For complete disclaimers see part 1.
Note: There is mild sexual violence in this part. This part is also rather short, but I’ll be firing them at you pretty quickly, so don’t worry.
If you’d like to tell me what a wonderful writer I am or that I royally suck, feel free at: XenaNut@hotmail.com
Come visit me at: www.myspace.com/aspfilmswriter or my publisher at: www.pdpublishing.com
Remmy looked up the rather imposing set of stairs from the second floor, up to a closed door at the top. The staircase was narrow, and Remmy wondered how furniture would be moved up there. The weight of her backpack reminded her that she had no furniture, but surely she wasn’t going to be sleeping on the floor?
Mounting the stairs, Remmy ignored the squeak of the old wood under her booted feet, one hand reaching out to run along the wall to keep her balance. The octagon-shaped window at the top of the stairs shone distorted colors down on the brunette, the colored glass etched and random.
Remmy slid the key she’d been given into the lock, turning and pushing the door open. The space wasn’t huge, but it wasn’t tiny. It was certainly larger than a motel room. With heavily slanted beamed ceilings, Remmy would have to be careful and remember to duck in those places. The front wall was lined with small windows, another octagon-shaped window, three times larger than that at the top of the stairs, sat in the middle. It sent red, green and yellow colors shooting across the wood floor.
Against the wall all the way to the right was a kitchen unit, complete with small fridge, two-burner stove and a sink. Cabinets lined the walls above the sink and stove. Just beyond that was a curtained off area, which after further exploration, Remmy realized it was the bathroom- toilet, pedestal sink and a stand-alone shower stall.
Remmy turned, her back to the curtained bathroom, scanning the rest of the empty space. There was plenty of room for shelves on the walls, plenty of room for a bed area and a living area. It was nice, and the price wasn’t bad.
“What do you think?” Joan asked, suddenly standing in the open door of the space. Remmy glanced over at her.
“Three hundred, huh?”
The manager nodded. “That includes your heat, electricity, anything like that. If you want a phone, you’re on your own, but all other utilities are included. And,” she held up a finger, “Doug can wire cable up here, too, if you want it.”
Remmy smirked. “That would require me to actually own a TV.”
“How much stuff do you have?”
Remmy patted the pack on her back. “You’re looking at it.”
“Oh! Okay. Well, there’s a thrift shop downtown, and I’d be more than happy to take you down there, if you want. Get yourself set up.”
Remmy sighed, thumbs hitching in the front pockets of her jeans. “I really appreciate all this, Joan, but I don’t have the money to do all this right now.” She looked around the space, wistful. “Wish I did.”
Joan’s footfalls echoes in the empty room. She slung an arm around Remmy’s shoulders. “We’ll figure something out, kid. You game?”
“You sure?” Remmy countered. The blonde grinned with a nod. “Okay. You’re on.”
Later that evening, Remmy sat on her new/used couch, feet propped up on a scarred, but incredibly cheap, coffee table, watching her new TV. She squirted some more of the sticky aloe into her palm, gently rubbing it over her badly sunburned face. She didn’t think that repaying Joan and Doug for her new furniture set up should be so painful. In all fairness to them, Doug had warned her to put some sun block on before she’d been sent out to mow the yard and pull weeds- she hadn’t listened.
The deal had been made- Remmy helped around the house and yard for three months- and the brunette was glad she’d done it. She looked around her new digs with something like pride. A bed- full-sized- all her own, with matching dresser, courtesy of the local Goodwill. She also had a small, two-person table to eat her meals, and a full living room, replete with four foot high bookshelf and wooden TV stand to go with her couch, coffee table and 19” TV. It was even in color! If only she’d known that thrift stores could be so fruitful, though it wasn’t like she stuck around anywhere long enough to buy anything, and she certainly couldn’t lug a couch down the next nameless highway.
Everything she’d done today, the work and promises, allowed herself to maybe find some peace and happiness for at least three months. She swore to herself that she would not fink out on Doug and Joan, two of the most decent people she’d met in a long time.
Slopping more aloe onto her fried shoulders and arms, Remmy absently used the remote to flick through the channels, looking for anything interesting. Doug had to go to work, so couldn’t run the cable up to her room yet, leaving only the five local channels for entertainment. She passed by Wheel of Fortune, stopping just long enough to guess three wrong letters, then moved on to find the evening news. She was about to flip back to the game show when Julie Wilson’s image caught her attention.
“… be reached, though police say they’ll keep trying to contact Lambert,” the news anchor said, glancing briefly down at her notes. “If you have any information on Julie Wilson, please call police.”
