Awake, I stared at all the unknown faces, draped over me.
“Give her some space!” One lady said,
“are you okay?” Another man said
“ALRIGHT!” One man screamed “are you doctors or five year olds at a pet shop? Give me a break, or more importantly, give my daughter a break. Everybody out.” The man pointed angrily at the door, and quickly the swarm of people was gone.
The man looked at me with concern.
“Welcome back” he said almost like he was talking to a puppy, with that “who’s a good girl” sound in his voice.
I tilted my head, “who are you?“
The question rang in his ears.
“My name is Da… I mean Locklyn,” he said shaking his head.
I looked at him with curiosity, ignoring the stutter. I swallowed, searching the room with my eyes,
“and what is this place?” I took a heavy breath.
Dave smiled “this is a hos-pit-al” he said the words slowly.
“I know.” I shook my head, “I know the hospital, I smell it."
The man tried to be supportive of me, but I heard the impatience in his voice.
“I didn’t quite understand, what do you mean you smell it?“
But a rage festered as I tried to get the words out. “It, it, it just doe..does, okay?” I shook from head to toe, as I blustered.
He looked at me as if ready to blow, than left.
In the foyer, Dave expressed his concerns to the doctor, and his reaction wasn’t comforting. He pulled Dave to the side.
“What did you do when she yelled at you?” He sounded so afraid of the answer.
“I just walked away,“
the doctor gave a sigh of relief.
“Is that good?” Dave asked confused.
“Yes” he replied, as if Dave should have already know the answer.
“She is in a fragile state with severe memory loss. She will get angry at the slightest of things, and often blow up like that. But you have to give her all the space she needs. She doesn’t know any better, and if you get mad or impatient with her, and say the wrong things, or contradict her at all. It could lead to massive amounts of depression, and suicidal thoughts, or actions. She must only feel love, and support from you, and everyone who sees her, at least until she recovers mentally.“
Dave felt the tears streak his face, “and how long will that take exactly?“
“As long as she needs it to take.” The doctor fixed his glasses, and made his way to Amelia’s room.
“Hello Delilah I’m..."
“N..n..oo..n, not Delilah, I don’t know, I don’t know Deli… Delilah.“
The words came out in jumbles, but I knew what I needed to say, so I said it. They all looked at me with such kindness, it played on in my mind with such sarcasm. But deep down they all think I’m a loser. Nothing but a damaged little girl, that didn’t even know how to properly speak. Seeing their faces made me want to hurl, they didn’t know me, and I didn’t know them. I folded my arms, and turned to face the other side of the room. I heard there fading footsteps, and a silent voice that left before the sentence was through.
“We’ll be right back,” the voice was such an annoying nuisance.
“Don’t bother” I said under my breath.
Outside the room Dave chewed his nails, terrified of his new so called “great life” with his daughter.
“How does she know what a hospital is?” Dave persisted, “but she doesn’t know who she is."
“All patients with memory loss are different, but the levels of the illness range from one, to one hundred. What I mean is she may not remember her old life, but Delilah did know the hospital. Her memory, it’s missing, but the smells, the sounds, the tastes all come into play when she is using her old memories. She will remember certain things that were important to her, or insinged into her brain. She just won’t remember the certain things that came with her feelings. For instance, she will remember old recipes that made her mouth water, but she won’t remember the names of those recipes. She will remember the feeling of tiredness in a turkey, but she won’t remember the turkey. She will remember the feeling of a warm hug from dear old dad, but she won’t remember you.“
With that the doctor walked back into the room where I stayed, and asked me a series of questions that he read off his clipboard.
It took Dave a moment to let the talk he just had sink in, then he wandered back into the room. He got in, just in time to hear the questions the doctor had shot at me like bullets. Check marking the boxes on his clipboard as he asked.
“What is your name?” “I don’t know."
“What is the colour of this?” He held a pillow, “I don’t know."
“What year is it?” “I don’t know."
“Who is this?” He pointed to Dave, “I don’t know,” with that Dave sighed in relief.
“What is this?” He held his pen up high, so I could see. “I don’t know, leave me alone” I blurted, “please” I could hear my voice, I sounded so weak.
“Just one more question sweaty, where are we?” “I don’t know.“
The doctor gave a smile at me, and then stood, that’s really good Delilah.
“I told you, I’m, I’m n..n.. ot Delilah” I bursted, “go away!“
The doctor turned to Dave who was holding his mouth, obviously petrified, and beckoned him to the hall.
In the hall, the conversation seemed to change from support to concern.
