This is a short story to a book I am writing. Let me know what you think.
She doesn't remember what she saw.
It was the sea air that she was smelling in her sleep. She loved the smell of the ocean. She remembered when she was a child and she would follow her 2 older brothers as they were on their bikes with fishing poles woven through their handle bars. They hated that she would follow them as they had to keep an eye on her over fishing in the rocks. Add that she would just sit and stare at the sea.
That moment brought a sense of peace she hadn't felt in a long time and she couldn't figure out why. As she opened her eyes she sat up and took in her surroundings. She was on a boat. As she got up and the boat wobbled she realized she was out in the sea. She panicked when she realized no one was on the boat with her.
As she climbed up on the deck, she saw she wasn't far from the dock and wondered if anyone could hear her if she yelled.
She looked around for flares and found them. She found the lighter by the stove and went out in the deck. It was only a few minutes that she saw the life guard helicopter.
It felt like hours before she saw her brother Jason enter the emergency room. It was protocol that the coast guard send the rescued to the hospital of their choice, meaning now she was farther from her home then she was on the boat. Jason starred at his sister for quite a while trying to make sense of it all.
“I must have fallen asleep on the boat. I was waiting for Jack. Happy gave us his houseboat for the night.” She tugged on the hospital gown.
“Emmys, how long do you think you were on Happy’s boat?”
“ I got there on early this afternoon. I left the kids with Crissy for the night.”
“Do you know what today is?”
“The doctor asked me that too. It's June 16th.”
Jason grabbed the chair next to the bed and took Emmy’s hand in his. “Sis, it's 2016 and its March.”
“Come on Jas. You’re teasing me.”Emmy laughed. There was a fear in his eyes that she hadn't seen before and she pulled back. “Where’s Jack? Why isn't he here to take me home?”
“He’ll be a long in a bit. I wanted to talk to you first” Jason responded. Emmys looked at her brother thoroughly. His hair was starting to grey at the temples like Dad’s did. He was more stockier then he was when she last saw him which was a couple of days ago,or so she thought.
She heard voices in the room next to her. “What happening there?” She asked.
“Not sure.” Jason replied as he got up from the chair. “Sis what do you remember before you fell asleep?”
“Dropping the kids off at the ice cream shop. Then I went to Happy’s boat. I made dinner for Jack and I and then waited. The boat must have gotten loose and drifted from the slip.” Emmy laid back on the bed. “When can I go home?”
Jason sat back in his chair. “Sis you will be coming to stay with us for a few days. Things aren't as they seem right now.”
“With you?” Emmy glared at her brother. For the first time she actually saw the greying at the temples, like her father had. “I just saw you the other day. When did you start turning grey?”
“Sis,” Jason took a deep breath. “It's been 15 years since you last saw any of us. We thought you had died when Happy’s boat exploded at the same spot we found you today.”
The fourteen year old girl was found sleeping on a bench at Azalea Park. She only had a backpack with a set of clothes and some granola bars and water. There was no identification on her.
She seemed in perfect health as far as the doctors could tellers she arrived at the Curry General Hospital.. Except for that she didn't know who she was or where she came from.
Her dark brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail and she wore an oversized army jacket and a pair of new jeans and a dark blue t shirt.
She watched in amazement at the staff that took care of her and listened to the voices beyond the curtain next to her. The smell of the hospital seemed familiar to her and she subconsciously rubbed her right elbow. A nurse noticed it.
“Did you break your arm?” He asked her as he grabbed her hand gently.
“I don't know. The place smells familiar to me like I'd been here or somewhere like it before.” The young girl replied.
Let's get some x rays on your arm to see if it has been broken. It will be like looking for a needle in a hay stack, but it's worth a shot.” The nurse said as she walked out of the cubicle.
The young girl whom the staff called “Jane” watched as the nurse went to the counter across from her. The nurse talked with what appeared to be the doctor for quite an extended time. Jane sat looking around the room. “Okay God, I have no clue who I am or how I got here, funny though I know You. So since you know all about me, let's give them a little bit of a clue, okay?”
The middle age man sat in the Pastors office was stunned. On the door was the tuxedo that he was just getting ready to put on when his phone rang. After he hung up, he sat down and wept. His true love had come home.
His emotions ran high. He was in love with two women. For one was dead or so he thought and in a few minutes was scheduled to marry the other.
Jack stood up and walked around the pastor’s office. He looked at the bookshelf full of marriage counseling, drug and alcohol abuse and laughed as he said under his breath “none for when your wife comes back from the dead when your about to marry another.”
The door opened and the pastor walked in. He noticed that Jack had not changed into his tuxedo. “Everything alright?”
“No, it's not. I have to tell Sarah I can't marry her today. My wife, your daughter, is alive.” Jack kept a close eye on his former father in law. He’s suffered a heart attack last year and Jack didn't want to cause another.
“What do you mean, Emmy is back? Where is Jason?”
“Jason was called away about a couple hours before we were to leave the house. I came here to the church and he went on his call. Apparently flares were released from a boat and Emmy’s was on it. Jason said she thinks it's 2002.”
