“Sarah. Sarah. It’s Dr. Golding. Tell me what’s going on sweetie.” There was something about this woman I didn’t like. When she spoke there was a hint of venom on the tip of every saccharine word. I wanted her out of my room. I closed my eyes and pretended to pass out. She leaned in close and took my vitals. She opened my eyes one at a time to look at my pupils. I stayed limp.
Her phone rang and she walked to the door to answer it. “She isn’t strong enough to interrogate.” She hissed into the phone. “It won’t do us any good to move forward if we don’t have what we need.”
She hung up the phone sharply and pulled a nurse inside the doorway. She spoke to her in a language that seemed so familiar to me and yet I couldn’t place it. The nurse winced as Dr. Golding dug her nails into the helpless nurses’ arm. When the nurse finally scurried away, Dr. Golding walked slowly back to my bed and leaned over me. “You can’t hide forever Sarah.”
I lay there frozen; listening to the cadence of her heels as she walked away.
My anxiety lasted for hours after Dr. Golding’s visit. The laconic click of her heels kept echoing in my mind. It made my mind race like a hamster on a wheel. Spinning faster and faster, but going nowhere. Just the thought of her was disorienting me. Click….Click…..Click….Click. Like a metronome pacing the speed of my heart.
I vaguely remember the nurse walking in and injecting an anonymous clear liquid into my IV. Sleep reached for me and I couldn’t avoid its grasp. And then a dream….. no a memory….found me in my hiding place.
I’m in a wooded park or trail. Tony, my Tony, sneaks up behind me and kisses my cheek. He wraps his arms around mine. He smells woodsy… like a campfire. He spins me forward and kisses me, discreetly tucking a manila envelope in my inside coat pocket. He walks past me, turns and winks. It happens so fast. I don’t want him to go. He knows it, but he keeps walking…whistling the theme song to Mission Impossible. That was his way of saying he loves me. It always made me laugh. Our lives were an impossible mission.
I wait to open the envelope until I am in my car. It contains incriminating documents and pictures of our three main targets but no web address. Where’s the web address?
The dream fades and a nightmare replaces it.
I am running. I’m splattered in red. It’s warm and smells metallic. I find my way to a tunnel, hidden by moss and an old tree stump. I wade through knee high water until the tunnel spits me out into a small retention pond. I clumsily climb out, and search frantically for an old tree shaped like a shepherds crook. I pull out the “go bag” we left inside its trunk. It’s stockpiled with money, passports and weapons. I peel off my blood stained coat and toss it in the pond. I lift my shirt and check for injuries. None. The blood is not mine. And then I remember Tony. They shot Tony…and they are after me.
In an instant, the dam burst and all of my memories were flooding in faster than I could process them. I remember the emptiness that filled me at Tony’s funeral. I never recovered his body. It was too dangerous to go back for him. There was no viewing because there was nothing to view. Rather than tell the kids, I explained I didn’t want them to remember him like that and displayed a sealed, empty casket. I filled it full of memories. Memories, and the manila folder he had given me, filled with all the information that had already been passed onto other operatives. I figured it would be safer six feet under. I had “him” buried behind the church where we were married.
Tony was adamant that I keep the information safe at all cost. It was proof that foreign governments were hiring US intelligence operatives to smuggle terrorists into the country. Their goal was to overthrow the government. Unfortunately, the URL for the website was missing. That was what we needed. It purportedly linked thousands of computers throughout the world allowing them to legitimize documents, encrypt sensitive files, and clean up the messy details. The folder did list several officials that had hired contract killers to secure their own positions…and the bank accounts that funded these interests. Information that they would kill to hide. Literally.
It was enough information to bring down a lot of people but not all of them. I was still living the nightmare that had taken Tony.
Memory after memory emerged like a sudden storm. Clouds of darkness, filling a once empty sky. My heart was racing. I was in between memories. Everything was smeared together. I started to wake up. My eyes flickered. Dr. Golding was standing over me and I remembered her. I remembered everything.
Check back tomorrow for the exciting conclusion!