Anne Caryl

Page forty-three

A Christmas Poem
Merry Christmas. Are you kidding me?
About Me
The Gold Train Connection
Back to Reason
Virtual Art Gallery




            Macie tried holding her breath. The rat didn’t move. If it ventured further, it would be on her face, crawling over her mouth. She couldn’t stop it, couldn’t even scream. Then the thing started moving again, creeping closer to her chin. Stay calm. Stay still. She knew from its weight, it was big.

            The blanket ended six inches from her face. Go away. Go back. She braced for the tiny, sharp claws over her jaw, digging at her lips, her eyes. The door scraped open. The rat leapt to safety and Macie’s heart thundered in her ears as the circle of light grew closer.       

            “Mrs. Stone?” The light settled in the air, rested on a table or something, several feet away. “ Do you need to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water?”

            The tape was pulled from Macie’s mouth, this time gently. Her voice came in a forced, dry whisper. “ Please. Please let me go. I’ll do what ever you want, but please...”

            “I can’t do that, but I’ll take you to the restroom and get you a drink.” It was a woman. But not someone she could reason with. She was cold, all business.

            “Yes, please. I need to go to the bathroom. Can you untie my hands? The ropes are cutting off the circulation.”

            “For now.”

            Macie felt the woman’s hair brush her cheek as she leaned to help Mace stand. So, she had long hair. “Are you Paige McKenzie?”

            There was silence, then her jailer exhaled slowly. “It’s better you don’t know who I am. Just hope your Dr. Sorkin goes along with us, and you’ll be home in another day or so.”

            “Another day...Oh, please. I can’t do this another day. There are rats.” Her legs buckled as she put her weight on them, then tingled as circulation was restored.

            The woman led Macie down a dark hall to a small moldy-smelling bathroom. In the dim light, Mace could just make out a stool and sink. She waited, afterward, for her guard to come in to get her. If she could push her, trip her, somehow get away...

            “You need to come out now, Mrs. Stone. The electricity in this area has been turned off and, I assure you, this building is large. And dark.”

            A cold band of fear squeezed Macie’s chest. She stepped toe-to-heel out of the bathroom over an uneven wood floor. The other woman reached for her arm, guiding her back to her prison. Back to the rats.

            “Please, stay a few minutes. I’m so scared.”

            Macie sat on the cot while her guard tied her hands again, this time looser. Then the woman stepped back and sat at the table. The candlelight reflected off her hair. It was blond. Paige McKenzie.

            “Why are you doing this?”

            “They tried talking to you. To convince you what you’re doing is murder. But you wouldn’t listen.”

            “Who do you mean? Who’s behind this?”

            “You know.”

            “No. I mean, I know you’re pro-life people, but—

            “Then you know all you have to know.”

            “No one talked to me. I would’ve listened. But no one talked to me. Please believe me, they didn’t.” Macie’s heart pounded. She choked at the desperation in her voice.

            “Well, they talked to your boss.”

            “Doctor Sorkin has money…”

            The chair fell as Paige jerked off it. “You think that’s what this is about?”

            “No. I just thought…well, you could buy literature and…”

            “Would you have read the literature? No, you wouldn’t have. You would have just laughed at it and thrown it in the trash. This is God’s work we’re doing. He doesn’t need your money. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”

            “Does God ask you to kill?” Would you do that too?” Macie’s voice was getting hoarser, it hurt to talk.

            “That’s different from what you’re doing, and ... if I believed it was from God, yes. In a heartbeat.”

            “Are they going to kill me?”

            “Don’t be stupid. Your doctor. friend won’t let that happen. He’ll listen, now that we have you to get his attention. He’ll close down the building...sell it, and retire. That’s all we want. We want him to stop killing babies.” Paige McKenzie sat back in her chair.

            “But you don’t see them as babies, do you? To you, they’re just tissue.”

            “ No, I believe they’re babies. Children. I understand.”

            “It’s easy to say while you’re sitting here scared, isn’t it?

            “I am scared...and I’m pregnant.” Macie thought she heard the woman gasp. “About two months. Not enough to show, but I’ve got morning sickness and all the other things that go with expecting.” Come on, lady, please connect with me here. “You probably know how that goes.”

            Paige jerked the candle off the table and stood up. “I’ll be back tomorrow morning. You should try to sleep.”

            “No. Please stay here. Please don’t leave me alone again.” The door shut, the darkness closed in. But Paige had forgotten to put the gag back over Mace’s mouth. Now she could scream.





            Phil splashed cold water on his face. The coffee was gone, and so was Macie. It was seven-thirty am and no sign of his wife. He tried to reconstruct her activities Friday, but the morning was a blank. He’d waited by the phone all night, hoping for a call from a garage where she was having a tire repaired, or a hose replaced. But with the morning came the inescapable. Something had happened to Macie.

            Their room lay in shambles. Phil had gone through her dresser, her address book, checked her email, looking for some clue. There was nothing. He called Sorkin again. This time the old man answered the phone.

            “Doctor Sorkin, this is Phil Stone. Listen, Do you have any idea where Macie might have gone yesterday?”

            “Macie? No. Why?”

            “She didn’t come home last night. Do you know where she might be?”

            There was a silence on Sorkin’s end. When he spoke again, Phil heard something strange in the man’s voice. he couldn’t identify the feeling, but Sorkin sounded...defeated.

            “No. I don’t know where she could be. I’m sorry, I wish I could help.”

            “If you hear anything, would you let me know?” He gave the doctor his cell number and hung up.

            In the baby’s room, a half-done pastel afghan draped the bassinet. Phil picked it up and held it to his face, smelling the faint scent of Windsong, Macie’s favorite perfume.

            “I can’t seem to forget you...,” the perfume jingle went. He started for the kitchen phone to call the police, then to let her folks know she’d gone missing.

            Phil sat on the stool by the counter and picked up the receiver. He was dialing the first number when he saw the folded pink and blue paper. It was a brochure. Crisis Pregnancy Resource Center. Mary Conley. He hung up and took his keys from the wall peg.

     Twenty minutes later, he arrived at the Conley house. The door opened, in answer to Phil‘s ring, and Mary Conley appeared in bathrobe and slippers. “Yes? Can I help you?”

            “Are you Mary Conley?”

            “I am. What’s this about?”

            “I’m Phillip Stone, Mrs. Conley. Macie’s husband.” Phil shivered. In his rush, he had forgotten a jacket.

            “Come in, Phillip. It’s still nippy in the mornings. Springtime in the Rockies, you know.”

            “Mrs. Conley, do you know where Macie is?” He couldn’t contain the hysteriathat crept into his voice.

            “Why, no. She was here yesterday morning but she...Phillip, you don’t mean your wife is missing?”

            “She didn’t come home last night. I’ve called friends, hospitals, garages, every place I thought she might be. Nothing. She’s just...gone.”

            Mary Conley put her arm around him, and Phil felt reassurance at her touch. She led him through a hall, past a stairway where she stopped, looked up, and called, “Pete. You need to come down. We have company.”



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Anne Caryl
504 East Furry St.
Holyoke, Co. 80734