“Well, she isn’t showing progress yet, but she just woke up. It’ll take some time. What I’m really concerned about here is that, you said before that she noticed we were in a hospital? Well the fact that she has already forgotten this shows the decrease in memory.“
Dave swallowed, “so she’s gonna be angry all the time, for the rest of her life?“
“No not necessarily,” the doctor reassured. “It means she’s gonna continue to forget, she has a very low possibility of recovering fully, it would take a miracle. It means if she walks into the kitchen to get something, she’s not going to remember what she was in there to get. She won’t have children, and she will have to be put under supervision for the rest of her life unless her memory progresses. So when she gets out of the hospital, you will have to have a baby proofed home, and if you ever get unwell, or when you die Delilah will be transferred to a sick kids home. Or depending on how old she is, an elderly home”
Dave felt the tears as he spoke again, “I thought you just said that it would take time before she showed progress, but that it would happen.“
“Well it could happen, but I personally and professionally, don’t think it will. And I’m under legal obligation to give you that analysis, I’m terribly sorry.“
The doctor was gone, and everything was in slow motion. The world started to spin, as all that was said flashed before Dave’s tired eyes. He imagined the broken dishes, and outbursts in a grocery store. People would think she was a brat a spoiled brat they would have no idea of her illness.
Dave imagined the bills upon bills of health, and stepping over baby gates to get down the stairs of the house that he didn’t have. He imagined leaving his twenty year old with a babysitter down the road. And he imagined her being dragged out of the house kicking and screaming as Dave lay in his coffin.
Then he imagined none of it.
He imagined leaving this place, running away and leaving his train wreck of a daughter behind for the professionals to deal with.
He thought about it day and night as he watched her sleep in the hospital bed like a beautiful angel. Not a outbursting devil, all he saw was his ex wife. The girl he married, the girl he loved, the girl he had two children with, the girl he killed.
Then he saw his son, the boy he helped birth. The boy he held in his arms, the boy he read to, the boy who called out for him in the night, the boy he killed.
Sitting there in his own tears Dave could only feel pain for Amelia, having lost so much, just because of him. Dave looked at the door, than looked at Amelia.
She didn’t deserve this life, she deserved better than him, that was all he could think. But sitting there, knowing there was no chance that she could ever remember meant a new life for both of them. And Dave would give anything right about now for a second chance.
The clock on the wall read half past 1o at night, and Dave was dreading the moment it would hit midnight. Because tomorrow was the day Amelia would be discharged to a home that he didn’t have. She would have to be put into a children’s aid until Dave got a safe stable home with locks on every door. So the shack he bought for 200 bucks, from the old man who was in a hurry to leave wasn’t gonna make the cut by a long shot.
What a way to start a new life, in an orphanage Dave thought to himself. This wasn’t what he pictured when he hit her that day. He had pictured taking her to the hospital telling about the way he found his daughter after running away, on the side of the road hurt and unconscious. He pictured taking her home in his van to an abandoned old shack in the middle of nowhere. To finally live the life he was meant to have. The life with his innocent daughter and her loving innocent father. None of this 24-7 care was happening, none of these yearly check in’s from the hospital, or visits from the child protective services. Just a normal functional life. But that was back when he hated Amelia so much he could barely say her name without spitting. The very thought of her freedom destroyed him back then, but now it was all he wanted for her.
As the minutes ticked by all Dave could think of was what to do in the morning. He would get a loan, financial aid, or something.
He would get another job and they would live together in a small but functional apartment with a good view.
Yeah a good view,
he thought of beaches with crashing waves, flowing down like glaciers. Hitting everything in the tide pool the beautifully clear water would shine blue. As a glare from the sun warmed the room through the wall sized window.
Dave was so happy daydreaming that he didn’t even notice the nurse standing at the door.
“Knock, knock” she said, knocking gently on the door.
Dave looked up at the window it was light out, then at the clock and jumped up.
“Its 10 in the morning, how was I seriously thinking that long?“
The nurse ignored Dave’s obvious dried up tears and puffy red eyes.
“Here you go sir,“
“what’s this?” Dave asked taking the form from her hand.
“this,” the nurse replied “is a form that will help you find a place suitable for Amelia’s condition. In your house you will have to follow these guidelines, if you want to bring Amelia home. You do want that right?” The nurse stopped looking at Dave’s distraught face. “I’m sorry but I have to hear an answer, Dave do you want this child?“
The question was impossible, but so obvious at the same time. Dave was in complete denial he nodded his head yes, but thought the most contradicting things.
Why shouldn’t I get custody over my daughter? Why I just broke into her house, killed her mother. Kidnapped her twice, kidnapped her brother, my son, killed him. Ran my car into a tree with her in the back, and hit her over the head with a rock. Landing her in the hospital with permanent, life threatening damage to her brain and skull. But you know I’ll be a great father.
As the nurse left Dave to go over the form in private, he looked down to the stapled sheets in his hands.
No windows with a height lower than one meter.
No open fire places.
No latches that can be easily opened on a window, with no lock or protective screen.
No patios that have a barrier height lower than one metre.
The list dragged on, pages and pages. When Dave was done reading he collapsed on the chair with exhaustion.