The gaudy music began, indicative of a commercial break. Remmy gazed at the screen, but was no longer seeing it. Chewing on her bottom lip, she made a decision.
Brian Wong watched, mystified as his fellow detective made an entire stack of playing cards disappear. The group that surrounded the man murmured amongst themselves, trying to figure out how he did it. A round of “Whoa!” erupted as suddenly the deck reappeared. A round of applause followed.
A uniformed cop, whom Brian recognized as one of the front desk officers, weaved her way through the gathered crowd, and up to him. “Detective Wong, there’s a woman here who would like to speak to you about the Wilson case.”
“Really?” he said, surprised. In the weeks since it had happened, they had gotten nowhere.
“She’s waiting in Interview Room 1.”
“Alright. Thanks, Linda.”
The desk officer nodded, then hurried back to her post. Brian watched her go, always thinking Officer Linda Tate had the greatest ass known to mankind. Pulled from his perusal as duty called, he grabbed a pen and pad and paper from his desk, making sure his tie was straight and hair slicked back as he made his way to Interview Rom 1.
Inside the small room, decorated with only a small, square table and two chairs, Brian saw the woman standing in front of the two-way mirror. He stood in the open doorway, unsure what to say. The woman with long, dark hair flowing down her back, was looking into the smoky mirror, hands cupped around her face, trying to look through to the other side. Brian cleared his throat to get the woman’s attention.
Remmy whirled around to see a man in a dark brown suit standing in the doorway to the small room. She grinned. “I uh, I always wondered what was on the other side of those,” she explained, hitching a thumb over her shoulder toward the two-way.
“Well,” Brian said, entering the room and closing the door behind him. “I hope your curiosity has been laid to rest.” He slapped his pad of paper down on the table and sat, glancing up at the brunette, nodding toward the chair across from him. “My name is Brian Wong, and I’m one of the detectives working the case.” He grabbed his pen, removing the cap as he poised the instrument above the pad. “And, who might you be?”
“My name is Remmy Foster,” Remmy said, getting settled across from the curt man.
“Alright, Remmy. I hear you wish to talk about the Julie Wilson case.” He looked into Remmy’s face, studying her with shrewd, dark eyes. “Do you know Julie Wilson?”
The brunette shook her head. “Nope. Met her once, though.”
“Oh? And when was that?”
“Not long before she disappeared. She gave me a ride,” Remmy explained, watching as the man scribbled some notes on the yellow legal pad. She sat still, waiting for him to stop, hands clasped properly in front of her. After a moment, dark eyes met hers again, silently prompting. “I haven’t seen her since.”
Brian Wong sat back, sighing quietly as he did. “So, what have you got for me that was so important for you to take time out of your day, and mine, to tell me? Cuz, I gotta tell you,” he tapped his pad with a finger. “This ain’t it.”
“You guys are going after the ex-boyfriend, right?” Remmy asked.
“We’d like to question him, yes.”
The woman had stated this so matter-of-factly that it got Brian’s attention. “And, why’s that?”
“Because he didn’t do it,” Remmy said simply, as though that should explain it all.
“He didn’t do it,” the detective said slowly, eyeing the girl sitting across from him. He took in her ill-fitted t-shirt, slightly disheveled hair, and remembered the torn jeans he’d noticed before sitting down. “Look, Miss Foster, unless you can give me something to truly sink my teeth into, you’re wasting both our time, here.”
“No, you have to listen to me,” Remmy said, leaning forward, one elbow resting on the table. “I’m telling you. It isn’t this Ray Lambert guy.”
Brian’s dark brows drew. Ray’s name hadn’t been released to the press. “You said you don’t know Julie Wilson.”
“Do you know Ray Lambert?”
The harsh light above made the woman’s feature seem far harsher than they were, almost giving her an eerie, malicious look. Brian knew it was his mind playing tricks, but he couldn’t shake it. Grace Cowan so often teased him about his lack of gut instinct, but with this one, it was zooming off the charts. He took in her face, then his gaze fell to her hair- long and dark. Suddenly he remembered the long, dark hairs that had been found in Wilson’s car. Yes, Remmy had said she’d been given a ride by Wilson, but was it just simply a likely story to explain anything they may find in the car? His suspicious nature perked to life.
“So, you don’t know Julie Wilson, you don’t know Ray Lambert, yet you’re telling me that Ray Lambert isn’t responsible for Wilson’s disappearance.”
Remmy nodded. “That’s exactly what I’m trying to tell you.”
