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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

It's that time again!!

                    Don't forget to visit the Mine for another awesome interview!!

                                               Fall is beautiful this year!!


~ Chapter Thirty-One ~
Harry pulled his wrists until the handcuffs chaffed his skin. “Two.”
Wanda’s eyebrows rose, posing the perfect picture of suspicious anger. “Really, Harry?”
He nodded then mumbled, “Yes.”
So you’re telling me you only hear one other person in your mind?”
He shrugged as best he could under the circumstances. “Yes, ma’am.”
She stared at him, her angry green eyes almost scary in their intensity. “Okay then.”
His mind spun. Was that it? How could it be? “Okay…what?”
She slumped in her chair. “You’ve put me in a rather awkward position, Harry.”
He didn’t understand. “How is that?”
“I bargained with my supervisor just to get this visit. I assured her I would bring out all the different personalities in your mind. You know, so everyone else would believe they exist.”
Quick anger filled him. Who did this crazy think she was? “Why would you do something like that? I’m not your puppet, lady.”
It was her turn to shrug. One black velvet-clad shoulder bounced up then down. “Your condition is fascinating, Harry. Although there is extensive study on it, a lot of people believe it’s a bunch of bunk.”
Harry chuckled. “Maybe it is.”
“Don’t play with me, Harry. You don’t know who you’re dealing with.”
Her words were hard and flat, and a shiver raced down his spine. Who exactly was she? Did she mean him harm? The thought sped his heartbeat double-time. “What's your deal?”
“I told you Harry, but let me explain further so you might understand. I need to see you interact with the voices in your head. I need to get it on video so I can show proof to others.”
Harry screeched and pulled harder on his bonds. “How do you know I have voices? Don’t you think you might be imagining things, or even wishful thinking?”
Wanda stared at him long and hard. “I don’t think so. The account of your cell-mate is pretty consistent with schizophrenia, my friend.”
Harry’s mind spun. Should he tell her anything? If so, what? “I’m not your guinea pig, lady. And besides, why me?”
Her tone turned wheedling. “I know you aren’t Harry, but the truth is you’re the perfect subject to study.”
She smiled at him and his throat grew tight. He had a feeling whatever it was she was about to say was going to be something he wouldn’t like.
Hating his own curiosity, he asked, “Why? What’s so special about me?”
“Opportunity, my dear friend, opportunity.”
Harry’s heart tattooed against his ribcage. For some unknown reason, he was disappointed. The thought someone was interested in him had been flattering, but it had all been a lie.
“See Harry? If I’ve told you once I’ve told you a thousand times; Trust no one. Expect nothing, and you’ll never be disappointed.”
“Shut-up, Adam. She’ll hear you.”
Wanda gasped.
Harry struggled to twist his head in her direction. His eyes met hers, and he frowned.
Hers were full of disbelief, and... triumph.
“It doesn’t mean anything, so get that look off your face. I’d hate to have to cut it off.”
The doctor gasped once more. “Oh, you aren’t the nice one, are you?”
“No, I’m not. Harry is a sniveling idiot. I’ve tried to toughen him up over the years but I don’t think he has it in him.”
“I agree, even though I believe the diagnosis was incorrect. Now, are you going to talk to me…?” She hesitated then said, “Adam?”
Adam pulled at his arms the same as Harry had. He wanted to rub his chin in thought, but couldn’t. Frustration tore through him. “It all depends.”
“On what?”
“What you’re going to do for me.”
“What is it you want?”
“I want my freedom. I want out of this bed. Out of this room, and out of this hospital.”
“Now, you know I can’t do that, Adam. It’s against the law. Besides, I think we both know you’d kill me if you could.”
Adam chuckled. “Now do I seem the violent type to you?”
Wanda answered with a nod.
“Come here.”
“I want to ask you something.”
“I can hear you.”
“Come hear me closer.”
Adam couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw her moving toward him. Any second now…

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ready for chapter thirty?

                                          Don't forget to stop in at the Mine!!



