A Year In Seattle
Thursday, November 2nd, 2056 – Off the air
WAITING FOR INPUT…
… … … … … … …
CONNECTION TIMED OUT
Friday, November 3rd, 2056 – Nobody’s there.
I’ve played over this thing too many times… Still no sign of Jess…
Ah Jess– you should have told me…
Where are you?
Saturday, November 4th, 2056 – No reply at all – Part 1
Sunday, November 4th, 2056 – No reply at all – Part 2
Sounds good… Looks like it should work for her…
When she comes round.
If she comes round.
Don’t talk like that
Just being realistic
Will you two just take it easy?
Monday, November 6th, 2056 – Back on the air.
Score one for our side, the good guys won. Well, at least we survived.
I’m tired, I ache- the only good thing I can say right now is: “I’m alive.”
PC patched this thing in so that I can connect it to my pocket secretary. Then its just a question of dictating things through the datajack. It’s a bit odd and slow. I have to watch the tendency for words to run together, like thoughts. Still, its easier than typing or talking would be right now.
Forgive me if my thoughts do run together. The painkillers are a little… confusing?
When I woke up my arm was no longer chained to a pipe and someone had pumped enough fluids into me that sound didn’t hurt anymore-
Wait… no… that’s really getting ahead of myself (I’ll need to edit this later)
Sorry… just flipped back through the last entries. Casey sounded so worried… I wonder what it was like for him. Maybe I should wait… or ask him to tell it from his side… or Nick… Nick tells a good story.
Maybe I’ll just sleep… Tell it later- when I’m awake…
It’s late now. The nurses just kicked Casey and Nick out. They haven’t left me since… since they found me.
That’s a sobering thought.
Let me start back with the beginning…
I spent most of Wednesday jumping at shadows. After trying to get out I just ended up slinking back to my room and ordering room service. I kept looking out the peephole whenever I heard any movement in the hallway.
I was generally, a nervous wreck- with reason.
I slept fitfully through the night, every sound seemingly magnified. Around 7:00 Thursday morning I finally took a shower and was getting ready to make a new entry here when I heard a noise down the hall.
I looked out the peephole. It’s not like you can really recognize anybody through the thing- unless you have fisheyes- But I could recognize the lumbering stride of the man approaching my door.
My pulse skyrocketed and I did the only thing I could do. I ran.
I had no way of knowing how he’d found me, no way of knowing that the police could have called on any one of ten mages to find me any time they wanted. Then again- if they could do that, why are there still so many missing people?”
Sorry- the nurse again– gave me some pills, said I needed to….
NO SIGNAL… DISCONNECT? (Y/N)
Tuesday, November 7th, 2056 – Disconnected.
Well, according to the nurses I’m being a pain, so I must be getting better. I actually talked a little bit, but they keep telling me to take it easy.
Nick and Casey are a trip to watch. I still get tired really easy, and my shoulder– well, let’s just say I’m glad they’re keeping the painkillers flowing.
Visiting hours were a slow steady stream of people lying about how ‘good’ I was looking. Michael at least told me the truth.
Mrs. Walker told me that at first, he didn’t want to come, not that I blame him. I think hospitals hold too many memories for him. Seeing me like this must have been pretty hard on him.
“Jess,” he told me. “You look terrible.”
I laughed– as much as I could before it turned into more of a cough than anything. Mrs. Walker was mortified by his lack of tact. Jonathan took it in stride and pointed out to her that he was right.
I smiled and held out my hand for him. It felt good to see all my friends and to know that it’s finally over. I never have to look over my shoulder for Aaron again.
It’s after hours now.
Still not too crazy about being alone. Not after the last few days. Casey and Nick are trying to convince the Doc to let one or both of them stay with me. I hope they can convince him, I don’t want to be alone– that’s when it’s the worst.
It comes to me in images. I don’t really remember what she said, or did.
I’d managed to give Aaron the slip and was getting ready to get out of the hotel when she stepped in front of me, Officer Raz. I’d seen her before with Darringer, knew she was one of his squad. When she’d cuffed me and started to read me my rights, everything seemed normal.
It wasn’t until she led me to the freight elevator that I knew something was really wrong. Even then she’d managed to pass it off as “Hotel relations”– not wanting to cause problems for the hotel. She took me into one of the sub-levels.
When the door opened I was greeted with a dose of curare. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t see unless they opened my eyelids for me… but I could hear and feel everything. They spoke a combination of Spanish and Azteca.
I couldn’t really tell what they were planning, but I knew all too well what they thought of me– and my brothers.
“Los hermanos Miller.” It was one the one phrase that I remembered from the whole nightmare: “the Brothers (and sister) Miller.”
At one point Raz opened my eyes so I could see so she could gloat. She whispered in my ear, something about her son, and my brothers– and retribution.
There was an altar laid out, complete with implements of destruction. Obsidian. Such a beautiful stone… usually– not then and probably not ever again.
That did it… got the nurse with that one. She’s not taking any chances… right to the IV…
NO SIGNAL… DISCONNECT? (Y/N)
Wednesday, November 8th, 2056 – The whole story.
The nurses are optimistic, the doctor says the worst is over and I can go home soon. I think that’s what they’re hoping. I know I am.
Today the police were finally allowed to come in and question me as to what happened. But only with Casey and Nick and my lawyer present.
