For complete disclaimers see part 1.
WARNING: There is disturbing material in this part.
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Grace Cowan sat at her desk, phone to her ear as she listened to the results of the blood testing that had been done on the spot found in the parking lot of Woodland Elementary. The lab was behind, so their results were weeks behind. Brian Wong sat on the edge of her desk, as usual, waiting for her to explain.
“Okay, Cathy. Thanks.” The dark woman hung up the phone and sighed, tossing her pencil to the desktop. She glared up at her partner. “It’s hers.”
Dark brown eyes opened wide. “You’re shitting me?”
“No, Brian, I am not. Julie’s blood was spilled in that parking lot, and I want to know why.” She slammed her fist into the desk. “We’ve been wasting the last two months, goddamn it! I want to know where this woman is, and I want to know what happened to her.”
Brian studied the woman before him, chewing on his bottom lip. The progress on the Wilson case had been incredibly slow, and had gone nowhere. That fact was not his fault, but perhaps he should’ve been more forthcoming with information. Running a hand through neatly cut black hair, Brian cleared his throat. “Ray Lambert came by the station this morning. Said he’d gotten all of our messages, as well as one from his daughter.” He met the glaring coffee-colored gaze from his partner. “He had a rock-solid alibi for the day Julie was taken, as well as the days before and after.”
Grace Cowan felt a wave of rage race through her. She slammed her fist into the desk, getting to her feet and shooting daggers into Brian’s eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me this?” she growled. She couldn’t help but feel a bit of satisfaction as the prick stood from her desk, stepping back slightly. He had no answer to that, so decided he might as well come clean totally.
“There was also someone who came in last week, a young woman came in. She said she was having visions.”
“Yes. Visions. Of Julie Wilson.”
Grace could feel the pulse in her neck pounding painfully, a headache beginning. She closed her eyes for a moment, trying to get herself under control. Finally she spoke, her voice deadly calm. “Give me her name, phone number, address, and then get the fuck out of my face.”
“Good morning, my beautiful ladies!” a chipper voice rang out, echoing in Julie’s head. She opened her eyes, groaning as she lifted her head from where it had rested against her raised arm. Her neck was killing her, so completely kinked, she had a constant headache from it. Sure enough, the little door had been opened, the light from the naked bulb blinding as the man entered their hell. “I bring good tidings and breakfast.”
Julie watched as first Roxie was unshackled, the 41 year old housewife and mother of three’s body collapsed to the dirt floor, too weak and muscles to atrophied to work properly and hold her up. A stainless steel bowl was placed before her, as well as a Styrofoam cup.
“Hurry, my love,” the man said, his voice deep and resonating. Roxie nodded, and beginning to cry, again, she ate her fare as quickly as possible.
Julie watched in morbid fascination, the smell coming from the bowl in front of Roxie, as well as the other waiting on the tray, made her stomach turn. It smelled like Alpo mixed with tuna. She glanced at the woman across from her, whom she’d learned was Pamela Beecham, a 46 year old dental assistant, twice divorced. She was also watching Roxie eat, then glanced at the tray, seeing the single bowl left, then her gaze met Julie’s. her smile was profoundly sad.
“Your turn,” she mouthed.
Remmy had been stocking the beer section all morning, and was about to freeze her butt off, standing back in the refrigerated part of the stockroom for the better half of an hour, and she still had the light beers to go. She cursed Josh’s name yet again, as he was supposed to have done this two nights ago. Luckily the new girl, Mabel was working the front so Remmy could get them caught up. She had the distinct feeling that Josh would be quitting soon; he was just not a happy boy.
As she peered between the shelves of beer, she saw a familiar red-head waltz through the front doors, the chimes warning someone had entered. Crap. Remmy hurried with the rest of the cooler, trying to get out there before Roman drove Mabel crazy with a million questions about where the brunette was.
“I’ve got this one, Mabel,” she said, hurrying from the backroom, pulling the thin gloves from her hands. Roman watched her, a question in his eyes. “Stocking the coolers,” she explained, hitching a thumb toward them at the back of the store.
“Oh,” he said with a nod of understanding. “So, um, I was just coming by to see if you maybe wanted to go check out a movie tonight, or something.” He gave her his best smile, which Remmy found charming, though completely ineffectual. Wrong tree, big dog.
Remmy opened her mouth, about to answer when the chime above the door rang out again. The brunette saw a handsome black woman enter the store, her navy pantsuit well-fitting and crisp. She walked up to the counter where Mabel met her.
“Hello. I’m Detective Grace Cowan, and I was wondering if you can tell me if Remmy Foster is working today?”
Mabel nodded, and without a word, she pointed to the brunette, who felt butterflies in the pit of her stomach.