~ Chapter Thirty ~

Arianna popped her eyes open and scanned her immediate surroundings. Something warm and hard was keeping her from moving. She stifled a sob when she realized it was Justin. Sweet Justin. Sighing, she snuggled into his side.

“Are you awake?”

Arianna jumped, heart in throat.

Justin chuckled.

“You scared me. I wasn’t expecting you to be awake.”

“That’ll teach you.” He pulled her back into his embrace, her jump having pulled her further away.

“I guess it will. It’s going to take a while to get used to sleeping with you.”

Justin was silent for a moment then said, “Once Mom leaves you’re welcome to the bed. I can sleep on the sofa.”

Rising up, she looked down into his face, one eyebrow cocked. “I’ll do no such thing. Are you trying to get out of being married to me?”

Justin tossed his head, irritation playing across his features. “Of course not. I just don’t want you to be uncomfortable.”

Arianna smiled. “Good, I’m glad.”

Surprise crossed his face. “You are?”

“Yes. I’m already attached to you, Justin. I can’t imagine my life without you in it.”

He locked eyes with her, as if trying to discern the truth of her words. “I’m attached to you, too. And Chance.”

As if on cue, the baby began to whine, and soon went into full-blown wails.

Arianna sighed, throwing back the covers with a small, bony hand.

Justin restrained her with one of his. “Don’t bother. I’ll get it. You still need to get your strength back where it needs to be.”

“Okay, but you realize I’m fine, don’t you? I’ve had to be strong since my kidnapping. It’s why I’m still alive.”

He shook his head. “I believe it, but you can relax now. I’m here to help you.”

He pushed the covers back over-top Arianna, hopped out of the bed and sped down the hall toward the kitchen.


The overwhelming feeling he’d felt before washed over him. He was happy about what was taking place in his life, it was just happening at a very fast pace.

He pulled a bottle from the fridge, unscrewed the cap and stuck it in the microwave. With deft fingers he turned the nipple over and had it ready to go on the bottle when the timer dinged.

Chance’s cries were frantic and angry now and Justin had to laugh at how cute it was.

As he raced down the hallway at a fast clip an unwelcome thought popped into mind; Would Chance have his father’s obvious insanity? Would he be a criminal like him? The thought was scary, but he shrugged it off. It wasn’t fair to Chance to think like that. He deserved the chance to grow-up without being labeled with a stereo-type. Justin snickered. Yep, Chance was the perfect name for him.

He pushed the bedroom door open, and his heart fell to his toes.

Arianna sat on the side of the bed, Chance in the crook of her arm, rocking him back with slow, steady motion.

When she looked up at him, he blurted, “You’re going to be a great mommy, Ari.”

She nodded. “You’re going to be a great daddy.”

He handed her the bottle and she tucked it in Chance’s already suckling lips. “And when Chance is close to two, and we have another baby, you’ll be a great daddy to her, too. She’ll be a daddy’s girl.”

The tender smile she gave him had his heart twisting in circles of love.

“Another baby?”

She gave a quick shake of her head. “Provided you want another child.”

“I did, I mean, I do. I always wanted at least four kids.”

Her eyelashes shot-up in amazement. “Four?”

“Yeah, but I’d settle for one to start.”

She smiled and sat the bottle on the night stand before pulling Chance to an upright position. She patted his back in gentle succession, like a pro.

“Hey, you’re good at that.”

“I hope so. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time.”

Justin laughed. “You looked practiced and perfectly at home.”

She laughed. “Good, that’s what I was going for.”

They fell silent until Justin said, “He’s a beautiful baby.”

“Yes he is. I just hope and pray he doesn’t turn out like his biological father.”

Justin knew he should be surprised their minds had been mulling over the same things, but he wasn’t. He’d already accepted they knew each other like that.

“I don’t think he will. We’ll raise him right.”

Silent tears pooled-up and slid down her cheeks. “Thank you, Justin.

“No, thank you for allowing me to share in your joy.” He reached down and hugged them both, hiding his own tears as they slid down his cheeks.



Tuesday, October 14, 2014

It's Broken Dreams Tuesday already!!

