"If I Wake From Dreams"

By Rich Henry

Copyright 2000 Rich Henry

Hello or goodbye CLICK FOR LARGER IMAGE

FADE IN: Chris has just told Kaitlin they have to go into hiding.

"Are you insane?" Kaitlin asked, dryly.

"What choice do I have?" Susan asked.

"Where are you going to go?"

"You mean, where are we going to go." Susan said.

"Uh," Kaitlin wanted to bang her hand on the table to make sure she wasn't dreaming.

"You're the only one who can cure me. I believe in you. Won't you believe in me?" Susan said on the verge of tears.

Kaitlin stood in the middle of the room and it seemed to start spinning. She wanted adventure and here it was. But hiding from a psychopathic husband seemed a little more danger than she was looking for.

"We're all packed," Chris said, looking back at the car. "I rented a car to throw him off the scent."

"What am I going to tell my parents?"

"Tell them you got an offer from a college to do research. From one of your old professors."

Kaitlin pondered Chris' suggestion. It was probably the only palpable one her parents would believe.

"Alright, I'll do it. But we're going to have to take all this apart," Kaitlin said pointing to all the equipment in the garage.

Chris and Susan looked at each other, "Do you need all of it?" Susan asked. "I thought you said you could make it portable?"

Kaitlin drew a deep breath and blew it out slowly. "But what will I use?"

"Just take the laptop and the CD-ROMs you burned?" Chris suggested, looking at his watch. "We really don't have that much time."

"He'll be able to track us down in minutes. Credit cards and ATM's," Kaitlin said after assessing the situation a little more.

"We thought about that!" Susan smiled. "I cashed out my bank account and I have all my jewelry, just in case."

"I can't even believe this is happening."

"Believe it!" Chris said as he began unplugging the miles of cables that ran all over the room.

"Be careful! Let me unplug it. You can start unplugging that stuff," Kaitlin said, pointing to the time machine.

Kaitlin finished unplugging the equipment but still could not decide what to take with her. It seemed like it was all or nothing. Finally she figured all she needed was the laptop, a few speakers, and all her notes. Then she went upstairs to pack. She hid the suitcase under her bed and went down to explain to her mother that she had gotten some lab space at the College for her to work on her experiments. She also explained that she would probably stay a few days to look for an apartment. Her mother sprang to life when she heard 'move out' and went into the kitchen to pack up some supplies for her. Kaitlin figured that was a good sign and went back upstairs to get her suitcase.

"Are your friends in grad school?" her mother asked.

"Uh," Kaitlin paused, "Yes. They are helping me move"

"I get my garage back too?" her mother asked, beaming.

"Not exactly," Kaitlin smiled. "I'll have to come back and get most of it. He has a small car. Plus it will be easier to get settled without all that gear."

Her Mother was not pleased but saw that indeed Chris' car was already full. "Well, call us when you get settled, and we can rent a truck to bring the rest of it out to you. I've packed some stuff for your new place."

Kaitlin looked behind her mother and saw shopping bags brimming with supplies. She knew her mother wanted her out but she did not know just how badly.

Kaitlin came back out and saw the garage was much cleaner. Chris was dripping with sweat but seemed very motivated. Susan was resting in the chair.

"Oh, by the way, my mother thinks you two are grad students. And she packed us a ton of food."

"Sounds good to me," Chris agreed. "Are you all packed?"

"All ready!"

"Let's go," Chris said, heading back to get Susan.

"We have to get the food," Kaitlin said. "And don't be so melodramatic! My mother can sense deceit miles away."

"All right. I'll try to calm down. Let's get it."

Kaitlin and Chris went into the kitchen. Her mother introduced herself and said how nice it was for Chris to come out and help Kaitlin move. Kaitlin found it odd because surely she had seen Chris coming and going before and now she acted like it was the first time she had had ever seen him. Chris kept a straight face and hauled bag after bag of groceries out to the car. He could not believe that the car was entirely full. He shook his head and looked at his watch. Kaitlin lugged her suitcase down the stair and said goodbye to her mother before climbing into the car. Susan complexion was almost green and her hair seemed very thin.

Chris started up the road. He seemed to stare down every driver that he encountered. He knew Mark would be at his apartment sooner or later. He sped past his apartment complex but did not see Mark's car. Now he was worried he would pass him on the way out of the cape. He stayed in the right lane to be as far away from oncoming traffic as possible.

"Where are we going?" Kaitlin asked.

"Boston."

"What's there?"

"You'll see," Chris said mysteriously.

