DISCLAIMER: The following is a fictional account. All characters (except for the character resembling the author) appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons other than the author, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Read the story “Shock Wave” every Wednesday.
My heart was pounding so hard that I could feel the echoing vibrations far beyond my chest. My breathing was heavy, my mind was racing, and I couldn’t help but wonder what I had just done. I realized, as I was driving away from the house, that I had no clue as to where I was going or how I would get back on the 5.
I regretted everything I had done before I made my journey north, and now I was stuck in some crazy crime novel that held my life in the hands of complete strangers. It was a total fluke that my path would cross the path of these unfortunate people, and now I felt as if their story had become my own.
I was given the task to tell an extremely complicated story. I was to gather accounts from witnesses, go back in time to research hidden truths, and follow impossible leads that may possibly end in my death. All of my past experiences with investigative journalism had only skimmed the surface that would prepare me for this dangerous endeavor, but I had promised to pick up my writing utensil anyway and tell their tale.
What follows this post is the account of how I got involved in this incredible saga. I will present nothing more than the facts and nothing less than the truth, and I will only mention the names of those willing to be associated with this story.
Reader discretion is advised. Due to the intense nature of this story, what you are about to read may disturb or even shock you, so listen closely. Meet me at this location every Wednesday to hear more about what happened to me, and how I found myself lost in the woods far away from home. Don’t worry too much if you do happen to miss a meeting. I’ll save the ongoing conversation here for your convenience. Just don’t make it a habit.
I had driven this three hour path so many times before that I never thought twice when I jumped in the car this particular day and shoved the key into the ignition. I adjusted my review mirror that my boyfriend (at the time) had moved when he last drove my red Chevy Cobalt, and quickly glanced at all my dirty laundry and misshapen duffle bags filled to the brim with items that I assumed I would need for my winter break. I suppose this all must have happened about a year ago then if I can only picture myself backing out of the University Village apartments as the frigid wind and slowly rising fog hit up against my defrosting windshield. I remember shivering and then flipping the heat on to the hottest setting on the dial, and my teeth chattering as my body gradually adjusted to the surrounding temperature.
When I finally made it on to the highway heading north and away from Pomona, my car had warmed up enough for me to shut off the heater. I let my free hand fumble over the car’s stereo buttons searching for a clear radio station, and in doing so the gaze that I had left fixed on the road in front of me slowly drifted downwards to follow the path of my fingers.
I felt my car gradually drift a little into the next lane and I popped up quickly enough to correct the direction of my car. I figured at that point it would be wise enough to get over into the far right lane when I started reaching into my purse for my iPod. My eyes darted down every other second to search in my bottomless-pit-of-a-purse to for the small, and with ever quick glance down into my endless came a veering of my car to the right of the road.
My eyes darted back up to correct the car once more, and in a series of events flashing before my eyes I saw a person walking along the side of the road and swerved erratically to avoid hitting them. Unaware that I had almost ended this person’s life, the pedestrian looked over their shoulder and stuck a thumb out to flag a ride.
Knowing that I had almost killed this person, and realizing that I was already slowing down to a stop and that this person was very small in stature led me to park off to the side of the road and lean over to the front passenger door to manually roll down the window.’’
“Hey!” I call out to the hitchhiker. I knew the dangers of picking strangers up off the road, but sadly I had recently watched a documentary about modern day nomads and remembered that not every hitchhiker was some deranged serial killer offing nice motorists. “Do you need a ride?”
I let the hitchhiker walk up to my car. “I just need a lift to as far north as you’re going,” the traveler said.
“Hop in.” I unlocked and opened the door all while still being buckled into my seatbelt. I watched as this person slide right into my car out of the cold winter weather and then gently closed the door. At this point I got a better look at this stranger who was now sitting in my car. I wasn’t sure if letting this person in was such a great idea, but I also assumed that it was too late to turn back now.
I turned toward my new passenger, “What’s your name and where are you headed?” I asked.
The stranger lowered the long collar, that had been turned up to block out the cold on the winter jacket, and took off the beanie that had covered almost everything else that the collar didn’t cover on the face. I saw the smooth olive skin emerge from behind the collar and then it was quickly covered by the long dark waves falling out of the navy blue beanie on her head. I watched as her hazel eyes turned to face me for the first time. “My name is Cindy, and all I want you to do for me is to drive as far north as you possibly can take me.”
“How far north are you willing to go?” I asked the hitchhiker sitting in the passenger seat of my car. I put the car’s gear in to drive and slowly pulled off the side of the road and into L.A. traffic. “Where are you actually going?”
Cindy looked me up and down as if she was trying to figure me out and then said, “I’m heading for Oregon.”
My mind automatically raced back to the time when a journey to Oregon was the only thing on the minds of four college-aged girls. We never actually made it to the state sitting right above our own, and instead, the un-adventured place became a backdrop for a more important story of me and my friends. I thought to myself,what an incredible coincidence that this random hitchhiker wants to travel there now.
“Why are you heading to Oregon?”
“Why do you want to know?”
“I was just asking. Isn’t that one of the things that people ask hitchhikers?”
“I don’t know this is the first time I’m doing this.” Cindy looked at me again as if she was trying to peer into my soul, and I started trying to think of ways to ditch my new passenger without her murdering me. I must have looked pretty nervous as I subtly scanned the landscape for a way out, because Cindy began to apologize.
“I’m sorry, I’m not usually in this situation,” she said looking back and forth at me and then the road ahead, “I’ll tell you my story as long as we’re driving toward Oregon.” She smiled. “The farther you drive, and the closer you get to Oregon, the more I will tell you about why I have to go to Oregon.”
I took my eyes off the road for a second to glance at Cindy still smiling, but she continued to speak. “What I’m about to tell you is entirely true. It’s incredibly disturbing and violent, but it’s the type of story that you would want to hear about once I begin telling it. It is, however, the type of story you’d wish you had never heard once I finish.”
Cindy and I ended up pulling over and driving into a gas station for a pit stop shortly after she had informed me that she would tell me why she needed to go to Oregon. I took the keys completely out of the ignition and grabbed my wallet out of my purse leaving nothing truly valuable behind—or at least what I considered invaluable.
I stepped out of the car to run inside the little mini mart at the gas station and use the restroom, and on the way out I bought a couple bags of chips and two water bottles for the long journey north. When I did make it back to my car Cindy’s face was contorted in a way that made her seem incredibly mortified by my presence.
