I’ve been waiting for this moment all my life. Oh lord
New Haven, Connecticut
“Hey, baby. How’s your day?
I smile as my fiance’s reply comes down the line. “Hey, Ands. It’s good. I just finished my last lecture a couple of hours ago and ended up at the hospital for a bit. How’s your day?”
“Oh you know, science.” She giggles. “I’m one DNA study away from becoming the legend my parents always envisioned.”
I smile. “You’re already a legend in my eyes.”
“You old sap. Are you headed out?”
“Yeah, I’m grabbing some sushi with Clark and catching the four twenty-five into Stamford,” I say, pushing my chair under the desk, and flipping the lights off, leaving my work behind for the weekend. “What do you want to do for dinner?”
“Hm, there’s that new tapas place Christine told me about. You want to try it? I’m not starving today--but I’m starving, you know what I mean, Jer?”
“I think I’m the only one who ever knows what you mean.” My lips curl into a smile as I make my way out of the office. I lock the door, nodding an acknowledgment to Clark, my medical colleague, as he waits down the hall for me. “Tapas sounds good, let’s do it.”
“I’ll be waiting at the station for you. See you in a few hours.”
“I love you,” I say gently. “Let’s book that venue this weekend. The one you like.”
“Really?” She says, and I can tell that she is smiling . “I thought you said we should wait and explore more options.”
“That was me being too intellectual again,” I smirk, rolling my eyes. “Well, that and my sister says she’ll kick my ass if I keep stalling.”
“She called you?” Andy sighs. “I asked her not to.”
“It’s better that she did.” I respond and the sigh escapes me as I think back to the guilt trip Helen gave me. As annoyed as I was, she was justified. My head was clouded up with too many things and I needed to be brought back to earth.
“It’s been a hard month, that’s all.” My voice is tired but I manage to brighten it. “I’m sorry for being such a stubborn jerk. The place is nice, and you love it, so what’s left to explore?”
She sighs. “You’re too good to me, baby.” Andy laughs.
“I treat you like the queen that you are.”
“Now you’re getting extra sappy,” she says. “Are you looking for something?”
“Hmm maybe,” I grin into the phone. “Some naughty-nasty time perhaps?”
“You’re being a pervert Dr. Evans,” she says, the playfulness in her voice not going unnoticed.
“No, I’ve just been sex-deprived for the last two and a half weeks,” I sigh. “Work’s been hell between diagnoses, running the ward, and lecturing a bunch of undergrads.”
“Tell me about it,” she drones. “The week is over and I still have a mountain of work laying in front of me. I really should stay and work overtime tonight.”
“But it’s Friday and you love me too much.” The smile pulls on my lips.
“Yeah,” she chides. “You’re right. I guess you have a deal, Evans, but you better make it through tapas without conning me into going home early. I need my energy,” she whines. “And I love chopitos. I need lots of chopitos, Jeremy. And wine.”
“Mmm tipsy chopitos.” I laugh and she joins in. “All right, it’s a deal,” I smile. “I love you, baby. See you tonight.”
“I love you too. Bye Jer.”
I end the call and slip the phone in my pocket before meeting Clark at the end of the hall.
“Was that the lady in waiting?” he says as we walk, shooting a sly smirk my way.
“As always,” I laugh.
We have a casual lunch at our favorite sushi spot ten blocks away, munching on our rolls and sipping our sake as we go over this week’s caseload and what lies ahead for the next. Lots of kids, too much cancer, as is the norm here at Yale. I’m thankful to have the weekends to get away from all the tragedy, crying parents, and children who don’t understand why they’re in so much pain. I can’t wait to melt away into my fiance for two days and continue to plan our future.
After last month’s miscarriage, I think we both need a break. We’ve been diving into work ever since, determined to put it behind us. I still don’t know how to feel. It was the third time and the doctors said she can’t put her body through it again. My heart is aching due to the blow of never being able to create a child with her. Still, I love her more than ever.
We will get through this. We always get through everything, together. Andrea is and always will be, the love of my life.
“Hey, do you want a ride into Stamford?” Clark asks as we step out of the restaurant an hour later. “I’m going the same way.”
“In that traffic?” I scoff, pulling my messenger bag up my shoulder. “No way. I’ll be eating dinner at nine. Thanks for the offer, though. See you Monday?”