“How on earth am I going to find a cheap house with this many restrictions.“
The thought of financial aid was bitter sweet, the government paying for a murderer to live. The same very government that wanted him dead in the first place. If he was caught now he would be put on death row immediately.
He thought of his late father and how proud he would be, his only son going down the same way he did. Dave hung his head why did I bring up dad he thought. So stupid, now he thought of his mother. When he found her body that day at only three years old. He thought she was playing statue, dress up. He had no idea that the red she was covered in was blood, and so he laid down beside her playing statue too. In the pool of blood he lay.
“This is fun mommy, you’re really good at staying still.” He had said in his sweet innocence.
He had shook her,
“mommy, I don’t wanna play anymore.“
One hour passed,
“mommy get up.“
He had lifted her head, by then Dave’s dad had ran away, so when he called for his father that day. Hoping he would come and tell mommy to wake, no one answered. Dave had no idea what to do, he was terrified so he did what he always did when he was scared, and curled up beside his mother. He fell asleep like that. When he woke up, the body was starting to decay. It stunk a wretched smell that wafted out the window.
“Pee you mommy, you smell bad,“
Dave had said holding his nose. So he lifted his little head off her stomach, and went to get help. But not because she was dead, he waddled over to the next door neighbors house in his P.J.’s, with Mr. teddy in hand, and knocked on the front door of the house.
“Hello” he screamed in the window.
When no one answered he pressed his face up against the glass, and breathed laughing at the fogged up image. With his tiny finger he traced a circle and two dots inside with a smile.
“Hewwo?” He called “anybody in there?” No answer. The little boy was so tired and cold that he could barely find his way home. So he fell asleep on the welcome mat outside his neighbor’s house. In the morning he was awoken by a hit to the face with the door.
he called, as the neighbor came out with a gasp.
A sweet old lady with grey hair, and a rosey smile greeted little Dave at the door.
“Ah honey” she cried “I’m sorry, what are doing here?“
Through his tears Dave could only make out a few words before he started to sob again.
“Mommy need a bath,” he sniffled. “Help, can you please help mommy wake up?“
The women turned her happy go lucky smile around, looking at little Dave’s pajamas.
“Did you sleep here last night?” The women got down to his level as Dave nodded his head, shaking it so hard he was dizzy.
“Your blanket is prickly.” He pointed to the mat, “you should get a new one.“
“You mean the doormat?” She gasped, taking Dave by the hand before he could answer.
She was practically dragging him back home.
“Come on then, your mother is probably worried sick.“
When they got to Dave’s front door the lady began to knock.
“Mommy is sleeping, she won’t take a bath, open the door.” Dave broke free of the ladies grasp, and pushed the door open. He ran inside, and just like that the scream she gave was so deadly. It was like she was on fire. The sirens couldn’t have been more tortuous. Dave had felt so confused being in the police car in his jammies, he still remembered the neighbors that piled around their lot. The caution tape they wrapped around his mother’s favorite patio chair.
“Everyone step back” the loud voices kept repeating.
Dave still to this day felt the shaky cold feeling he had that night, and all the years until he turned eighteen and aged out of the system never adopted, never loved. Sitting in that hospital room now, he shook and looked at Amelia his own daughter.
“I will never allow you to be unloved, and you will never be a foster kid.” he whispered to her as she slept.
Then he left the room.
“Can my daughter stay for a little, just until I get some things done?” Dave asked the nurse sitting behind the front desk.
“You have until the end of the day” she replied without even looking up from her computer.
As Dave turned to leave, she looked up and knocked her glasses to her nose.
“The end of the day and no less,” she fixed her glasses and looked back down. “Or your daughter will be placed into foster care.“
With that Dave tapped the desk, “thanks for the words of encouragement. I’m sure it’s just memory loss. With luck her major head trauma didn’t cause any more life altering diseases, or catastrophic issues, it’s no big deal.“
He left smiling determined, he was gonna get a loan. Next stop the bank.
When he burst through the doors a gust of wind blew through the entire bank, everyone was staring, but Dave didn’t care. He went straight over to the first available spot and asked,
“how do I get a loan?“
The girl behind the counter popped her gum, and handed Dave a clipboard with a disgusted look, then a sarcastic smile.
“Fill it out.” She pointed to the row of chairs in the corner, then got back to typing.
Dave took the clipboard and went to the farthest chair from people as possible.
“Okay let’s see here,” Dave whispered to himself. “Criminal record none.” Dave smiled brightly as he checked the box, “new life, new memories.” Signature, initials, date of birth, the list went on. All questions he had already taken care of, easy questions. When he was done, Dave took his clipboard up to the desk, and handed it to the girl.
Still chomping her gum, she looked up at him, and handed over yet another form.
“Fill it out,” she said with the same monotone voice.
