Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wednesday Writings # 25 - Betrayal

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
  15. Escape
  16. Evan (part 1)
  17. Evan (part 2)
  18. Evan (part 3)
  19. Formulating a Plan
  20. Testing the Boxes

No real intro/commentary this week. Just jumping in.

Critiques, suggestions, comments, etc. always welcome.



Gabby hesitated in the hallway, doubting herself for a moment but also unsure of her next steps. While it was evident that Evan cared for her to some degree, she had a hard time trusting his intentions and a harder time trusting herself around him. She felt that by staying with him she would be tainting her own motivations and lose site of her primary goals to save Julie and her mom. Evan seemed nice enough, but she didn't know him well enough to know if his priorities aligned with her own.

Still uncertain what to do next, she started walking. The motion helped her think and also helped distance her from Evan. There was no telling when he'd finish his shower and find her note and the phone. Gabby didn't want to be too close to the room when he called Walter Dalton and unknowingly turned himself in.

Walking down the hall, Gabby worked through her plan. She needed to use the box to travel through time and come up with a plan to get Julie out of Dalton's mansion. Getting Evan to call Dalton was key to that plan. Once Evan calls Dalton, Gabby should be able to find and free Julie. The exact details still evasive but she was confident that a solution would present itself.

The more elusive conundrum was how to save her mom. At this point, her mom was dead. Had been for months. And yet, Dalton had shown Gabby a vision of her mother alive and well. This meant that somehow she could be saved. She just needed to find out how.

Gabby decided her best plan would be to go into Observation Mode and find Dalton, see what he did with Evan and where he was holding Julie. Then she could actually travel through time to an instant when Julie could be set free. She would have to make careful note of times and opportunities available to her. She could continue to travel back to this current moment in time in order to make the most of every opportunity and come up with a perfect plan of action.

Gabby reached the end of the hall. Out in the parking lot she saw Evan's motorcycle. His keys were in the backpack but she knew there was no way she could drive it. She had the keys to the car she'd taken from Dalton's but that car was back at the gas station a few miles away. A door on the other side of the hallway opened to an outdoor courtyard in the center of the hotel. Soft lighting played between the bushes and trees, reflecting on the hotel pool.

Gabby stepped into the courtyard and sat down in the corner on a chair hidden mostly in shadow. She leaned over and, keeping it hidden inside the backpack, she opened the box and started adjusting the dials. She set it Observation Mode with a destination of 1 minute in the future. She was about to press the button to enable the machine when she suddenly remembered her experience in the room.

When she and Evan had gone into Observation Mode before, she felt her consciousness go into the box. She had seen and heard Evan, even been able to touch him, but he was oblivious of her presence. When she had ended the experience, she felt herself come out of the box and found she was still sitting on the couch next to Evan where he was sitting perfectly still, staring into his own box. Time was obviously passing while they were inside the box observing another experience. She had no idea how long she would need to observe before coming up with a plan, but she couldn't risk being found in the courtyard staring blindly into the box. A random observer would just think she was crazy. If Dalton or one of his men found her, she wasn't sure what would happen but she suspected it wouldn't be good.

Closing the backpack she stood and looked around the courtyard. There was a dressing room near the main entrance but it was locked with a small note saying 'Hotel Patrons Only: Use Your Key Card For Entrance.' She thought about looking for a public restroom or going outside and finding someplace safe and hidden. Then she decided that staying at the hotel would be helpful as it would keep her close to Evan so she could move in easily to watch what happened when Dalton arrived.

She walked swiftly down the hallway to the front desk and asked if there were any rooms available. The desk clerk was obviously tired and somewhat annoyed at having to deal with customers so late at night. Gabby tried to smile and be as friendly as she could, but the woman with spider web hair and candy apple lipstick just glared back at her. Gabby thought about using a fake name but since she would have to pay with credit card, she decided she'd have to take the chance that Dalton could find her name on the hotel registrar.