“What?” I said with a concerned tone. “I bought Lays because I didn’t know what kind of chips you would want. I can get something else. Don’t freak out.”
She continued to give me the mortified look. “I didn’t think that they would have someone follow me and convince me to get in their car. I wasn’t going to do anything,” she began to look as if she was going to cry. “Just let me go.”
I shook my head in confusion. “What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t—I don’t even know what you’re saying.”
“Where are you taking me?” she asked. “I’m not going back if that’s what they had in mind.”
“Who’s they? What’s going on? I’m not even sure if I want any of those questions answered.” I started to panic. What has this girl done? What have I gotten myself into? Is she going crazy or have I? I didn’t know what to do or how to get her out of the car without hurting me if she was crazy.
“Just please calm down.” I said visibly afraid. “I don’t want any trouble.”
“Then why are you taping me?” I saw a tear roll out of her eye and down her cheek.
I didn’t understand what was going on, and I was so incredibly confused as to what she was trying to tell me. “Why am I what? I’m not taping you. What the hell is going on?”
“Why was this in your bag?” She took out a tape recorder from her pocket and held it up for me to see.
I suddenly shifted from confusion to anger. “Why were you going through my purse?”
“I needed to know that it was safe, but I guess I made a terrible decision stepping into this car.”
I paused for a moment trying to collect my thoughts and calm down in order to find out what she was saying. I suppose it was odd that a random person would carry a digital recorder and a note pad in her purse. “I don’t think you understand,” I said to her now trying to comprehend her thought process. “I have a digital tape recorder in my purse because I’m a Journalism student. I use it to tape interviews, but I always let the person know that I’m recording them.” I pointed to the “on” button. “Here, push that and then press play.”
I let her listen to the interviews that I had with sports players, student council members, club leaders and professors. “See. I didn’t record you. I’m just a student Journalist on the school’s paper with a WordPress blog. There’s nothing threatening about me. I’m just a writer”
Cindy looked at me and then down at the recorder again. “I’ll keep a hold of this until you drop me off at my final destination then.”
“Okay. That’s fine I guess, but I’m not out to get you or anything.” I was honestly just relieved that she wasn’t going to whip out a knife and kill me over a digital recorder.
“I believe you,” she paused for a moment to scan her surroundings outside of the window. “I just have to be cautious.” She then looked down at the recorder again, “I think you’ll be able to help me out more than I originally planned though.”
Cindy and I collected ourselves after the small freak-out at the gas station and made our way down the road again. I was a little ruffled by the growing sense of insanity that I’ve noticed in my hitchhiker’s behavior, and I was worried that my journey north wouldn’t end as well as I would hope. I moved my car to the second most right lane on the highway—close enough to quickly merge over and onto a nearby exit just in case my passenger’s mood shifted again, but out of the way of the slow moving 18-wheeler trucks blindly cutting off their fellow motorists. It was then in that moment when Cindy began to tell me the one story I wish I had never heard.
“I suppose you were wondering why I was hitchhiking, and why I need to go to Oregon,” Cindy said with a steadying exhale. “I’ve sort of ran away from someplace—but it’s not what you think—”
My mind quickly shifted to the worse possible thought and I barely managed not to swerve off the road to the next available exit. Dear God she’s an escaped convict.
“—a group of people were holding me against my will. I can’t really go to the police right now, but I know a couple of people in Oregon who would know what to do.”
I wasn’t really sure what to do. No police? She was held captive? Whatever was going on wasn’t sounding very safe.
At this point Cindy had witnessed the apprehensive look on my face and began explaining everything. “I suppose I should start off from the beginning.”
It all began deep inside the dark green and plush woods of the north, where thriving wonders of the wilderness curled up beneath the large trunks of the coastal Redwood trees. A heavy mist had descended upon the richly dense forest sometime after witching hour, as often it does, and took its time lifting the opaque veil of fog towards the rising sun. There, a bright blue cotton dress with a full skirt, all covered in white polka-dots, was found clothing a pale young woman with medium length jet black hair nestled in the dew covered grass.
The young woman, whose years reached no further than a score, laid unconscious on the damp forest floor with no other soul in sight. As the warmth of the sun steadily climbed in order to trade places with the moon, the woman’s eyelids fluttered open to reveal the deep-green-colored irises that nearly matched the color of the wild growth on the forest floor.
A pain shot through the lower front portion of her head and on through to the back that happened to meet the damp cool and hard object found underneath her cranium. The woman slowly reached back to feel the base of her head with her ice cold fingers and met what felt like a damp rock. She pulled her slightly wet fingers to meet her forward gaze toward the brightening sky, and found herself nearly falling into a state of shock when she saw what had found its way between her head and the rock—blood.
The woman slowly sat up in an attempt to investigate the situation. She scanned her surrounding area while inspecting the back of her bloodied head and the rock that had apparently caused her most pressing problems. She realized in that moment she was alone in the middle of woods she didn’t recognize, and that she had no recollection of how she happened to end up lying, bleeding from the base of her skull, face up and on top of a rock on the forest floor. In fact, on further assessment, the woman couldn’t even remember why she was out in the woods, or from where or to what she was coming from or going. She felt the sense of panic set in as her heart began to quicken. She wondered how on earth she would get out of the unknown forest or, better yet, even to get back home. She paused for a moment and thought to herself, I don’t even remember home. Her eyes widen with terror. I’m not even sure if I remember my own name.
Hitchhiker Cindy and I continued traveling along my usual path toward the center of California. I still wasn’t sure if I should drop her off in the first town outside the mountains of the Grapevine and continue further north heading home, or just take her all the way to Oregon. I was still concerned for my safety at this point because I really had no clue as to who she was or what she was capable of, and any attempts of finding out these facts seemed to be dragged out and hidden behind this strange story she was telling me.
“Is this story describing what happened to you in the woods or something?” I asked the hitchhiking storyteller.
“No. No, but it relates to me and why I’m here right now,” my passenger said. “Just keep listening and I promise by the time I’m done everything will make sense.”
The woman in the bright blue cotton dress stood up slowly and tried making her way to the edge of the woods. She had no clue as to where she was heading, but she assumed that she shouldn’t stay in the woods if she wasn’t sure anyone knew she was actually in the woods. She looked down at her cold bare feet and wondered why she or anyone would ever walk into the woods without shoes and she became concerned. Was she running from somewhere in a hurry? Where was she running to?
