whether it be standing in line at the bank, the market or enjoying happy hour with friends. She knew how to shut down or quiet the message, but felt it was her duty to communicate anything she received. She wanted to give peace and closure where she could. It was her way of giving back, of seeking redemption for Ella. Her personal life was a small sacrifice.
She scrolled through her contacts and crossed her fingers that he was available.
“Carlos, it’s Vicky, is your unit near Katie’s condo?”
“Not far, what’s happening. Are you okay?”
“I’m all right; it’s Katie. I don’t want to call this in, but I think something is very wrong. I’m on my way there now, but I’m getting hits that it is more than just me that needs to stop by the condo.”
“Slow down, what happened, is she hurt?”
“I don’t know. I feel like she could be hurt.”
“ You FEEL like she could be hurt? You mean your FRIENDS FEEL?” He asked. Vicky could almost see his air quotes and his eyes roll as he said “friends feel.”
“God, not now. Please” Vicky responded, trying not to start a fight. “Please just trust me. Haven’t you ever thought of a friend and then the phone rang and it was your friend?”
“No, can’t say that I have.” He responded.
“Carlos, can we not do this now? Can you just trust me?” Vicky pleaded.
Vicky heard him suck in his breath. “Do you need me or me and the ambulance? I’ll have to call it in if I drive the ambulance over there.”
“I think she needs the ambulance. I dropped her off a few hours ago.”
“Wasn’t she getting married?”
“Yes, she had a panic attack at the church, and the wedding was canceled. I took her home.”
“She had a panic attack?”
“Yes, having the wedding on the same day as the anniversary may have been too much for her. I don’t know what Sam was thinking. Please don’t call it in. She lives near several restaurants; can’t you just say you’re taking a break?” Vicky’s voice lowered. “Some friend I am, some psychic I am. I should have never left her alone. It’s my fault. Please.”
“It’s not your fault; you can’t think that way. She probably turned her phone off and is just having a good cry. You’ll see. I’ll ask my partner James if we can clock out for a break. I think I remember where she lives, text me the address, and I’ll meet you there. Are you okay to drive? You are pretty shaken.”
“I’ll drive safe, just get there. If you beat me, the key is on top of the door frame.”