Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 58: True Confessions, Take Two
At some point after the sun came up Scott and I stopped talking and drifted off to sleep. It was mid-afternoon when I came to.
There was a note beside the bed. “Work to do. Didn’t want to wake you. Call me. Love, Scotty.”
I showered and shaved and fixed myself up to look human before venturing downstairs for food. Wade was at the kitchen table with a stack of textbooks.
“Studying hard?” I asked.
“It’s Sunday afternoon. I’m surprised you’re even here.”
“I’ve been waiting for you to get up.”
“Oh,” I said. I opened the refrigerator. The cupboard was bare. Somebody was going to need to make a grocery run before we all starved. I shut the door. “I suppose you’re curious about last night.”
He nodded vigorously. “You know I am.”
The coffee in the coffeemaker didn’t seem too old. I wondered if Scott had made it. I poured a cup and braced myself. This was going to be one of the hardest conversations in the history of man. “Are you sure you want to hear this?”
“Are you going to tell me everything?”
“If that’s what you want.”
I sat across the table from him. Wade looked at me expectantly. For a fleeting moment an image of Samantha Stephens on her wedding night confessing to being a witch passed through my mind. I took a deep breath. “You’ve been living here quite awhile now, Wade.”
“And you figured out about the hypnosis.”
“I want you to know I’ve always tried to be honest with you, but there are some things I really thought it was best to keep from you. For your own peace of mind.”
Now would be the time to tell Wade he’d been hypnotized by me. But that secret could blow up in my face and leave me completely alone. Wade might never accept that information. I had to tell him. I just hoped we could both live with the consequences.
“You mean about hypnotizing me?” Wade’s eyes never left mine.
“What?” I yelped.
“I’ve tried to tell you that I know. I did start to. But you weren’t really listening. You remember that night in the kitchen? I told you I knew what you did for me.”
Everyone in my life seemed to be harboring major secrets. Scott was FBI; Wade knew he’d been hypnotized; before that Craig had an affair with Alan. How did I miss so much? I was having a hard time making my voice work. I sputtered, “But how?”
“I’d been having these really freaky dreams. And a couple times even when I was awake I felt like I was remembering something that I knew couldn’t have happened to me. So Craig came home this one time and I thought it was you coming in and I started saying that it was like I was remembering stuff that never happened and how weird was that? And Craig got really bitchy.”
I had a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. “What do you mean?”
“He started saying how did I know the stuff never happened and stuff like that. And I said it couldn’t have because I would never do anything like that. So Craig started talking about how when I came here I was afraid of my own shadow and how I used to get beaten because I was a bad boy and all this sick, twisted stuff. Then he was all ‘and don’t get me started on Donald.’ And I said who’s Donald? And he said I had been Donald’s slave and that if I didn’t smarten up I’d be somebody else’s slave. He made this big threat about keeping me in a cage. And he said if I asked you you’d just lie. But I knew you wouldn’t. So he went to the VCR and he put on a tape of Dateline where they did a story about the disappearance of this banker—Donald Sutherland. And it was weird ‘cause I never met him but when I saw him I just felt really creeped out. And then it was like I was starting to have dreams of Donald. But it was like it was all happening to somebody else.”
I downed some coffee. If this kept up I was going to need something stronger. “Wade, why didn’t you ever tell me this?”
“At first I was kind of mad at you because you knew all of this stuff about me and you didn’t tell me. But then I started to figure you didn’t tell me because whatever had happened to me was really bad. I had a couple of really bad dreams. Andrew’s been really great about when I wake up kind of freaked out.”
Wade suddenly became fascinated by the placemat. “He doesn’t know what the dreams are about. I–uh—kind of lied and said I didn’t remember. I didn’t want him to know what I had done…”
“You were coerced into doing that stuff against your will.”
“How do you know?”
“I can explain. When did these dreams start?”
“Around Thanksgiving, I guess.”
That long ago? “Wade, I’m sorry—“
“Don’t be. I get it. I think I get it.”
“What do you…”
“I went back to Craig a little before Christmas. I knew he was hypnotizing Alan by then. I confronted him about me. I thought maybe he’d lied and he was the one who had hypnotized me. But he was a real asshole. So I told him to stop trying to mess with my head about you.” Wade paused, then went on. “And he said he’d hoped I’d pack…”
“He had no right,” I snapped. Given the opportunity I was going to have a talk with Craig about this.
“So then he admitted you were trying to help me forget all this stuff so that I could grow up and not have to remember all the bad stuff. But I had figured that part out on my own.” He stopped, apparently finished with this discussion.
“So you’re not upset?”
“No, not really. I mean, in a way I wish I didn’t even remember what I do because it always really weirds me out when I remember stuff. I think that Donald guy used to hit me a lot from what I remember. And I had some weird like dog collar thing around my neck.”
