Evangeline felt suffocated by the incredible heat. The
air was chocked back by the incredible amount of steam
that replaced the cool air. Her clothes felt heavy
where they stuck to her body. She was soaked in beads
of sweat that drenched every inch of her. At first,
she didn’t open her eyes, struggling to breathe in
even one breath of fresh, cool air. But her senses
failed, the struggle against the muggy smell that
seemed to engulf her was making her restless in her
Her hands shot immediately to her neck. She was fully
awake now and instantly reminded of the choking
seatbelt as she felt the pain of its hold still fresh
in her chest. Evangeline sat up immediately,
struggling to remember where she was. But she didn’t,
she didn’t remember anything about this place. She was
in a simply furnished room; one bed, a table and a
chair and a side lamp that bathed the room in soft
yellow light. The walls were white, bare and cold.
The nothingness of the room jumped out at her
immediately; there was nothing that seemed to connect
to a feeling of life. The sheets she lay on were a
dull gray; the lamp, plain white and the chair and
table made from plain wood. It didn’t make sense.
Hows and whys flew through her mind as she attempted
to make sense of the situation. Evangeline tried to
think logically, keep your cool. There had to be some
plausible explanation to her being here, at this
moment, in this place and time.
But even as she tried to peace together fragments from
the last twenty four hours, nothing in her short term
memory could account for this. The last thought she
clung to was like a nightmare, spinning cab, screaming
taxi driver, the seatbelt, her neck, not being able to
Evangeline hadn’t realized that as she fought to
remember her breathing took on a life of its own. Her
lungs seemed to be burning now as she took in bigger
and bigger gulps of air. The room was hot but the air
was plentiful. Her body seemed not to respond to the
logic of the situation. Her heart beat quickened,
drumming in her throat at an incredible speed. She
hadn’t realized her fingers curling into the sheets
she lay under.
She was trying to breathe but it wasn’t working. It
was as if her body was breaking down on her. Breathe,
she willed it, BREATHE. She had felt like this only a
few other times in her life, most notably, the very
last time was when her father had passed away, she
knew this feeling all too well. Evangeline was having
a panic attack. By now her ears were ringing, drowning
out the sound of her struggle for air. She closed her
eyes and prayed for the feeling to pass, but she knew
she was steadily losing this battle against herself.
The door directly in front of her suddenly shot open.
A pale brunette in a simple cream-colored dress rushed
in to place herself on the bed beside the convulsing
woman. Evangeline’s dulled senses didn’t respond
immediately as the woman’s hands closed over her,
pulling her closer as she peeled back the strands of
hair that clung to her drenched forehead.
“C’mon honey,” she whispered. “Don’t do this to me.
She had brought in with her a cool wet cloth that she
now wiped about Evangeline’s face. Evangeline hadn’t
noticed the towel; neither had she noticed the glass
of water the woman had brought in with her.
“The doctor will be here any moment now. He’ll take
care of you.”
Discarding the towel, the woman brought the glass of
water to Evangeline’s lips. She drank with undeniable
urgency, the cool water helping to lower her
temperature. Taking the empty glass, the woman started
to rock Evangeline. It was several minutes before she
felt her trembling frame began to settle down and her
breathing start to return to normal.
“That’s it,” she crooned. “That’s it.”
It would be several more minutes before Evangeline
finally opened her eyes again, returning to the land
of the living.
“Thank you,” she would whisper. “. . .for saving my
“Oh, honey,” the woman would smile back, “you have the
doctor to thank for that.”
John turned as a familiar voice called his name.
“Hey, what are you doing here?” Michael eyed him with
suspicion, where they stood in the hospital hallway.
“I’m here to see Evangeline; I need to see her…to
“They didn’t tell you.” Michael cocked his head
towards the nurse’s station.
“Tell me what?” John leaned in closer. “Is Evangeline
“That’s just it.” Michael shrugged, “the nurses say
she checked herself out earlier this morning. She
seemed pretty upset.”
John turned immediately making a beeline for the exit,
forcing Michael to stumble after him.
“Hey Bro,” Michael continued while they waited for the
elevator. “Look, it’s probably none of my business,
but whatever’s going on between you two, you need to
fix it. It’s not good for either one of you.”
“Easier said Mikey,” he half smiled as her entered the
elevator. John waited for the doors to close before
slouching back against the elevator wall. He couldn’t
go on like this; he couldn’t sleep a wink just
thinking about her and them and this whole mess. His
heart hurt when he thought of her having to go home
alone. Funny enough he couldn’t remember what they
were fighting about. Of course, there was the whole
mess with Gannon and the Santi case. But neither one
of those things changed the way he felt about her. He
didn’t know what he was going to say or do, but he had
to do something. It didn’t make sense that two people
who cared for each other so much could hurt each other
with equal intensity.
He would take his fare share of the blame for this
mess. But right now he didn’t want her to be alone.
He didn’t want her to ever be alone.
