Holding On: Chapter 21
Catch up on Chapter 20 of willwriteforhearts' thrilling fiction project right here!
Thomas looks terrified for a second, like he suddenly doesn’t know where he is or what he’s doing or why, freezing like I have. Speechless, both of us.
Yeah, that doesn’t last long.
“Who do you think you are?” His voice rises harshly and he looks like a wolf, teeth bared.
“Stop hurting Sam…” It comes out like a squeak, useless.
He takes steps towards me but I can’t move, I can’t make him stop. I stand frozen. “I can do whatever the hell I want to her. She’s my daughter. This isn’t any of your business.” He grabs my arm tightly and I scream, the quick movement sending another shock of pain down my broken side. And I’m so afraid. I want my Mom. No, I want my Dad. I don’t know. I want somebody.
I breathe sharply when he shakes me, closing my eyes tight to block out everything that’s coming in but it’s too late for that. Impulse makes me open them again when he starts to drag me to the kitchen and I pull back, a mistake. He yanks harder and I submit, my will to do anything else drained. I failed. I came back and I failed miserably.
I look away from Thomas, look at anything but him, just in time to see the door open.
Thomas looks annoyed, tossing me a side for a second. “Now who the hell could that be?”
I stare at the door, confused. Is that Nick's friend? What’s his name again? Timothy?
“Get away from her!” Timothy shouts, shaking. His eyes are rabbit-like and large and he glances at me urgently, reminding me of Sam. Right.
I rush into the kitchen while Thomas’s back is turned. He turns around instantly but is pummeled down a second later by I-don’t-know-what and I don’t take the time to find out. Sam is on the floor by the table. She’s bleeding.
Oh God, she’s definitely dead, I think, he killed her and I didn’t do anything about it. I want to throw up. I want to run out of the kitchen and attack Thomas with everything I have because even though I don’t know this girl, I know that nobody ever deserves to be stuck with someone like him. Nobody, ever, not even my mother who chose him. I don’t know how true that is... she was desperate for love that she felt she lacked and we forgot to give her because we were so absorbed...
I kneel down next to Sam, moaning from pain that comes from in and out of me, forehead scrunched up like scrap paper.
Sickness fills my stomach and creeps up my throat but I keep it in. I lean close.
“Get off me!” Cursing from the living room. I’m brave enough to look around again, huddled protectively next to Sam’s body.
“Run, Alice!” It’s that guy, Timothy, looking like a frail little kid with Thomas grabbing him by the shoulders. He’s clinging desperately back, scared mindless and staring at me hopefully.
I look back at Sam and try to think of something to do. I can’t leave her now. Not again... but she needs a doctor or something soon. I try to think of something to cover her head with but I can’t think of anything; the blood keeps coming, more and more and more, not particularly fast but not slow enough to comfort me either.
Timothy is suddenly next to me, pulling me up from the ground. “Alice! We have to leave!”
I nod, mumbling sounds pouring out of my mouth in an oatmeal mush of nothing, saying nothing, looking at Sam and trying to say What about her? but the words can’t come out right. Instead they say, “Watch out!”
My mind races to catch up with my words and I see that Thomas has appeared behind Timothy.
Thomas shoves him forward. Timothy moves to the side in an attempt to avoid hitting me and falls on the floor, scrambling to get back up with his thin arms, panic slowing him down.
Time slows when I see the phone lying on the floor across the room. I turn back for a second to check on Timothy but he’s gone and Thomas is already following wherever he went. The phone could be my last chance. I don’t think about how Timothy got here or how any of this makes sense; I run towards the phone.
Everything speeds up again when I crash into Annie.
“Dude!” What’s his name? “Eric!”
“Yes, Nick?” He races to the front window with incredible speed, relieved at being close to someone again. I forgive him somewhere deep inside me, subconsciously, because we’re all scared of the dark right now.
Keep calm. Controlled.
“Can you see the address? It’s too dark for me to see from here.” Slow. Control. “I need to call 911 and tell them where we are.”
Eric’s face blanks when he hears “911”, mouth hanging slightly open. He whispers, terrified, “Is it... is it that bad?”
I don’t say anything for a second, not knowing how to answer. Of course it’s that bad. Alice is kidnapped by an insane psychopath. This is very bad. Not sure it can get worse.
The response from him is slow, from someone far away. He nods.
“Okay, look for the house number. I know the street.” The digits are already on my phone screen and I call; if he can’t tell me, at least 911 will track me. But I know that takes longer...
Another shout erupts from the house, followed by a scream that’s unmistakably Alice.
He rushes back to the car widow, crying.
The phone picks up. “911, where’s your emergency?” Both of us stare at it for a second, like starved people on desert island and this is the first voice we’ve heard in a decade.
Eric’s hand darts out and takes the phone quickly, words warbled out, barely coherent. I get out of the car as fast as possible, grabbing Wheelchair, which he’d left propped up against the side of the car. My stomach lurches when I hear more sounds from inside.
Here I am, helpless. Hopelessly helpless. Even Eric is doing more then I am and he’s crying his eyes out. I get on Wheelchair slowly, watching him.
Suddenly his sobbing becomes too much and he can’t speak. I can hear the operator on the other end of the phone saying things like, “We’re sending help” and “Hello? Sir?” Eric looks at me helplessly and I gesture for him to pass the phone to me.
Keep calm. Controlled. The phone’s in my hands and I speak evenly, looking at the house without any emotion. The operator takes a second before asking questions again and I’m answering as much as I can with the little part of my brain that’s still working.
The little part of my brain grows stronger and I take Eric’s hand and squeeze it. He looks relieved, hand squeezing back fearfully and sobs slowly dying away. I can do this.
The operator hangs up and I roll towards the house, not sure what else to do.
I can barely stand sitting here. I wish I could run inside and make everything stop but I can’t, literally, and if I could I’m not sure Eric would let me leave him alone.
“Alice!” I shout. “Alice, we’re here! Come out! It’s okay!” I don’t cry. I don’t know if shouting’s helping.
“What’s happening here?” A man is trudging over from one of the next door houses, yawning, coming into the light of my car’s headlights and looking like a chubby ghost.
Eric and I look up in unison, wide awake and barely breathing.
“The police are coming.” I say, because I’m not sure how much they really want to know. And this explains more than I’m capable of explaining with all the emotions burning under my skin, with all the tears I’m holding back because Eric’s crying too much, with my legs acting like cement blocks to keep me from floating far, far away. My head is staying in place for once and I’m going to be the strong one. Dad’s not here anymore. He’s not coming back. Alice needs me.
The man’s face pales and he looks at the house, breathing through his mouth. “So he’s done it...” He looks at his feet shamefully, rubbings his arms and rubbing his big nose. “I should’ve said something... Samantha was a good girl, you know-”
My heart stops.
“Does she have freckles?”
The man looks at me funny and I realize this question is a little out of place. I realize I don’t care. “Yes... her dad’s a mess.”
Oh, God, no.
“At least it’s over now.” Says the man, grimly, looking at the house.
I look at the house as well and that’s when I realize it’s gone completely silent. My first thought is that everyone’s simultaneously died. That seems possible. Certain.
Nick, it’ll be alright. But even Wheelchair doesn’t sound so sure.
Sirens break out down the street- they were coming from far away, for a while, but I my mind blockaded my ability to hear them—and I see lights. We’re safe. Maybe we’re alright after all.
The silent house doesn’t reassure me. The edging fear that they might not be alright is getting louder.
What a cliffhanger! You can catch up on the entire series right here!