She motioned herself to walk in the most straight line as possible and to mark the trees she passed by with the same rock she found behind her bleeding skull by carving an “x” into the tree trunks. The ground eventually showed signs up sloping downward and so she followed the terrain downhill until she stumbled onto a stream. It took several hours of trenching barefoot through the cool woods, but she followed the stream for miles until it met a road crossed it.
At the base of the hill, just beyond the road, laid a grassy lawn with a large wood cabin-like house facing the row of trees she walked out from. The woman obviously didn’t remember if she knew the house sitting in front of her, but without any shoes, no supplies, and a massive head wound she figured she couldn’t be any worse off by knocking on the front door.
She eventually made her way over to the house to make herself known to any inhabitants of the house. The door swung open after the second knock she made on the door and a tall man with black rimmed glasses immerged to give her a huge hug.
“Oh my God Sarah!” the man said. “You’ve never ventured off for that long before! I’m so sorry. I don’t ever want to lose you.”
“Um,” was all Sarah could muster. She had just learned her name, but she couldn’t remember anything else attached with it. The past was an enigma and she couldn’t grasp what had happened to her before she found herself in the woods. “I don’t remember anything.”
The man looked down to inspect Sarah and realized she was holding a bloodied rock. He watched as she reached for the back of her head to show him the blood slowly seeping out of her skull. “Oh my goodness we have to get you to a doctor!”
“Yeah, I’m aware of that, but I still don’t know who you are,” the woman now called Sarah said.
“Sarah—it’s me—I’m your husband James!”
I had made up my mind somewhere in the snow covered mountains of the Grapevine path. My mysterious and strange hitchhiker would be ditched right after the five split off from the ninety-nine somewhere near Arvin, and I would continue traveling north to Bakersfield. I was worried about how this would actually happen. She could easily have a weapon on her person and keep me hostage until I dropped her off in Oregon, or could find some way to track me down since she went through my purse, and I realized that this ditching maneuver could be my last.
We traveled through the rest of the snowcapped mountains letting other passing motorist speed dangerously along the way, and eventually emerged from the frigid temperatures in the elevated altitude. I quietly took my foot off of the gas pedal and let my car glide down the steep hill winding out of the mountains and down into the San Joaquin Valley.
The two of us were greeted with the flat valley floor populated with farmland and animals gallivanting about. I made a quick turn off into the exit for the city of Arvin and slyly crossed my fingers so that my hitchhiking passenger wouldn’t notice.
“The F%ck are you doing?” Cindy said now staring at me.
“I didn’t think you were serious when you wanted me to take you all the way to Oregon,” I tried preparing myself for a swift stab wound to my side. “I can drop you off in the Valley since this was my original destination in the first place, and you can hitch a ride with someone else.”
Cindy turned her attention out of the window and sighed. “You know that girl in the story ended up being taken to a psychiatrist that day instead.”
I took a quick glance over at Cindy. “I thought her husband took her to the hospital after she found her walking out of the woods with no memory?”
“No, they never made it to a hospital,” Cindy turned her soft gaze to face the moving images approaching alongside of the front windshield. “And no one ever explained to her how she woke up in the middle of the woods without shoes either.”
“Why couldn’t they tell her what happened?” I looked to Cindy for an answer but she didn’t reply. “Why was she in the woods and why wasn’t she taken to see a medical doctor at a hospital?”
“Do me a favor and turn back onto the main road here,” Cindy said motioning her finger to further direct my driving.
Cindy didn’t have any money, she never told me where she came from or even her last name, but she was armed with a story, and she held my attention with a string of mysterious stories all somehow connected together. I was incredibly curious about Cindy and her strange tale—I just hoped it didn’t last one thousand and one nights.
We continued on the ninety-nine north past the fork in the road where the five north split off. Normally, if I were planning on heading up north out of the Valley and up to northern California I would have turned off and taken the five, but I was still hoping to get rid of my story telling hitchhiker sitting in the passenger seat.
“So do we just keep here on this road and continue north?” Cindy asked.
“Yeah, we just keep going on this route and we’ll run into Oregon soon enough,” I responded. I wasn’t lying really. It was obviously easier and quicker to take the five north up to Oregon, but I wanted to stay close to civilization and travel straight through the familiar small towns that I had passed so many times on the road.
“Do you know how long it will take to get there?” she asked.
I really didn’t know to be honest. I had never driven this far north on my own before, and I never really pay attention in the car when someone else is driving anyway. I was only following the signs and heading in the obvious direction north. If I was able to drop her off somewhere—great—and if I was forced with violence to drive far more north than I have ever been—not so great. I would just have to keep brainstorming for ways to ditch this girl.
“So—the rest of the story,” she said adjusting her self to get more comfortable in the seat. “I want you to hear this story and hear me out. I think you would want to help if you heard the rest of this.”
“I just don’t know how this has anything to do with you.”
“I’ll get there if you let me finish.”
Sarah had just learned her name, met her husband, and found out where she had lived for years when she walked out of the woods that morning. Although she remembered nothing, she secretly felt as though she should move on elsewhere. She hoped to at least confirm the story with her alleged husband.
“Forget the doctor right now,” Sarah said. “Could you help me figure things out right now? Like pictures and that sort.”
“Yes, I can definitely help with that,” James said. “Come right on in and make yourself at home—since it is your home and all.”
She walked into the large wooden house with a feeling of uneasiness. The house was foreign to her, and yet this strange man calling himself her husband said it was her own. Everything felt so incredibly strange from the large windows on the edges of the front doorway now behind her to the oak wood floors spreading out from underneath her bare feet to the rest of the cold wooden house.
Although there were lights on and the windows free from curtains, the house seemed dark and unlived in. Sarah took a few moments to adjust her eyes to the dimmed environment and slowly walked forward into what looked like the family room. She found a few pictures of what looked like herself standing next to the man calling himself her husband. Every picture, including the wedding photo, looked as if they were all recently taken outside around the house.
“How long have we been together?” Sarah asked.
“Just a few years,” James said. “We met, fell in love and married pretty quickly. You just couldn’t wait to move in this house that I built for you.”
“What is our wedding anniversary then—”
“Show me the certificate—”
“—We were married in Vegas and lost the certificate.”
“Why would we get married in Vegas if we could have had a wonderful ceremony out here on the property?”
“You didn’t want to do that. You don’t have any other family members that could have shown up.”
“Why not? Where are my friends? Why couldn’t we just invite your family? Why do I not remember any of this? This doesn’t even sound like any of the things that I would do.”
