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The Bad Dream
Music played softly in the back round. Everyone was around her, smiling, laughing, say how pretty and old she had gotten. She saw a man and a woman walk toward her, from the corner of her eye, but did not give it a second thought, because there had to have been 100s of couples around. They arrived every now and then. But these people were different. They came right up and picked Jess up, but not to hold her. They started to walk away, and then eventually ran, before anyone ever realized what had happened.
“Beep, Beep, Beep, Bee.” Jess’s alarm clock beeped rapidly.
“Ahhhh!” she woke with a start. “It was just a dream,” she told herself, “Just a dream.” She had been having that reoccurring dream, for so long now, it was nagging at her to do something, but she didn’t know what. Jess lived in a nice neighborhood just inside the town. Her mother, Kathryn, her father, Richard, and a pest of a little brother name Jake, was all she had, as family went.
It was Monday morning and she was getting ready to got school. “Bump, bump, bump.” Sound as she pounded down the stairs.
“I’m leaving,” she yelled she tried to rush through the front door, but he was blocking her way as usual.
“Have that dream again lately?” he asked her. He had a scowl on his face, like he knew something she didn’t. But underneath that, there was something else, hope? Curiosity? Worry? No. This was her brother she was talking about.
“No,” she stammered a response. Now pushing and shoving, for she was going to be late.
“Sure you didn’t,” he said stepping out of the way. She ran out onto the sidewalk and turned left. Jess was in fifth grade. She went to a private which she didn’t mind very want. The day was short, and she was just about to be dismissed when the principal got on the loud speaker.
“Attention all students, please report to the auditorium immediately.” This was unusual, for nothing every happened at Black Hill Academy, that needed assembling for. The principal, walked onto the podium and explained, that two people, a man and a woman, were suspected of 1rst degree kidnapping of two kids, 2 years in a row. Now, she said, “This had happened in 1990 (it was now 2000) but police had never had any real, evidence what so ever regarding this issue. A warrant for their arrest has been granted, and police are potrolling the area.” She instructed the students to be a little more cautious, until this all sorts itself out.
It was dinner time by the time Jess got home. She went straight upstairs to change and came right back down. She was starving.
“Could you get your brother, Jess?” her mother yelled.
“Sure mom,” Jess yelled back down. She slumped across the hall to her brother’s room; he had a lock so she had to knock. As she was turning to go downstairs she yelled, “Time for dinner Ja-,” but before she could finish, Jake whipped the door open and yelled,” Boo!!” Jess was so startled she faltered a second and tumbled to the bottom of the stairs, but not before banging her head on the last step. Her vision went black, back to dreamland it was.
“Jess, Jess!!!! Oh my gosh!!” my dad yelled, “Kathryn, call the doctor!!!” he yelled. Jess tried to murmur something, but nothing came out. She faded and left her conscious state. When she came to, she was lying on the couch, in the living room. Her parents were on the phone, and her brother was standing over her.
“I’m so sorry,” Jake said. He was practically was sobbing. “I’m so so sorry,” he repeated. Jess could see and hear the sincerity of him.
“It’s okay,” Jess rasped. Jake brought her a glass of water. Her parents walked in then and asked the basic. Is she okay? Did anything hurt? Did she have a headache? After a “thorough” inspection by her dad, he pronounced she would be alright, and that they eat dinner soon, so at least Jess would have time to rest. They had spaghetti and meatballs. And Jake wouldn’t quit at making sure, Jess knew he was sorry. She slept dreamlessly that night for the preceding events had taken all her strength.
In the morning her mother was waiting for her with the paper. It was about their school assembly yesterday.
“I wonder why they did not,” Jess offered.
“Me too,” her mother said.
“I gotta go.”
It wasn’t that long of a walk to school, but today it felt like it was. Her headache was killing her. She heard something rustle behind her. Jess whirled around, and someone grabbed her, and threw her in a truck. She didn’t know she was going, what was happening? But she couldn’t finish her thought, because a lady came in and took her to the basement of some old house. It was dark and damp and very uncomfortable. The lady left then and didn’t come back for hours. When she did she didn’t say anything, just sat there looking at Jess, and Jess stared back. Jess was the first one to say something: “Why am I here?” Jess asked her.
“There’s something you need to know,” the other woman said. “But I can’t tell you, not now,” her voice cracked at that last word, and she burst into a tears, she then ran upstairs. Jess sat there thinking of anything the woman had to tell her. She fell asleep listening the “drip-drop” of water in the faucet next to her.
