Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Wednesday Writings # 26 - Julie

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
  21. Betrayal

Critiques, suggestions, comments, etc. always welcome.



Gabby stood silently in the hotel parking lot sorting through what had just happened.

She had betrayed Evan by having him unknowingly turn himself in to Dalton.

Evan had seemed to know she was observing him and had talked to her as though he knew she was there. Was it possible he could somehow see her? Sense her?

Dalton had arrived and confronted Evan, not to capture him and steal the box but to try and find and use Gabby for some reason. The plan was for Evan to turn Gabby over to Dalton once the box was fixed. But why?

Evan and Dalton had then gone off together to get Carlisle and make their next plans.

Her head spun with the implications. She had been hesitant to trust Evan but had felt so conflicted about her suspicions. He seemed so genuine in his manner. His compassion towards her seemed real enough. The love he claimed seemed heartfelt. And yet it had all been a sham.

She screamed into the night then sat down on the curb and tried to decide what she should do next. First, she pulled out a notepad to indicate the current time. She had plenty of time available to her through the box, but she had to be sure and note the time that things happened. Glancing at her watch, she noticed that it had stopped working. Frozen at the instant she had entered the box. She quickly scanned her environment and found a digital sign at the bank across the way that flashed between the time and temperature.

She made notes of the current time and the current situation and then tried to plan her next moves. Evan had told Dalton that they should go get Carlisle and then go back to Dalton's house. According to Evan, Carlisle's house was the place she'd gone with the book of schematics following the notes and instructions Dalton had been sending her. She knew it was near the park but knew she couldn't possibly find it again, especially in the dark. And even if she could remember how to get there, in her Observation Mode, she could not interact with objects around her. Leaving her no way to follow Evan and Dalton.

Although her most pressing plan should be to get to Dalton's house and find Julie before Dalton and Evan arrived there. She thought she could find Dalton's house easily enough on the outskirts of the city just by following the main road and watching for the turnoff. But again, she was trapped by her inability to drive anywhere.

Another thought struck her suddenly. She remembered that she had started out this observation locked in her own hotel room and had somehow made it to Evan's room. She tried to remember leaving the room. Running down the hall and bursting in on Evan. But she couldn't.

She replayed the scene over in her mind.

She'd gone into the box. Discovered that she couldn't get out of her room because she couldn't touch or manipulate any of the objects she was observing. Frustrated, she'd flopped on the bed and the next thing she knew, she was in Evan's room.

But how? It didn't make any sense. She continued to think about what else happened.

She'd watched Evan call Dalton. While waiting for him to arrive, Evan had spoken aloud, apparently to her, telling her that he trusted her and loved her and asking her to remember him in her plans.

I love you and I trust you… I will play my part… I'll stall Dalton as long as I can… Just don't forget me…

She heard the compassion and concern in his voice and felt twinges of guilt even knowing now that he had betrayed her.

Confusion boiled up in her again. She had been invisible. There was no way he could have known she was there. Did that make his words more honest? Or did he actually know she was there? In which case, was this just another part of his game?

Then Dalton arrived and Evan's true colors were revealed. He was working side by side with Dalton and planned to turn her over to Dalton. They didn't discuss the master plan, but it was clear that Dalton was angry that Evan had let Gabby escape.

Then Evan had looked at Gabby. Pointedly he turned his back on Dalton and stared directly into her face, as if to make it absolutely clear that he was speaking to her.

He said everything was alright. He laid out their next plans. And then he asked her to trust him, whispered a silent I LOVE YOU and turned away and talked to Dalton again before they left. Rambled on about thinking where they could be and how much better things were.

She locked onto his final words and made the connection.

…imagine where we could be. Just IMAGINE it.

In his rambling, Evan was giving her a clue on how to follow him. How to find Julie. He explained how she had gone from her room to his.

She shook with excitement as she closed her eyes and tried to picture Julie. She imagined Julie's grin smiling at her from the driver's seat as Gabby yelped over her erratic driving. She pictured Julie's confidence and charm navigating the party crowd. She opened her eyes, hoping to see Julie standing in front of her, but instead found herself staring at the bank sign across the street.

Frustrated, she closed her eyes and concentrated harder. Calling up memories of the many adventures Julie had dragged her into. The impromptu swimming at the lake. The weekend ski trip. Trying out for community theater. No matter what she pictured, Gabby still opened her eyes to find herself in front of the hotel.

What was she missing?

Just imagine it. Imagine it. Imagine it…….…imagine where we could be.

She closed her eyes again and instead of calling up fun memories of Julie, she imagined her in a dimly lit room. She pictured Julie's tear soaked cheeks. She imagined the heavy, haggard look of a frightened Julie. A terrified Julie.

Gabby heard sounds shifting around her. The air felt warmer. Opening her eyes, Julie lay on a couch in front of her, curled up in fetal position, her hands balled into fists on her chest. Gabby rushed forward and wrapped her arms around Julie, hugging her tight and telling her that things were alright. That she was safe.

Julie continued to stare ahead. She shivered softly and her breathing was short and sporadic. Her eyes twitched back and forth as she looked through Gabby at the shadows on the far wall. Gabby hugged Julie close and buried her head in her friend's hair whispering into her ear.

"It's alright Julie. I'll save you. I'll get you out of her. Everything's going to be alright."