I nodded. “I owe you an apology, Wade. I tried to play God with your memory and it was wrong. You were abused. I had hoped you’d never have to remember it. I’m learning now though that you can’t ever really bury your past. You have to deal with it.”
“The thing I don’t get is what about Donald? Where is he?”
“Donald’s gone. For good.”
“How do you know for good?”
I had said I wouldn’t lie to Wade. “He’s dead.”
“What? He is? How do you know?”
“He died in an accident while he was using another name. A friend of mine called to tell me. I can’t tell the police that. The friend who called me would have to be revealed and I can’t do that.”
“I understand. I won’t say anything. But he’s dead?”
“He got what he deserved in the end. You don’t kidnap seventeen year old boys and beat and rape them. Karma catches up to you.”
“He raped me?” Wade’s voice was unsteady.
I slowly nodded. “I can tell you all of it if you want, Wade. But I don’t know that it’s in anybody’s best interest. What was done to you was illegal, immoral, and beyond cruel. But you came through it all okay. And look at you now! You’re a college student with a job, friends, a boyfriend, and you’re happy and healthy.”
“And I have you.”
“Is that a blessing or curse?” I joked.
He walked around the table and hugged my neck. “I hated you for lying to me about hypnotizing me. But the more I thought about it I knew you must have had a good reason.”
“Wade, I’d do anything if I could erase what happened to you. I thank God that I was able to get you away from Donald when I did.”
“How did you?”
“That’s a long story.”
“I want to hear it sometime soon.”
“No. Now I want to know what happened last night? Who is Richard?”
So I told him. I told him all of it. I told him how I had been abused and how I had escaped and how Richard was a danger to all of us. I told him that if Richard was back in town looking at people in my life he had to be plotting something that would be designed to hurt me.
When I finished Wade just shook his head. “He sounds like a sick son of a bitch.”
“He is.” I finished the cold coffee in my cup. “But, Wade, if he comes near you again don’t talk to him. And don’t let him touch you. If he puts you under he could turn you back into the boy you were when you were with Donald.”
For the first time in this entire conversation Wade looked truly afraid. “How?”
“Memories can’t really be destroyed. I blocked your access to them. If he was to put you in a trance and find out about your past he could restore it. There’s no way to know how that would affect you except that it would be traumatic. And, Wade, you are Richard’s type. You’re young and cute and boyish.”
“That’s why you were so freaked when I told you he tried to touch me at the bar!”
“Richard uses his hands to induce trance.”
“I didn’t know you could do that.”
“There are many different induction techniques.”
“Chris, I want to learn this stuff.”
I sighed. I had figured he’d bring that up again. “Okay.”
Wade’s eyes widened. “Really?”
“Yes. But only as a preemptive measure against Richard. The more you know about hypnosis the wiser you can be if he tries to put you under.”
I wished I could have Wade’s enthusiasm about this. I got to my feet. “Okay, kiddo, I’m going to the grocery store. Are you eating home tonight?”
“Can I invite Andrew?”
“Sure. I’ll see what I can throw together for three.”
“Scott’s not coming?”
“I think he has to work, Wade.”
It was dark out by the time I pushed the cart through the exit doors of the supermarket. I had managed to drop a bundle on food and some other necessities. The good news was there’d be ice cream in the freezer for later.
I pulled my coat tighter around me as I hurried toward the car. The wind had kicked up. I unlocked the trunk and reached for a bag.
That’s when I felt somebody behind me.
I started to whirl around, but something thrust against the small of my back stopped me.
“Don’t turn around,” a muffled voice barked.
“What do you want?” I asked, my mind racing. I looked around the area of parking lot I could see. There wasn’t a soul in sight. Figured.
“Just do as I say and you won’t get hurt.”
I hoped he was telling the truth, since I was convinced the thing pointing at my back was a gun. I couldn’t believe I was getting robbed at the grocery store. Especially after I had just been beaten at a restaurant. What were the karmic odds? “I don’t have much money on me,” I said.
“I don’t want your money,” the voice hissed.
It suddenly hit me. I held out the keys. “Take the car.”
He hit my hand and the keys went flying across the parking lot.
“Ow!” I said in surprise.
I was rewarded with a jab in my lower back. “Get in.”
“Get in the trunk.”
“Please,” I said.
He pushed me. “Quit stalling.”
I heard the metal click of the gun. “Don’t fuck with me, Dick,” he rasped.
I climbed into the trunk of the car, silently praying. Please, God, don’t let him close me in the trunk. I was having trouble catching my breath.
He pushed my head and shoulders down roughly. Then the trunk slammed shut and everything was blackness.
To be continued in Part 59…
Christopher, Craig & Co.
Part 59: Trapped!