          Don't forget to stop in at the Mine today!!



~ Chapter Twenty-Nine ~

Justin lay still as a board, almost afraid to breathe, fearing he’d wake Arianna.

She lay in the crook of his arm, sleeping like a baby. The glow from a streetlight played across her face, dappling the sharp plains with shadows and light. He had to squelch the urge to trace a pattern with his finger.

One sentence kept going through his mind: What have I done?

Everything was moving so fast, and now he had a moment to catch a breath, uncertainty moved in. Was marrying Arianna the right thing to do? What would his future be like now? Would he come to regret the decision? Up to this point, he still didn’t.  Even though he was questioning the right and wrong of it, it was still new and exciting, and…different.

Chance let out a low squall, but fell silent. He would wake-up soon, for sure.

He cupped the back of his wife’s head and moved her closer into his embrace. How could he care so much for someone he didn’t even know? He didn’t know her favorite color, her food preferences, or even whether she was a morning, or night person.

‘Stop it, Justin, you’re borrowing trouble,’ he imagined his mother’s voice in his ear.

He nodded. He was.

Resting his head on top of Arianna’s, he tried to sleep, but it eluded him.

What of ‘the Monster?’ What if he managed to escape again and came after them?

The police had assured him he was under heavy guard at a maximum security mental hospital, but Justin didn’t trust it. The man had an uncanny ability to get loose.

Forgetting about Arianna for a moment, he harrumphed and flopped over onto his belly.


Her voice was full of panic, even in its sleep-inebriated state.

He reached over and patted her shoulder. “It’s okay, I had to turn over. It’s how I sleep.”

A moment of silence, then, “Oh. Okay.”

“Do you need anything?” He felt like a cad for waking her up.

“Nah, I’m okay.”


She fell silent and he assumed she was asleep once more.

One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four. Justin sighed. It was going to be a long night. He wondered if his mother was sleeping. She probably was.

He rose up and punched his pillow, frustration overcoming him.

Arianna asked, “Are you sure everything’s okay?”

Forcing his reply to be polite when he felt anything but was almost too much to bear, but he managed it. She didn’t deserve to be on the receiving end of his bad mood. It wasn’t her fault he couldn’t sleep.

Dear Lord, what’s wrong with me? What am I not seeing?

Remembering the Lord lightened his mood a whole lot. It was good to know he wasn’t lying here in the dark alone.

Maybe there was a reason he couldn’t sleep. Maybe he was supposed to be thinking about something in particular.

Was there? He searched his mind, but nothing clicked.

His thoughts flitted back to ‘the Monster.’ What were they doing to him in that mental hospital? Justin had heard all kinds of horror stories about those places. But that guy deserved to be there, that was for certain.

How secure was the place? A shiver of fear raced through his veins. He didn’t want to have to deal with the guy anymore. He had Arianna. And he had Chance. The little girl was safe, too. It had ended well.

Justin tossed and turned back over, pulled Arianna back to the crook of his arm.

She giggled. “Are you going to sleep this century?”

“You know, it’s funny.”

She hesitated for a moment, maybe falling back to sleep then muttered, “What?”

He chuckled. When I first mentioned going to bed you looked like a scared rabbit. Now you don’t seem the least bit scared.”

Her hair scraped across his arm as she nodded.

“Yeah. I think it’s because I trust you, Justin.”

He smiled. “You do?”

The hair grazed his arm once more. “Yes, I believe I do.”

“But how could you? After everything you’ve been through?”

She shrugged. “I don’t know. I’m amazed too, but I feel…safe…with you. Maybe I shouldn’t—but…”

“No. You should. I mean, I’m glad you do. But I’ve heard so much about people who’ve been in similar situations, and they don’t trust anybody.”

“I don’t trust just anybody, either. In fact, I only trust you.”

“What about Mary Jo?”

“I trust her some, but not like you.”

He gave her a quick squeeze-hug. “Thank you.” He brushed a kiss against her warm forehead and closed his eyes, drifting to sleep.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It's that time again...

                                  Don't forget to visit the Mine today!!

