Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Wednesday Writings #18 - Escape

My "Wednesday Writing" posts were initially created as a writing exercise for me to try and keep myself motivated and on track by making sure that I spend at least 30-60 minutes each week (with the follow-up goal to turn it into a daily writing practice).

Over the past few weeks, I've been continuing the same story with a single post each week. To help you catch up with this serialized story, you can use the following table of contents:
  1. Morning Machinations
  2. Communication Between Friends
  3. Daydreaming Decisions
  4. Off to the Park
  5. Driven
  6. Coming Home
  7. Revealing Photographs
  8. Just a Dream?
  9. At the Tower
  10. Caught
  11. Revelations
  12. Lunchtime
  13. The Watch
  14. Visions

Critiques, suggestions, comments, etc. always welcome.



James tried to hide the smirk on his face as he stared across the table. He closed his eyes slightly and attempted to look concerned as he stood up and walked towards Gabby. Watching him, Gabby's tears erupted more uncontrollably. She folder her arms on the table and laid her head on them, trying to force down the images she'd just seen.

"Come now sweetheart. It couldn't have been that bad. What did you see?" She could tell by the volume of his voice that he had moved over to stand by her side. She continued to cry, choking down the tears. When he placed his hand on her shoulder, she jumped to her feet, her chair scratching its way across the floor behind her. She whipped her arms out, flinging his hand away from her as she lunged away from him.

"Don't you touch me!" Her breathing was ragged and she had to lean against the table to stabilize herself. James started to walk towards her and she held up her hand in protest but said nothing. They stared at each other for a moment and then he walked back the other direction to keep the table directly between them. He stared at her for another moment and then picked up the envelope.

"I am sorry Gabrielle. I have no idea what you saw in there but it obviously troubled you. Mr. Dalton programmed the device to show you two possible glimpses of your own future. I don't know how much control even he had over what you witnessed. But I will tell you this, I know from personal experience that the images the device shows are only shadows on the wall of time and are not guarantees. Time is fluid and changing. The images he showed you are prospective futures for you that are more likely based on what you do with this envelope."

He tossed the envelope onto the table directly in front of her. Gabby glanced at it and then continued to glare at James.

"If you follow the instructions inside this envelope, then whatever you saw last in the device will likely come to pass. If, however, you neglect these instructions or fail to fulfill them, then the first images you saw are likely to be part of your future. As I said, I have no idea what you saw in there, but Mr. Dalton said that the images would be persuasive enough to help you clearly see your path."

James nodded at Gabby and then walked towards the kitchen door. He closed the door, took out a key and locked it before walking to the hall. After a few moments of silence, Gabby turned and saw him staring back at her.

"My instructions now are to leave you alone to read your instructions and determine your response. I will be in the hall awaiting your decision."

As the hallway door closed, Gabby turned back to the table and picked up the envelope. The same block lettering spelled out GABRIELLE across the plain white paper. She turned it over in her hand for a few minutes before finally ripping it open and dumping the contents on the table. She scanned the items, still trying to piece together what was going on and what her next steps should be.

First, she picked up the single key hanging on a Route 66 key chain. She thumbed through a small black leather pocket notebook. It was filled with a random scribbles, comments and mathematical equations that seemed vaguely similar to the contents of the book she'd delivered the previous day. The only other thing in the envelope, besides the folded sheet of paper, was a simple, very standard flip-style cell phone. She flipped open the phone. It was charged up and ready to go. She debated calling someone but was sure it would be tracked somehow and wasn't sure who she would call or what she would tell them.

Finally, she picked up the folded sheet of paper and read the instructions. This particular letter was typewritten, a slight change from the previous handwritten notes.


Please forgive the dramatics but our choices are limited and our time grows short.

Rather than rehash what you've already been told and shown, let me simply outline your instructions.

By now, James is waiting outside the door. He is instructed to bring you to me once you've made your decision about your instructions. What he doesn't know is that your instructions are to escape from the manor and make your way back to town.