Dave furrowed his eyebrows,
“then what was that form then?“
“Well you must have an account to get a loan from the bank.“
Dave bit his lip ready to blow,
“okay” he said marching to the chair he was mimicking the entire time while filling out the sheet.
How much money do you require, circle the correct amount. What do you require money for, please circle the correct answer.
Financial problems, health problems, insurance claims, education purposes, all of the above, and other. The questions were simple for this form as well.
Dave stood and through the filled out clipboard onto the desk,
“now where’s my loan?“
“It will take a matter of 30 days to transfer to your account,” she said stamping the paper. “Until then stay in the area you need to come back to this exact bank.” She said the words slowly and carefully making sure Dave was listening. Unless you want to lose the loan altogether. Dave’s eyes bulged,
“I don’t have 30 days, I need this loan now, like right now. Dave pointed to the floor with both hands.
The girl just sat there,
“Okay,” Dave said “I get it, you shall not pass,” Dave mimicked. “But you wanna know a secret,” he motioned her to come closer. Than whispered in her ear, “you could have all this.” Dave pulled out his wallet which contained all his savings, of 1000 dollars.
“Are you trying to bribe me?” The girl stood and pressed a button. “Security,” she screamed.
Now on the sidewalk Dave was destroyed. There was no way he was gonna get dragon hospital lady to give him thirty days to figure something out. She might not even give him the full day.
“What to do?” Rang heavily in Dave’s ears, walking by every shop in town he thought of getting jobs. That would help, but not with the loan. He needed instant money, and fast.
Dave thought of retiring himself back to the hospital, when a familiar voice called his name. It was Sully his friend who helped with the kidnapping.
Sully had loaned Dave the van with all of its bells and whistles attached. He had made the fake ID’s and helped locate where Amelia was staying. The two had met a while back in jail, and Dave busted them both out. For that Sully became Dave’s best friend.
“What are you doing here?“
The lisp was hard to block out, and his beard grew grey down as far as it could go. The sweatshirt Sully wore was covered in gruesome stains from food to splattered blood. Which he told everyone was from his finger when he accidently chopped it with a saw, but Dave knew the truth.
“Hey bud,” the accent was heavy through his lisp, and missing teeth.
Dave grew a smile “hey what are you doing here?“
“Eh, eh, eh” Sully exclaimed waving his pointer finger in Dave’s face. “That was my question first.“
“Well” Dave replied, “you know why I’m here, the plan, Amelia does any of this ring a bell?“
“Yes, yes,” Sully was quite obviously short tempered and annoyed. “But I mean what are you doing here on the sidewalk when you should be at the hospital with Amelia?“
Dave smirked and gave a weep, “well I don’t have a place to stay. I’m all broke and Amelia needs all these restrictions at a house I buy, and you know I just don’t know what to do.“
He added a sniffle for effect, hoping that Sully would take care of his problem, and he came through. Sully nudged Dave’s shoulder.
“Of course you can stay with me buddy, I owe you my life. I was on death row, and you busted me outta that joint.” Dave smiled then looked at the sidewalk in realization.
“I don’t have a cent to pay you, and I’m probably never gonna.“
“What with all you’ve given me I could never pay you back.” Sully started walking, and Dave followed.
“For heaven sakes man pull yourself together, don’t tell me you’ve gone soft” Sully taunted. “You don’t have to pay me back, however if I should ever need something of you, I’m sure you’d step up to help.“
“Of course, Sully” Dave replied with a playful shove. “But there’s one more thing, I’m turning away from the life of crime to be a father. So if there’s anything you want me to do that’s illegal count me out.“
Sully nodded as they walked along the sidewalk on there way to the hospital. Inside the doors slammed behind Sully, it was like bringing a bull into a china shop.
“The Sullinator is back in town” he screeched.
As nearly half a dozen nurses walking by shushed him Sully turned to Dave. “what?” He shrugged, “just letting my fans know who’s here.“
Dave took Sully by the hand and brought him to the side.“If this is gonna work,” Dave started “you have to act as sane as possible, got it?“
Sully shrugged again, “I gotcha bro” and walked back to the main hall. They both stepped in front of the front desk, and Dave whispered to himself the same hopeful speech. “Please don’t let him make me look like a wack job please, please, please."
At the desk Dave asked the nurse to release Delilah Capannoli. With a few clicks of her key board, the nurse pointed at the screen.
“Ah yes your Locklyn Capannoli correct?” Dave nodded “alright,” she handed him a form. “Just fill this out, and she’ll be good to go. Oh but we’ll need to send someone from children’s aid to the house to inspect the safety."
Dave swallowed, he realized he had never actually seen Sully’s place. If it looked half as bad as Sully appeared, the only way Dave would be able to see Amelia again would be in death.
Sully smiled a grimacing look that boiled Dave’s blood.
“No problem” Sully got the words out before Dave could speak.
“And you are?” The nurse was awkward, yet cautious about the question.