Kaitlin noticed the wind was blowing quite a bit of hair back her way. She looked over the seat to see Susan's hair was actually falling out. Kaitlin felt ill and angry at the same time. There was no need for such extreme treatment in the early stages. She nudged Chris.

He looked over and closed his eyes, as if to block it out of his mind.

"I've never heard of cancer spreading so fast they had to give massive doses of radiation in the first few weeks?"

"It's all Mark's doing. He figured if she was sick he could control her."

"But what doctor would allow this?"

Chris looked at Kaitlin as if she was born yesterday.

"I'm going to kill that son of a" Chris said bitterly. "That's why we need you. To help her get healthy. I don't see how they can stop a disease by killing a person?"

"I don't think it's that black and white," Kaitlin said softly, not wanting to spark a disagreement. "But to give such a massive dose is just sick."

They drove the remainder of the trip in silence. Kaitlin was stuffed in the back with all the groceries and clothes. Susan kept the window open and it was hitting Susan straight in the face. The whole thing seemed surreal to her. Chris drove to a deserted warehouse district, far away from the city center. He drove up and down empty streets searching for something. Then they came upon a fat man in an ill-fitting dark suit sitting on the hood of the only car on the street.

"Friend of yours?" Kaitlin teased him.

Chris slowed the car down and pulled over. Hopping out he said to her: "yeah."

Kaitlin watched as Chris gave the fat man a healthy wad of cash. The man handed him a key. Chris did not thank him but just turned and walked away. The man, who was wearing dark glasses, quickly counted the money, shoved it in his pocket, looked up and down the street and then got into his car and drove off.

Chris waited until he was gone and then made a U-turn.

"How the? Who was that? What did he give you?"

"We've got a warehouse all to ourselves," Chris smiled, tossing Kaitlin the key.

She caught it and looked at him severely. "How do you know you can trust him?"

"He's a pornographer. He ain't going to cops."

"How'd you meet him?"

"The Internet."

"I can't even begin to start to believe this."

"I've got friends in low places."

Chris pulled up to a brick warehouse. The whole street was lined with similar brick warehouses. He turned the car off and looked around suspiciously.

"Must you be so mysterious?" Kaitlin said handing the key. He nervously got out and went up to the door and try to fit the key in the lock. The lock was stiff but Chris fumbled with the handle and eventually the door opened. He wiped his brow and went inside.

Kaitlin looked carefully up and down the empty street waiting for her killer to arrive. She held her breath.

She practically jumped out of her skin when Chris pushed the squeaky roll up door open. She stared at him in amazement as he calmly got back in the car and drove inside. He hopped out and pulled the door down.

"Did your mom pack any sodas?"

"Uh, I think so," Kaitlin said looking through the bags and trying to extricate herself from the back of the car. They left Susan to sleep.

The warehouse was empty except for a few boxes and packing materials. Kaitlin was relieved that it wasn't a movie studio or something worse. She walked around and took down some lurid posters in the office. She then looked in the boxes and saw they were filled with pornographic tapes. She closed her eyes and told Chris they were going to have to do some cleaning.

"We really can't. There is no garbage pickup so any movement has to be at night."

"What the hell are we doing?" she confronted him.

"We are going to save my sister from cancer. No, from two cancers."

"Chris, you're frantic. Sit down."

They sat down in the office. Kaitlin was afraid to touch anything.

He noticed her uneasiness, "All they did was ship stuff here. No movies were made here. And it's got power and a bathroom."

"Just like home from home," Kaitlin said. "I guess we should unpack the groceries."

"Damn!" Chris exclaimed.

"Now what's the matter?"

"I have to get rid of the car. But if I drop it in Boston he'll know we're here."

"Why don't you drive to New Jersey. Then they will think you're in New York," Kaitlin said felicitously.

"Excellent idea!" I'll drive there tonight and come back on the train in the morning."

"I was kidding."

"I'm not. Let's unload the car. Then we'll go to the store and get some more supplies; then I'll drop you off and head to New Jersey."

Kaitlin shook her head and helped Chris unload the car. Susan went into one of the smaller offices and went to sleep.

"That Chemo is unbelievable."

"It's poisonous to the body. I mean it would be all right to use it if she needed it, but to use it to control her is just sick. I swear if he comes here I'll shoot him."

"All right Mannix. Take a deep breath. You've been running full speed all day."

"Can we contact anybody."

"No," Chris said.

"What about the Internet?"

"Actually I've been thinking about that. I'm going to have my buddies login as me from all over the country to blur the trail."

"But won't a live connection from an empty warehouse seem rather obvious?"

"A friend of mine gave me a wireless modem and a number we can use that will mask our connection and phone number."