“How would you know? You couldn’t even remember your own name.”
A few weeks had passed since she wandered out of the woods and entered in to the wooden house. A local doctor called by her husband had come by to stitch up her small head wound and she had spent all of her free time trying to remember her life before the day she woke up in the middle of the forest.
She hadn’t connected with her husband James since she first walked through the front door. There were no feelings of intimacy or affection for this strange man and, frankly, she wasn’t even sure if she liked him as a person. She did, however, try her best to fix the situation by just going with everything, but the line was drawn when conversation about their love life turned into attempted action in the bedroom.
“I can’t do it,” Sarah said worriedly as she covered her bare body with bed sheets. “I can do this with you like this with my head all screwed up. I don’t remember anything at all and I feel like I never will. I don’t think this is working out.”
“Okay,” James said turning onto his back and shuffling around the covers of the bed. “I suppose this isn’t working out very well. I guess we can try having you go see a shrink.”
“I don’t think I need a shrink. I think I just need to go away for a while.”
“Well the last time you said that you were gone for a day and came back with no memory and your head nearly bashed in.”
“It was a small little scrape, and I have no clue how that really went down. To be honest, I don’t even know how that it could have happened. Shouldn’t my memory have start coming back by now?” She looked into James eyes. “This is my house right?”
“Haha, of course it is, didn’t you see all of the pictures and trinkets and things? This is your house and your life, and I’m your husband that you chose to marry.”
“I just don’t feel like any of this is me. I don’t know what it is, but something’s not quite right.”
“Let’s just go set up an appointment with the shrink tomorrow. You have no memory of anything anyway, so it can’t hurt.”
Sarah turned onto her back to match the bare bodied stranger lying in the bed next to her. She supposed it couldn’t really hurt to lie down on the shrink’s couch. She already felt as though whatever life she had lived had died with the fall in the woods.
She spoke about it to the psychiatrist. A flood of images swiftly flashed across her mind bringing distorted memories she couldn’t quite remember. It’s as if she had woken up from a long night of rest and spontaneously recalled a very intense dream from that night before. She tried holding on to every little bit of what was being remembered in that moment, but as quickly as the images came, they all began to fade away. An important piece of her soul had been locked away somewhere in the vast open space within her mind. There was no way of grasping the intangible—especially without her knowing where to search for it in the first place.
“Dr. Aislinn, I can’t seem to remember anything but bits and pieces of life before the accident,” Sarah said worriedly. “I feel as though I should have been able to figure this all out by now.”
A tall and lanky man with dark curly hair looked up from behind his notepad and into the terrified eyes of the woman sitting across from him on the couch. “It’s going to take time,” the psychiatrist said. “I think it’s best that we up your medication, and that you try harder to get closer to your husband. That’s the only way you can begin remembering again.”
The suggestions only frustrated Sarah. She had been trying so hard to follow this group of strangers and their advice, but she couldn’t seem to make herself feel at ease or whole again. She even wondered if she ever felt at ease or whole before she lost her memory. She would never find out if she didn’t take another form of action.
That night Sarah went outside to dump her bottle of pills into a hole she had dug in the ground. She felt as though the bottle of potent medicine wasn’t working for her, but she knew her husband would be angry if she wasn’t following the prescriptions. She then decided to start questioning everything.
She felt that feeling in the pit of your stomach that heated up your body with anguish. She felt nauseated as the rhythm of her heart beat faster. Flashes of past events briefly flooded her mind while sweat dripped out of her pores. There, a woman wearing jeans and a white button up t-shirt that was two sizes too big looking at Sarah from the deep crevices of her unconscious mind, and although she had no name, Sarah new this woman was the key to remembering everything.
“Sarah,” James said lying down next to her in bed. “Have you been taking your medicine?”
“Yes, I’ve just been worried about not remembering anything about the past is all,” she lied. Sarah has instantly felt the repercussions of not taking her prescribed medication, and that side effect was exactly what she wanted—remembering the past. What really troubled her was the possibility of her own husband and her psychiatrist trying to make her forget something.
“Everything’s going to be alright Sarah. I promise. You just really need to make sure to take the doc’s advice and go with the program.”
“Yeah, of course—this is the only way I can figure everything out.”
When James eventually went to work that day in town, Sarah took the liberty of combing through the house for any clues to her past, but besides the three recently taken wedding photos of the two of them, there was nothing else to confirm or deny anything. She knew she had to act secretly about the situation, but she also knew she would need help going any further with her investigation.
She would have to begin with the facts. There was a small gash on her head alleging that she had fallen in the forest and the incident resulted in memory loss, but why was she out there by herself in the first place? She began conducting a plan to retrieve information and documents about her husband, her psychiatrist and herself without being detected, but she would have to remember not to tell anyone and to bury everything along wither her the growing pile of pills she refused to take outside in the dirt hole. With enough secret research, however, she knew she would be able to uncover what was forgotten.
It had been about three and a half hours since I first got into the car back in Los Angeles County. Three of those hours had been spent driving up into the Central Valley with a strange hitchhiker, on a secret agenda, that was in the middle of telling me this disturbing story. I had no clue why this story was being told, how this random hitchhiker was involved, and why I was nearly being held hostage and driving north toward the state of Oregon. But like the girl in the story, I felt my future lied in the answers I would uncover about my captor’s past.
“Cindy,” I firmly called out interrupting my passenger’s story. “If you can’t tell me why Oregon or how this story relates to your own, can you tell me where in Oregon I’m taking you too?”
“There are two people who used to live where this girl I’m talking to you about used to live,” Cindy explained. “They’ve since moved to Ashland, Oregon and I need their help to finish the story, but I want to catch you up on what I know before we get there.”
I immediately thought about the sheer length of this insane trip. “That’s like over seven hours without stopping, and this trip was totally unplanned!”
“Let’s just say someone’s life hangs in the balance.”
“Is it this girl’s life?”
“—Okay,” I said. I started to notice that Cindy didn’t do a very good job of explaining anything.
“I can only explain by telling you the story. I mean I have plenty of time to tell you the story, and you’re on winter break anyway.”
I suddenly feared for my safety. “How did you even know that?”
“I read your text messages on your phone when I looked through your purse at the gas station.”
I couldn’t respond to her sneaky spy tactics.
“I had to make sure I was safe before continuing on this trip with you,” she said. “You have enough money to get there, and I can pay you back when we get to Ashland. I can even pitch in half for gas and lodging right now.”