“This is my landlord” Dave jumped in, “he just wanted to get an idea of what I meant when I said I was bringing an unstable kid home. Isn’t that right Sullivan?” Dave squeezed hard at his pal pretending to hug him.
Sully may have been outspoken, but he wasn’t clueless. “That’s right, I’m Dave’s buddy from a while back. I’ve been the landlord ever since this knucklehead asked."
Dave flicked Sully behind the head, “what I didn’t lie?” Sully whispered harshly, rubbing the back of his head.
“Okay then,” the nurse said clearing her throat. “I’ll just have you sign the sheets, and you can take her home. If you could just give me a forwarding address so I can send someone over?“
Dave nodded, “sure thing, not a problem” he said the words slowly and ended the last signature on the form with a dot.
“Lets go get the kid,” Sully said viciously, making his way to the trauma hall.
“Wait” Dave stopped him, “I wasn’t kidding when I said I’m trying to be a father. I’m not just pretending anymore, so be nice. And she might snap at you but don’t get mad. As a matter a fact just please let me do the talking?“
Sully laughed hysterically, “you crack me up sometimes bud,” and started again for the door.
Catching up to Sully Dave stretched out his arm, “wait though, seriously,” he called.
Back in the room, I waited by the window sitting with my head rested on my knees in tears. I sat spaced out, the nurses said I would go home today with that man. I didn’t even know him, how was I supposed to live with him? I sniffled then buried my face in my lap. Trying to make sense of this was like trying to solve a puzzle without first seeing the picture on the box.
I wasn’t sure of anything anymore, nothing was clear, it was all jumbled in my head. Emotions and thoughts colliding, trying to piece together the puzzle that was my life. My torturous, wretched life.
A knock at the door lead my gaze to that man I saw before, and another man covered in stains from head to toe. No, I looked back out the window and rested my head back in my lap. This is not happening.
Screaming and kicking, I was dragged against my will into the ambulance.“Why do we have to ride in here?” Dave asked
“well she’s not stable yet and we need the proper first aid if necessary to help her. So I will be installing first aid kits and special tools and precautions in the house,” the doctor explained waving his hands in the air as he spoke.
“Is that gonna be a problem?“
Seeing Sully’s essentially paused expression, Dave jumped in, “not at all, anything for Delilah.” The name rolled off his tongue like a bad tuna roll. With Sully still frozen not speaking Dave knew he had something to hide. Dave looked down at his sleeping daughter, they had to put her to sleep to stop her from freaking out.
“We’re here” Sully cheered proudly looking into his driveway.
Dave’s jaw dropped and his eyes twinkled, the mansion was so huge it was like driving into a museum. Just the driveway was enough to make Dave space out, it was like freshly paved cement, still dark and so smooth. The house had a golden front entrance, and the windows were massive. Dave remembered the form, no windows below
meter tall. Looking at the stories they climbed, Dave didn’t worry. Inside the room maids, butlers, and chefs of the finest dining were at service, all lined up ready for us to walk through the door. Sully knew they would be there, so he made a big deal of showing off.
“Carlton go fetch us some dinner, we won’t be long."
“For three sir?“
“No we have another guest she is a child and she is sick, so make her feel welcome. Will you be joining us for dinner?” Sully turned to the doctor.
Still in aw he snapped out of it, shaking his head a little. “Dinner wouldn’t hurt, thank you.” Sully snapped and every maid, butler, and chef was gone.
“Well then, let’s get this tour started follow me.” Sully started and Dave smirked, in his head he was jumping for joy.
“Not only do I get to live with my daughter, but now I get to do it in a mansion.” He said under his breath so that no one could hear
As they walked through the maze Sully stopped at a giant door,
“this is Dave’s room he’s been staying here for years now, but you couldn’t tell. My maids do a sweep when we are both gone, ain’t that right Dave?” It was all Dave had to shake his head yes then gulped as they entered.
The bed was king sized, there was a giant speaker and a rolled out red rug. The tv was massive, and as flat as a tv could get.
“Alright let’s not dilly dally.” Sully shut the door, plenty to see here people, and I mean plenty. Right beside Dave’s room was Amelia’s room.
“This is our finest guest room, but now it will be Delilah’s room."
The doors through open and everyone’s jaws dropped, inside was a massive window, overlooking the entire field of a backyard that was Sully’s. The doctor came in, and did a full inspection. The height of the bed, the height of the window. He measured everything including the TV. At the end of his inspection, he nodded.
“You have a wonderful home, and everything is up to date so that’s good. I’ll go on ahead putting locks on all the doors, you may want to check on Delilah. You know incase she wakes up and tries to call for help."
They nodded with puzzled looks each and Sully snapped his fingers. With rapid speed, a maid came piling up the stairs. He whispered something in her ear. Then she stood like a guard following the doctor around like a hawk.
In the ambulance Dave opened the door. “What did you say to her?” Dave asked Sully, referring to the maid.