“Yeah definitely,” he smiles. “I’ll talk to you then. Hey, let’s do dinner at my place next weekend. Tanya’s been asking when she can see you and Andrea again.”
“Sounds great,” I smile. “I’ll tell Andy tonight.”
“All right. Have a good weekend, man.”
He raises his hand in a final wave and walks in one direction and I walk opposite, hailing a cab that gets me to Union Station within minutes. I like the train. It helps me clear my head and focus on some things that I usually can’t with colleagues around. One of my cases is puzzling. We recently admitted a young boy with a rare form of lymphoma that I haven’t seen before. A couple of days ago his tests revealed something that could help, but I need some time to study the results. Two hours on the train will help me get there. After that Andy will be my focus.
I can’t wait to hold her, and be with her for two days without the burden of paperwork, emails, and teleconferences.
“Excuse me? Sir? Can you help me? I’m a little lost.” A voice behind me asks as I make my way onto the platform.
I turn around to find a man clutching a folded up map tightly in his hands. He stares at me for several moments. I notice his eyes. They are a cold, bright grey, a color unlike one I have ever seen before. He seems to be in his mid-forties and stands a bit taller than me. The man is well toned, clean-shaven, his hair trimmed into a neat crew cut. His polo sweater and casual pair of khakis remind me of a confused ivy league parent. I’ve seen the type before. “Hey um--yeah sure, where are you trying to go?”
“I’m trying to find out how to get back to campus. My daughter goes to Yale and has sent me on a bit of a crazy errand,” he laughs nervously. “You know how kids can be.”
“I get it,” I smile and move closer to him. “I work at Yale so I’m sure I can point out where you need to be, but you’re way off-campus. You’d be better off taking a taxi back.”
“Oh, no need for that. I love to walk. Exercise is so important,” he says. “Isn’t that right, doctor?”
A wave of confusion washes over me. I cock my head to the side and survey him through narrowed eyes. “How do you know that I’m a doctor?”
“It’s in your eyes,” he says without preamble, a small smile passing over his face. “There’s a compassion inside of you that others don’t carry.”
Something odd, and cold creeps into his tone. It sends a chill up my spine, but I shrug it off. “Where are you trying to go?” I force a smile for him now, wanting to get this over with so I can get away from this weirdo.
“Home,” he whispers.
My face twists with confusion. “What do you mean?”
As I glance around, I notice the people milling around the platform have scattered. It’s that gap in time between arrivals and departures. At this moment, on the platform, it’s only him and I. Deep inside a voice of warning cries out to me. Something isn’t right.
Something is very off.
A strange look ignites in his eyes then, a kind of fire,indignation and malice. I back away, but he brings his right fist up with a crazed grin and jabs the syringe into my shoulder.
My mouth opens in an attempt to scream for help, but everything seems to blur, leaving me mute as my legs give way from under me. He catches me before I hit the ground. I struggle but I am no match for him as he drags me off of the platform and through a door that slams behind us. The corridor is dim, evidently not in use. No one has seen us and no one knows that I’m here.
“Help!” I manage to yell, and he claps his hand over my mouth. He presses something cold and sharp against my neck: a blade.
His voice is soft, velvety even, but his words are harsh and threatening as he hisses them in my ear. “I will say this once. Scream again, and I will cut your throat and dump your body into the sewers, as much as it will pain me to waste such potential. Then, I will take the train to Stamford and do the same thing to that sweet little bitch you waste so much time with. Do not doubt me.”
My eyes widen and my heart thumps against my rib cage. The pulse point in my throat jumps as the blade of his knife edges against my skin. Andy’s wellbeing is the only thing I care about right now. I’ll do anything to keep this maniac away from her.
“You must cooperate, Jeremy,” he tells me, loosening his grip over my mouth. “Do you understand?”
He knows my name. How does he know my name?
An ice-cold chill begins its ascent up my spine when the blade nips against my flesh. Slowly, I nod, my eyes firmly shut. I take a few deep breaths through my nose, allowing the bile and terror to remain stagnant inside me. Finally, he lifts his hand away from my mouth, withdrawing the blade held at my throat a few seconds later.
“Listen to me very carefully. I am going to tie a blindfold over your eyes and you are not going to move while I’m doing that.” He commands, his tone desperate yet firm. “When I’m finished, I want you to place your hands behind your head and lock your fingers together, then walk forward with me.”
