A Grave Mistake: Chapter 12

martins-zemlickis-4739-unsplash

If you would like to read from the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Chapter 1

Run, my little pets, run!

CHAPTER 12 – NATASHA GILL
Time Unknown

Natasha looked up to see Jack hovering over by the mirror.

“Kaiden?” he whispered, his mouth right where the wall and mirror met.

“Jack?” a voice called through the mirror.

At the sound of the second voice, Natasha stood and ran to the mirror. Daniel was quick on her heels.

“Yeah!” Jack called back, hovering above her. “I’m in here! But we can’t get out!

“Hang in there. We’re going to get you out in no time,” a man’s voice asked.

“Hey! Is that you, Mr. Watson?” Jack asked.

“Sure is. Can’t you see us?

“No, this mirror is in the way.”

“We can see you,” Mr. Watson said. “I need you all to step back from the mirror. I’m going to try and break it.”

“I’ve already tried that on this side,” Natasha said. “It’s not like regular glass. I think what the way to open the mirror is to run your hand along the top. Is there a lever there or something?”

There was a long pause, but nothing happened.

“I don’t think it worked,” Daniel said.

“Very astute of you,” Natasha replied.

“Hang on, I’m going to try something else,” Harold asked.

At first, nothing happened. They just heard a bunch of whispering and then feet walking away.

Suddenly, Jack shouted, “Mr. Watson!” He sounded pleased. Natasha looked up, but Jack wasn’t looking at the mirror anymore. He was looking at the room. She turned and saw a very transparent, older man standing there. He waved. She waved limply back. Soon, she could barely see through him anymore.

Jack swam down so that he was eye level with Harold.

“Hey buddy,” Harold said, grinning. “Good to see you again.”

Jack grinned back.

It took about 30 seconds from him to become solid. When he did, he said, “grab my arm. You two as well,” Harold said, looking over at Daniel and Natasha as Jack took hold of his arm. “I’m going to get us all out of here.”

Natasha held his other arm while Daniel took hold of Harold’s shoulder. At first, she thought there was something wrong with her eyes. Everything became progressively blurry. She started blinking rapidly trying to clear them, but it just kept getting worse until finally she couldn’t see the room or anything around her at all.”

“What’s happening?” she tried to say, but no sound came out. There was no sound anywhere. Everything was white.

Slowly, the white had splotches of gray. Then colours mixed with the gray and shapes started to appear. Soon she found herself in the parking lot of her doctor’s office.

“That was so cool!” Jack said, grinning.

“Why did you only take us to here? We need to get away from here,” Natasha said, looking around in panic.

“I know, but we have to wait for Evan and Kaiden,” Harold said, pointing at the garage.

The door slowly started to open and the two quickly ducked under, ran up the incline, and joined them.

“Thank you so much for rescuing us,” Daniel said.

“Yes, I’m sorry,” Natasha said, quickly. “Please don’t think I’m ungrateful, but I need to get home and check on my family.” She’d been about to start running home, when Harold reached out and grabbed her arm.

“You can’t,” Harold said, looking alarmed.

“What do you mean, I can’t?” Natasha asked, turning back around to face him.

“They know where we live. They came to my house and ransacked the place. They’re going to try again, and next time, I doubt it will be so easy to escape. They’ll have figured out what I can do now.”

“I can’t leave my family,” Natasha said. “They’re probably worried sick about me. I have to get home.” She shook her arm free.

“Hang on a minute,” Daniel said. “He’s right. You’re going to put your family in more danger if you go home. Look at me. I took me because they were after Evan.”

“Exactly! What if I run? They might go after my kids,” she glared at them. “I need to make sure they’re safe and I can’t do that if I run away.”

“They don’t have powers too, do they?” Kaiden asked, looking somewhat jealous.

“No,” Natasha said.

“Then they should be fine,” Harold said.

“You don’t know that. Daniel doesn’t have any powers and they took him.”

“I think that was a mistake,” Daniel said.

“You don’t know that,” Natasha said. “I’m going home.”

“How about the rest of you?” Harold said.

Everyone else agreed quickly agreed that they couldn’t go home. “We need to stick together,” Kaiden said.