"You know hackers too?"

Chris smiled. "If it's dubious then I know about it."

Chris finally relaxed and ate one of the sandwiches Kaitlin's mother had packed. Kaitlin began setting up shop. She noticed there were no windows in the entire building and the one in the back door had been painted over at least twenty times. She hoped there would be enough power for her equipment.

They left Susan and went in search of a grocery store. They found a huge impersonal one and went inside. They purchased quite a lot of stuff and paid in cash. They did not seem to arouse any suspicion but they certainly acted like it. Chris dropped Kaitlin and the groceries off back at the warehouse.

Kaitlin gave him a good luck kiss and got out with the groceries. Chris smiled.

"Don't go outside," Chris reminded her.

"Where would I go?" she asked.

"Yeah, I guess you're right. Well don't unlock the door for anyone."

"How stupid do you think I am?"

Chris smiled and drove off into the night. Kaitlin went back inside and rubbed her arms. The warehouse was cold inside. She put on a sweater and went to put the groceries away.

Kaitlin put the perishables in the fridge and then sprayed everything she could find with disinfectant. She then woke Susan up and they ate some dinner. Susan was more coherent and ate quite a bit. Kaitlin tried to explain where they were but was lost for words.

Susan's hair was almost completely gone and Kaitlin was unsure if she knew and didn't want to be the one to tell her.

Susan said, "I know about my hair. I got over the fact it was going to fall out a long time ago."

"Well, at least you have a nice skull," Kaitlin said oddly.

Susan laughed so hard she stared coughing.

"Exciting, isn't it?" Susan asked, regaining her composure.

"I'll say," Kaitlin hesitated.

"Ever done anything like this before?"

"Hide out in pornographic studio in the middle of nowhere? No, I've never done this before."

"Don't be so nervous," Susan reassured her. "Chris certainly knows some characters!"

"You can say that again!"

"Where is he?"

"Oh, he's returning the car." Kaitlin said nonchalantly.

Susan shrugged and drank some water.

"In New Jersey." Kaitlin added.

"What for?"

"So no one can trace us to Boston."

"Brilliant!"

"You don't seem to find this a little bizarre?" Kaitlin asked.

"I just hope he gets back before Mark calls the police," Susan sighed.

"Don't you think he'll go to Chris' apartment first?"

"Yes, but after that he'll go to the police. I hope Chris gets back before his picture goes on the TV. But that shouldn't be until the evening news tomorrow."

"You seemed pretty knowledgeable about all this?" Kaitlin wondered.

"I read and watch every mystery that comes out. So does Chris. I really think we've been pretty careful," Susan tried to recall the events of the day.

"I'm going to set up the computer."

"Can I help?"

"I guess," Kaitlin agreed. Susan watched as Kaitlin assembled the makeshift system.

After setting it all up they checked all the locks and got out the sleeping bags.

"It's going to be cold in here tonight!" Susan said rubbing her bald skull. "What about the guy like who gave Chris the keys?"

"Apparently he is a pornographer," Kaitlin said, realizing she couldn't describe the man at all.

"He knows all these maniacs from the internet."

"That would be the understatement of the day," Kaitlin said turning off the office light.

"Goodnight."

"Goodnight," Kaitlin said crawling back into the sleeping bag.

They listened to the stillness. It was so quiet you could swear there were swat teams crawling all over the building. They were breathing as quietly as possible as not to disturb the stillness.

"Thanks for coming with us," Susan quietly said in the dark.

Kaitlin was too choked up to reply.

Kaitlin did not know if she was staring to the side or straight up because it was so dark. It was like having a sack over your head. Eventually the activities of the day caught up with her and she fell asleep.

Kaitlin woke up with a start and quickly sat up. She did not recognize the surroundings at first. There was sunlight peeking through the roll up door and high windows. But after looking over at Susan she realized it was not a dream. She lay back down and tried to fathom the events of the previous day. She was unable to grasp what they had actually done. It felt like at any moment Chris would come back with the car and announce they were heading back. But as Susan woke up, got sick and then ate some breakfast, Kaitlin had the funny feeling that it was all too real.

"Are we going to do a session this morning?" Susan asked.

"Are you up to it?"

"I think so. And I feel so relaxed when I wake up."

"I guess we could," Kaitlin said looking over at the equipment. "I still need to test everything. I only set it up last night."

"Hmm," Susan said, wanting to find something to do. "I guess I could try and make this place a bit more livable."

"Good luck," Kaitlin laughed. "I hope we aren't here too long. I don't think I can drink instant coffee for very long."