You are provided with a key to the Mazda in the garage. The door to the hall is at the end of the hall to the right. In order to get past James, you will find a tranquilizer gun in the corner hutch near the kitchen door. Simply knock on the hall door and when he opens it, fire two quick shots and run past him. The gun is ready to go and is a simple and reliable model. Just point and shoot then run down the hall to the right.

Once in the garage, find the Mazda and follow the driveway away from the manor. The road will weave through a large grove of trees and eventually make its way to a small country road. Turn right and follow the road for a mile where it connects to the main road. Turn left and you'll find the highway entrance a hundred yards up on the right.

Once on the highway, return to your apartment and wait for your husband to contact you. He may even connect with you before you reach your apartment.

Explain to your husband that you managed to escape but you're frightened for your safety. At first he may be reluctant to help you, but you must convince him, for all of our sakes. The nature of your escape will help convince him of your situation. By forcing you to escape at gunpoint and steal a car, he will be more likely to accept you than if we merely let you go.

Show him the notebook and explain that you stole it out of my desk after I explained to you that it was key to our new findings with the device. Rather than explain much more, I will leave the details to your own confused mind. It will be more believable that way. Just explain what little I've told you about the device and the nature of the rift that has been created. Share the hypothesis that he can repair the device and seal the rift. You may tell him about our little manor here, my personal protectors and even about the little scuffle you and Julie had about the watch. (Yes, you see, I write these instructions already knowing what is about to happen)

There is one detail you must omit however, for your own safety. You must not reveal to him that you are aware of his own fugitive status. If he has any suspicion that you know he has broken the law and that we are attempting to contain him, he will surely become unstable and highly dangerous.

The future is blurry. Worse, it grows unstable the longer your husband is on the loose.

He must be brought into your confidence to the extent that he relaxes his own suspicions and engages you in the effort to repair the device. I am confident that you can gain his trust and that together, the two of you will save us all before Time collapses and irreparable calamities ensue. Again, I apologize for the dramatics.

As events unfold, you will know when it is time to bring me in. Your husband will try to convince you not to trust me. He will be very persuasive. You must trust me and understand that he is the villain here. The images you have just seen in the device are shadows of a future dependent on the actions of your husband. His actions directly coincide with the death of your mother and if we are able to bring him to justice, it is entirely possible that she can be returned to you. By the same token, if you fail to carry out your instructions as outlined, then it is entirely possible that your husband's presence will lead to the death of your friend.

Once you determine that the time is at hand, use the cell phone I provided and dial the one entry in the contact list and I will arrive with my team to retrieve the device and secure your husband so he can cause no further harm.

At that point, I will have greater opportunity to further illuminate your mind and help make more sense of all of this.

I truly wish I could tell you more, but for now, I only pray that you will trust me. And if you have a hard time trusting me, please trust the images you have just seen. If you fail in this task, your mother and your friend will surely be dead. We will keep Julie here in our safe house in order to keep her out of harm's way, but as your husband gains in power, there is less and less we will be able to do to stop him.

I know you will succeed Gabrielle. I believe in you.

Thank you.

--Walter Dalton

P.S. - The future images you saw in the device are each less than a week old. I have seen other, more horrific images, that occur even sooner. For the safety of us all, you must hurry.

Gabrielle read through the page quickly at first, then slowly read over sections again, trying to make sense of what the letter said. She was more sure now that Walter Dalton was crazy, and yet she had no idea what to do about it.

Mechanically, she walked to the small cabinet in the corner of the room. In a drawer she found a small black pistol. It was heavier than she'd expected but she'd never handled a gun before so she couldn't pass any judgment. It felt odd in her hands but also gave her a sense of purpose.

Walter had outlined a seemingly perfect escape plan. Why had he brought her at all, if only to set her free? The letter explained that this more dramatic escape would help convince her husband of her situation. Her husband?!? The thought still baffled her.

"You all right in there miss?"

James knocked on the door. Gabby quickly pushed down all her fears and forced a judgment.