“We need to go, now. We need to find Sarah and tell her….”
“Tell her what? That my dead wife has been resurrected on the day we plan to marry? God’s got a great sense of humor with me, but then you already knew that when you married Emmy and me.” Jack brushed back his short brown hair with his hand.
“Jack, you go find Sarah. I'll go let the guests know.”
A half hour later as Jack and his in-laws were on driving to the hospital in Gold Beach, Jack was glad for his two sisters who stayed to comfort Sarah and gather a team to clean up. He would go and see Sarah later.
Jack stood outside the hospital room that his wife was in. He chose not to let his kids know what was going on even though they questioned him over and over about canceling the wedding. He told them to go back to the house and wait for him there and he would explain everything. He asked Sarah to not say anything to them. He knew she wouldn't no matter how angry she was.
Emmy’s voice warmed his heart as it always had for the short time they were married and raising three young children. He remembered finding her note on the dining table asking him to meet her on Happy’s boat for dinner and a romantic evening. He showered that night, changed out of his work clothes and was dressed Ina polo shirt and jeans and sneakers. They had often taking moonlight cruises in Happy’s boat.
He needed that night with her. The job that day was rough. As a contractor and builder working privately was a joy and sorrow. That particular day it was seemIngly out of control as he was building a sun deck. He watched as the owner of the house was conversing on the phone and was angry that a shipment hadn't come in. He had buyers for some art that he’d bought himself but hadn't received but had interested buyers. The owner took his anger out on Jack mostly that day.
When Jack had gone home there was a missed call from the owner but he hadn't checked the voice mail where he had apologized until days later. The owner had been killed the same night as Emmy.
As Jack stood at the partition, he noticed the young girl in the room next to Emmy. Something about her was familiar, but he wasn't sure he could place where he saw her before. . Even the mannerisms as she wiggled her foot waiting for the doctor. A typical teen runaway, Jack thought to himself.
He listened again to the voices behind the curtain where his wife was talking to her parents and brother. They were all asking her the same questions and getting no answers except what she did 15 years ago.
Jack remembered that day clearly.
It started out working on the property of a very prominent man in Brookings. Jack was a contractor and his handiwork was known throughout the county. He got along with the man who hired him fairly well but this particular day was an exception.
It seemed as if nothing suited the man that day. He was young for the position he held in the community, and to cut Jack off at the quick in the middle of a job, burned Jack’s enthusiasm. He left the property in a huff.
He went home after work and saw the note on the table. He smiled as he read it and ran up stairs to shower. The house at that time was under construction as Mirch was building when he had free time. It had no Sheetrock on the walls Downstairs or upstairs. Only the floors and the beams had been built and to make it a home they just moved in and built around the family activities. They had plumbing put in which with three kids under the age of eight was a must.
As he drove down to the port that night he heard sirens and let the police and fire and rescue pass. They had blocked off the docks when he arrived.
Jack saw the boat in flames from where he was parked. He went to the book store that Emmy’s sister owned and she was in shock. “It's Happy’s boat out there.” She pointed. “Emmy was on it.”
His world crashed at that moment and for the next 15 years most of it was a blur.
Days later the man he worked for was found washed up on shore at mill beach. It was assumed that he was on Happy’s boat as well as his skin had burns on them from the explosion.
He met Sara when she was looking for work. She was the man’s wife and Jack and Sara feed on each other's grief.
Now here he was 15 years later, trying to make sense of it all.
As he listened to his wife talk to her parents and repeatedly ask for him, he realized he needed to take her home. She would see the house as it is now finished and presumably livable.
He turnedz back the curtain and looked straight at his wife sitting up in the bed. Her hair was darker and her skin was pale as if she’d not been in the sun for a while but ass Her blue eyes that always brightened up when he entered the room were a little more grey and he could tell she was sizing him up as well. He wasn't the tall dark haired man she’d married 25 years ago. He’s put on some pounds and lost some hair and what was left was starting to grey at the temples.
He glanced at his father in law for a second before speaking.
“Hey babe! Sorry I'm so late. Ready to go home?”
“That may not be wise, Jack.”
Jack turned to the doctor that walked into the room.
We need to keep her overnight. We think there may have been some mind altering drugs that are in her system. And it could just be a 50 first dates thing, where she only has this memory from 14 years ago.” The doctor took a deep breath, but that seemly highly unlikely as to her condition today as she’s healthy, and looks great. No abnormalities except for in her mind.”
“I’ll follow you out,” Jack replied. He blew a kiss to Emmy’s as if automatic. He hadn't done that since the day she was missing.
Jack followed the doctor to the nurses desk where he placed Emmy’s chart to be filed. The doctor turned to face Jack. “If she were to go home, it will shock her in the state she is in. Keep in mind your children are not the toddlers she left behind but young adults who are staying at your house for the weekend for a wedding that didn't take place. And you need to go see Sarah before the night is over.”