“You in trouble?” Roman whispered as he and Remmy watched the dark woman head right toward them. Remmy said nothing, only shaking her head no.
“Remmy Foster?” Grace asked, looking into cautious blue eyes.
“Yes,” Remmy said, unsure what to do or think. Her mind raced, trying to think of the last time she screwed up, and if she had already been caught for it. Did that clerk ever turn me for stealing the loaf of bread in San Francisco?
“I’m Grace Cowan, a detective with the Woodland Police Department. I’m working the Julie Wilson case along with Detective Brian Wong, whom you spoke with. I’d like to do a little follow up of that conversation, if you wouldn’t mind.”
Glory be! Off the hook. Remmy nodded. “Sure thing.”
Pamela closed her eyes, letting out a soft sigh as the last of her two hands were enclosed once more in the hard, cold metal handcuffs. She could smell Sergio’s aftershave as he leaned in, placing a soft kiss to her cheek before his warmth was gone. Eyes slowly opening, she saw him move over to the newest addition to their little fucked up family. She was blonde, pretty cute- nice body, petit, without an ounce of fat on her, unlike Roxie to her left, who was plump. Well, had been when she’d arrived, but was now pretty much skin and bones, her tits hanging nearly down to her belly button from all the kids she’d had. Pamela hadn’t even bothered to look at her own body in more months than she could recall. She was scared to see.
Julie watched the man finish up, two empty bowls loaded back onto the tray, followed by two empty Styrofoam cups. He grabbed the loaded tray from the floor and turned toward her. She was terrified, but her stomach growled almost uncontrollably. She wasn’t sure her expression, but she prayed it wasn’t too desperate.
“I’ll be right back,” the man said to her, backing toward the door and naked bulb, watching her for a moment, then he was gone.
Remmy and Grace sat at a cement table at the back of the store, near the parking lot for employees. Cigarette butts lined the sidewalk, some stuffed in the old, rusted Folgers can placed next to the back door for that purpose. Remmy was nervous, she almost wished she could pick up a half-smoked butt next to the toe of her shoe and light it up.
“So, from Detective Wong’s notes, I saw that you said you have visions.” She studied the pretty girl sitting across from her. “Is that true?”
Remmy nodded. “Yep. Had a dream, then when I was in Julie’s car, I had another one. Vision, not a dream,” she clarified.
“You told Brian you were positive that Ray Lambert had nothing to do with it, correct?” Grace asked, pulling a small pad of paper from the inside pocket of her jacket. She glanced up at her companion in time to see her nod.
“This is true,” Remmy nodded emphatically, watching as the detective’s pen raced across the page. “You know he’s not guilty in this, don’t you?”
Grace looked at Remmy, hearing the statement hidden in the question. She knew she couldn’t lay her cards out on the table for this odd girl, so she gave the girl a casual smile. “Why do you think that?”
“Cause he’s not,” Remmy said with a shrug. “Julie doesn’t know her abductor, Detective Cowan.” The passion in the brunette’s voice certainly got the dark woman’s attention. “I’m telling you, she’s scared right now. Very scared.”
“So, you believe she’s still alive?”
“Oh, yes,” Remmy said, again nodding vigorously. “Without a doubt. She’s alive and she’s scared.”
Grace decided to lay one card down. “We found her blood at the scene, Remmy.” The brunette looked at her, un-phased by the news. “Does that mean anything to your visions?” Grace wasn’t sure what she thought of Remmy Foster, or her visions. If she were honest with herself, the practical, logical police officer in her wanted to say the girl was out of her tree, and looking for attention. She did not feel that Remmy was involved, but all the same, had to get as much information from her as was possible. Julie Wilson’s life may depend on it.
Julie blinked a few times, her head pounding. Groaning, she turned her head, shocked to see a window, the sun shining in. Flimsy drapes hung on either side. She realized she was lying down on a bed in a medium-sized room
“Okay,” a male voice rang out, garnering the blonde’s attention. “Time to take a shower.”
Julie felt like she would throw up as her wrists were grasped, and she was pulled to a sitting position. The man from the little room was there, though now she could see him fully. A handsome man, if she saw him on the street, but now, to her he looked like Satan, himself. She noted the neatly trimmed and combed dark hair with well-taken care of sideburns. The skin of his face was tan, or he was of a darker racial background. Either way, he was pulling her to her feet, her weakened form leaning heavily on him.
He got her to a smallish bathroom- toilet, sink with vanity and a tub with tiled walls, and clear glass doors, which one side was already slid open. Julie was helped to step into the tub, the water turned on for her. She gasped as ice cold spray hit her back, her body instinctually moving to the far wall. The man grinned.