She was in a forest. In mid-morning. It was familiar somehow. It was dark all around. The bright morning sun trickled through the trees to the forest floor. Jess turned all the way around. Slowly. Taking in everything she could. But something startled her. She walked toward it. It was a carving of some kind. Like, “Jill was here,” kind of thing. The stuff she saw in movies. She reached her hand to touch it. But a noise startled her, bringing her hand to her side, and ceasing her investigation. Jess had heard arguing coming from the house. At least she thought she had. Jess started walking toward a house. It was old. Very rickety, wait, how did I know that? she thought. She had obviously been there before. It had blue shudders, and a green door. The windows looked new, and it looked as if it had been renovated lately.
She took the shortcut around to the back. She waited for a second, listened to see if anyone was there, nothing. The door was open a crack, so Jess walked up to it and attentively slipped inside. There she was!!! SHE!!!! THE LADY FROM THE CELLAR!!!! The lady turned around, “oh no!!” Jess thought. But the lady, other wise known as Shirley, (Jess heard the other man, Chuck, call her that) didn’t notice her. They were talking about something, and looking at pictures, but jess couldn’t see or hear, she moved closer and closer. But she couldn’t’ comprehend what she was seeing. A million thoughts jammed into her head at once, giving her an n enormous instantaneous headache. “It can’t be, it can't be…” she thought. Everything swirled around her, and she was awake in an instant.
But a loud bang interrupted her from further deliberation. Someone came in and picked her up and put her in a car. But she barely remembered any of it as she drifted into a dreamless sleep in the back seat of the policeman’s patrol car.
Jess remembered people coming in and out Saying “hi” and patting Jess’s head, which got very annoying. She was finally left alone to rest in her room. But something was different she though it was her parents, But it was probably just her. She finally had a chance to analyze the past events;
She remembered the place in the photograph: it was a memory that had always troubled her. It was her first birthday. She was sitting in one of those baby chairs. But the two smiling parents standing next to her, were not her mom and dad, they were the two people in her dream.
Her mother had insisted that Jess stay and rest, but not without a guard in front of the house 24/7. It was awkward, her parents were different somehow. Her brother was too, he seemed like he aged, s5 years, emotionally, since she had been taken. He was almost shy. “Ugh!” Jess though, it was all too confusing and weird. For her to handle at the moment.
She was glad or the time to herself. But something was nagging her. There were no baby pictures of her, or her brother, anywhere.
She snuck into her brother’s room that night, surprisingly enough, it wasn’t locked. He was sitting on is bed crying. She had never seen him cry. Never. He didn’t care that she was there. She closed the door and sat down next to him.
“Oh Jess, “he sad, “”You have no idea!” And he burst into tears, wailing like a baby. Jess sat there hugging him, rocking back and forth into the night listening to his sad, sad story. Until they had devised a plan.
It started when Jake asked if they wanted to play a game in the basement. Her parents, because of the sudden idea provided by Jake to spend time with them, said sure and went into the basement to play Clue. The very game Jill hated. So that was Jill’s excuse. She said she was going to play soccer in the front yard. But that’s not what she did.
Jess kicked the ball around a few minutes, to lead off suspicion from her parents. She quietly snuck away and into the forest she went. She started walking. Her eye’s make a 180° turn every few seconds to look for something familiar. Jess was starting to panic. Nothing looked familiar. It hadn’t crossed her mind of how the sheep she was going to get to the house. “CRACK!!” Jess whirled around. Nothing. This time she did a 360° scan of the area. Again, nothing. Her eyes passed something, and they darted back to it. It looked relatively similar to her dream. But she couldn’t be sure. Jess crouched closer, squinting, trying to get the slightest meaning out of this………this…….. Jess didn’t know what it was. Just then she remembered; it was the carving from her dream. This time she attentively held out her hand, and waited. Nothing. She proceeded to examine it, without interruption. It said something, but she couldn’t tell what. She brushed of the leaves and dirt on top of it. What she saw traumatized her so much she nearly fainted.
The inscription read, “Shirley
Chuck,” below that, “Our daughter: Jessica Remy Meyers,” and below that, “Jake Renold Meyers.” They both had the same
first names. But it couldn’t be them……………it couldn’t. Or could it? Jess’s question was left in the air, for another time to hack it down on ponder on. She started walking in the direction of the house, breathing heavily. “Why couldn’t she catch her breath?” Jess thought. The old house had blue shudders, and a green door. Just like her dream. Her breath caught in her throat. She continued to head to the house. Now, she could take in all the detail. There was a pool; it looked as it hadn’t been used in a decade. Over to the left, there was a swing set; it looked like the one in her dream. For an instant there, Jess thought she could see herself in that chair, with all the people. “You’re making this up,” Jess told herself. She shook her head, and walked to the door. She stepped in, and they were there, Shirley and Chuck, just sitting there.