Gabby had no idea how long she knelt on the couch by her friend. After a few minutes though, Julie's breathing calmed and she stopped shivering. Her eyes softened and stopped twitching around the room. Gabby placed her hand over Julie's fist and gently massaged her fingers. Her fists began to loosen. Her eyes started to droop as if she might fall asleep.

Then a door slammed in the distance and Julie jumped back against the couch. Her muscles tensed up and her head whipped from side to side, her eyes frantic once again. Footsteps plodded down the hall and stopped outside the door. Gabby stood and faced the door, ready to pounce on whoever opened it.

It opened quickly and she lunged forward then stopped herself. Evan stood in front of her, looking angrily into the room. As she crossed his path, his focus shifted slightly but then he turned and stared at Julie.

"Treat her with some respect at least. Can't you see she's scared?"

Evan stepped inside the door and motioned to two other men who stood just outside. Gabby looked back and watched Julie. At first she seemed oblivious to person at the door, then her eyes widened in recognition and Gabby saw Julie's eyes flash with the same anger she had felt back in Evan's hotel room. Julie was on her feet in an instant, rushing at Evan, her arms flailing wildly. Evan fell back against the wall and the two men rushed in from the hall and pinned Julie against the other wall. Gabby ran forward and tried to push them away but realized again that she was helpless.

"I can't even begin to imagine what you're feeling or thinking right now."

"Tell your goons to let me go and I'll let you feel exactly what I'm thinking right now!" Julie screeched and struggled against the arms that held her.

"I'm Gabby's friend. I'm hear to help you."

Julie whipped her head at the man on her right and kicked her legs. She missed but nearly fell. The two men pulled her back to her feet.

"I'm here to help you. Dalton's being punished for what he put you through. I'm here to set you free."

Julie continued to struggle, but began to slow, her eyes narrowing warily. Finally, she stopped moving and just stared at Evan. He reached out his hand, palm down and patted at the air then nodded at each of the men in turn. They slowly released their hold on Julie and took a step back. She stood still, her eyes and face darting from glances at Evan and the two men beside her. She cautiously took a small step towards Evan then a side step towards the door. She started to speak then closed her mouth again and took another step towards the door.

"So, I'm free to go?"

Julie looked back over her shoulder at the two men standing like soldiers awaiting orders then back at Evan standing casually before her. He cocked his head to the side and cleared his throat before responding.

"Well, yes and no."

He brought his hand up again but Julie bolted before she could see what he intended. She was out the door and down the hall in a flash.

"Julie! Wait!"

Gabby's voice merged almost exactly with Evan's. The overlap shocked her into inaction for a moment but what was more striking was that it seemed to stun Evan as well. The next second, they were both racing through the door and chasing after Julie, the two guards right behind them. They reached the living room just in time to see Julie disappear out the front door into the darkness. Evan paused to say something to the guards but Gabby kept running.

She stood on the front porch, waiting for her eyes to adjust to the darkness. Then, the front lawn erupted in light and spotlighted Julie racing across the light green grass towards the trees. Evan appeared on the porch and shouted across the night.

"Julie! You are free to go. You have my word. But running into the night is not where you need to go."

Julie kept running. Gabby started to run after her.

"Julie. You need to trust me. Dalton is gone. You're safe now."

Julie slowed slightly but kept jogging towards the trees. Gabby wasn't sure if she was slowing because Evan was convincing her or because she was growing tired.

"Julie! I need your help to save Gabby now!"

Julie plowed to a stop and leaned over, her hands on her knees. She turned and looked back at Evan.

"Where is Gabby?"

Gabby raced up beside her friend and put her hand on Julie's shoulder.

"I'm right here Julie. I'm with you. I'll keep you safe."

"Gabby's in trouble. Big trouble. I can help her. But I can't do it alone."

Julie stood up straight and stared across the yard, surveying the scene. Another ten yards and she'd be in the woods, but she didn't know where to go from there. Across the lighted lawn, there was no cover, nothing to hide her from this man claiming to have just freed her and now asking her to come back. Gabby stared with Julie, unsure what to make of what Evan was saying. Unsure what she wanted to happen.

"How do I know I can trust you?"

Gabby squinted across the lawn to try and read the expression on Evan's face. This was a question she wanted to know the answer to.

"I don't know. I can tell you any number of things but since you don't know me, there's nothing I can say that can make you believe me. I love your friend and I would never let anything happen to her. But you can't know if that's true or not. What I can say is this. Behind those woods is a long, long walk back to the city. Behind me is a warm house, with warm food, clean water and a ride back to the city with the condition that you help me help your friend. And my friend."

Julie sighed and looked around the yard again. Her feet shuffled in the grass and she rubbed her arms, suddenly realizing how cold she was. Gabby felt her own skin and realized she didn't feel cold or warm. Another part of observing she supposed.

"Tell you what. No pressure. I'm going to go inside but I'll leave the door open. Come on in when you're ready to talk."

Evan disappeared into the house. A moment later, the lights went out. Julie shivered in the darkness. Gabby's eyes adjusted quickly and she saw Julie hopping slightly to create warmth. With another sigh, Julie jogged to the front door with Gabby beside her and they slipped inside the house.


logankstewart said...

Nice, Okie. Now I'm wondering what happened to Dalton and what's wrong with Gabby. I can't wait to see how all this wraps up.

(I think you meant "Was it possible..." instead of "What it possible..." in the third paragraph down.)

Okie said...

Thanks Logan.

I didn't feel great about the writing I did last week. Hopefully this week's ends up getting back into the right flow.

And thanks for the copy-editing. I fixed that one. :)