“Please, God, please let me out,” I whispered. I couldn’t see anything at all—the blackness was complete. Then I realized I had my eyes scrunched shut. It didn’t matter. When I opened them it was still completely dark.
I was having a hard time catching my breath. My chest felt constricted and I was starting to get dizzy. I knew I had to calm down and try to find a way out of the trunk. But I didn’t know how I could.
I could feel something jabbing me in the side, so I tried to shift around a little. There was the spare ice scraper. Something was still sticking me in my side. I tried to move in the cramped space and feel with my fingers.
My cell phone!
My hands were shaking as I flipped it open.
Faint light from the screen, but still. I tried to shine it around and see what else was in the trunk with me, but the light was dim and all I could see was how tiny a space I was locked in.
God, I was going to die in here.
No! I had a phone. I could get help. I even had a signal.
I hit the send button and dialed Scott. I prayed that he would answer.
I couldn’t remember the last time I was this happy to hear somebody’s voice.
He paused. “Chris?”
“What’s wrong?” His voice was full of concern.
“Scott,” I panted, “I need you. I need your help.”
“Okay, anything you need. What’s going on, Chris?”
I couldn’t catch my breath. “I’m locked in the trunk of my car.”
“What?” he yelled.
“Please let me out,” I whispered. “Please, just get me out.”
“Where are you?”
“Stop n Shop. Please, can you come and get me? Please, Scott?” My eyes were watering but I was trying desperately to stay in control of my emotions. I had had full out panic attacks in the past from being confined and I didn’t want to completely lose it. I knew I had to just wait for Scott to get here. He wouldn’t let me down.
“I’m already on my way to my car. Chris, you have to stay calm. I’ll be there as fast as I can.”
My entire body was shaking and I was feeling lightheaded. “Please, Scott, hurry up. I can’t breathe.”
“Yes, you can. You have plenty of air. You’re hyperventilating and not getting enough oxygen. Chris, stay with me. You know about hypnotism. I’ve been reading up on it. A lot of the relaxation stuff has to do with controlling your breathing. Can you try to get control of yourself? Breathe slower, Chris?”
“I don’t know if I can.”
“You can. I know you can. Anyone who’s been through as much as you have can do this. Breathe in and out. Slowly. I’ll do it with you. In. Hold it. Out. In. Hold it…”
I pressed my eyes shut. Please, God, get him here.
“Chris, talk to me. Are you there?”
“How did you end up in the trunk?”
My heart was racing. I could hear the pounding in my ears. God, where was he? How far away?
“Chris, talk to me. You were at Stop n Shop…?”
“I-I was shopping. And I started loading the groceries in the car. And this guy came up behind me and he had a gun to my back and he made me get in the trunk.”
“This guy. Did you see him?”
I wiped my face with the back of my hand. I was sweating. “No.”
“You didn’t see him at all?”
“He wouldn’t let me turn around.”
“Okay. That’s fine. You’re doing fine. Keep trying to slow down your breathing. Think, Chris. Did you hear anything or did he say anything that might give you any idea who he was?”
“I don’t know. He was talking kind of hoarsely.”
“Was he trying to disguise his voice? Could it have been somebody you know?”
My whole body was shaking. “Scott, how far away are you?”
“I’m almost there, Chris. Just stay with me a little bit longer.”
I was trying. Scott was right. I was focusing on my breathing and I didn’t feel so dizzy. I couldn’t lose control. I was not crazy. I could do this. I just wanted him here so badly.
“Chris, what did the guy say to you?”
God, let me out of this trunk! “Huh?”
“Did he say anything?”
I closed my eyes and tried to think back. What did he say? “Um, he told me—he told me if I did as he said I wouldn’t get hurt. I told him I didn’t have much money. I just spent it all on groceries.”
“What did he say to that?”
“He said he didn’t want my money.”
“He didn’t?” Scott sounded surprised.
“No. He didn’t want the car either.” God, I was freezing.
I was shivering. “It’s just cold.”
“I’m almost there, sweetheart. Just hang on. He told you to get in the trunk?”
“Yeah.” I tried to huddle myself into a smaller ball. I was so cold and I couldn’t stop shaking. “I tried to talk him out of it. But he had a gun and he said—“ I stopped.
“What? What did he say?”
“He said, ‘Don’t fuck with me, Dick.’” My eyes were wet but I was suddenly more pissed off than afraid. “Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.”
“What? Chris, what’s going on?”
“That’s what I said to Richard. Last night. At the Club. That’s exactly what I said to him before we left. Mother fucker! He knows I hate small spaces. He knows it! Fuck!” I squeezed my eyes shut tighter. “Please, Scott, you have to get me out of here. Please. I’m begging you. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I can’t do this. I’m not crazy. I swear I’m not crazy. I can’t do this. Please.”