“H-h-hello,” Jess stammered. They looked up, bomb shelled.
“Hi,” Shirley responded. Chuck looked amazed.
“J-j-jess?” Chuck asked.
“Yeah, that’s mean,” Jess replied. Chuck, had tears in his eyes, he got up to hug her, but startled, frozen in the middle of the room, arms open.
“It’s okay,” Jess said with courage she didn’t know she had. She walked into his arms and Chuck embraced her. He started to cry.
“I don’t mean to break up the moment,” Shirley started, “But ummm, why are you hear?”
“I want you to come back to my house, to straighten some stuff out with my parents.” Jess answered.
“What?” Chuck asked.
“I’ll explain it on the way.” Jess couldn’t reveal anything of risking being revealed.
“Ummmmm…………” Shirley said, unsure. Chuck looked at Shirley and shrugged his shoulder. “Sure,” Shirley said, still unsure. Jess lead them back to the house.
While Jess was at the house, Jake was in the basement of their house, entertaining their parents. He was winning as always. He knew right away from his parents’ faces that Colonel Mustard had murdered Mr. Brooker. But he wanted the game to go on as long as possible. He could also tell, that Jake’s dad thought it was Ms. Scarlet, and his mother thought it was Ms. Peacock. Just then the door opened.
“MOM!!!! I’m coming inside now!” Jess yelled to the basement.
“OKAY!!” Her mom yelled back. Jess lead Shirley and Chuck down into the basement.
“Mom, Dad,” Jess started, “This is Shirley,” she pointed to Shirley, “And Chuck,” Jess pointed to Chuck. Jess’s mom was wide eyed. She exploded.
“Who are you?” Kathryn asked.
“What are you doing her,” Richard said in agreement.
“Your daughter invited us,” Shirley answered as calm and attentive as a fox watching his prey.
“WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!??!!?!!?” Kathryn and Richard inquired together.
“Your daughter invited us,”Shirley repeated.
“Is this true?” Jess’s dad asked her, lowering his voice.
“Yes,” Jess answered.
“What for? Why?” Her mother stepped in and inquired, bewildered.
“To clear up a little misunderstanding,” Jake answered, “See, Shirley here, claims that you,” he pointed to their parents, “kidnapped Jess and I.”
“This is outrageous,” Kathryn said, laughing.
“No actually it’s not,” Chuck stepped in. Kathryn and Richard looked surprised. “See, two people at Jess’s 1st birthday identified you,” he pointed to Kathryn and Richard, “As the kidnappers. Then on Jake’s 1st birthday, those same two people described came, and were seen again. Just one question Kathryn, why did you risk it twice.”
“This is offensive,” Kathryn exclaimed, “Jess! How can you listen to this?” Kathryn asked. But she didn’t have a chance to answer.
“How can you deny it?” Shirley asked.
“I don’t have to admit anything,” Richard, “I didn’t do anything.”
“What are you talking about?” Kathryn agreed, “Admit what? We didn’t do anything.” But unlike Richard, Kathryn couldn’t keep a straight face; she was starting to sweat, and her face was turning into a bright tomato. Richard however had an almost convincing face of confusion on his face. Out of the corner of Jess’s eye, she saw Chuck looking at their tape collection, he picked of something up and put it behind his back, but Jess couldn’t what.
“Hello?” Kathryn was agitated. Shirley hadn’t answered her question.
“You know exactly what it is,” was all Shirley had to say, “We have proof.”
“But not enough,” Richard said.
“Oh, we have plenty,” Chuck stepped in. Everyone was bewildered, even Shirley. “See,” Chuck pulled out a tape, “I have it on tape.”
“What?!?!?” Now Shirley was confused. Chuck didn’t explain, he just walked over to the television,
“Richard, you mind?” Richard just shrugged and move slightly out of the way, his face unreadable. Chuck put the tape in, and turned on the television. They all sat down, Shirley and Chuck and the love seat, Jess and Jake, on the floor, and Kathryn and Richard in the recliners. The TV showed Jess’s first birthday;
Jess was sitting in the middle; there were a lot of people standing around her. Saying, “Oh she’s so cute, she got so big.” Shirley and Chuck were standing off to the side, holding hands, smiling. People were arriving from every direction, parked cars, and were in a line a mile back. Jess was smiling; there was food all over her face. The house was in the back round. It looked freshly painted, blue shutters and green door. Out of the corner of the camera, two people walked up. The video got a perfect picture-
Kathryn and Richard-
They went over to Jess, picked her up, and smiled. They looked innocent enough, that nobody gave them a second glance or thought. They stood there, standing and slowly undetected-
The tape went blank. All you could see was static. Chuck grabbed the remote and rewound to where Kathryn and Richard were holding Jess and smiling. But it went to static after, just like before. Chuck was getting furious. He fast forwarded. And it was the same place, except it was by the pool this time;
Jake was sitting it he seat. Some kids were in the pool, laughing throwing water at each other. Chuck and Shirley looked, a little protective of Jake, than they had been with Jess.