"Yes. Um, just a minute."

She returned to the table, pocketed the cell phone and the notebook and then turned to face the hallway door. She conjured up the images she'd seen moments before. Images of her mother at a party in her apartment. Of Julie's funeral. She turned back and saw the box sitting on the table. The instructions hadn't mentioned it at all, other than to reference the visions it had shown. She picked it up and cradled it under her left arm, then held the gun ahead of her, lined up directly at the center of the door. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, steeling her resolve. Then she opened her eyes, focused on the door and called to James.

"Ok James. I'm ready. Take me to Mr. Dalton."

She heard his feet shuffle slightly then the doorknob rustled and clicked unlocked. She hadn't realized she'd been locked in. The door opened and James's face materialized through the widening gap. His smooth smile and bright eyes fell slightly as he focused on the sight before him. A look of confusion crossed his face and he opened his mouth to ask a question. Before any words reached his lips, Gabby squeezed the trigger.


Something felt odd, but before she let it register, she squeezed the trigger again.


Just before the second shot rang out, Gabby realized what was wrong. The gun lunged back towards her with significant force. A small hint of smoke and spark whiffed around the gun. The noise was more than would ever be right for a tranquilizer gun. And if there was any doubt, she watched in horror as James stumbled to the side, clutching his shoulder and then doubling over as the second shot landed in his stomach. He groaned as the blood came up between his fingers. Looking up, he stared at Gabby in confusion. Then his confusion turned to rage and his face tensed up.

Just before he lunged at her, Gabby jumped to the side and sprinted out the door to the hall. She heard a clattering as he crashed into the table and chairs behind her. Part of her wanted to look back, to check on him, to get help. But the larger part of her actions were fueled by adrenaline and fear. If Walter Dalton had given her a real gun with real bullets and intended for her to fight her way out, then there was no telling what else he may be capable of.

Pulling open the door at the end of the hall, she stared into a three car garage. She turned back to look back into the house. She took another deep breath and tried to collect her thoughts. She stepped back up the hall and tried to scan the doors. Through an open set of double doors, she saw a large empty room and the bottom of a staircase. She looked over her shoulder at the Mazda in the garage, her vehicle to freedom. Then she thought back on the image of Julie's gravestone and started to walk back down the hall to the house, determined to find Julie before she left.

Unfortunately, her valiant plan quickly became more dangerous as she saw a bloody hand clamp on the dining room doorway, followed shortly by a hunched and angry James. He clenched his teeth and growled at her with a guttural sound that reminded her of a violent dog. Behind the growl, a clamor of footsteps erupted through the house.

Gabby's body suddenly felt heavy and dark. She wouldn't even know where to start looking for Julie. She couldn't fight her way through Dalton's guards. She looked at the gun. She didn't even want to fight them. Looking back at James's bloodied shoulder and his hand clenched to his stomach, she shuddered in terror at what she'd just done.

Feeling despair all around her, she spun and ran back to the garage. She dropped the gun as she pulled the car key from her pocket and roared the Mazda to life. Voices shouted after her and she saw a couple of men enter the garage just as she pulled away. She was out of the garage and onto the tree lined driveway within seconds. The road twisted and turned, forcing her to keep her speed down, but after a couple of minutes, she turned onto the straight, one lane road and floored it. She kept looking back in her rear view. To her relief, no one appeared.

But as she turned onto the main paved road and started over towards the highway entrance, a single white light flipped on and a motorcycle swerved onto the road from under a large tree. The headlight flickered and flashed and the driver waved his arm in a large arc. Gabby was still too frightened to stop. She sped onto the highway and started the drive south to her apartment, looking at the signs whizzing by to determine where she was so she could return and help Julie.

1 comment:

Phoenix said...

Hmmmm...I just read both "Visions" and "Escape" today and I'm still so caught up in the story! Now I'm doubting whether or not her husband really is the good guy or not, but Walter lying about the gun being a tranquilizer is NOT good. I'm excited to read this next part - this story is getting SO good!