“Not you Kaiden,” Harold said.

“What? Why?” he asked, looking horrified.

“Because they aren’t after you. You need to go home, while you still can.”

“But—”

“He’s right buddy,” Evan said. “You helped us a ton, but now it’s time to go home.”

Kaiden shoulders slumped as he stared at the pavement.

“The rest of you, grab a hold of my arms,” Harold said. Jack, Evan, and Daniel reached out to hold one of his arms. As they disappeared, Natasha walked over to Kaiden and put hand on his shoulder. “C’mon, I’ll take you home.”

He shook it off. “I’m not a little kid. I can get home by myself.” He walked over to shrub and pulled out the bike he’d stashed there when he’d chased after Harold the first time and slowly road off down the road.

Natasha felt torn between wanting to make sure he got home safe and needing to check on her own family. She waited until he turned the corner and then she raced toward home. What she hadn’t told the group was that she thought they were right. Of course, they had to leave. But she couldn’t abandon her family.

She slowed down as she got to the end of her driveway. Harold was right. But she needed a different strategy. One that would protect her family as well. She reached for the door knob and knew that this would be the last time she would walk into her house in a very long time.

End of Part 1

 

 

 

 

 

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 11

grayscale photography of white concrete wall

If you’d like to start reading from the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Chapter 1

The game has changed, my little experiments. The time has come to choose a side. Do I help them round you up, or do I help you escape and hope they don’t know I’ve lied?

CHAPTER 11 – JACK YUEN
Time Unknown

Jack slowly opened his eyes. He found himself staring at the ceiling only a few centimetres from his face. Under him was just air. He rotated around and saw a man and woman sitting on the floor facing away from each other. He watched them for a moment trying to figure out who they were and how he’d gotten here. Eventually, the man finally looked up and saw that he was awake.

“Morning sunshine,” the man said.

“Don’t scare him,” a woman said, standing up and walking towards Jack.

“I called him sunshine. How is that scary?”

“He doesn’t know who we are. It’s scary.”

“Where am I?” Jack asked

“Trapped in a room somewhere,” the man said. “I’m Daniel, by the way and the uptight one is Natasha.”

“Lovely,” Natasha said, glaring at him. “I liked you better when you were asleep.”

Daniel just rolled his eyes and scooched closer to the wall so he could slumped against it while looking up at Jack.

Natasha turned back to Jack, “Hon, do you remember anything?”

“I was flying in the woods and then suddenly I was caught in a net. I don’t remember anything after that.” He shrugged his shoulders.

“How long have you been able to fly?” Natasha asked.

“A few days I think. I’m not sure how long I’ve been down here.”

“That’s sounds about the same for me,” Natasha said.

“What can you do?” Jack asked.

“I can move really fast,” Natasha said.

“What about you?” he asked Daniel.

“He can’t do anything,” Natasha said.

“Not exactly true,” Daniel muttered. “I can do things. Just not weird super things.”

“But his brother can stretch himself out.” Natasha continued, barely pausing when Daniel interrupted her. “We think it was his brother they were trying to kidnap.”

“How do we get out of here?” Jack asked.

“That’s the question of the day, isn’t it,” Daniel said.

“We have to go through the mirror, but I think you have to be on the other side to open it. When the doctor swipes his hand across the top and it removes the mirror.”

“Doctor?”

“Yeah, I think they’re the ones who did this. Did you have a doctor’s appointment just before you started to be able to fly?”

“Yeah!” he said, twisting around and swimming closer to her. “Do you think they’re the ones who gave us these powers?”

“That’s my theory, but I think it was an accident. They seem to be in panic mode. I came back here not long after it started and the whole place looked shut down. Dr. Thomas looked stressed out of his mind.”

They sat in silence as Jack floated about the room in front of them. After awhile Jack heard whispering. He couldn’t quite make out what they were saying, but it was definitely coming from the other side of the mirror. He slowly swam through the air edging closer. It sounded like Kaiden. He was about to call out when it occurred to him that it might be a trick.

“Hurry up, we need to find Jack!” he heard through the mirror.