“Chris, listen to me. You’re not crazy. You’re just afraid. Nothing is going to hurt you. I’m pulling into the parking lot right now. Okay, I see your car.” There were a few seconds of silence. Then somebody knocked lightly on the trunk. “You okay in there?” I heard through the phone.
God, he’s here. Thank God. “Please just let me out. Please. Just open the trunk.”
“Where are the keys, Chris?”
The keys? The keys! “I-I don’t know. He knocked them out of my hand and they went flying. They couldn’t have gone too far I don’t think.” Unless he took them, I thought, starting to shake harder.
“Okay, I’m here and I’m looking for the keys,” Scott said calmly. “It won’t be more than a couple more seconds now. Just keep trying to slow down your breathing. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
I heard his footsteps outside the car. It sounded like he was walking away. Where was he going? I’m right here! Please let me out.
“Scott? Are you still there?”
“Yes. I’m looking for your keys.”
“Don’t leave me here. Please don’t leave me in here.”
“Chris, I would never leave you in there. I’m trying to find your keys.”
“What if—what if he took them? Oh my God. I’m not crazy,” I whispered. “I’m not crazy.”
“If he took them then I’ll pry open your trunk. Just let me take a quick look around in all directions.”
I’m not crazy. Please, God. I’m not crazy. I just don’t want to be locked in here. Please get me out. Please.
The sound of keys jangling in the lock made my heart race faster. I didn’t know how much longer it could beat this hard. Scott was right outside. I just had to wait a little bit longer. He said a few more seconds.
Then the trunk opened.
I sucked in lungsful of air. Scott reached in and helped me out of the trunk. I sagged against the car to steady myself. My legs felt weak.
Scott looked worried and scared. “Do you need to go to the hospital, Chris? Just to get checked out?”
I flung myself against him, holding him in my arms. “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
Scott rubbed my back. “You’re okay, Chris. I told you you could do it.” He held me tightly. “I know you said you have claustrophobia, but I didn’t have any idea how bad it was.”
“I never wanted you to see me like this.” I felt embarrassed and ashamed of my behavior. “I must seem like great boyfriend material now, huh?”
Scott shook his head. “Don’t be ridiculous. You had a panic attack. You were in an extreme situation and you had a reaction to it.”
“I thought I had overcome the panic attacks.”
Scott leaned back enough to look me in the eyes. “I want to go on record right now as saying that you are not crazy. I would swear to that on a stack of bibles.”
“Richard always said he would make people think I was crazy and lock me up forever. Every time I get like that it just all comes back. I just get afraid that no one will believe I’m not crazy.”
“Well, you have me on your side now. You’re sane. No matter what happened in your past.”
As much as I never wanted to leave his arms, I pulled away and wiped my eyes on my sleeve. “Scott, you don’t know what it’s like. God, it was like being back in that closet at Richard’s.” I was still trembling and sweating. “I’m going to kill that bastard.”
“No, you’re not. If he did this we’re going to arrest him.”
“He did it. I’m sure of it.”
“But how do we prove it in court, Chris?”
“The courts aren’t the place to deal with Richard.”
“Chris, I’m F.B.I. The law is the way to go. With all that Richard has done we just need to compile a case.”
I noticed the cart of groceries still sitting beside the car. I felt so tired all of a sudden.
“Chris?” Scott stepped directly in front of me. “You okay?”
I nodded. “I’m just a little wiped out.”
“You sure we shouldn’t stop at the emergency room? Just to be on the safe side? Make sure you’re okay?”
“No. They can’t do anything for a panic attack. I know that’s what it was. I always know when they’re done. It’s just when they start…” I yawned.
“I know. It’s all right.” Scott grinned. “I think maybe I’d better drive you home.”
“Okay.” I didn’t have the energy to protest.
“Go ahead and get in my car. The heat’s on. It’ll warm you right up.”
I did as he suggested. Scott loaded the groceries into his own trunk, locked my car and climbed into his own.
“Scott, thank you. I don’t know what I would have done if you hadn’t come to get me and stayed on the phone with me.”
Scott placed his hand on mine. “Any time you need me I’ll be here.” He smiled a megawatt smile.
I leaned across the car awkwardly and hugged him. “I love you, Scott.”
“You, too,” he said. “But I’d better get you home and then get back here and see if I can find anything at all that might be a clue to who did this to you.”
I slouched down in the seat. “I’m sure Richard sent whoever it was.”
“Unless we can find who it was and get them to admit that we can’t touch Richard. I should have called the police and had them secure this area as a crime scene. But I don’t want to blow the entire case. And I think you’ve been through enough.”
I nodded and stifled a yawn.
“There’s got to be a way to get the goods on Richard,” Scott mused as he drove us out of the parking lot.
I was willing to try it his way. But when that didn’t work I was going to wring Richard’s neck with my bare hands.