Welcome back, I really hope you're enjoying the story. Please, remember this is an Interactive story. As soon as you fill up your plates with goodies and pour yourself a refreshing beverage and you've found a spot to relax in the garden, we'll start.
If you are just joining us, you can read the first post of the interactive story here... Then just scroll up from there. Remember this is a rough draft, and you are asked to answer the question at the end in a comment. Let's get started.
Finally she opened her eyes and regarded her visitor and then her son. When her children were babies, she’d dreamt of a wonderful life for them. Carla meeting a wonderful man, even maybe one like Spencer. But then her husband had left, just vanished. He had left for work and never come home. Times were hard after that, but they’d been happy. If poor.
She stood and walked to the sliding glass door, pulled it open to let the breeze carry in the salt and smell of the ocean.
“Do you think we could relive this part of my life out on the deck?” She didn’t turn to see if they followed. “I’d just as soon not take the darkness into my home. I have to live with it every day here…” She placed a hand over her heart.
When the two men had settled she let herself drift again to that day, she stared at the waves crashing against the rocks, but what she saw was Johnny standing at the window next to the door. Watching and waiting for her to come home.
“Sometimes I wonder what kind of mother doesn’t have some kind of warning when their child is in trouble.”
“Shush James. Please don’t interrupt or I’ll never get it out. I’ve spent too many years keeping it in and terrified that if I slip Carla or you will pay for my mistake.”
She waited and when the other two didn’t reply to her statement she let herself return to the day she pulled into the driveway, her son ripping the door open and ran to meet her. Terror written clearly across his features.
“I had no flash of intuition that my life was about to be tore from me again. When the kids’ father walked out, I thought life could never get worse. I was wrong.”
She dashed the moisture from her eyes impatiently. She took a deep breath and told herself to just relay the story as if she were telling something that happened to someone else. Someone like Francine, Johnny, and Carla Morgan.
“Johnny was at the car before I had time to climb out. I grabbed my purse and took a hold of his hand. The entire time he kept repeating that Carla was gone. He was positive some kids at school had done harm to his sister.”
Helen had finally calmed him down enough to find out what he was talking about. She was certain that elementary boys could not make her daughter disappear. She searched the house and came to the same conclusion Johnny had, her daughter had not been home since she’d left for school that morning.
“When I’d finally convinced Johnny the bullies at school did not have anything to do with his sister, I’d decided I needed to call the police. I had no clue how long a child had to be missing before you could report them gone.” She shifted in her chair. What she wanted to do was pace. “I didn’t care, Carla was ten. The weather had turned to rain and it was dark. I had had only a vague idea of the time when Johnny had seen her last. It had to have been around four in the afternoon.”
Again, guilt washed over her, no premonition had warned her, why? She’s already taught her children to follow their gut feelings, if something felt off, then it was. But why wasn’t she warned by some internal pain, or something?
“Mom, it’s not your fault.” James stood. “Why don’t I get you a glass of water, Spencer do you want something?”
“Dear, I really…”
“Water would be good,” Spencer said.
She watched James go to the kitchen through the sliding glass door, and then turned her attention to Spencer.
“Why do you need to know all of this? It’s just going to harm my children. I may not know where my daughter may be, and I want to see her again. My heart aches for her. But if finding her will bring her danger, I’d rather leave things the way they are.”
“Ma’am, may I call you Helen?”
“Yes. I actually miss being called Francine or Fran. Even after all these years, for a spilt second when someone calls me Helen I don’t realize they’re talking to me.”
“I can only imagine.” He scooted his chair toward her a little as if he may tell her a secret. “Helen, I promise you I will not bring any harm to your family. The more information I have from you, the less I need to find out on my own. That way my snooping will not send up any red flags to anyone watching. Does that make sense?”
She thought for a moment. James handed her a bottle of water, then gave one to Spencer. He sat and opened his own. He fidgeted in his seat, but he didn’t interrupt. She studied his face and realized he wasn’t as immune to the consequences as she thought. He loved his sister and wanted her home.
Safe. He understood the circumstances.
She turned her attention to Spencer again. “What you’re saying is, the more initial information you have from me, the less likely the people watching me will see that you’re investigating me.”
“Exactly. I don’t care how powerful these people are, unless they’re the NSA, they can’t monitor every IP address in the nation. The more I can trace, with your help, on the Net the better.”
“I’m beginning to understand that you’re not going to be out in public until absolutely necessary. Making it less likely to be caught.”
For the first time since James told her his idea, she felt hope. Hope she may see her daughter again.
“I can only tell you what happen that night to the two of us, not to Carla. If we had to change our names, I’m sure she did also. How will you find her if you do not know her name?”
“Let me worry about that, you need to tell me everything you know. Descriptions of these men and or women, the cars, everything you remember of the events.”
“As I said, I’d decided to call the police to report what had happened.” She glanced at James, he gave her an encouraging nod. “As I picked up the phone someone pounded on the door. I had hoped it was someone returning my daughter.”
Helen drew in a breath. She remembered all too clearly what happened next.
“I pulled the door open with such hope. For several moments I didn’t understand what I was seeing, actually it was a long time before I understood. By this time it was ten at night, and yet the two men stood there with sun glasses on. All I could think of was Men in Black.”
Here is the Interactive part. Here's where you tell me which way to go.
After listening to everything about what happened that night, what happens?
1. Helen decides she can't allow Spencer to investigate.
2. Spencer decides he really can't follow up.
3. James and Helen hire Spencer to find Carla.
Voting is closed.