“You have money?”
“Yeah, who do you think I am?”
I suppose you really can’t judge a book by it’ cover, or even by its first chapter really. Sometimes the story can quickly turn into something unexpected. “I thought you were homeless or something.”
“I mean, I sort of am. More of a wanderer than anything right now. I choose to travel with very little.”
Cindy smiled. “I find it so incredibly liberating. I’m free from all worries and the everyday drudgeries of ordinary life. I can end up anywhere, and everywhere, and nowhere at all, all because I choose to step away from the norm—something that the girl in the story wanted to do.”
“Did she ever get to become a freed wanderer?”
“You’ll find out at the end of my story.”
I suppose I walked right into that trick again.
An attractive woman with short blonde hair wearing jeans and a white button up t-shirt that was two sizes too big sat before Sarah in a car.
“Ready?” The woman said to Sarah as she threw the old blue Chevy pickup truck into gear.
“Yes,” Sarah said.
The woman scrunched her tiny nose and let her bright sparkly blue eyes peek through behind her long lashes as she smiled at Sarah. “Okay, this is it then. There’s no turning back.”
There it was again, felt that feeling in the pit of your stomach that heated up your body with anguish. Sarah found herself leaving the incredible world of her subconscious as the flashes from some unknown past event left her nauseated and the rhythm of her heart beating faster. The past, however, couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time.
“Sarah. I need to know if you have been taking your medication,” her psychiatrist Dr. Aislinn said. “If you are not taking your medication then we will have to find other ways of helping you.”
Sarah wasn’t quite sure what that meant, but she knew at least that the “something else” wouldn’t actually help her at all. She was completely aware that something incredibly sinister was happening between her husband and her psychiatrist, but she just couldn’t remember what.
“I’m fine,” said Sarah. “I’m taking the medication. I just get a little panicky about this whole memory loss thing. I’m just concerned that nothing came back yet.”
“Well—I was hoping that this wasn’t the case, but there is a possibility that your memory may not come back Sarah. We were hoping that the medication would work, but we may now have to focus on you getting back out there and readjusting to your life.”
“Thank you so much for telling me this. It’s difficult, but I’m sure I can manage. How about we continue this in tomorrow’s meeting?”
“That’s wonderful to hear Sarah. Yes, we can continue discussing this tomorrow. I’ll call James to have him come pick you up right now.”
Sarah got up to shake Dr. Aislinn’s hand with a forced grin, “thanks again.” She found herself shaking with fear and confusion as she left the psychiatrist’s office and went outside to wait for James. A quick moment passed by before she realized she had few extra minutes before James would leave his office in town and come pick her up. She looked back through the window and she noticed that her psychiatrist was still on the phone. Sarah, ever so nonchalantly, walked back inside the building and unlocked one of the windows which led to the front waiting room before silently sliding outside again.
If the answers weren’t inside the house with her husband, then they had to be either at his office or with her psychiatrist somewhere.
The plan was incredibly simple. Slip outside the house while her husband was sleeping and sneak into Dr. Aislinn’s office in town to look for some answers to her past and possible help restore her memory completely. The problem, however, was her ability to actually pull this off without getting caught by the individuals who wanted her to forget something important.
Sarah concluded that it would take about an hour to walk into town if she took the roads. Taking James’ new custom made 1957 Chrysler 300C was not an option. He paid attention to the mileage and would wake up instantaneously when she started the engine. Sarah had already left a small window open in the back the psychiatrist’s office and knew that Dr. Aislinn kept all of his files behind his desk in a locked cabinet. She would have to bring a few lock picking tools, but she knew she could open it easily.
She before she went to bed that night with her husband she considered not breaking in to her psychiatrist’s office and waiting for all of her memories to slowly flood back into her mind. The only downside to that seemingly “safer” option was that at any moment her husband or her psychiatrist could lock her up in an institution and force her to take those pills or, even worse, have her locked up there with her entire memory intact with no way to escape or to inflict payback on her captors.
She knew she had to act stealthy, quickly and accurately toward her goal of remembering her past. The people closest to her, right here and now, are not to be trusted. No one could be trusted because she couldn’t remember who to trust. And so that night while she waited for husband to fall soundly asleep she thought about her life and how it could have been. The only image that she could muster her mind was the one of the beautiful blonde women with brilliantly blue eyes. She knew this person was obviously the key to cracking the mystery and getting the rest of her memory back, but Sarah obviously couldn’t figure out how this piece of the puzzle connected to her and her current situation, but to be honest, she wasn’t even for sure if this key to the puzzle could be trusted.
Subtle sounds of snoring slipped out from the body lying next to Sarah. It was now her chance to sneak out from the large wooden house in the woods and off to break into her psychiatrist’s office in town. It was a risky operation, but she was running out of time before someone caught on that she wasn’t taking the mysterious medication that was making her forget her past. She couldn’t mess up either tonight, because her husband and her psychiatrist were forcibly drugging her to forget something she couldn’t imagine what they would do to her if they found out she had started to remember.
Sarah tip-toed her way out of her bedroom past her husband and down the hall. That was the easy part. The hard part was making it through the dead of night in the pitch-black forests into town and breaking and entering into an office building. She would have used a flashlight, but if anyone saw a beam of light making its way into town, she knew she would have been immediately accused.
Sarah made her way by memory into town along the road. It took her over an hour, but cutting across through the woods would have cause a whole other set of problems. When she did arrive to the building she searched around the corner for the window that she had left slightly ajar for herself. Luckily the window was left open and she was able to lift the single hung window and slip into the dark and empty lobby.
A small beam of light creeping out from underneath her psychiatrist’s office door caught her attention. How on earth is he still here? Sarah thought quickly to herself. She put her back to the wall where the window was and crouched down out of sight so that no one would see her hiding. She moved closer toward the door, and with every inch closer she made toward the office she felt her heart pounding within her chest faster and faster. She could have sworn that she was going to have a heart attack, but she was already inside the building that night and she didn’t want to do this all over again.
Sarah crawled forward, and as she leaned up against the door to look through the gap that was created between the slightly ajar door and the door fixture. She wasn’t entirely sure if there was really anyone in the office. Her psychiatrist could have accidentally left his desk light on, but it didn’t seem like the safe assumption. She listened closely for some movement but heard nothing from behind the door. She waited a few moments, and just as she was about to stand up and enter the presumably empty office, she heard Dr. Aislinn get up and walk out of the other door that was connected to the room.