Sully smiled, “I told her not to let him snoop, and to keep him out of the safe room.“
Dave, confused starred at Sully, “why?“
“You saw the way he made off with my stuff like that. I mean come on.“
The ambulance was still as Sully muttered, “just being extra precaution that’s all."
The air was awkward silent until a small groan escaped Amelia’s mouth.
I had been dreaming of a big empty space, I was trapped in my thoughts with no escape. I woke with a groggy moan.
“What is this place?” I gasped, “am I dead?“
The two men with me in the vehicle laughed, “no you’re not dead, you are home.” Dave looked at me with worry, he couldn’t help his reaction.
“I’m your father, remember?“
“No, I don’t” I knew what was happening, I was being transferred to another hospital. The feeling that clashed in my mind controled my being. As the doors to the ambulance were pushed open. I gazed at the sight it was so beautiful, so breathtakingly gorgeous it was like a dream. I stared up at the towering building as we walked in it didn’t smell like a hospital. It didn’t look like a hospital, it was more like a home. I smiled as I smelt my way to the kitchen,
“I’m definitely dead. Never in my life or at least that I could remember did I ever smell something as delicious as this. What is that,” the words flowed through the air like a sweet melody.
Sully got down to my level and smelt with me, “that my friend is what I like to call good cooking.“
The warm smell was cozy and tender, as we sat at the table I pictured steam drawing turkey, and hot mashed potatoes smothered in a perfectly thickened gravy. Accompanied with softly cooked, brown sugar glazed, mouth watering carrots. On the side, a piece of fresh bread from the local bakery cut open but not crumbling, and covered with the perfect layer of butter. The trays of delicious feast came by the dozen,
“this is not a hospital.” I said allowed, under my breath.
“What’s that dear” Dave who sat beside me asked, “leave me alone!” I barked, Dave looked at Sully who was watching with confusion. In his head Dave wanted to scream but the pressure was relieved when the doctor entered the room all tightly wound. The guard like maid followed him in and stood still at the wall, waiting for a sign to do otherwise.
“Your house is up to code, and safe for this young lady to spend time in,” the doctor announced. “Here,” he ripped a page from his notes.
“Therapy is weekly at this time every week, this is the number of the trauma counselor, if you need any information call her and she will help you out. Well then I best be going now.“
Sully stopped eating and wiped his scruffy chin with a napkin.
“Didn’t you say you were going to stay for dinner?“
“I was, but” the doctor looked at the maid who was assigned to watch him, and then back at Sully. “I think I have overstayed my welcome, I will see you for our yearly inspection.“
“What?” Sully stood almost tipping his chair.
“Yes didn’t you tell your landlord? We stop by every year to make sure the place is still the happy safe home it is now. It’s all right there on the form I gave you.” Looking at Dave the doctor awaited a response.
“I guess I forgot to tell you.” The truth though was that Dave skipped that part in hopes of finding a new home sooner, but the lie seemed to get through.
“Is that going to be a problem?” The doctor stared at Sully, eager to embarrass him just as the maid did himself.
“No,” Sully grinded his teeth slowly. He sat back down “of course not.” Then violently he pulled his chair back to the table and began to eat, furrowing his eyebrows menacingly at Dave.
Later, while Amelia was asleep. Dave and Sully paced in the living room, Sully sent all his staff home for the night so he could speak to Dave in private.
“I can’t have someone from freaking Emergency services showing up here every year. I have enough to deal with without someone inspecting my place every year. I’m having a hard enough time hiding from the cops without them sweeping through every year or so. When I agreed to help you, I agreed to help you, not your rude, obnoxious teenager with mental problems.“
Dave sat on the couch beside Sully taking the heat.
“Look I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about the form, okay? But you did agree to help Amelia, and you’re the one who offered me the house to begin with. It’s not like I asked to live here, and besides it’s not like I’ve never done anything for you. Or don’t you remember the death penalty at prison? How you were due to be in there dying within weeks before I pulled you out of the volcano. So you could land in paradise with all the money in the world, and like about a dozen people waiting on you hand and foot, to please you. You have everything, and without me you would have nothing.“
With that they both sat in that living room for what felt like hours before Dave spoke again.
“I know why you must thi…” Sully cut him off
“I had no right to say those things and I know you did save my life, I’m sorry. It’s just,” he shook his head “come with me, it’ll be easier if I just show you.“
“Show me what?” Dave followed Sully up the hall with no answer.
At the end of the seemingly never ending hallway a photo as big as the wall took us to a dead end.
“Here it is,” Sully stopped, admiring the painting.
It was a giant 100 dollar bill. Nothing was beautiful about it, it was nothing to look at. One of the ugliest paintings in the house by the looks of things.
“What are we doing here?” Dave yawned,
“come on.” Sully motioned as he did he flipped open a hidden pin password on the wall and punched in the code. Then he pushed the painting in and let go. The thing flung open nearly hitting Dave clear in the nose on its way by.