"You certainly stocked up," Susan noted the large supply of instant coffee they had bought.

"No coffee, no Kaitlin."

Susan laughed lightly. The more outward effects of the Chemotherapy appeared to have worn off, although occasionally Susan would stare distantly off into space.

"Damn," Kaitlin exclaimed, from behind her workbench.

"Whats the matter?"

"We have no way of testing your blood. We have no way of knowing if we are having any success or not. We'll be working in the dark."

"Chris already took care of that."

"Don't tell me he found another person on the internet," Kaitlin said, frustrated at this new roadblock.

"Yes and no," Susan said walking out to the large part of the warehouse, "he got a machine that you connect to the internet and it reads the results."

"What about getting the blood?" Kaitlin asked, a little repulsed.

"We haven't quiet figured that out yet, but we do have some syringes and stuff like that."

"I'd appreciate it if you two would leave me out of the blood drawing part," Kaitlin cautioned, "And be very careful, we don't want to have to go to the emergency room because you're bleeding to death."

"You're way too uptight," Susan said emptying a load of rubbish. "Don't anticipate trouble. Take it as it comes."

Kaitlin shook her head. Finally after two hours she was able to get everything connected correctly and turn on the computer. She ran a test tone through the entire system and checked the speakers. Susan watched in awe of Kaitlin's concentration as she climbed up to the second level of the warehouse and announced to Kaitlin that there was a ton of videocassettes up there.

"More porn?" Kaitlin asked, amazed.

"No, I think they are blank," Susan said looking at them. "I wish they had left us a VCR and a TV."

"I'm not. Anyway, I think we are ready. When do you think Chris will be here?"

"It's only eight thirty," Susan called out from upstairs. "I doubt he'll be here anytime before ten."

"What part of Boston are we in? I didn't recognize anything when we got here."

"I have no idea. I would guess the west part, I remember that there were a lot of warehouses out there. We aren't very close to the train station."

"That's what I thought," Kaitlin agreed. "I hope he can find his way back here."

"He will. He has a weird sense of direction," Susan commented.

"We're going to go crazy cooped up in here," Kaitlin shrugged as she went to get another cup of instant coffee."

"Man, that chick is wound up like a top," Susan said in a mock hippie voice. She finished searching for anything interesting upstairs and came back downstairs empty handed. She walked over to Kaitlin's workbench and studied the various pieces of equipment. She had no knowledge of electronics and couldn't figure out what it was for.

Kaitlin reemerged from the kitchen/office with a scour on her face.

"How's that instant coffee treating you?" Susan teased.

"At least I'll be ready for prison coffee," Susan said scrunching up her face.

"You fit all that equipment into the computer?" Susan remarked at Kaitlin's minimal setup.

"Sort of," Kaitlin said, "I'm using the same tones we had luck with before. And I am using software instead of the physical machines."

"Why didn't you use that before?"

"Less possibility of a crash."

"Hmm," Susan said, not wanting to admit she had absolutely no idea what Kaitlin was talking about, "that's really amazing."

"I guess," Kaitlin said. "I wish Chris would get here soon. He seems to be much more aware of how we can remain anonymous if we go on the internet."

"I wish we had a radio or anything. I wish we could go outside or at least go open the door."

"I don't think that would be such good idea," Kaitlin remarked.

"Don't worry, I won't. Why don't we do some therapy?"

"I think you're right. It will take our minds off Chris and this place," Kaitlin said, looking around at the dirty empty warehouse she was holed up in. She wondered if her parents would think she had been kidnapped. After all, they did not know Chris or Susan and they could not contact her. She eyed Susan and wondered if she and Chris had thought their plan though.

Susan placed the speakers over the tumor and leaned back. Kaitlin ran the tones from a program that showed the frequencies in real time.

While the tones vibrated quietly she read the manual for the blood test kit that Chris had bought. It appeared to be for cholesterol but had a serial port for connecting to a computer where more sophisticated tests could be performed via the internet. Kaitlin was quite amazed at the idea of testing the blood over the internet but she also wondered why a home computer was not powerful enough to test it; why it had to go to a larger computer. She was afraid to go on the net because it would be so easy to track them from the phone number they dialed out on. The police could be there in ten minutes. She wondered if the wireless modem was secure but that too could be found using triangulation. She hoped Chris had some trick up his sleeve because she saw no way out.

All Works, Paintings, Images, Novels and Stage/Screen Plays & Text. Copyright 1995-2002 Rich Henry. May not be reproduced in any form, mechanical or electronic. All rights reserved. Any use in advertising or commerce is strictly prohibited.
(C) 2001 The Rich N' Famous Group