Water turned warmer, Julie was ushered back to the spray, and given the simple command of wash. She couldn’t help but keep an eye on the form that sat on the closed toilet lid, watching as she washed her body and hair. She was grateful for the shower, but felt her skin crawl as the man’s gaze roamed freely over her.
“So tell me more about you,” Grace said, tapping the tip of her pencil on the pad. “Have you always had visions?”
Remmy nodded. “Yeah. Ever since I can remember. But, as I told Perry Mason, they’re usually old stuff, something the person is carrying around with ‘em.”
“So, you pick up on something, a particular issue or memory?”
“Yeah! Exactly.” Remmy grinned. At least this one’s got a brain.
“Okay,” Grace said, leaning back as she studied the girl. “Tell me something about me. What am I carrying?”
Remmy rolled her eyes. “It’s not something I can just call up. I can’t just say, ‘Abra cadabra, Scooby Doo, tell me something about you’ and then shazam!” Grace chuckled at her choice of words. “It doesn’t work that way,” Remmy continued. “I can’t control who or what I pick up.”
“But, for some reason, you picked up Julie Wilson?”
Julie’s skin was warm and tingly, though her blood ran cold as the shower door was slid open, the man holding out a hand to help her out of the tub. She took it, hand trembling. She was quickly dried, hair brushed back away from her face, then with a look of steely determination, the man led her from the bathroom, back into the bedroom.
Without warning, Julie was shoved to the bed, her body bouncing slightly on the mattress. Like a tiger, the man was on her, wrists roughly handled as she was handcuffed to the brass headboard.
Remmy stopped mid-sentence, her eyes opening wide. Grace watched her, unsure what was up. “Remmy?” she said, glancing behind her to see what the young woman looked so terrified about. Seeing nothing, she turned back to look at her. “Hey, is everything okay?”
Julie watched with horrified eyes as her attacker undressed, his intent very clear as it bobbed into view. Jesus, no… He climbed onto the bed, forcing her legs apart. Julie didn’t resist, too stunned and weak from lack of proper food or water. In a brief moment of clarity, she wondered if maybe that was the purpose all along.
Sergio moved between her legs, pinning her petit frame to the bed with his own much larger one. He looked down at her, bringing a hand up to brush some drying blonde hairs from terrified green eyes. “Such a beautiful face,” he murmured, almost lovingly. He caressed her cheek with the backs of his fingers. “Lovely.”
Grace had moved over to sit next to the girl, the blue eyes still wide open, mouth following suit. Her face had turned ashen, and her body seemed to convulse mildly, almost as though she were choking on something.
“Remmy?” she said, fear beginning to trickle coldly down her spine. Unsure what to do, she reached inside the pocket of her jacket, cursing silently when she didn’t find her cell phone, and remembering that it was attached to the car charger. There was no way she could leave the girl. “Remmy? Can you hear me?”
Julie cried out in part shock and part pain as her body was invaded, the man’s hot breath upon her cheek as he held her close, his groans loud in her ear. Tears of fear and humiliation flowed freely from her eyes.
Remmy squeezed her legs closed, trying desperately to get rid of the unwanted sensation. A sob burst from her throat as tears fell down her cheeks, unchecked. Vaguely she could hear the sound of someone’s voice, a ghostly hand on her back, rubbing soothing circles.
Sergio groaned loud and obscene as he finished, resting nearly his full body weight upon the blonde beneath him. His heartbeat finally finding its normal cadence, he pushed up on powerful arms, looking down into the tear-streaked face. He smiled, placing a soft kiss to the cheek, ignoring the flinch- this time.
“Don’t cry,” he murmured. “I know the first time is painful. I tried to go slow.” He pushed himself up full, feet touching the carpeting on his bedroom floor. He grabbed his bathrobe from the back of the bedroom door, shoving his arms into the velvety sleeves. “I hope you like omelets,” he said, smile big and bright.
Left alone, Julie tugged on the handcuffs, straining to look up at her bound hands. There was no way- she was a captive. The tears came hard, her body hurting almost as much as her head and heart. The despair was truly beginning to set in.
Remmy got herself under control, finally coming back into herself. She felt the warmth of Grace’s hand on her back fully, and no longer as a phantom touch. She gabbed the tail of her long work shirt, brought it up to wipe her face clean of embarrassing tears. After a moment, the detective spoke.
“I’m absolutely baffled. What just happened?”
Remmy sniffled, then released a very heavy sigh. She was unable, and unwilling, to unclench her thighs. “You guys really need to find her,” she said, voice low and thick from her tears. She tuned eyes turned electric blue from the crying to the older woman. “I think she’s been taken by a monster.”