Inside a huge room full of cash revealed.
“This is where I keep all my cash.”
Still in awe at the sight, Dave could barely get out the question.
“Where did you get it all?” There must have been billions in that room.
“Well Dave, that is an excellent question, and it is exactly why I don’t want those people getting to into inspecting my stuff. And it’s the reason I asked my maid to keep an eye on the doctor. I stole over ten billion dollars from banks across the world. I just didn’t want to get caught.”
Dave walked immediately down the hall to his room.
“What?” Sully closed the vault and caught up to him. Dave stopped dead in his tracks knocking into Sully who didn’t stop. On the ground Sully rubbed his head.
“What, why are you mad?”
Sully got to his feet as Dave started the lector.
“I told you, I told you I didn’t want to be a criminal. And by showing me that, and telling me, you just made me an accessory to your crime.”
Dave dug his finger fiercely into Sully’s chest, then continued to his room.
“I’ll fix it,” Sully called “I’m sorry, and I’ll fix it.” The door to Dave’s room slammed shut, and silence blanketed the house.
The next morning I woke with a jump, crying out for my mother who I couldn’t even remember. Why I called for a mother was a black hole, a void that could never be filled. The total darkness of my dreams came to an end when the beaming sun burst through my window, nearly blinding me.
“What is it?” The man I saw before, the man that was said to be my father came rushing in by my side.
“What’s wrong?” For the first time since I could remember, the feeling of love came crashing back. Like a wave in an endless sea of torment, gone calm. A tear streaked my face and I hugged Dave. With my arms wrapped around him, I could feel how nervous he was.
“Do you remember me sweetie?”
“no,” still hugging him tightly. I squeezed one last time before I let go.
“I just needed a hug,” Dave looked at me with the kind of look you give a lost puppy. He looked at me like I was a lonely sad wet dog on his doorstep, begging for scraps. He looked mesmerized and guilty at the same time.
For a long time he just stood without moving.
“what?” I felt uncomfortable with him just staring at me, and got up to leave the room.
That was odd, I thought walking down the hall. At the end there was a stop, an intersection that confused me. Turn left or right, I didn’t know. The overwhelming fear brought me down, so I just sat and screamed.
“What?” Two voices, one from my room, and one from my left.
“What’s wrong?” Both men came flying from either direction.
“I..I..I got lo..lost.” My voice was breaking up again, like in the hospital. So I stopped talking. Dave helped me up,
“it’s okay.” He said with a soothing voice.
“Earlier you asked if I remember,” I started to speak. “Why were you so nervous?”
Dave began to sweat, and he swallowed before looking to the ground.
“I was just worried that you,” a long pause kept them waiting. “That you were hallucinating, that you were better. I thought we’d need to take you back to the hospital.”
I forgot the conversation standing there in the hall. It frightened me, two men I didn’t know standing in front of me, surrounding me. I was in a house I didn’t know.
“Move,” I started and got louder, panting for air.
“Move, move!” The words grew into demands. When they didn’t do as I said I pushed them out of the way. As they struggled to regain consciousness, I made a run for it into the hall. I swerved every which way,
I am faster than both of them combined I can outrun these two out of shape strangers. I thought, running into walls as I ran.
Every door I passed was the same, and there were tens of them lined up in each hallway.
Until that one door, it wasn’t like the rest the doors. it was big and gold with a distinct front lobby. The whole room had shoes and jackets lining the walls, this is the exit. I thought opening the door. I slammed it behind me, and booked it to the woods.
Panting I climbed onto a nearby boulder, and sat for a moment, catching my breath. As I did something fell from my pocket.
It was a golden chained necklace that had only one charm which was a golden heart shaped locket. Like the one I saw in my nightmare before I hugged Dave. It was just floating there in my dream. Then I had an image of a man with a rock. A rock that caused me pain, enough pain to make me wake up and call for a mom. A mom that I didn’t even gave.
The necklace that sat on the ground beside me seemed the same with the same markings on it, and the same features. To afraid to touch it, I decided to sit on the rock a little longer. The wind blew my hair in all directions, causing the feeling of annoyingness to charge at me like a bull. I smacked the hair out of my face, and got off the rock. Wondering, I forgot all about the necklace. As I came to the house, both Dave and Sully awaited me at the door.
“That’s the last time you do that.” Sully smirked and Dave looked guiltily at his shoes.
“Do what?” I was so clueless that I didn’t even sense the harm, when Sully grabbed my arm, and dragged me inside.
“Let’s go.” He whisked me into the front hall, and shut the door.