~ Chapter Twenty-Eight ~
Arianna lay stiff as a board in the huge king-size bed. The sound of Justin’s even breathing soothed her frazzled nerves a little, but not completely.
She turned her head and had to giggle a bit. A huge line of pillows separated her side of the bed from his. He really was a sweetheart. God had been looking out for her on that one. She smiled and turned completely over, facing the door.
One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four. Why had He let the kidnapping happen in the first place? The question added to her active mind’s inability to let her sleep.
She thought about the tattered Bible she’d found under the mattress when she’d first been thrown in the room in the basement. Remembering the urine-stained mattress caused a shutter to pass through her.
“You okay, Ari?”
Justin’s sleep-laced question caused shivers to run down her spine at his thoughtfulness. She could remember not liking that nickname when she was little, but somehow, when he said it, it gave her comfort.
“Yes, go back to sleep.”
She lay still for a few moments, until his breath returned to its previous even intervals. Now, where was she? Oh yeah. The mattress. No, she wouldn’t think about that right now. The Bible. That was an okay subject.
She’d started reading it that first terror-filled night, screaming in fear and anger when the light went out, leaving the damp, nasty little room black. The darkness had been so thick she’d thought she’d smother. She’d cried out to God. “Dear God, please save me. Please don’t let him hurt me,” she remembered pleading.
But He hadn’t listened, or at least hadn’t given the answer she wanted. ‘The Monster’ hurt her over and over for the next several years. Too many times to count. She tried to pull her mind away from the memories, but they flooded through. At first she’d been mad at God. She’d ripped pages out of the book and wadded them up in little balls. She’d thrown them at the mice when the lights were out and they scurried by her.
She snorted in abhorrence when ‘the monster’s’ face popped into her mind, his scary mask taunting her.
She’d seen Phantom of the Opera once, or at least part of it, when she’d been really little. Her mom sent her upstairs for a nap, but she’d snuck back down and sat at the bottom of the steps and watched the old movie. She liked the phantom then, but now she didn’t. She feared him. And…and, was attached to him in some strange way. Her thoughts had automatically put the monster back in her mind’s eye. Would she ever be free of him? Silent tears of heartbreak and confusion slid down her cheeks.
Determined to exorcise him from her mind, she tried to count sheep again. One sheep, two sheep, three sheep, four.
She flopped onto her back. It was no use. She couldn’t sleep.
The question haunted her once more. Why did God let bad things happen to her? What had she done? Why hadn’t He answered her prayers?
She whispered, “Why God?”
Her thoughts turned back to the captivity she’d endured. After the first week of horror, she’d picked up each page she’d wadded up and straightened them out as best she could and placed them back in the Bible. She started reading about Adam and Eve, Noah, Abraham, and even Moses. It took her mind off her own ordeal as she became immersed in their problems, and then how each one overcame them and turned to God. It gave her hope, and she held onto that.
After several years of suffering at the hands of a mad-man, a disgusting pedophile of the worst kind, she began to dream of the day she would be free. If only she could endure this testing God put on her, she would be an overcomer, too. In that moment, she’d known she was His child. No matter what happened, she was His, and He was her God, and she would prevail. With God’s help, of course. She smiled. There was gold in every situation, and she’d received the best kind.
‘The monster’ began being nicer to her around that same time. He even allowed her to come downstairs late at night and sit on the couch to watch movies. On her chain, of course.
As if on cue, her ankle began to ache. She pulled her thin leg up and massaged it with equally bony fingers.
Dear Lord, please help me get over this and focus on you and my son. Oh, and my husband, too.
She smiled. Things were looking up.
Justin turned over and flopped an arm over her body and pulled her back against his chest.
Arianna panicked. She flailed her arms and tried to pull free. “No! Stop! Let me go!”
The arms tightened, but gently.
“Sh…it’s okay, Ari. It’s just me. Relax. Try to get some sleep.”
He began rubbing her back in soothing circles and her body relaxed into his.
As she finally began drifting into sleep, she whispered into the dark, “Thank you, Dear Lord.”