Janefer arrived at the hospital, furious and afraid. Mel couldn’t have been taken away, right? “God, I still don’t really know if you are real, but this– this is awful. Why did you let this happen? How can you be a loving God, and yet let bad things happen?” She opened the center console of the Mazda 5, and grabbed a pair of sunglasses. She opened the car door, slammed it, and locked it. Her ankle wasn’t as painful. In fact, it was only a small burst of pain when she put pressure on it.
Janefer entered the hospital sliding doors and went straight to the receptionist’s desk.
The receptionist, a thin dark-haired woman with coke-bottle glasses, looked up from her computer screen. “Hi, can I help you?” Janefer took a deep breath to calm herself. “Yes. I’m Janefer Davis. I called on the telephone before coming here. My friend is Melanie Studd? She was registered here.” The receptionist, whose name tag read Carmen Dell, paused, recognition suddenly dawning in her eyes. “Oh, yes, you called about 15 minutes ago. You’re the girl who freaked out on the phone because her friend was checked out by her aunt.”
Janefer sighed, wishing she had kept her composure. “Yeah, that’s me. You said Melanie was checked out by her aunt? What did the woman look like?”
Carmen shrugged. “I didn’t really get a good look. She was young, maybe late twenties. She had shoulder length reddish- brown hair, and she was shorter, maybe 5 feet 4 inches. She seemed in a hurry, and she sounded really nervous. You know, chattered on like a squirrel. I mean, I’ve seen a lot of bubbly women in my life, but she was nervously chattering, you know?”
Janefer knew. “Yeah, I get it. What did she say her name was? I might know her.”
Carmen shook her head. “No. She did mention it, but it was mumbled, and I couldn’t really catch her name. Sorry.”
“Never mind. Don’t worry about it. If you see her again, though, will you let me know? Here, I’ll write you my number.” Janefer dug through her pockets and came up with a piece of crumpled paper. She borrowed a pen from Carmen and wrote her number. Carmen looked over it and raised an eyebrow. “Ah, so are you some sort of detective?”
“Not really. I like trying to figure things out, and when my friend is in possible trouble, I’d like to help. By the way, thanks for your help. I might know who that woman is. Oh, and one more question.”
Carmen nodded. “Shoot.”
“Did you see where they went? Were they with anybody? How did she even get Melanie to be checked out? Did you see what their car looked like?”
Carmen nodded. “That was four questions, but I think they went right, down to the highway. She was with somebody, a man. I didn’t get a good glimpse. We believed she was the aunt. I guess we were all fooled. She asked the hospital staff to bring her down in a wheelchair with crutches. She looked like she could be related anyway. It seemed legit. I think they drove a white Chevy pickup. ”
Janefer sighed again. “Okay, well, thanks. I would suggest, though, that next time you have better security for your patients.”
Carmen stiffened. “We have fine security, Miss Janefer. Don’t tell us how to do our job. Now, if you will excuse me, I have paperwork to do.”
Janefer turned and headed out the door to her car. I was just making a suggestion. Boy, those hospital staff. Makes you wonder if they are in on it. She unlocked her car door and slid inside.
Janefer started the car and pulled out of her parking spot. She turned right, and drove in the direction of where the pickup had gone.
Melanie winced at the excruciating pain in her legs. She felt woozy and light-headed. She didn’t know where she was. It was dark, and she was laying on something soft. Why had that woman and man taken her? She had tried to fight, but it wasn’t any use when she her legs were immobilized. She hadn’t remembered anything after they loaded her into the truck. She knew they weren’t her aunt and uncle. In fact, she thought she recognized the woman. Not the man, but the woman looked familiar. I can’t put my finger on it. I know I’ve seen her somewhere, but where? The night seemed to stretch on endlessly, as well as the pain in her broken legs. She prayed, hoping she would fall asleep. “God, please,” she whimpered.”Help the police or Janefer to find me. My legs hurt so bad, and I’m afraid. Please-Please help me!” Melanie adjusted herself, and finding herself more tired then she thought, drifted off into a light sleep, hoping this nightmare would end soon.
Janefer drove to the nearest gas station and inquired if they had seen a white Chevy pickup recently. The man behind the counter, whose name read ‘Jake’, stared at her. He rubbed a hand over his beard, as if trying to remember if he had seen anyone. “No ma’am. Haven’t seen truck fitting that description passing through here. Sorry.”
Janefer felt exasperated. “Please, they have taken my friend, and I really need to find them. Are you sure you haven’t seen any white pickup trucks lately? Or have you seen a young woman with shoulder length reddish- brown hair? She’s really chatty.”
He studied her for a moment longer. “Nope. Sorry. I’ll let you know if I do.”
She sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “Okay, thanks. Um, here’s my number. If you find out anything that could help her, and I don’t answer the phone, call the police.”
He straightened and raised an eyebrow. “That important, huh? What are you, a detective or something?” She grinned slightly and started walking out. “Something like that. I like to figure things out.” Janefer paused. “Thanks.” He raised a hand and let it fall. “Now you just stay outta trouble, all right?”
“I’ll try.” Janefer chuckled as she opened the door. She thought for a moment once in her car. I have to think like them. Who are they, first of all? Maybe I’ll go talk to the Detective, and see what I can find out.
She started the car and pulled out of the gas station. Once on the highway again, she hoped she would find Melanie, and find her alive.