He snapped his fingers and two men took my arms. We walked down a few sets of stairs, and into a dark room. The mice squealed and the rusty old pipes dripped every few seconds. When they shut the door behind me, I was alone and afraid in the pitch black. My surroundings clashed and clanged, every noise brought a new terror to my imagination. Every shadow made me run to a new corner. In the middle of the room hung a naked light bulb from the ceiling. The room was completely empty, except for me, a few rusted broken pipes, a couple rats, and a musty cobweb covered light bulb.
The freezing air made me shiver, holding my arms close to my chest, rubbing them constantly with my hands. Yet no matter what I did, the goose bumps refused to leave my bare skin.
Meanwhile upstairs, Dave was unsure of this arrangement.
“What if we are making a mistake?” He complained while Sully helped his staff move the money to the car. “You saw her, she’s out of control. What if she remembers, do you really want her telling the therapist?” Sully rolled his eyes back, and made air quotes with his fingers. “About what you did to her, how I helped.”
Sully slowly twisted his head making a fierce frightening expression, while gritting his teeth at Dave.
“Well,” Sully repeated “do you?”
“no” Dave kicked his toes to the floor.
“Well then we need to move to a more secluded safe environment.”
“What if they find us? We’re both wanted already and now we’re adding child endangerment to that list. Our faces will be on the news from here to Oklahoma. We just need new stories and faces, my buddy owns a plastic surgery hospital. He’s off the grid, and he won’t ask questions.”
Sully wiped the sweat from his forehead after moving the last box to the van.
“Alright then you go get the girl, I’ll get the masks.”
“For what?” Dave asked confused.
“The girl, or the masks?” Dave rolled his eyes “the masks.
“They’re for traffic cameras ,you can never be too careful when it comes to traffic cameras.” Sully pointed his finger in the air stating his point. Dave nodded and stomped his way down the stairs to the basement where Amelia was being held.
He desperately wanted to keep his promise, but life in prison or death that wasn’t worth the risk, and he knew so.
Opening the big metal doors took so much out of Dave. His energy caput.
Inside, curled up in a ball was his daughter. She was shaking and rocking herself back and forth. Deeming to be in a trance.
I looked up at Dave with big eyes, so confused. Where was I, who was he. The man standing in the shadows frightened me even more than the space in this room.
“Get away from me!” I screamed “stay away.”
Dave hurried to my side and tried to shut me up so no one else could hear me scream.
“It’s okay el..” he shook his head “Delilah, you’re safe now. I’m going to take you out of this place, so you don’t have to be here anymore.”
In the dark and scary room, he knelt down, now at my level. As I still sat in my ball of security. The man touched my knee,
“I won’t let anyone hurt you Delilah, I promise.”
I looked up at him,
“why, why, why”
I couldn’t quite spit the words out, so I swallowed and tried again.
“Why was I here in the first place?”
“Because we didn’t want you to get hurt, like I just said.”
I shook my head, and held my ears. Get out of my head, the ringing of my ears corrupted into slithery voices, that made me want to crawl under a rock and never come out. They chanted the same thing over and over,
“get the necklace, go home, get the necklace, go home.”
I banged my head against the wall.
“What necklace, what home?”
I was so angry, it was like they wanted me to go crazy. All of a sudden the voices stopped, and I was greeted with a rather unsettling gaze from both Sully and Dave.
Oh great, now they think I’m mental and crazy. I buried my head in my lap but before I knew it something lifted me. I opened my eyes to find Dave carrying me up the stairs. What was happening?
I couldn’t move or squirm it was like my body wanted Dave to do this, to take me somewhere unknown. The very thought of the possibilities of where we could be going frightened me. It was enough to give me a massive headache.
Great I thought, another nuance to go along with every other problem in my brain. I was sat in a big van and buckled up. Still, with no emotion on my face, I couldn’t move. And it didn’t feel like it was something that they did to me. I looked out the window at the two men. They were putting on what looked like two masks, one of a pig, and the other of a chicken. I laughed, suites them I thought, giggling.
I stopped when the chicken and pig entered the vehicle. I watched them put the car into gear and start to drive. So scared and so fragile, I sat like a statue.
Countless times I tried to scream, but I just couldn’t. It was like my body was detaining itself. Like I was trapped in my own skin.
The urge to move killed me as my back became more sore, and my legs fidgety. My arms were numb and my neck chafed on the seat belt. I tried to lean my head on the window to fall asleep, but my entire body tipped with it. I was caught by the hard window. When it bonked my head, I couldn’t even reach up to rub my pulsing goose egg that the hit had left behind. The pain was so wretched that I was desperate to get away from it. I turned my head away from the window, and rested it to the back of the seat. The last image that flashed in my mind was the creepy animal mask that looked back to where I sat. I couldn’t see his face but the way he looked wasn’t friendly.
If these people are truly good why cover their faces?
And it was this thought that lead me to believe the terrors that raced through my mind. The horrors I had concocted. The nightmares that were finally rising to the surface.
That final glance at the chicken in the passenger seat blurred as I shut my eyes, and slipped away.