Chapter 12 coming soon 🙂

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 10

If you’d like to start reading from the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Chapter 1

white and clear glass syringe

They’re rounding you up and locking you up. If magic gets out, but its hosts are held captive, is magic still free? I think not.

CHAPTER 10 – NATASHA GILL
Time unknown

Natasha had been stuck in this room for what felt like hours, possibly days. She had no idea what time it was or how long she’d been in here before she woke up. There wasn’t any furniture, but the floor was a plush cream-coloured carpet. It was soft and thick and reasonably comfortable to sit on considering she was on the floor.

There was a door to the right which led to a small bathroom, but no matter how hard she looked, there wasn’t a door leading out. There were no windows, but one wall was made entirely of mirrored glass. The other three walls were a navy blue. There was one overhead light in their room and another in the bathroom.

She was surprised at first that she still had her cell phone when she woke. But she quickly realized that she had no reception. Then she noticed that her phone was acting weird. The date and time kept randomly changing. Just before her phone died, it was reading January 27, 1872.

She sat cross-legged on the floor and stared at the mirror. There was something comforting in seeing her reflection that made her feel like she was less alone. It felt like there was at least one other person in this with her.

Suddenly, her entire body went rigid and, as hard as she tired, she couldn’t move. The only thing she could do was blink and move her eyes. She sat there in frozen terror for a few moments, then the mirror lit up. On the right side, like a curtain being drawn, the mirror slowly disappeared from right to left revealed three men she didn’t recognize carrying two unconscious people: a young boy and a man who looked to be about in his early thirties. This, she would later find out, was Jack and Daniel.

The men lay them on the ground with little care, but at least they didn’t drop them. Jack however, didn’t stay on the ground. He slowly floated up and began to drift around the room. This didn’t seem to surprise the men. Without a word to her or each other they stepped back outside the room and the same man as before reached his hand up to the left-hand corner and ran his fingers along the ceiling. As he did, the mirror reappeared, following his hand, until everything disappeared behind it. The light behind the mirror went out and a few moments later she felt her body relax letting her move again.

She rushed to the mirror looking all along the edges for a crack or space where it broke away from the wall to see if she might be able to pry it open, but it was smooth and flush against the ceiling and walls.

Then, she tried to reach through the glass thinking that maybe it was just a mirage. Rather than hitting something hard, her finger pushed through the glass up to her second knuckle. It felt like pushing through spongy dough that got denser and denser until she couldn’t move it anymore. It stuck and felt like the mirror was trying to grip her finger. She pulled back hard and finally managed to get free. The entire time, the glass remained unchanged and unwavering.

Then she tried to bash the mirror with her fist, but her fist just sunk into the glass and she was momentarily stuck. Again, the glass neither rippled nor wavered. She thought about using her speed to smash through, but there wasn’t a lot of room to build up speed and she was worried that all that would happen is she would get stuck face-first and suffocate to death.

Still determined, however, she mimicked the move the man had made and ran her hand along the top. Nothing happened. She tried again, this time going the other way. Nothing.

Frustrated and perplexed, she sat down and tried to think. Eventually, she fell asleep on the floor and didn’t wake up again until a sharp prick in her arm woke her up. The doctors who kidnapped her were back and one of them was taking a blood sample from her arm. His wife was working on Jack who was hovering at waist height in front of her. Natasha was frozen in the position she woke up in. She was facing what used to be the mirrored wall. The doctors must have removed it like the men from before when they came in. She could see past her room into the cement hallway outside.

When the doctor finished with her, he moved on to Evan. When they had taken a vial of blood from each of them, the doctors stood up, gathered their medical supplies, and walked out. Her doctor preformed the same trick other man had and the mirror fell back into place.

Despite regaining the ability to move again, she continued to lay on the floor staring at her reflection trying to figure how she was going to get out of here and back to her family.

Chapter 11 coming soon 🙂

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 9

parking parking lot underground garage

If you like to start reading from the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Chapter 1

Magic should be available to all who can use it. Isn’t that what they’ve always said? That’s all I was trying to do. Level the playing field. But they’re panicking now and I guess it’s my fault.