“Okay,” he drawled, setting his pen down and entwining his fingers upon the pad. “Look, Miss Foster-“
“Whatever.” He could no longer hide his irritation. “I’ll call you Mother Theresa if you want, as long as you can give me something, anything, remotely concrete or useful.”
“And I’ll call you Colombo, if you want, if you’ll pick up your pen and write down what I’m trying to tell you,” Remmy said, her own hackles raised. Her gaze was steady as it held the detective’s for a long moment, a battle of the wills.
With a heavy sigh, Brian Wong finally broke the contact and did as asked. “Alright. And what makes you believe that Ray Lambert isn’t involved?”
“I can’t tell you that.”
Brian was thoroughly pissed now. He threw the pen down and rose to his full height, fists resting on either side of his legal pad. “Listen, Remmy, this is a woman’s life we’re talking about here, okay? This isn’t some goddamn game I’m playing.”
“I know it’s crazy, but I’m telling you, Det. Wong, you’re going in the wrong direction! See, I get these visions,”
“Yes. Visions. She’s in a place right now that’s cold, and she’s scared. Confused. She doesn’t know where she is-” Remmy was on a roll, all her visions and the one dream she’d had, coming back to her in a torrent of words. She stopped herself, however, when she saw the look on Brian Wong’s face. Jesus, this guy’s a hard sell!
“I don’t understand, visions,” he said, stopping his pen, as he’d written down all she had said.
“Hell buddy, wish I understood ‘em!” Remmy grinned.
“So, what, you see yourself as some kind of psychic? Some sort of Sylvia Browne?” the detective smirked, but the girl didn’t crack a smile.
“I don’t know who that is, and no, I don’t.”
“You don’t see yourself as psychic?” Brian asked, voice dripping with doubt. At the shake of the woman’s head, her probed further. “So, what is it like you have some sort of TV show playing in your head or something? Is that what these visions are?”
“Well, typically it’s more like re-runs, like I pick up on older stuff. I don’t know, it’s almost like when someone is carrying around some pretty serious emotions- guilt, sadness, fear, whatever- from something previous, I pick up on it, and sometimes it’ll form an image in my head. But with this,” she shrugged. “It’s like live TV. I’m seeing things as they happen, feeling them.”
Brian tapped the end of his pen on the table as he listened. Personally, as soon as this whack job left the station, he intended to look her up, see just what kind of record she had.
“Well,” he said, slapping his pen down. “Thanks for coming in. I’ll look into this cold, dark, foreign place. See what we can come up with.” Brian pushed back from the table.
Am I being dismissed? Remmy’s brows drew. “Alrighty then.” She stood, heading out of the door the detective held open for her.
“If you think of anything else, give us a call,” Brian Wong said before turning and heading toward his office.
Weeping. It was quiet, muffled, but weeping all the same. Julie blinked open her eyes several times, opening the wide for a moment to try and get rid of a sticky residue that seemed to act as a glue. The flaky ‘rocks’ that seemed to be pouring into the corners of her eyes led her to suspect the gluey substance might be dried tears. This was the most she’d been awake in what felt like months, though she knew must have been a smattering of days or weeks.
After a moment of clarity, Julie took inventory of her situation: cold metal was wrapped around her wrists, which were held above her head, elbows slightly bent, hands dangling over the shackles. She was standing, though her feet were separated by a foot of heavy chain, which clinked every time she moved. Her feet were bare, as was the rest of her. Something cool, yet not solid was beneath her feet. Dirt?
As she looked around, Julie couldn’t see much- it was very dark, though as her eyes slowly began to adjust, she could see the tiniest bit of a blue hue of light near the floor off to her left. From the small amount of light, she could tell that there was a bit of a crack in the wall near the floor.
Hearing the whimpering again, Julie tried to peer through the darkness to her right. She could only see a dark shape against a velvety black backdrop.
“Shh, Roxie, it’s okay,” someone whispered from directly in front of Julie, who’s eyes were now huge to try and pierce the dark.
“I can’t die here,” another woman’s voice said from the right, whom Julie assumed was the whimpering Roxie. “I just can’t.”
The teacher tried to open her lips, but winced as they cracked from dryness and lack of use. Bringing her tongue out, she washed it over them against and again before croaking out a sentence. “Where am I?”
There was a sudden silence that made Julie extremely uncomfortable. It was broken when the woman in front of her spoke. “You survived.” It was a statement, not a question. “You’re in hell.” That got the whimpering started again. “Roxie, knock it off.”
Julie wasn’t sure what to think of her two companions, but she couldn’t help but think the more talkative woman was amazingly insensitive. “Is she hurt?” she asked after some time listening to the quiet whimpers.
