“No, of course not-but could you have just fallen down the steps?” she asked.
Great. If my own mother didn’t believe me, it was obvious the police had probably written my attacker off as well. I supposed if I ended up dead on my living room floor that would convince them, I thought moodily.
“I think there’s a Walgreens on this next street. It should be open where we can get your prescriptions filled,” my mother said, switching the subject.
“I’m only getting the pain medicine,” I said.
I could sense her unease, “They were working well for you before. Don’t you think-”
“No, I’m not about to take anything else so I can be accused again of dreaming the whole thing up.”
“Liz, I never said I didn’t believe you.”
Sure, Mom. “Doesn’t matter,” I mumbled. “I’m not taking anything Dr. Miles prescribed and I’m not seeing her again.”
She drove quietly until we reached the pharmacy. I wasn’t sure the argument was over but she’d decided not to pursue it for which I was thankful. My head had begun to throb painfully.
It took almost an hour to get the prescription filled and the lack of sleep and stress finally took its toll. I fell asleep in the car only to awaken when Mom pulled into her driveway. I didn’t want to stay with her but I was too tired to argue. I allowed her to help me into my old bedroom.
I felt the hands tighten around my throat. I struggled to breathe. I grabbed the attacker’s arms and tried to pull away but it seemed he possessed super human strength. I gasped and fought but could feel myself losing consciousness. I looked around his shoulder. There stood Chris. I screamed.
“Liz?” I heard a voice ask. “Are you okay?”
I blinked and realized I’d been having another nightmare. “I’m fine, Mom. Bad dream.”
She looked far from convinced. “If you won’t see Dr. Miles, you should pick another psychiatrist. You can’t go on like this.”
I waved her away. “Don’t start before breakfast.” I walked past her into the bathroom. If I didn’t leave here today, I’d be back in another doctor’s office.
Two hours later, I’d finally convinced my mother to take me back home. She sat mute and angry as she drove. I got out of her little SUV and slammed the door.
“Call me if you need me,” she said quietly. “I love you.”
I felt guilty. “I love you, too, Mom. I know you mean well but I just need some peace and quiet right now.”
“At least call someone about getting a security system installed right away,” she begged.
Maybe she did believe I had been attacked after all. “I will,” I promised. “Don’t worry about me.”
She nodded but her face looked more worried than ever. She drove away smoothly, leaving me standing in the driveway. I felt a shiver of fear as I looked at the front door. I reached under my jacket and ran my hand along the pistol I’d hidden there. Dad hardly ever shot any of his guns, much less the little pistol he’d inherited. I hoped he wouldn’t miss it. I kept my hand on it as I opened the front door slowly. The house was as quiet as a tomb. I could hear the light ticking of the clock on the wall. I held my breath as I walked toward the staircase. I ran my hands over it, looking for evidence of my attacker. All I saw were a couple of new nicks and scratches. I wandered to the back patio door. All the glass was intact just as the police had said. I hadn’t imagined it. I could still remember exactly how the smashing glass had sounded. However, after checking every window in the house and garage, I sat down puzzled. There didn’t appear to be any broken windows anywhere.
I started again. It must have been a vase or maybe even a coffee mug. I checked through all the rooms again. None of the vases or decorative pieces was missing or broken. I looked at the kitchen last. I didn’t have a photographic memory. Outside of a few favorite glasses, I had no idea how many dishes or mugs I owned. Anyone could have easily broken one and thrown it away and I would have been none the wiser. I often left a mug near the sink to drink water from. There wasn’t a cup there now. Had I left one? I shook my head in disgust. I couldn’t remember for certain.
I was beginning to see why the police doubted me, though. I couldn’t find anything obvious that had been taken. All our electronics were still there. They hadn’t even bothered to pack off our laptops or cell phones, which were in plain sight on my desk. I couldn’t see any signs of forced entry either. Our doors weren’t pristine but I believed I would have noticed any dramatic new scratches. I had more questions than answers. Had they gotten what they’d come for or had they been after me? Worse yet, was Dr. Miles right? Was it possible I had been dreaming, wandered down the stairs in confusion, and fell? I wasn’t used to taking antidepressants and sleeping pills. Had there been side effects? No! I couldn’t have dreamed it. Someone had taken Chris and Daniel-that was no dream.
I remembered my promise about the alarm system. I didn’t want an obvious one with signs blaring. I needed proof if someone tried to break in again but I didn’t want to scare them off. Since my husband and son’s disappearance, this was the only incident that might give me a clue to the kidnappers’ identities. I needed hidden cameras.
I opened my laptop and quickly found a company that sounded able to do the job. I dialed the number on their website. The man that answered my call sounded competent. “I need this to be very discreet.” I explained about my family’s disappearance. “I don’t want anyone watching my home to know I’m having a security system installed.”