CHAPTER 9 – HAROLD WATSON
Day 3, 8 pm

His surroundings were blurred and transparent as he transitioned back to his home. The blur of dark shapes before him slowly came into focus and became solid. Harold had just spent the day with his grandson and getting there had been so easy! He couldn’t believe the gift he’d been given.

The only light was coming from the streetlight outside, he could tell, that something wasn’t right. He was standing in the kitchen there were dark shapes all over the floor and nothing appeared to be where it should have been. As he slowly shuffled his way down the hall to turn on a light, he noticed that the front door was open. He groped along the wall for a light, trying his best not to trip over the miscellaneous objects strew across the floor.

“Leave the light off,” a child’s voice said in the darkness. “And get down. They might still be out there.”

“Who’s there?” he whispered.

“It’s Kaiden.”

“How did you get in here? What happened to my house?”

“The men who kidnapped Jack did it. They broke in and left the door open when they left.”

“What do you mean they kidnapped Jack? We have to call the police.” He reached into his pocket for his phone.

“I already did,” Kaiden said. “I talked to them for forever.”

Harold put his phone back in his pocket. “You should go home. Your parents must be worried sick!”

“Not until we find Jack. You have to teleport us to him.”

“Do you know where he is?”

“No,” Kaiden said. “But can’t you just imagine where he is and take us there.”

Harold filled one of the chairs back upright and sat down. “I don’t think that’s how it works.” He was silent for a few moments as he tried to gather his thoughts. “I’ve been thinking about how all this happened and I have a theory. You guys said that all this started after Jack went to the doctor’s office, right?”

“Yeah,” Kaiden said.

“I was at the doctor’s office on the day I first started teleporting too.”

“Does this mean we have to go your doctor’s office?”

“Not we. Me.” Harold said. “Please step back.”

Kaiden frowned, but did as he was told. Harold began to imagine the outside of his doctor’s office. Soon the dark shapes around him started to fade from view. Then, everything was dark for a moment. As things came back into focus he found himself wedged between a thick, prickly hedge and a dilapidated fence. He’d specifically transported himself here so that he would be out of sight of anyone potentially watching him appear, but he hadn’t anticipated on it being quite so uncomfortable.

As he stepped out from behind the bushes he saw that the all of the lights were off and it appeared to be empty. He brushed a couple stray leaves out of his hair and dusted off his pants as he walked to the front door. It was well after closing, but he tried the door anyway just in case. It jiggled a bit, but remained firmly closed.

The more he thought about it, the more sure he was that it all started here. But, the question now was, where was Jack? He slowly prowled around the perimeter of the building looking in the windows as we went. He made it almost all the way around when he got to the locked gate of the underground parking garage. He could see through the bars and was considering teleporting past the gate when he heard a door slam inside the garage. Then, the sound of footsteps and voices, but he couldn’t hear what they were saying.

Suddenly, the gate started to roll up as the sound of clattering metal echoed against the concrete walls of the garage. He started to sneak under the opening gate when someone yanked his shirt from behind and pulled him back. He looked over and saw Kaiden silently motioning him away from the from the gate. They crouched behind one of the giant potted plants that lined the walk-way to the front door.

“I thought I told you not to come here,” he whispered to Kaiden.

They crouched even lower as a black van drove out of the garage and past them.

“It’s a good thing I did, because if I didn’t, they’d have thrown you into their van already,” Kaiden whispered back. As soon as the van reached the end of the parking lot and turned left, Kaiden started sprinting towards the closing gate. He just managed to duck under before it clattered shut behind him the grinding metal sound stopped with a final thunk.

“C’mon.” He stuck his hand through the bars and motioned for Harold to hurry up and join him.

Realizing he didn’t have much choice, Harold teleported from his hiding place to the other side of the parking gate.

“Wow! And I thought my power was handy.” A tall, lean man stepped out from the shadows.

Terrified, Harold and Kaiden stared back in silence.

Chapter 10 coming soon 🙂

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 8

close up photo of person behind leaves

If you’d like to start reading from the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Chapter 1

Practice, practice, practice. That’s what magic requires. But how are you supposed to get better when they lock you up inside? 