“Nah,” the still-nameless woman said with a sigh.
Julie chewed on her bottom lip, a habit when she was nervous. She grimaced when part of her lip skin came off with her top teeth. Delicately spitting it out, she closed her eyes, trying to concentrate on her surroundings again. There was a dripping sound from somewhere nearby, a dripping she thought she remembered hearing before. Slight creaks, as though a house or building were settling in for the night. After a few moments, Julie realized she was hungry and incredibly thirsty.
“Is there,” she cleared her throat as her voice cracked. She tried again. “Is there any water?”
“When he brings food, but he already did today,” the woman across from her explained. “You were out, I guess.”
Julie allowed her mind to flip over this new information, trying to sort it all out, but her weakened, dehydrated state wasn’t making that easy. Her head also still ached, though it was fairly dull in the back of her skull, now. Other than Roxie’s soft crying, silence fell again. Finally Julie spoke again.
“Where are we? Who is this person?” Julie’s heart stopped, her stomach falling as she heard something- metal grading against metal. Within moments, and with the heightening of Roxie’s whimpering, she figured out the sound was a lock being disengaged. Suddenly she was blinded by a seemingly bright light brought from the dim wattage of the naked bulb hanging near the opened door.
The thick, rich sauce of Joan’s lasagna was a delight for the palate, that’s for sure. Remmy’s eyes slipped closed, the fork slowly leaving her lips as she savored the taste of the individual spices, tomatoes and garlic. She loved garlic, and anything that required it. Basically Italian food was a staple in her life, but rarely did she ever get homemade anything, let alone Italian!
Joan watched their new tenant closely, amused with just about anything Remmy did. She was saddened, however, by just how much the girl savored every single morsel of her dinner, as though it would be the last she had for awhile. She had the feeling that wasn’t too far off the truth. Remmy was on her second helping, though where she kept it in that tall, thin body, the manager had no idea.
Her musings were interrupted abruptly as Remmy suddenly stopped eating, fork half-way to her mouth, almost as though her hand were frozen. Her eyes widened, face taking on a strange expression, lip curling up slightly.
“Remmy? You okay?” Doug asked, taking a sip from her grape Kool-Aid. He glanced at his wife to see if she knew what was wrong, but Joan looked as surprised and concerned as he was.
Remmy’s body stiffened, her five senses one by one disappearing: she no longer heard the clattering of flatware against dishes. No longer heard the evening news in the background. She could no longer taste the garlic on her tongue. She could no longer feel the smooth metal of the fork in her hand, nor the hard dining chair under her flannel-clad butt. She could no longer smell the freshly baked rolls that were in a covered basket at the center of the table. She could no longer see Joan’s concerned face across from her.
Things are blurry, almost as through the eyes of someone who wears glasses, but they’d been removed. Bright light shines in from the left, painting everything in a blurry, buttery gold. Across the way, someone is there. Who is it? Flesh-color. Are they naked? The form looks like a “T”- arms spread out, body line straight down, though one leg bends, almost like a flamingo. Maybe the leg is tired? There’s a gray background behind the flesh color.
Julie tore her eyes off the nameless woman across from her, turning terrified green eyes to the man entering into what she now saw was a tiny cement and dirt… cave, it seemed. He was featureless as the light was over his head and slightly behind him, so he was mostly one big, eerie silhouette. A big, eerie silhouette that was walking toward her.
“You’re awake,” he said, voice soft and deep. She could smell his cologne as he got closer, mixed with sweat and garlic. “Good, good.” He brought a hand up, very soft, almost like a woman’s, brushing the side of her face with the backs of his fingers. Julie was too afraid to move. So up close, she could see the dark pockets that were his eyes, as well as the paleness of his face. She could tell he had short-cropped dark hair, but that was about it. “Here.”
Julie was grateful despite herself, the cold bottle of water raised to her lips. She drank unashamedly, the cold liquid spilling down her chin to her bare breasts, making her pull away from the water in a surprised cry. The man took the bottle away, to her dismay.
“I’m so glad you’re awake,” he whispered, moving in close. The hand that didn’t hold the bottle was brought to her left breast, a quick caress to the rounded edge that made her recoil instinctively. He pulled his hand away, looking into her face. A slow smile spread across his lips. “Our lessons will start later. But,” he leaned in close, inhaling her scent, which she imagined wasn’t great considering she hadn’t had a bath in more days than she cared to remember. “They will begin soon.”