After what felt like an eternity, Gabby headed to her room. She had to force herself not to run down the hall until after she was out of sight of the surly desk clerk. After rounding the corner, she sprinted down the hall and burst into her room. Aside from being clean and cold, it was identical to Evan's room. She hurriedly pulled the curtains closed and bolted the door before setting the box on the coffee table and sitting down on the couch. She shivered slightly and realized she was sweating. Her heart beat strongly in her chest and her breathing was shallow.

She forced herself to calm down by taking a few slow, deliberate breaths with her eyes closed. She felt herself relax slightly but then decided she couldn't risk waiting any longer. Leaning forward, she pressed the button and the box buzzed to life. The mist surged around her and almost instantly she was staring around the room.

As she stood, she stumbled slightly and realized, looking back, that she was still sitting on the couch staring into the box. She had literally tripped over her own feet. It was odd to look at herself. She crouched slightly and looked over her own shoulder and down her back, taking in the strange perspective of looking at herself from behind. Then she remembered her mission and turned to leave the room.

As she attempted to unlock the door, she found that the bolt wouldn't turn. She raced to the curtains and tried to pull them back to go through the patio entrance to the courtyard but the curtains hung still and lifeless beneath her touch. She hadn't counted on this. She was trapped in her own room. Frantically she raced around, trying to jolt herself into some kind of revelation that would free her. Dismayed, she sat on the edge of the bed and lowered her face to her hands. She forced herself to choke down her frustration and keep herself from crying. She needed to stay focused. To stay calm.

Her plan had seemed so simple. She would watch invisibly what Evan, Dalton and the others would do and make a note of any opportunities to free Julie. Then she would go through time to the exact moment of the opportunity, save Julie and escape into the night. So simple. If not for one simple flaw. As an observer, she was completely invisible and unable to make any changes to the scene. Even changes as simple as turning a lock or opening a door.

She slammed her fist down on the bed next to her. The bed was still soft, but it didn't bounce or react at all. With a huff, she closed her eyes and tried to imagine what was almost certainly happening on the other side of the hotel. She pictured Evan coming out of the bathroom and reading the note. She wondered if he'd be fully dressed or still wet from the shower. She felt herself pulse rise and her cheeks get warm and quickly continued imagining the scene. He was dressed, surely.

In her mind, she pictured Evan picking up the note, reading it, then re-reading it and finally picking up the phone and pressing the buttons. Then he spoke.


His voice was slow, deliberate and filled with twinges of confusion and pain. Gabby suddenly realized that his voice seemed too vibrant, too perfect to be in her imagination. She opened her eyes.

Across the room she saw Evan. He wasn't dressed like he was in her imagination, but he was dressed and standing by the coffee table holding the note in one hand and the phone to his ear with the other. His face hung low and sad. His eyes were heavy. He turned and walked to the curtains and pulled them open, staring into the night. He spoke again.

"I understand. No, no. Don't worry, I'm not going anywhere."

He let the phone drop to the floor and leaned forward against the window, his forehead and palms pressed against the glass.

"Gabby, I hope you know what you're doing."

As he spoke her name, Gabby shuddered. She stood and walked over to him. She reached out to put her hand on his shoulder. To try and comfort him, then realized it would make no difference and took a step back. As she did, Evan wheeled around and faced her. His eyes were moist but he wasn't crying. His head tilted slightly back and forth as though looking for something, then he focused his gaze and Gabby felt as though he was staring at her. His eyes narrowed and his face tipped forward slightly and he spoke with a severe whisper.

"I don't know what you have planned. I had hoped we could do this together. But know that I love you and I trust you. Whatever you plan on doing, if it involves using me as a distraction or a scapegoat or whatever, I will play my part as best I can. I'll stall Dalton as long as I can to give you time to do whatever you plan on doing. Just don't forget me when you're through."

He continued to stare at her. His eyes became more moist and a tear slid reluctantly from one of his eyes. Then another. With a sniffle, he straightened, wiped his eyes and moved to the couch where he sat. And waited.