Fabric passes over my eyes, plunging me into darkness, and the cloth is tightly knotted at the back of my head. I raise my arms in the air and place my palms at the back of my head. I shudder, terrified. I cringe when his soft hands brush over my fingertips as he locks them together behind my head. He prods me forward with the pointed tip of his knife, but whatever he injected me with appears to be working: My legs feel weighted, like two heavy sandbags as he leads me down the corridor.
“There are stairs here. Step down,” he hisses, his tone frantic.
I blindly stumble down them, I almost fall a few times, but the hands wrapped around my biceps are like vices. The wind whips across my face as the slamming of a door ricochets against my ears. My feet crash against the pavement. I try to count the steps but can’t keep track. I’m not used to the blindness or the fear that consumes me, and moving as he commands requires all of my concentration. The sound of my feet shuffling against metal suggests that I am inside another building. My mind is racing. I let out a gasp when I’m violently shoved from behind, falling to my knees, my fingers still clasped behind my head as I hit the floor.
I lay frozen, with my knees curled into my chest, panting heavily as tears seep through the bottom of my blindfold and stream down my face. A door slams shut and the icy blast of reality crashes into me. I know I am trapped with him, hidden away from the outside world.
My heart hammers painfully against my chest, every intake of breath tight in my lungs as I urge myself to think of a way out. For a while I don’t hear him and I pause, debating if it is safe to move. My forearm shifts sluggishly against the blindfold in an effort to push it out of my vision, but the material has been pulled too tight against my skin and the drugs are barely allowing me to move. His palms come, pressed against my thighs, painfully grinding his fingertips into the muscle as his breath comes closer, heating up against my flesh.
“Jeremy, are you trying to take off your blindfold?”
His voice is icy, filled with rage. I shake my head, my lips squeezed tight, praying he won’t hurt me.
“I think you’re lying to me.”
His fist slams into my jaw and I cry out, but his hand falls over my mouth again, pressing harshly against my lips so they push and twist painfully against my nose as I spew muffled cries of agony against his skin.
“There, there. No need to worry now.” He whispers, and the sound of jangling becomes clear as he removes his hand from my jaw. “You’re here with me now, Jeremy. You’re almost home.”
“Home,” I croak.
I have to get home.
I try moving again, desperate to get away, but my energy is gone. The drug has left my body weighted and paralyzed. It’s too late.
“That’s right. We will be home soon. We’ll be together, always, as Jesus intended,” he murmurs, with the intensity and passion of a cult leader. “Now, Jeremy, I am going to chain you. Do not struggle.”
He pulls my hands away from my head and holds them out in front of me. He crosses my wrists, one over the other. The jangling sound returns and metal bites into the tender skin of my wrists. My arms are yanked into the air, and he pins my wrists above my head. A surge of terror sweeps over me yet I cannot scream. Those emotions are stagnant inside from the drug coursing through my veins.
He is taking me away. For what reason, I can only imagine.
Stay strong, Jeremy. You must be strong.
“Jesus?” I echo, my voice hoarse from screaming.
“Yes, Jeremy. He is our salvation and has chosen you for a very special purpose.”
That doesn’t make sense. This must be a dream. It has to be. Perhaps I slipped in my office, hit my head, and haven’t come to. Anything other than this. I can’t accept this as reality.
“Help me, please...” My head falls sideways. Beads of sweat trickle down my forehead, and the cold chill overwhelms me.
“No, Jeremy. Help isn’t needed.” He hovers over me, his breath hot on my face. “My name is Grant. I have been commissioned by Jesus Christ to be your master. From now on, your place is here with us. I would like to welcome you to your new way of life. Right now I’m sure you have many questions and concerns, but for the time being, you need to wear this gag. Not to worry though, we will speak again very soon.”
“No. Please. I won’t tell anyone about you, I swear. Please...please let me go.” I beg him desperately. The dry, heaving sobs racking my body as I begin to lose hope.
“There there now,” he says gently. “Settle Jeremy. You must rest.”
“Please.” It comes out as nothing more than a feeble croak. No one can hear me. No one can save me. Soon, he forces something large and circular into my mouth, rendering me mute. The plunge of the syringe pounces into my shoulder again, causing my body to fall limp. The blackness takes over and I drift off, defeated.