Sarah decided that it was her time to make her move. She slipped into the office faster than she ever could remember her getting inside of a room before and took two large leaps to the back where the office cabinet was. It was unlocked and slightly left open and so she quickly sifted through the folders to grab her file.
She grabbed her file and just as she was about to run out of the room she heard the room door knob turning and she pushed in the drawer, dropped to the ground and tucked herself under the large wooden desk. She heard Dr. Aislinn walk in and kept incredibly still as she watched him sit down at his chair and scoot into his desk.
She knew it would be a long night.
Sarah waited patiently underneath Dr. Aislinn’s desk as he continued to work diligently well into the night. She made sure that she wouldn’t accidently bump his legs by cramming herself into the far left corner and kept her breaths slow and quiet. She would have to wait until after Dr. Aislinn left so that she can run home and make it back to her house before her husband woke up. If either person suspected she was not in fact sleeping next to her husband they would lock her away forever.
She decided since she was there that she could take a quick peak at her file. She attempted to quietly look through all of the papers to see if there were any clues to her past. She opened up the file. She turned each page slowly.
The next page—
Blank—and the page after appeared blank as well.
She wanted to cry. After all of that secret spy work, she wasn’t able to find a thing. She wasn’t sure of what to make of it.
“Where was her information?” I asked interrupting Cindy’s story.
“Just relax, you were doing so well and letting me tell the story,” she said with a smile.
“I just want to know what is going on with this woman. She has no clue of who she is and I don’t know either. I can see how frustrated and confusing that can be.”
“You have to just continue driving and listen to the story. I swear it’s almost done.”
“I hope so.”
We had made it all the way to the Bay area passing barren land, oil drills and windmills along the way. We watched as rows of grape vines passed us and fueled up somewhere near Coalinga. I was tired, and snacking on gas station food wasn’t getting me excited about hearing the rest of the story.
“Hey, it’s getting dark,” I said. “Why don’t we pull over somewhere and rest for the night. We can get up early and make it there to Oregon before nightfall tomorrow.”
“That sounds like a good idea.”
We stopped in the town of Tracy and searched the streets for a really crappy motel, and I shared the room for the night with the hitchhiker that I had picked up earlier that morning.
“Tell me a little about yourself,” I asked the hitchhiker lying in the motel bed next to mine. I had met Cindy that morning and traveled with her for that entire day but I didn’t really know anything about her.
“I suppose I could give you that much since you haven’t kicked me out yet and that you’re actually driving me all the way to Oregon,” Cindy said. “I really didn’t know if you were going to go through with it.”
“I’m being coerced though.”
“You’re just really nosy and want to hear the rest of my story.”
She sort of had a point there, but alongside being nosy I also have a strange need to win arguments. “I’m nosy?” I said half chuckling in disbelief. “You looked through my purse!”
“I didn’t know you.”
“I still don’t know you!”
She paused for a moment as if she was digesting the sentence that I had nearly shouted at her. “This is true,” she said staring up at the ceiling. “Anywho, my name is Cynthia Wendel and I spend my time traveling.”
I looked down at Cindy’s bag and dusty jacket. She then saw my skeptical glance and explained herself.
I’m not homeless, although it may seem like I am. I have a house that was handed down to me in Montana. I love living there in the land of the shining mountains, but I’ve lived my entire life with this feeling of “get-up-and-go” in the pit of my stomach that I just can’t shake. I feel free wandering the road without being tied down and living my life according to only the direction of the wind. I guess the big sky country isn’t the last best place, at least for me after all, because when I step off of my property out there in the wide open spaces I feel as though I’m being lured out in to a strange new world that needs exploring.
I was taken aback by her story. She chose to live a life on the road? And for what—there was no certainty to her day, no reassurance of comfort when she laid her head to rest at night, and any thoughts about destiny were thrown out the window. But then again, there wasn’t even a window, or some structure sitting above her trying to contain whatever it could inside its familiar walls. She lived her life out in the sun and underneath the dazzling lights of the stars, and for whatever reason, she was able to choose to get into my car and share her story with me. I felt as though she wasn’t restless and that she knew exactly where she was going in life. She a grip on the world that I would most likely never understand, but in this time we have shared I hoped a little piece of her view on the world had rubbed off on me.
Sarah Liera had been trapped underneath her psychiatrist’s desk in the middle of the night for over an hour before that same psychiatrist got up and left to use the restroom again. If it wasn’t for the hot tea rushing though his body at the moment Sarah could have been trapped there all night.
She made her move quietly and quickly when she heard the door shut and threw the file back in to the cabinet and shut it all in one swipe. She then shuffled off into the front room and eventually out of the window nearly hurling herself outside of the building. She never stopped running once her feet hit the dirt and she traveled into the dark with no newly acquired knowledge that she so desperately sought.
She ran all the way back to the house at the edge of the woods and quietly crept back inside before the sun had a chance to rise. She waited there with her eyes open for what seemed like centuries with the swirling thoughts of frustration coursing through her head, and just as her eyelids began to droop down and rest themselves against each other her husband loudly yawned and unintentionally shook her awake as he got out of bed.
James got up to get dressed and ready for work leaving Sarah laying in the bed exhausted from the night she spent underneath her psychiatrist’s desk. She let her mind wander back through the series of events as he eventually walked out of the front door.
She let her eyelids finally meet again and welcomed the instant darkness flash before her completely blocking her vision.
There it was again, an attractive woman with short blonde hair wearing jeans and a white button up t-shirt that was two sizes too big sat before Sarah in a car.
“Ready?” The woman said to Sarah as she threw the old blue Chevy pickup truck into gear.
“Yes,” Sarah said.
The woman scrunched her tiny nose and let her bright sparkly blue eyes peek through behind her long lashes as she smiled at Sarah. “Okay, this is it then. There’s no turning back.”
They took off in the old blue Chevy pickup truck and drove down the dusty road for a few miles with the sun’s rays kissing their exposed skin with its loving warmth. The two women looked on as the tall green trees passed the truck along the sides and they were ready to move forward. What happened next is what turned this beautiful memory into a nightmare. Two tall men wearing gray slacks and white collar shirts drove out of the woods in a rusty Chevy work truck with wooden sides on the flat bed. The truck jetted forward blocking the two frightened women as the doors simultaneously flew open to let the two men out of the vehicle.