Julie lay on the bed for how long, she wasn’t sure. She could hear the mundane sounds of someone cooking in a distant room. She closed her eyes, trying desperately to forget they existed, that he existed. She allowed her mind to race, to replay the last day she’d had her freedom. She thought back to that Saturday when she’d spent the entire day with her brother and Skylar. She smiled despite herself as she thought of the little boy. She had looked so forward to having him stay with her for that last week.
Fresh tears streamed down Julie’s pale cheeks as the realization hit her that she should be in the classroom right now, in the second week of the new school year. Who had taken over for her? Where did everyone think she was? Did they think she was dead? Maybe she was. Maybe this was all some elaborate scene laid out for her. Maybe Pamela was right- maybe she was in hell.
Remmy took the business card that was extended to her. “You’re positive you’re alright?” Grace Cowan asked, not feeling right about leaving the girl at all.
“Yes, I’m sure,” Remmy reassured. She tucked the card into the back pocket of her jeans. “And, as promised, I will be down at the station tomorrow morning.” She met concerned brown eyes. “I just can’t leave today. My boss isn’t around, and I can’t leave the new girl alone,” she indicated the store behind her.
Detective Cowan nodded. “I understand. I’ll see you tomorrow morning, then. Nine-thirty, and don’t be late.”
Remmy saluted. “Nine-thirty. I won’t be late.” She watched as the dark woman walked out of sight, turning the corner at the side of the building. Blowing out a huge breath, she collapsed back down to her seat. “Holy shit,” she whispered.
Remmy looked up from the magazine she had been reading, bought from the store that afternoon. “Come in,” she called out in answer to the knocking on her apartment door. Within moments, Joan peered in. “Hey,” the brunette said, flapping the magazine closed and tossing it aside. She sat on her bed, back against the headboard, socked feet planted firmly on the mattress.
“Hey,” Joan said, stepping into the space and closing the door behind her. “You gotta a minute?”
“Sure.” Remmy pushed herself to sit up straight, pulling her legs in Indian style. “What’s up?”
The older woman sat on the edge of the bed, glancing at the glossy so carelessly tossed before turning her gaze to her employee. “I want to talk to you about what happened the other night. At dinner.”
Remmy groaned inwardly, hoping this conversation wouldn’t come up. “What about it?”
“What happened? I’m truly concerned for you, and want to make sure something isn’t up. Nothings… wrong, is it, Remmy?”
The brunette pulled her legs up until they rested against her chest, arms hugging her shins. She was definitely feeling slightly cornered. She couldn’t keep the rueful chuckle down.
Confused, Joan asked, “What?”
Remmy glanced at her, trying to decide what she wanted to do. What should she do? More than likely Joan, like the rest of them, would think she was nuts and send her packing. Why not? It was okay, had certainly happened before. Taking a deep breath, she spoke. “You know, it’s funny. I spend my whole life with this thing, trying to figure out what the hell it is, and now suddenly I’m explaining it to three different people, two of which in one day.” She met Joan’s gaze, which had become even more confused. Remmy sighed. “I don’t have seizures, Joan, I don’t have epilepsy, I don’t even have a brain tumor. I don’t think.”
“Then what do you have?”
“Visions. Plain and simple, visions. I get these crazy images in my head, and once in awhile I get to feel the wonderful emotions behind them.” It wasn’t difficult to see that her boss wasn’t following her. “As I’ve explained to two cops already, both of which looked at me very much like you’re looking at me right now, I might add. I pick up strong emotion, something someone has been carrying with them. I can’t control who it’ll be, or what’ll it’ll show me, but it does. And for some crazy reason, I’m picking up loud and clear on Julie Wilson.”
Joan looked at the younger woman, trying to decide whether she wanted to laugh or send the brunette packing. “Julie Wilson?”
“Yes. Julie Wilson. She started out invading my dreams, but now she’s invading my waking moments, too. I have no idea why.” She turned away from her boss, no longer wanting to see the doubt in her eyes.
So, at dinner the other night, were you having one of these… episodes?”
Remmy burst into laughter, Joan’s word choice bringing back her own words to Detective Wong that this thing with Julie was like live TV.
“Yeah. I was. And it happened again today when one of the detectives on the case came to talk to me at the store.”
“So,” Joan said, trying to get her thoughts together in some sort of coherent semblance of order. “Are you some kind of psychic, Remmy?”
The brunette turned very red-rimmed blue eyes on her. “No, Joan, I’m very tired. That’s what I am. That took a lot out of me today. I just want to close my eyes and see my own head, not someone else’s dungeon.”
“Please, Joan? We can talk about this later, I promise. I just want to sleep.”
Finally the older woman nodded, rising from the bed. “Okay. We’ll talk later.”
Left alone once again, Remmy flopped back against the stacked pillows she’d been resting against before. “So tired.”
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