KAIDEN HART
Day 3, 3:30 pm

Kaiden kept telling Jack that he needed to be careful when he was out in public. He’d read enough super hero comics to know that when you get a superpower you always make sure you keep your identity a secret. But it was okay that he knew Jack’s secret. They’d been best friends since they were two years old and besides, every super hero needed a sidekick to help them.

Jack needed his help. Ever since it first started happening, Jack couldn’t keep his feet on the ground. He didn’t so much fly as float. Jack described it as, “swimming through the air.” He could propel himself to the ground by “swimming” down to it, but he just couldn’t stay there. He kept floating back up again.

Kaiden was the one who figured out that they could fill Jack’s jacket pockets with heavy rocks. That way, it would weigh him down enough that he didn’t float up, but if he needed to use his super power in an emergency, he just had to take his coat off and BAM! he was a superhero. It got a bit hot, though, when he was at school, so they used one of his sister’s skipping ropes tie him to his chair. He was always doing weird things like that so the teacher didn’t even notice until the end of the day. When she saw, she just rolled her eyes and kept reading from the book she was reading to the class.

Jack and Kaiden were excited to test out what Jack’s ability. After school today they were going back out to the woods where Jack could fly without anyone seeing him. Well, except for Harold. But Harold was ok. He had his own superpower so he wasn’t going to tell anyone. Plus, he was really nice and invited them over for hot chocolate and cookies after they’d met yesterday.

Since the snow had mostly melted off the roads, they decided to ride their bikes which was tricky for Jack because he was wearing a heavy jacket that kept throwing his balance off and because his feet kept floating up off the pedals. They finally had to stop so they could tie his shoes to the pedals but they made sure his shoes were kind of loose so he could slip them on and off when he needed to.

As soon as they got to their spot, Jack immediately took off his coat and started “swimming” up past the tree tops.

“Not so high!” Kaiden shouted. “That’s how Harold saw you, remember! Someone else might see you too!”

Jack dove back down and, moving his arms and legs like a frog to go faster, he “swam” straight towards Kaiden who had to dive to the side to get out of the way.

“Hey!” he shouted! “Not so close!”

Jack laughed. He twisted around and around in circles like a corkscrew, climbing higher and higher again. This time he didn’t go past the treetops.

“You’re getting better!” Kaiden said, when Jack “swam” back down and fly by him. Kaiden had his phone out and was shooting video for Jack to watch later. “Try doing a flip.”

Jack rose back up in the air and propelled himself forward, kicking his legs out behind him and flipping in the air.

Kaiden whooped from the ground. “Try doing two in a row!”

Jack rose up even higher this time. He flipped around, once, twice, and even a third time before “swimming” back up to the treetops. Jack continued to practice and eventually Kaiden grew tired of filming and sat down on the ground leaning against the base of a tree. It was cool at first, but he was getting hungry and bored. He thought maybe Harold might join them again, but then he remembered that Harold was going to visit his grandson today. Kaiden kicked at a small scuff of snow with his shoe as his stomach growled loudly.

“C’mon, Jack!” he shouted. “I want to go home and eat.”

It took a few more times, but Jack finally came down and they hopped back on their bikes. They were halfway to Kaiden’s house when suddenly a van pulled up beside them. The side door opened and a man reached out and yanked Jack off his bike. His feet slid easily out of the shoes they’d purposed left loose in case he fell. Jack’s bike and shoes went flying behind them. The door slammed shut blocking Jack’s shocked face from view. Then, the van sped up and veered around the corner.

Kaiden tried to chase it, but it was long gone. He hesitated for a second trying to think of what he should do, before he pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and called the police.

* * *

It was a few hours later and he’d answered all of the questions the police had. Jack’s parents were crying and worried sick. He wished there was something else he could do. Then he remembered Harold. Maybe Harold could use his power to take them to Jack.

He snuck out through the back door and grabbed his bike. It only took him 10 minutes to get there. He raced up the driveway, jumped off his bike while it was still moving. It landed with a crash, but he didn’t care. He rang the doorbell and started pounding against the door. Then he remembered: Harold had gone to visit his grandson for the day. He was about to go back to his bike when he saw the same black van from this afternoon slowly driving down the street. He quickly dove into the bushes against the front of the house. What if they were coming for him next?