Sarah’s dream soon faded to the walls of her home in the middle of the woods, and she felt that feeling again in the pit of her stomach that heated up her body with anguish. Sarah found herself leaving the incredible world of her subconscious as the flashes from some unknown past event left her nauseated and the rhythm of her heart beating faster. This time, however, Sarah recognized something in this flashback that she had never seen in any of the flash backs before. The two angry men in Sarah’s dream jumping out of the old rusty truck were not complete strangers but rather people who she saw every day. Dr. Jacob Aislinn and Sarah’s husband James Liera had stopped the car the day she tried to escape from somewhere with a woman, and she didn’t quite know why.
Cindy and I woke up the next morning and left the small motel in the town of Tracy behind after fueling up the gas tank and our bodies at what seemed like the town’s only gas station. We had roughly six hours left, of driving through the Northern part of California that everyone forgets about, before we could even cross the state boarder into Oregon and I wasn’t really sure where we were going after we got up there. The hitchhiking passenger in my car’s front seat was still being incredibly mysterious, and I still didn’t know anything about how she was related to this strange story. As we made our way back to the five-freeway I decided to make it my mission to find out more about the stranger sitting beside me.
“Hey Cindy?” I tried to bring up my question nonchalantly. “You mentioned you were from Montana and that you choose to travel freely without being tied down. Have you ever met someone who would make you stay in one place?”
Cindy looked ahead toward the dashboard as if her eyes had the ability to tear through solid objects with intense lasers. I wasn’t sure if this was the reaction to an untouchable subject or if she was just tired of me trying to pry more information out of her. At this point, however, I was a little more concerned about her feelings and felt as though I had struck a chord.
“I met a couple of people who I could have stayed in one spot for,” Cindy replied after a quiet sigh. “The story didn’t end the way I would have liked it to end, and now I’m on the road again to try and fix what was broken the best way I can.”
I glanced over at Cindy still looking at the center of the dashboard with such shocked and sad eyes. It was as if she was reliving something all over again in her head. I tried to look over occasionally to see if I too could see the flashes of life emerge like the shaky images projected out from an old reel of film. I let her collect herself again as I continued to drive north.
“I swear this will all make sense when I end the story and let you read a couple of things that I have carried with me for a long time,” Cindy said. “Once you hear everything you will understand why this is so important to me. You will know why I must go to Oregon and why I couldn’t let you go. Just give me a chance to tell my tale and get to Ashland, Oregon.”
I had noticed after a short pause in the conversation that she had turned her attention back to me. “Please,” she said. And so I listened.
All of the swirling thoughts of time that has passed and the images of a blonde-haired blue-eyed women sitting next to Sarah inside of a blue truck had forced an idea in her head that had been deeply seeded in the back of her mind. It was obvious how her husband and her psychiatrist were involved with her memory loss. Sarah knew that they were the ones responsible for it. They wanted her to forget something that was so much a part of her life and her being that it has nearly driven her to the state of madness. A piece of her soul has been partial ripped, and she was going to figure out how and why.
It was in the middle of the afternoon when she did another search around the house for clues. It was obvious that there was nothing in the house that could tell her about her past and so she walked out of the wooden house to search the property. The bright and shining sun gently dropped from its highest perch as Sarah walked further away from the house and into the woods to where her first memories of this strange life were made.
She followed the stream that she had once done several weeks ago and found herself back in the thick brush in the middle of the forest that had greeted her with confusion. Sarah found herself back in the spot where she first woke up and looked around for clues to where she was originally coming from. She faced the opposite direction of where the house was and looked closely at every little piece of shrubbery and tree when something small, but out of place, caught her eye.
Sarah swiftly walked through the forest away from the water toward the object letting her pink cotton dress flap quickly behind her. She nearly jogged for a quarter of a mile before stumbling upon a rusty shed with dusty windows, but it wasn’t until she scanned the parameter before she saw something peeking through one of the windows. She walked closer carefully noting that she could not actually be alone. She crouched down by the window and slowly lifted herself to peer inside. Something blue was staring right back at her.
The blue truck from her fleeting memories was staring back at her, and with no one near in sight, she backed away from the dusty window and around the side of the wooden structure to the door. Luckily it was left unlocked so Sarah just walked in to the broken down structure. It had to have sat dusty and untouched for quite a while because when she slid her finger across the hood of the vehicle it left a brighter and more vibrant blue underneath the now disturbed layer of filth. It didn’t make sense as to why anything would be hiding out here in the middle of the forest like this until another wave of a forgotten time rushed over her.
Sarah made her way around the truck while picturing the blonde-haired blue-eyed girl and herself driving along that country road. She glanced over to the back of the shed and noticed that there were a series of file cabinets lined up along the wall and so she went for the far right file cabinet that was sitting in the corner. Sarah walked over and opened the cabinet drawers finding stacks of paper pushed into piles of folders. She looked around for her name skimming through the alphabetized system of surnames. She moved over a couple of cabinets to the one labeled “L-P” on it but couldn’t find the file marked “Liera, Sarah.”
She then moved to the far left cabinet with the “A-E” label and searched for the name “Sarah instead. She found a file marked “Abuto, Sarah.” Inside was a picture of herself with shorter hair paper clipped onto the first page of papers. She looked incredibly sad, but it wasn’t until she read the file that she knew why.
Patient number 00005849578
Test Start Date, 5 June, 1949
The patient’s behavior appears to be significantly affected by external triggers. The patient exhibits confusion and other Psychopathia Sexualis behaviors toward a particular woman. The patient has been subjected to shock therapy after inflicting the patient with damage to the medial temporal lobe to induce amnesia, so as to allow the patient to acquire perceptual and motor skills, conditioned responses, and to demonstrate priming, and then replace the confused behaviors previous to the amnesia with new learned behaviors. Initial research has hypothesized that the amnesic patient will not become familiar with the original feelings the patient mentions they have claimed to have experienced and will turn her attention toward finding a male partner.
The patient has been kept away from a patient admitted in the same test trial, Deirdre “Kimi” Vida, patient number 005849577, one of the external triggers, in the hopes that the patient will relearn the appropriate behavior for a young woman. Two different staged accidents have placed the two women’s first memories after the induced amnesia to them waking up in the woods on their own to create a clean slate.
Psychologist Dr. Jacob Aislinn and neurologist Dr. James Liera have monitored the patient and have submitted their findings to fellow researchers, Dr. Darnell Bian, psychologist, and neurologist Dr. Clarke Hall who are monitoring patient number 005849577 in the next town over…
Sarah looked down at the stack of reports breathlessly and tried to comprehend her discovery. She had been ripped away from the love of her life and forced to forget about her in a series of torturous tests.
