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The Mask of Hidden Pasts
The dark room. That shadow lurking over me. There’s no way out. As he gets closer, I can feel his breathing as he moves closer. His rancid smell. He is now sitting on me. The pain of that big hand on me. My face swelling black and blue. Marks on my chest, legs, and stomachh. I scream as loud as possible, and then he covers my mouth with duct tape. Arms are tied and legs are tied. Then he walks out of the room. I hear him saying my name. Kara, Kara, wake up! Kara, wake up! KARA!!
“Kara!” I hear Shawn yelling at me.
“What happened?” I asked shaking.
“You were having a nightmare, I think.” He told me. “You woke me up with the screaming.” Wow. I must have been screaming pretty loud to wake him up; Mr.’ Sleep till 2pm.’
“Sorry. I was having a memory about ’it’.” I told him yawning.
“Oh… do you want to tell Kate about it? She can help you.”
“No, not yet. Not until I have food and am dressed.” I responded stretching.
“Agreed.” Shawn said.
A few hours later everyone was dressed and moving. All three-hundred and sixty-seven people in the TTPA. I was on my laptop when I felt someone behind me. I turned around ready to fight. I kick-flipped the person in the stomachh. When I recovered myself, I realized it was my younger brother Zach.
“Zach, what are you doing sneaking up behind me like that?”
“Possibly having to broken ribs.” He said with his arms around his chest.
“Technically, I kicked you in the stomachh, so it’s not possible to break your ribs and I didn’t even kick you that hard. Why do you always have to be such a hypochondriac?”
“Sorry, Kare-bear. Didn’t mean to.” He apologized. Kare-bear was his name for me. When Shawn calls me that he gets a wrist bend.
“Whatever, as usual.”I rolled my eyes.
“So, what are you doing now; hacking into the high school’s grade system and changing people’s grades?” he asked sarcastically.
“Did that yesterday. Gave your ex-girlfriend an A- in Chemistry.” I said. “Actually, I’m working on a new case and setting up a new security system for the agency.”
“What’s the case?” he asked
“There’s this girl Kate told me about last night. Her name is Arianna, and she’s sixteen years old.” I showed him her profile.
“She’s kind of hot.” he said smiling. I shoved him away.
“Anyways, she was recently almost killed the other day. Her case severity was like mine five years ago. Exact same thing. She’s been in the hospital the last few weeks and she’s joining us tomorrow for a while till her and her sister can be relocated.”
“Let me guess, you and Shawn are in charge of this case, as usual?” he complained.
“You are still in training at the academy, so that’s why you haven’t done anything.” I told him. He sighed.
The next day I, Shawn, and Kate went to the hospital. When we got there, I was very uncomfortable and wanted to leave. Seeing Arianna made me weak and ready to cry. The bruises and rope marks on her. And the slits on her chest.
“Hello, Arianna. My name is Kate Andrews and I’m in charge of helping you get back on your feet.” She motioned towards me and Shawn to introduce ourselves.
“Kara Taylor. I’m going to be with you all the time keeping you out of harm’s way. Actually, Shawn and I are going to do that. I am working on hunting down that terrible man.” I told her trying not to cry or freak out.
“Shawn Andrews. I will be assisting Kara with you.” Shawn said.
“Nice to meet you.” Arianna smiled. I could tell she was still a little jittery and quiet.
“Arianna, you can’t be scared to be around Kara and Shawn. TTPA has the best agents here to protect you. Kara has been assigned to your case because she is our best agent, and she has been though your pain, so she knows how you feel.” Kate reassured her. Kate and Shawn left and gave me and Arianna a little time to chat.
A few days later, Arianna was with TTPA and was already settling. She was still shy around Shawn, but that’s my little secret. I was working on homework when Arianna came up to me.
“Kara, I have a question. Can me, you and Shawn go-“she paused nervously. “Can the three of us go shopping? I mean since I have no clothes really after the move.” She managed to get out.
I was afraid of upsetting her when she was still very fragile, so I pretended I was deciding then I gave her my answer. “Arianna, I would love to take you shopping, but I'm afraid we can’t. You see, it is still dangerous for you to be out in the open world, even with me and Shawn with you.”
“Oh, okay. I see. Sorry I asked.” She walked away.
“Arianna, tell me what’s wrong. You are so afraid of me and Shawn, and well, pretty much everyone. And the fact that you are very quiet around Shawn.”
“I’m just a little nervous being in a new place. To be honest, I don’t like it here.” She responded.
“You are comfortable around me, right?” I asked her.
“More than Shawn.”
“Seriously, why are you so scared of him?” I asked her.
“I’m just a nervous around him because I like him a little bit. There, I told you.”
“It’s okay. He’s been my best friend for the last 5 years, you don’t think I like him? Him being him?”
She smiled. I knew she had something for him. Shawn and I have had a little bit of history. But we are only friends. Well, and partners, at work.
“Kara, you’re not going to believe what I just found. I found him! And it’s a weird coincidence about him.” Shawn rushed in the room with his laptop.
“Found who?” Arianna asked confused.
“Your guy who did this to you. Kara, you are going to be amazed by who it is. I've done a background check on him and he all started this five years ago. His name is Mark Riley. He has been committed on 5 counts of assault and 3 counts of harassment.”
“Shawn, is it-“I started.
“Let me finish. It says the first girl he did this to was only 12 years old and from the Lansing area.” He showed me the computer with the man’s photo and profile.
“Um… I know something, but I need to talk to Kate.” I said. Shawn stood up and spoke to Arianna.
“Arianna, excuse us, if you will.” He told her politely. She nodded. Shawn and I left the room and he started talking.
“Kar, you know you can tell me anything, so I don’t see why you want to tell Kate before you tell me.” Shawn told me.
“I need to tell Kate first. Then I will tell you.” I explained. I could tell by the look on his face he was mad.
“I just don’t get it. You used to be able to tell me anything, but since Arianna came you’ve been quiet around me. I thought we were best friends and best friends tell each other everyt-“ He was interrupted because I kissed him. He kissed me back and it was nice.
“I just answered your question.” I smiled. He smiled back and it was awkward between us for about a minute. Then I spoke. “You want the truth about what’s going on?”
“Yes. That would be nice.” He answered.
“Okay then. When you showed me the picture of the man he looked familiar. He- he uh… he’s the one who, you know… five years ago. “
I get why. Let’s go tell Kate.” He said running. It took me a moment to catch up with him.
Once we told Kara she instantly called people in. Arianna got relocated, but she decided to join TTPA. She told Kate she wanted to protect us, but I know her real reason…. Shawn and I remained friends and continued to work together, as partners, for now.