As she pulled the ambulance back into its bay at the hospital Elisabeth’s boss was standing there. When he saw her he headed towards her, a worried frown upon his lumpy face. This set off no alarms in her mind. Frank had two faces. The' I just sucked lemons' face and the one he wore now. It was his infamous the sky is falling face. He was a funny looking man. He had a short round body like that of an uneven and melted pear. His brown hair was scarce and yet it managed to pop up randomly across the waxed surface of his head and all over his face. His face was doughy and yet somehow pinched of like that of a weasel with a boot-licking smile to top it off. His smile, (thank God he wasn't wearing it now), was the t that really made Elisabeth’s stomach turn because it didn’t fit into either of his faces. The overall package was creepy. The guy gave her the willies.
She took her time getting out. She even pulled the mirror down to look at herself first. It was not pleasant. Two deep dark purple smudges were below her eyes. Heart shaped face framed with heart colored hair, her father used to say. Small eyes sat in those smudged and depressed sockets. Somehow they had managed to sink even further into a face that was once pretty. They used to sparkle brightly like a flawless emerald, but now they looked more like algae in the fish tank she had at home. Elisabeth wondered when she had lost the sparkle from her life. When had she stopped caring about her appearance? Her best friend, and mother hen, Molly had been telling Elisabeth for months that she needed to start dating. She used to date. Elisabeth wasn't sure what had happened. That was a lie. Life had happened. She wasn't sure what had happened in her life but there was something there, she just couldn't remember.
She closed the mirror and put on her game face. Meaning she was going to try really hard not to laugh at whatever Frank was getting ready to say. It wasn't cruel laughter. It was nervous tittering meant to dispel the feelings he left upon her. The way he walked, talked, moved, everything really. She found it all highly amusing. As she got out and he got closer it became apparent that there was something off. He radiated a deep sorrow that pulled at her spirit and hurt her to the very depths of her being. Wait.
He stopped just short of knocking her over. His nervous energy vibrated her body. It grabbed her and brought her into his world. For a moment time seemed to crawl, then abruptly stop all together. She felt herself reaching out to Frank. Elisabeth fought the feeling and tried to back pedal away from him and the inner thoughts that were in his mind. Without warning she could see inside of him. What she saw horrified her to the very depths of her soul.
There was something wrong with Molly. What she saw didn’t make sense. Elisabeth pulled herself from Frank's mind and reached out to Molly. The connection she was attempting to make with Molly was shaky and it hurt her head to keep reaching. She never purposely did this but it happened before she could stop herself. It was pure animal instinct. Once she realized what she was doing Elisabeth tried to yank herself back, but it was too late.
Molly was blind folded. Blood seeped from a wound on her head. Her hair was loose and hung around her covering what the remaining bits of her clothes weren't. She had been badly beaten and Elisabeth could see the evidence all over Molly's body. Elisabeth didn’t want to see anymore but she did. She knew that even if she slammed her eyes shut that she would continue to see the scene unfold in front of her. Molly’s whole body convulsed as she cried and pleaded for her life and that of her son. Ethan laid a couple of feet away shaking and moaning to his self. To Elisabeth it sounded as if Molly was under water. Her words were garbled and had a strange drawn out and muted quality to them.
"Ethan? Ethan honey, say something for Mommy. Ethan?"
The terror and pain in Molly's voice ripped at her heart. She didn't want to hear it but the vision wouldn't stop. "Can anybody hear me? Please help us," she screamed loudly. The sound bounced off the walls and the ceiling of the room. It seemed to come back at Molly. She flinched as the words hit her and she realized that there was no one there to help them.
“Is anyone out there? Please somebody help us. Please!” This time the words hit the air around her and spread out, fanning to every corner. It was full of panic and over flowing with a pleading that only those about to die can summon.
Molly's head hung with exhaustion. Blood dribbled from the cut on her head and she was filthy. Her clothes were tattered and covered with blood. Elisabeth whimpered. Lumpy bruises covered her face and Elisabeth almost didn't recognize her. Elisabeth shook her head several times trying to free herself from the vision but it was useless.
Molly's moaning was suddenly cut off by a sharp yelp. She frantically back peddled trying to free herself from the chain around her waist that kept her in place. Anguish mixed with strangled cries echoed through the empty space. "You stay away from him. Stay away, please," she sobbed. The statement had started out angry then had dwindled down into a weak plea.
A man stepped from the shadows. He was small and lean. His silhouette sent shivers down Elisabeth spine. "My dear Mrs. Evans, can I call you Molly?"
He closed the space between himself and Ethan. He bent down and stroked the child's sweat drenched hair away from his forehead. "You know Molly, I am not a doctor but I think he may need medical help. I think the boy is in shock."
There was something about the way his words flowed, some quality that Elisabeth couldn't place. His accent was both exotic and calming. There was something about that voice that was so soothing, yet it rasped across her eardrums like sandpaper.
Molly's sobs once again filled Elisabeth's ears, "Please, I'll do whatever you want. Please, just let us go. He's all I have."
"That’s good to hear. It really is. What I want is simple."
A bright light flashed and Elisabeth found herself once again staring at Frank. She felt weak and suddenly sick to her stomach. Looking around through blurry eyes she struggled to find a way to get away from Frank. She didn't want to be here, and she didn't want to hear what he was about to say.
"Elisabeth," Frank said gently. "Elisabeth," He said a little louder.
"Elisabeth! Have you seen Molly? She didn’t show up for work this morning and we’ve been unable to reach her at home. This is the second day that she has failed to show up to work and we are concerned." He put a sweaty hand on her shoulder, which felt like a wet rag resting on her. Elisabeth was thoroughly disgusted and wanted to cringe away but she couldn’t move.