Sarah’s life had changed in an instant and there was nothing anyone could do to reverse it back to the way she was living previously to this event. She had hard evidence suggesting that she was someone else and confirming her suspicions about her psychiatrist and “husband.” There was now only one mission and nothing else and it as obvious of where she was going and what she was trying to do.
Sarah closed her file and then turned back to the row of cabinets in the back of the shed to try and find Kimi’s information. She went to the drawer labeled “W-Z” and swiftly sifted through folders of filled with patient records. She stopped when she found “Vida, Deirdre” and yanked it out of the drawer as if she had spotted a piece of gold in a miner’s pan. She got up walked to the shed’s door half jogging so she can begin her mission and never looked back.
She found herself moving quickly through the forest. No one knew she wasn’t home at the moment so she used her bought time to get out of site and over to the next town where Kimi was. If Kimi’s situation was anything like her own, Sarah could grab her and leave town in the blue truck before anyone noticed. Sarah moved faster through the woods than she could ever remember herself moving before. Every step was a race against time to find her love and every leap over raised tree roots and shrubbery was a chance to take back her life.
Sarah knew that it was a straight shot to Kimi, but she just hoped that no one was in the house with her and that Kimi would recognize her or trust her enough to come with her. It would be too complicated if Kimi wasn’t somewhat aware of what was going on and, really, their lives both depended on her knowing.
We had about another hour from the town of Yreka before we made it to Ashland Oregon. I had driven so far from the Los Angeles area all the way to the very northern part of California with a mysterious hitchhiker, but I still felt a little uneasy about my situation. The story that Cindy had been telling me in the car had revealed a surprise, but I still wasn’t sure as to why we had to go to Oregon or whose lives were in danger. I hadn’t interrupted her for a while, but I just had to know what was going on.
“I knew that her husband and therapist were really up to something, but I didn’t expect all of this,” I said. “Is this story even real?”
“I don’t know why you would ask if it was real when I told you that my journey was based off of this,” Cindy said slightly annoyed at my doubt. “I didn’t make this up to get you side tracked while I just bum a ride off of you. I asked for your help and you accepted.”
“I don’t even remember doing that. You’re very manipulative you know.”
“You know you want to find out what happens next, and I know that you’re interested in helping or you wouldn’t be putting up with this.”
I responded with a quick half of a smile but I felt that it was a little more than a smirk. She was absolutely right. I wanted to find out what happened next, and I was willing to help Cindy and whoever else was involved.
“Okay, well. We’re almost there. I’ll try and finish up the story but I’ll let my friends update you on the stuff I’m not quite sure about.”
“Okay,” I said, and Cindy continued the story.
Sarah ran to the edge of the forest where it met with the next town over. She paused to sift through Kimi’s files for an address and locked eyes with it. She only had a limited amount of time to find her, convince her to follow her if she didn’t recognize her and runaway back to the truck so they could, once again, escape. Sarah knew that this was the right thing to do, because this was the only thing she could do.
Sarah found herself heading straight for the house that visible outside of the forest. She knew her love had to be there by having the advantage of living in the exact same schedule on the other side of the woods. She sprinted toward the front door noticing that there weren’t any vehicles in sight and quickly scanned what was visible of the inside of the house from the window.
She had not seen anyone in plain sight and so she went ahead and knocked on the door. The tumblers in the locking system on the door clicked as the door knob turned, and Sarah felt her breathe leave her for a moment as she anticipated the inhabitant.
A short blonde woman with bright blue eyes appeared at the door wearing a deep red dress.
“Kimi!” Sarah exclaimed.
A look of sadness fell upon Sarah’s face as her heart sank to the bottom of her chest. “Deirdre?”
“Yes, that’s me, the blonde woman said. “How can I help you.”
“I need you to read something. Your life sort of depends on it.”
“Uh, okay. Come in and I can make some tea.”
“I’m kind of in a hurry and I need you to read this as soon as humanely possible.”
Deirdre motioned for Sarah to come inside. “We can wait until my husband gets home.”
“He’s not your husband,” Sarah quickly responded.
“What are you talking about?”
“Just read the file, Kimi.”
Deirdre paused for a moment, “Okay, okay, just sit down and I’ll read the papers.” Sarah and Deirdre walked inside the house closing the door behind them and then sat down on the couch. It took her a while to read though the first page. She flipped through the stack of papers and then flipped through them again. “Why would you do this to me?”
“It wasn’t me. It was your ‘husband’ and your ‘psychologist.’ I’m only here to help you see what’s going on.”
“I, I had a dream about you.”
“I did too. That’s why I’m here.”
“We were together, together, and my mother found us lying next to each other.”
“She said we were mentally ill Sarah.”
“But we’re not.”
“You remember me.” Tears started to fall from Sarah’s eyes. “You remember my love and the way we loved each other. You remember and that isn’t wrong. They’re wrong.”
“So then what do we do now?”
“That’s it,” Cindy said looking out at the tall Oregon trees stretching out in front of us along the road.
“That’s the story.”
“You must be joking,” I said. “Did they at least get away?”
“How, what happened?”
“That’s what we’re going to find out next,” Cindy said. “I’m taking you to them so we can find out, and then I can tell you my story and how I’m involved.”
“This story is getting longer and longer and I don’t appreciate it.”
“There,” Cindy pointed toward a house off of the narrow road that we had been traveling on after we let the five for a while. “Turn in here and let’s go in.”
I had to admit that I was a little nervous about meeting the ladies that had starred in the story I had been listening to for the past couple of days. Their lives became the focus of my curiosity and obsession, and it was a bit surreal to be finally meeting up with them after the long journey this hitchhiker I had picked up and I had.
We turned in to a long driveway and up past the thick trees to where the old wooden house sat. Cindy swiftly unbuckled her seatbelt as I pulled the car to a stop and we continued to make our way out of the car and up to the door. Cindy knocked excitedly at first, and then realizing her enthusiasm knocked a little lighter. I too had felt the anticipation mounting as we waited at the front door.
“I’ll get it hun!” A voice shouted from inside the house. The door slowly opened and revealed a very old lady with hair as white as cotton but eyes as blue as the ocean standing at the door. I looked at the woman that had to be in her upper nineties. She had wrinkles everywhere and could barely stand.