Gabby watched, unsure what to do. She suddenly doubted herself. Her emotions surged and she cursed herself for leaving him alone. She looked down at her hands and realized she held the box. She considered pressing the button to leave the Observation mode, go back in time and change what she'd done. Before she could, a harsh pounding exploded behind her followed by a shout.

"Open up!"

Evan slowly opened the door and let Dalton in. He looked just as Gabby remembered him except that his prior look of smugness was replaced by a face filled with anger.

"Where is she?!?"

Evan stared back silently. Dalton's voice was sharp and harsh but also sounded tired and strained. He had brought three of his men with him and they quickly moved around Evan and surrounded him. Gabby worried about what they would do to Evan. As the silence continued, her concern grew greater and she felt more and more guilty about putting him into this situation. From where she stood, she could see Dalton's arms trembling. His face was red and his eyes strained. The frantic look in his eyes terrified her.

"Where is she Evan?" Dalton repeated his question and moved slowly around to the coffee table where the other box sat idly. His words faltered slightly as he spoke and Gabby could hear him fighting to keep his anger controlled.

"Your plan is not working out the way you suggested it would. You said you could get her to trust you. That once you had both boxes together and fixed them, that the two of you would work through this together. I was relying on your plan to work. Now where IS she?!!"

Dalton slammed his fist against the table for emphasis as he shouted this final question. A small spatter of saliva flew from his mouth and his hair shook in fury. Evan turned away from Dalton and stared towards Gabby. She had no idea if he could see her or not but she hoped he could. She felt her own anger rise hot against her cheeks as she took in the implication of Dalton's words. Evan and Dalton were working together. For whatever reason, they had come up with some sort of plan that involved her helping them.

She felt her own body tremble and then she raced forward and began to punch and kick and scream at Evan. She felt the strong impact of her hands and feet against his body. The soft recoil of flesh against flesh. But any satisfaction she briefly felt quickly disappeared as she watched him stand untouched staring across the room.

"I HATE YOU!" She screamed, then stepped back to the corner of the room, fuming. Tears began to fill her eyes and she tried to force them down. Wiping the tears from her eyes, she spoke quickly and loudly to herself.

"This does NOT change my plans. If anything, this just proves that I was right to leave when I did. Now I know that I must do this all on my own. I can do this. I can do this. ... "

Looking back up, she felt Evan continue to look towards her. His eyes softened and his head tilted slightly. He started to speak, as if in answer to Dalton's question, but he continued to focus on the spot in the room where Gabby invisibly observed the scene.

"Just imagine where we would be if none of this had happened? For now, this is for the best. It will all work out. We'll go get Carlisle and then head back to the house and plan from there. Everything will work out perfectly. Trust me."

Then, still staring towards Gabby, a smile crossed Evan's face and in slow, wide movements of his lips, he silently worded something that looked like I LOVE YOU and gave a wink. Then his face took on a somber tone and he turned back to Dalton who sat fuming at the couch.

"Come on. I know it doesn't seem like it, but things are going better than we could have planned. Just imagine where we could be. Just IMAGINE it."

Gabby watched helplessly as Evan patted Dalton on the chest. After a few moments, the old man calmed down and, with very few words, they gathered up the second box and left the room. Gabby followed them invisibly down the hall and into the parking lot where the group of five men squished into a compact car, started the engine and drove away.

She stared after them, unsure how to follow or what to do next. She watched the taillights turn down the road and head towards the highway. Seconds later, the car was gone.


Brian Miller said...

some true colors are coming out...and perhaps gabby is a bit stronger than we origianlly thought....

sheck your dropped and e in see....

Okie said...

thanks Brian...was going too fast trying to pump this one out.

Fixed the short-e-see

logankstewart said...

Hmmmmmmmmmm.... Excellent work. Seriously. Great job. I've really enjoyed this so far and I'm super curious how it will all play out.

Phoenix said...

Wow. I totally did NOT see that coming! So now Evan betrayed her...sort looks like he's still trying to set up Dalton by his "I Love You" and now I'm wondering how the hell he can see Gabby but no one else can. And why does he need Dalton? I'm so confused - but in a good way! The twists and turns are awesome!