He walked over to the woman who was chained across from her. The woman’s red hair was flattened to her head from lack of proper bathing. She stood there, arms suspended out, hands dangling limply. Her brown eyes were filled with heavy shadows as she watched the man walk up to her.
Julie watched in horrified fascination as the man, whose back was now to her, reached down, unbuttoning and unzipping his jeans. Julie looked away, not able to bear watching what she knew he was about to do. The woman made not one sound, but he more than made up for it, as well as the obscene slap of his flesh against hers. His thrusts were short and quick, the assault over quickly with a loud groan from him. Soon his clothing was adjusted, and he left as he’d come, taking the light with him.
A silent tear made a trail down Julie’s cheek, dripping off her chin.
Remmy gasped for air, her hands reaching out blindly to grab whatever was closest. Finding nothing, she cried out in surprise as her hand was taken in a small, cool one. She blinked rapidly, a sharp pain slicing through the center of her forehead. Finally her surroundings came into view, and she saw that she lay on a couch, Doug and Joan hovering over her.
“I think she’s coming around,” Joan said, though in Remmy’s ears, the sound was distant, and far slower than life speed. Doug, who stood just behind his wife’s seated form, looking over the woman’s shoulder, nodded, brows drawn in deep concern “Remmy? Remmy, honey, can you hear me?” Joan asked, bringing the cool cloth to her employee’s forehead, which seemed to help bring the girl back.
Remmy took several deep breaths, trying to get her bearings. She had no recollection as to when she’d been moved to the couch. The last thing she remembered was sitting at the dinner table, nearly having a foodgasm over the lasagna.
“I wonder if we should get her to a doctor,” Doug said.
“No,” Remmy said, though her voice was slurred and thick. “No doctor.”
“Honey, what happened?” Joan asked, brushing dark strands of hair away from Remmy’s face. “Did you have a seizure or something?”
Remmy’s mind raced. Seizure? Confused, she tried to sit up, finding herself too weak. With her boss’ help, she was finally able to lean back against the arm of the couch. She felt sick to her stomach from the centralized pounding in her forehead. Shaking her head, she finally got herself somewhat under control.
“No. No seizure.”
“Then what the hell what that?” Doug asked. “One minute you’re sitting there enjoying the hell out of your dinner, the next your damn near drooling at the mouth.”
“Doug, she was not.” Joan glared up at her husband before returning her gaze back to Remmy. “It sure seemed like you had… something.”
“No. I … I.” Remmy tried to think of what to tell them. She didn’t feel safe telling them what she thought it was, what she deep-down knew it was. “I just had a spell. I’d really like to go to bed now, if that’s okay. I’m pretty wiped out.” That was no lie. Emotionally she had reached her limit, and physically she felt nauseous. She could only remember ever being hit so hard one other time, but that had been a long time ago.
Joan nodded, reluctantly helping Remmy to her feet and removing the cloth from the girl’s forehead. “Do you need any help up the stairs?” she asked softly. The brunette shook her head, quietly making her way out of the room. Joan met her husband’s gaze, shrugging her shoulders.
Once in the safety and privacy of her own apartment, Remmy locked the door behind her and threw herself on her bed. She lay on her side, curling up in a ball. She felt so sick, so utterly frightened. What had she witnessed? What had called out to her so strongly that it had literally taken her from the conscious realm?
She remembered another time, about four years ago, when she’d been working as a cashier in a small grocery store. She couldn’t even remember the town, now. She’d serviced an older woman, ringing up all her purchases, and sent her on her way with a smile and a wish for a good day. The man who was next in line set his basket on the roller belt, politely stepping back as he waited for Remmy to empty it and ring everything up- all six items.
Looking into his eyes, Remmy was suddenly hit between the eyes: from the profound sense of guilt the man carried, she was able to see fifteen years into his past, and witness the night he’d driven home from a work party, having too much to drink to navigate through the rain very well. His senses had been too numb to react to the two young girls who had stepped off the curb, attempting to cross the street on a green light.
The last thing Remmy had remembered was the sound of the shattering glass jar of pickles as she freaked out at the immense burden upon the man’s shoulders, the pain of the girls’ last moments on earth, and the loss of innocence for all involved. She’d been fired on the spot, the manager calling her crazy, and fearing that she should scare off customers. Similar scenes in school from a young, immature girl who didn’t know how to handle the invasion into her thoughts and dreams, had earned the nickname of Remmy the Retard from her fellow classmates. Ultimately she had dropped out of school, no longer able to take the isolation and ridicule.
Remmy reached up, wiping at the lone tear that made its way down her cheek and tickling her nose. Was she doomed to be forever a freak?
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