Darringer was at least human this time. He was listening to what I said, he wasn’t accusatory in his questions. That probably has more to do with the fact that Martinez came too a few days ago and ID’d the shooter.
It wasn’t Alan. It never was.
He’d already finished questioning Casey and Nick since they were the reason I was still alive. They knew how it ended… I knew how it began.
The fact that Officer Raz was working for AZT first and Lone Star as a means to an end didn’t sit well with Darringer. Seems the thing he hates more than suspected cop shooters and their sisters is a dirty cop. I’m sure as AZT is concerned she was as righteous as they come.
It’s over now. I have to keep reminding myself of that, remind myself and move on.
I told him about her. About her ‘arresting’ me and then taking me downstairs. I told him as much of what happened as I could remember, but it was fractured. After they’d finished with me, she’d taken me deeper into the steam tunnels.
Then she handcuffed me to one of the pipes running along the wall and left. It was high enough that I could almost kneel. With a little bit of work, I found I could reach a rock or two… but I was there for quite a while before I was coherent enough to try.
Darring asked me how long I’d been there, but I had no idea. I had no idea how long Raz and her friends kept me there, and no idea of how they planned on disposing of me.
That was where Aaron came in.
I’d tried everything I could think of– Climbing onto the pipe, trying to break it, trying to smash the cuffs with a rock… everything. I tried grease, spit, praying– screaming.
The rest of it was pretty much a blur until Aaron showed up. I remembered hearing him call my name
He smiled at me, said something about “You’ve been avoiding me again… Jess… you always do that.”
He even had a lead pipe in his hands the for occasion.
That was it, I knew I was dead, knew that it wasn’t going to be fun and that by the time he finished with me, if they ever found me, nobody would know that Raz and I had spent any time together. It would have just been Aaron. Just a psycho ex-boyfriend killing his estranged girlfriend. Case closed. Tragic, but not uncommon.
As he neared me, I heard the Jaguar… Aaron heard it too and was looking up as two shots rang out. That was pretty much all I remembered.
I could see Casey and Nick as they listened to what had happened while I was missing. I knew they were worried about me and somehow I think knowing what had happened made it worse.
Darringer thanked me for my time and left. No well wishes, no apologies, just like Case had warned me.
I have to stop falling asleep in the middle of this thing.
This afternoon I got the whole story from Casey and Nick. It was funny, I felt so … disassociated from the whole thing. It was almost like watching a trid…
Casey started the story.
“I was worried about you. I didn’t even know you’d left the party, until someone asked about the date in the bathroom…”
He shook his head as he looked at me apologetically. “I think I kinda lost it then…”
Knowing Casey, I knew “kinda losing it” was probably one of the biggest understatements of the year. Someone had slipped into his house, quite possibly a friend and done this. No “Kinda losing it” was not the optimal phrase.
“That’s when I called in a few favors,” he smiled at me and I nodded.
He’d contacted the police and got my latest whereabouts. So I was ‘hiding’ and everybody in the world knew where I was. Should have known.
He figured he’d give me a few days of peace– let me come in on my own. He didn’t realize how bad it had gotten until I was gone. Until he’d read my journal entries, but by then– it was too late.
Then he’d contacted the Walkers, Nick, even Mario- no one had heard from me, and none of them could find me. Even the police mages couldn’t locate me.
Of course, by then Raz and her friends had me and were cooking up something, so it wasn’t really surprising that they couldn’t find me.
Nick went off on his own search. He said he’d tried everything and then finally gave up looking for me and went looking for Aaron. Guess he figured that Aaron would lead him to me– if he knew where I was.
He said Aaron was playing things really cool- going from party scene to party scene, mingling, making sure he was seen. He was afraid that he was too late.
It was about then that he realized that I hadn’t given the police the slip. It was quite possible that I had never left the hotel. At least not through the front door.
Casey nodded– that’s where he started looking for me. The path had finally led downstairs. He actually heard me pounding on the pipes– before I’d slipped and ended up dislocating my shoulder among other things.
Nick for his part continued to follow Aaron, hoping he wasn’t too late, but all the time figuring that he probably was. Aaron for his part continued club hopping, and Nick continued trying to blend in.
I had to laugh at that- Nick is not the type to go clubbing. Rock climbing, hiking, white water rafting, sure- that was Nick, but clubs were right out.
Nick talked about how women seemed drawn to Aaron. I had to nod. He had an innate charm that drew you to him. He just didn’t have what it took for a stable relationship– like stability.
So he watched as Aaron played it cool. After several pick up attempts one woman– Raz again- sauntered over. The way Nick described it, he knew it wasn’t a normal pick up scene. She had a sense of purpose about her. She was on the hunt.
According to Nick, she slipped up to him and handed him a piece of paper. He smiled at her– offered her a drink and she politely declined. Nick wanted to follow her, but stuck with Aaron–
That’s what led him to me. Aaron followed the map, Nick followed him.
I asked about the gunshots, and Nick shrugged them off. “I killed Aaron,” he told me gently.
“And I killed Raz,” Casey added.
I looked at him for a moment. “The Jaguar,” I finally said wearily.
He nodded. “The Jaguar,” he agreed. “Funny thing was… Martinez woke up about the same time.”
I nodded. Somehow that didn’t surprise me either.
Anyway– its almost time for “Nurse Ratched” to come by with my evening meds. Let’s try signing off on this for a change.
Copyright 1999 – M.T. Decker