The van drove up the driveway and three men got out. Two walked up to the door and rang the bell, while another stayed behind, leaning against the hood of the van. When no one responded, they began to pick the lock. It took them about 30 seconds. Kaiden barely dared to breath. They were only a couple of meters away and he was sure at any moment they would see him peeking through the bushes.

Once they were inside, Kaiden stayed put hoping none of them saw him. He could hear furniture scraping along the hardwood and tipping over with a crash. Books and knickknacks crashed to the ground as they stomped about the house.

It felt like forever, but finally they either found what they were looking for, or they gave up and left, leaving the front door open unlocked and slightly ajar. After the van pulled out of the driveway, Kaiden snuck into the house and hid behind an overturned armchair and waited for Harold to reappear.

Chapter 9 coming soon 🙂

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 7

nik-macmillan-618027-unsplash

If you’d like to start reading from the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Chapter 1

When something of value is lost, we stop what we’re doing to look for it. It makes sense then, that if magic is taken, the caretakers would stop at nothing to find it again.

CHAPTER 7 – EVAN WAGNER
Day 3, 10:36 am

After he’d left Stacey’s house, Evan realized he couldn’t go home. The only place he could think to go was his brother, Daniel’s. He showed up on his doorstep after 1 am after wandering aimlessly for hours. He hadn’t told Daniel why he was there. He just came in and asked if he could crash on the couch.

That had been last night. Now, Evan and Daniel were sitting at the kitchen table eating breakfast.

“Are you going to tell me yet, why you’re here?” Daniel asked, taking a sip from his coffee cup.

Evan slowly crunched his cereal, debating how much he should tell his brother. Finally, he opted to just show him and slowly reached across the kitchen, stretching his arm out to 5 times it’s normal length. He picked up the coffee pot, retracted his arm, and refilled his cup.

“Would you like some more?” he asked, looking at Daniel and holding up the coffee pot.

Daniel just stared back at him his eyes opened wide in shock.

Evan smiled and shook his head. “No? Okay.” He the repeated the motion and set the coffee pot back on the burner of the machine. Finally, he shrugged his shoulders and said, “something weird is happening to me.”

“Clearly,” Daniel said.

“And now some guys are after me,” he said. “They came to my house and tried to throw me a van. I need a place I could lay low for a while so I can figure out what’s going on.”

“What if you lead them straight to us?” Daniel asked, frowning.

“I don’t think I did. I ditched my car before I got here and came the rest of the way on foot. I cut across yards and parks and backtracked a lot. Besides, if they knew I was here, they’d have come in already.”

Daniel looked at him skeptically, but didn’t comment. They continued eating breakfast in silence, each lost in their own thoughts.

* * *

An hour later, Evan was down in the basement using the guest shower when he heard a loud bang upstairs. Footsteps thudded across the ceiling above him and he heard Daniel shouting. Then something muffled his voice. Evan sprang out of the shower, grabbing the pile of clothes he tossed on the floor before his shower. By the time he raced up the stairs it was silent save for the drips of water dripping of him onto the floor.

One of the bookshelves was tipped over, it’s contents strewn across the floor along with a lamp lying broken in pieces. The front door was wide open and through it, Evan saw the same two men from last night throw Daniel into the back of the van bound and gagged. One of the men slammed the back doors. As the men hurried on either side of the van to climb into the front seats, Evan scrambled into his clothes as he hobbled outside and just managed to step up onto the back bumper as it started pulling out of the driveway. He stretched out his hands to pull himself up onto the roof of the van and then lay as flat as he could, which was flatter than most humans could lie, and wrapped his fingers around the rails of the roof rack on either side of him.

The whole time they were driving he kept wondering who these people were and where they were taking Daniel. Finally, they pulled into the parking lot of his doctor’s office and stopped. The garage door into the underground parking opened and as the van started to descend the ramp, he silently slid down the back and jumped off the bumper just as it entered the underground garage. He slipped behind a concrete barrier and hid as the garage door closed. That’s when he remembered, he’d had a doctor’s appointment the day all of this started. What had they done to him?