But then, the tape went to static again. Chuck stared at it, flabbergasted. He had thought that he made this huge discovery. Jake took out the tape, and looked at the title. It read, “Jess and Jake’s first birthdays.”
“I lost that tape a lit-” Chuck was cut off by Shirley.
“It was you!” Shirley exclaimed, “I wasn’t sure,” everyone was looking at her, everybody, but Richard. “I knew it.”
“Fine you caught me,” Richard said, but he wasn’t confessing to kidnapping.
“What, what did you do?” Kathryn said with a puzzled look on her face.
“Nothing, he was just the kid next door, when I grew up. Don’t you remember?”
“Yeah,” Richard’s head fell; he looked so innocent and exhausted, “Yeah that was me. But I didn’t kidnap those two kids.”
“Then who did it?” The question was left in the air.
“What is going on?” Kathryn asked perplexed.
“Richard and I grew up together,” Shirley said.
“So?” Kathryn said still bamboozled.
“Not a lot,” Richard stepped in, looking dismayed, “How can you still think, that Jess and Jake, are still your kids,” Richard turned to Kathryn, Jess, Jake, and Chuck, and then averted his gaze to Shirley,
“How can you still jealous. It’s been over 10 years since I met Shirley. See,” he now turned to everybody else, “Shirley and I, when we were in 9th grade, we went out a few times, but that was before, I met Kathryn. I mean, she was the most beautiful thing ever. I guess I had given Shirley the wrong idea, because when I told her I wanted to date other people, she blew up. But it was worth it, Kathryn was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
“Don’t sit there and lie, Jess and Jake belong to me,” Shirley said.
“Aren’t you forgetting someone?” Chuck inserted. Shirley had been revealed. She let her head hang.
“I-i-i- mean us,” Shirley stammered, “Us Chuck.”
“You disgust me,” Chuck said, “You said that they had been kidnapped as babies, by the same people when I met you. I’m so sorry Richard.”
“Wait,” everyone looked at Jake, “Then why are we at that house in the video.”
“We used to live there,” Kathryn answered.
“So,” now Jess had something to say, “Shirley, you made up the whole story, of us being kidnapped, after you kidnapped us, to Chuck?” Shirley didn’t say anything, “So how did you get us back dad?”
“Shirley never kidnapped, you. You stayed at her house for a weekend when you were babies, and Shirley must have made up the story, and when she met Chuck, told him, that we had kidnapped her two children.”
“But she really, did kidnap me, the other night,”
“You were mine,” Shirley said, her face was fuming, “You were mine. You belonged to me Richard, how could you?” She was hysterical. “HOW COULD YOU?!?”
“I’m sorry Shirley, but I love Kathryn. Sometimes you just have to let go.” Shirley tried to run up the stairs but just then the police banged open the door, and pulled out the warrant for her arrest. Handcuffing her, and reading her her rights as they were escorted to the police man’s car.
“I’m glad that’s over,” Jess said pooped.
“Yeah, me too,” Jake said.
“I’ve never been so happy to be wrong in my whole life. But I don’t get the dream, and the tree, in my dream.”
“Shirley must have been playing dumb, in that conversation; about knowing if it was Richard from her childhood. She was good, I was convinced.”
“Me too. But what about the dream; and the cellar dream?” Jess asked.
“They must have done something to you, in the cellar, I don’t know what. I don’t want to know what. The dream, could have been warning you,” he said, then added, “In a very twisted way, seeing that it was the wrong people that were-” he got lost in his thought.
“I interpreted it wrong. Those two people, whoever they were, weren’t kidnapping me, they were taking me home. It was showing me that they, were protecting me; taking me away from those awful people.”
“Guardian angels,” Jake said.
“Guardian angels,” Jess repeated.
They sat there awhile thinking. Their parents didn’t want to budge them, for this didn’t happen very often. It was very rare, for their two children to be civilized to each other. What they didn’t know, was that this moment would come again, sooner, than any of them expected.