“Like none of that hadn't crossed my mind. I was hoping if she was faking all of this that it would be exposed when she walked in the door.” Jack sighed. “She’s not faking is she?”
“Did you ever know her to?”
“Truthfully I would like to say no but that night everything was just so odd. Two murders and a missing person. How could she not have been involved?”
“I see your point, but all we know is Sarah’s husband was killed execution style, and Happy was on his boat and was shot, before his boat blew up. The only evidence that we had that Emmy’s was on the boat was that her sister gave her Happy’s key. So why did the old captain take your wife out on a boat?”
“The other question you have is why did my wife take Happy on his boat?”
“It's a slight possibility if she was involved.” The doctor replied. He looked up to see Jason walking toward them. “What do you make of this?”
Jason breathed a deeps breath. “That my sister could be the answer to the questions we've been asking ourselves for 14 years? I think she knows something and it's locked in her brain. And about the young girl in the next room? She’s involved somehow.”
“But she wasn't born yet!” The doctor replied rather sharply.
Jack’s eyes got wide. “Can you do a paternity test on her?”
“Jack? What are you saying?” Jason asked.
“Emmys was pregnant when she disappeared. The girl may be my daughter.”
“As odd as this sounds that solves her problem if it's true but still doesn't solve what they have been doing for the past 14 years.”
“Just give me the test and we’ll go from there.” Jack replied. “I expect the order to be in by the time I get to the Lab, and that you put a rush on it. That girl needs some answers. She has no body right now and that does not sit well with me.”
Later that evening, Jack pulled his red Dodge Durango into the driveway of his house. The lights were on in the living room and he could see the kids sitting in the living room, watching either for him to come home or a movie. They had texted him several times wanting to know what was going on and he'd only replied that he would explain when he got home. Jack had taken the paternity test and like all things it had to be sent to a lab in the Rogue Valley. It was sent over with Cal-or when they made an emergency flight to Medford, but even then the soonest would be the next day. Funny he was more worried about the young girl being alone in the hospital then his wife who was surrounded by family.
How would he explain this to the kids? He thought. He knew it would be hard enough explaining Emmy’s but what about the young girl? Jack knew she was his, there was too much coincidences for it to not be, but it raised more questions. Then answers. Like why was she not with Emmy’s on the boat? Who else was involved?
Then there was Sarah. He wanted to go see her but his emotions were running high. He had been looking forward to today for many months. It felt good to be in love again. When Emmy was presumed dead, he died with her. It took ten years before he allowed himself to breath again. In the past four years Sarah opened his heart again to beat.
His daughter Jade and Sarah’s daughter Mollie were best friends since preschool and were always at each other's houses over the years, so it made sense that Jack would start dating Sarah.
Jack sent Sarah a text. “Should I come over?”
He didn't know if he could call her, and thought a text would be better at this point. She responded immediately.
“No. Go to the café in the morning.”
Jack put his phone back in his pocket. He looked up at the house and wondered what to do. He couldn't go inside and explain everything to his children. It was too much. He started up the truck and drove to the nearest motel. It would be a quiet night.
Jack was surprised when he pulled into the parking lot of his favorite café and saw police cars in the parking lot. Sarah had responded to his text the night before saying she was going to work the next morning.
As he got out of his truck, he walked up to the front door where Jason met him.
“Sarah told us you would be here.”
“Where is Sarah?”
“Sit down in your booth and we will explain it all.”
Jack noticed an envelope with his name on it at his booth. He looked up at Jason and Jason nodded as he sat down.
Jack opened the letter.
I don't know how to begin except to say it was all me.
I had ordered my husband and Happy to be killed. Emmy was never to be involved. I didn't even know she was on the boat.
I knew the activity my husband was into. And I knew who was after him. Jason and the other detectives had been watching him for several months and we're going to take him in. I discovered several events had taken place during that time and I wasn't going to be the scorned woman and chose to be the sorrowful and naïve widow.
I had thought the sniper had taken out all three that were on the boat when it exploded, but he had other plans for Emmy. Please know that he took very good care of Emmy and also Amber your daughter. It was me he was blackmailing for many years.
When you told me yesterday that your wife was alive I knew it was over. I knew I needed to turn myself in.
Please take care of my daughter Mollie for me. I know I have no right to ask after you read this letter, but she has no one else. She trusts you.
For what it's worth I've loved you, and I still do.
If you can ever find it in your heart to forgive me for the part I played in keeping Emmy’s disappearance from you which I do doubt you will, I will be greatly appreciated.
Jack looked up from the letter to Jason. “Is this all true?”
“For the most part. We had been watching Drew for several months with his connection with the Mexican cartel. In fact we had even blamed them for the murders but we couldn't the responsible party even though we knew they were in the area at the time. Sarah created a mess with this admission. We took her into custody when she turned herself in last night.”
“So you knew I would be here this morning?”
“Yes.” Jason replied. “Go to Emmy. And to Amber. They may not remember everything because of what they went through, and that is best. They are safe now. No one can hurt them.”
“How do you know?”
Jason took a deep breath. “Because I was the sniper Sarah hired.”