Chapter 8 coming soon 🙂

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 6

healthy clinic doctor health

If you’d like to start reading from the beginning, check out A Grave Mistake: Chapter 1

Naturally, there are gatekeepers and walls of protection around any secret because it isn’t meant to get out. It isn’t meant to be stolen or shared. But, what would happen if there was a breach in that wall? Those responsible would inevitably fight to regain control and lock the secret back in it’s cage. No one wants the reputation of being the one who let the secret out. Especially if that secret is magic.

CHAPTER 6 – NATASHA Gill
Day 3, 9:40 am

After her second memory lapse, Natasha had made an appointment to see the doctor again and was surprised how quickly she was able to get in.

She pulled into the parking lot 5 minutes early and noticed that the normally busy lot was empty. There were two doctors at this clinic: her doctor and his wife. They not only schedule appointments, but they also ran a walk-in clinic, usually trading off days with each other.

She was only a few steps away from the front door when she noticed a closed sign hanging in the window and that most of the lights were off. Confused, she pulled out her phone to check her calendar as she walked slowly back to her car.

Behind her, the door opened. “Mrs. Gill!” her doctor called after her. His normally well-groomed appearance was disheveled and he looked like he hadn’t slept or showered in a few days. Dark circles ringed his eyes and his dark hair stood up on end in greasy waves.

“I’m sorry Doctor Thomas, I thought my appointment was for 9:40,” she said, taking a step back as a faint smell of BO wafted towards her.

“Yes, yes, you do. Sorry, we’re having a minor crisis. I have the closed sign up because we aren’t accepting walk-ins at the moment,” he said, straining to smile. “Nothing to worry about though,” he hastily added.

“I can come back another time,” she said, edging towards her car.

“No, no, come in, come in,” he said, waving her forward.

She hesitated another moment, then grudgingly followed him into the office. They walked past the welcome desk which was unmanned and sitting in shadows, and down the hall to one of the waiting rooms. He turned the light on and sat down on the office chair while she sat on the paper-cover examination table. It crinkled as she sat down.

“What seems to be the problem?” he asked.

She told him about how she had been having gaps in her memory, but she carefully skirted around the fact that she had accomplished a week’s worth of work in a few short hours.

“Do you know what you were doing during this time?” he asked.

She clutched her purse on her lap feeling apprehensive. “Just the usual day-to-day things,” she said. “I would find out later that the kids had been picked up when they were supposed to, and that I’d bought groceries because I’d have the receipt in my wallet and the fridge, which had been nearly empty in the morning, would be full.”

She’d been about to tell him she had been recording everything in her journal, but realized just in time that he would probably ask to see it. There was no way he’d believe she got all that done in one day.

“And how long has this been happening?”

“A couple of days.”

He nodded. “Have you noticed anything else unusual?”

“No,” she said, her voice slightly higher than normal.

He didn’t seem to notice. “Alright, I’ll get you to change into one of the hospital gowns and I’ll do an examination.”

“Is that really necessarily?” she asked. “I mean if it’s my head that’s the problem. I don’t really need to change for that, do I?”

“I’d like to see if anything else is wrong. Blacking out may just be a symptom of something more serious.”

She nodded, not liking the sound of that. She changed quickly and was already back sitting down on the examination table when he came back in two minutes later. Behind him, was his wife, the other doctor at the clinic. She looked less disheveled than he did, but apparently whatever was causing Dr. Thomas stress, was also affecting her. Her hair, which was normally sleek and styled, was knotted at the top of her head in a messy bun. Her normally perfectly made-up face appeared to be completely free of make-up, and her lab coat was wrinkled and stained in a couple of places.

“Lay down on your side facing the wall, please,” he said. “Since we are low on staff today, my wife will assist me today.

Natasha did as she was told, but was confused as to why he needed assistance. She had just settled onto her side when she felt a hand on her hip and her gown being pulled up. She started to sit up, but two other hands grabbed her shoulders and held her down.

“Wait, what’s hap—”

There was a sharp pain near her hip. She tried to fight against the hands holding her down, but sleep was quickly crowding in from the sides, threatening to wash over her. Something wasn’t right. But she was starting to not care. She tried to sit up one more time, before giving in to the comfortable embrace of sleep that was enveloping her.

A Grave Mistake: Chapter 7