Driving out of the underground hospital parking
facility, John pulled out his phone, before speed
dialing her number. His heart dropped when all he got
was her voice mail.
“Hey it’s me,” he started, “look, I’m on my way…we
need to talk. I’ll see you when I get there.”
He hung up abruptly, annoyed by trying to express his
feeling to a damn machine. Easing into traffic he
merged onto the freeway, bearing down on the gas pedal
as he made his way to her home.
John pulled up almost half an hour later, recognizing
a familiar face as he eased into a parking space at
her apartment complex.
“Hey,” John said.
Nora smiled down at him as he ascended the stairs to
the apartment building.
“Hey, yourself. I was just about to call you,” she
replied. “How’s she doing?” She nodded towards the
building as John joined her on the stoop.
“I wouldn’t know,” he shrugged, “I just got word from
the hospital and decided to head down here. She didn’t
call you?” He seemed genuinely surprised. Nora shook
“She wouldn’t return my phone calls and I’ve been out
here for a while. I thought maybe she might be with
John stared at her, more than a little confused. His
gaze shifted to the building before scanning the
driveway. Her car was in the parking lot but that
could mean anything. She hadn’t driven it since the
night of the gala.
“How long have you been out here?” he posed to Nora.
“I dunno…” She stole a glance at her watch. “Ten,
maybe fifteen minutes. Maybe she’s still asleep.”
Maybe wasn’t good enough. It was past noon and
Evangeline rarely slept in late. Without hesitation,
John whipped out his car keys, before identifying a
single key from the bunch that opened the apartment
“John?” Nora saw the look in his eye and she followed
him up the stairs to the third floor.
He didn’t answer as he took the stairs two at a time.
Nora caught up with him as he sauntered down the
hallway, stopping at her door.
“It’s probably nothing. She’s been through a lot and
needed the rest. We’re probably just overreacting.”
She could see his wheels turning, sensing that he
wouldn’t buy into her theory until he saw it for
Moments later they entered the apartment. Nora watched
from the foyer as John rapidly checked every room. Her
bedroom was empty. She hadn’t slept in her bed; there
was a cold stillness about the place that he had never
felt before. Her smell filled the space but she wasn’t
there. John just stood there, hands on hips, trying
not to worry as he felt her essence and let it
envelope him, only serving to make him miss her even
“She’s not here,” John called out to Nora, where she
was still standing in the foyer.
When Nora didn’t answer he returned to the living area
where she was still standing.
“Where could she be?” Nora said half to herself.
“She’s not in any condition to be up and about.” She
tucked her hands back into the pockets of her trench
coat, feeling a shiver travel down her spine. She
didn’t know whether it was the fact that Evangeline
had just gotten out of the hospital or something else,
but she was worried, very worried.
“I dunno,” John sighed as he circled the living area,
looking for what, he didn’t know.
“Maybe she . . .”
He immediately stopped dead in his tracks as he
spotted the postcard that lay on her kitchen table. He
noticed it because he had seen it before. There was
one just like it sitting on the desk in his office.
“John?” Nora came to stand beside him, “What is it?”
He didn’t answer as he picked it up and flipped it
over, reading it slowly.
‘Old Friends Never Die.
Dead men never cry.
But those who are loved may sleep forever.’
“What is it?” she asked reading the card that he had
handed to her.
“I got one just like it,” John looked confused. “I
don’t know what the hell it means or why Evangeline is
getting the same message.” He rubbed his forehead…this
doesn’t make any sense.
“It’s a poem, I’ve heard it before.” Nora flipped it
over once more before handing it back to him. “I read
it in college. What are you thinking?”
He just shook his head, not knowing how to answer.
“Who are you? Where am I?” Evangeline pulled away from
the stranger. “What’s going on? Where…” She started to
move away, but against her will she collapsed back
onto the bed. Her legs were weak and her body was
still in shock from all that had transpired over the
last forty-eight hours.
“Take it easy, my name is Celia.” The woman brushed
her upper arm, smiling in an attempt to reassure her.
“You took a pretty bad beating with that accident.
It’s a good thing Steve found you.”
Evangeline let her head rest in her hands for a moment
before returning to her previous line of questioning.
“The accident!” she blurted. “I don’t understand.
There was a car. We landed in a ditch and…and…”
“Steve, the doctor, he pulled you from the wreckage.”
She smiled sweetly. “Saved your life, he did. He takes
care of all of his patients. Don’t worry, before long
you’ll be good as new.”
“I-I don’t know how…to thank you.” She seemed a little
relieved. “What about the cab driver? People will be
looking for me.”
“Like this John…” she smiled. Evangeline’s head shot
up. “You were running a fever earlier.” The woman’s
hand moved to Evangeline’s forehead. “You kept
repeating his name. Not to worry everything is taken
care of. When you’re good and ready, Steve and I will
make sure everything is sorted out.”
Usually Evangeline would be skeptical of the
situation. Fragments of her memory were distorted and
she had just had an accident. Now she was being cared
for by a strange woman, whose kind smile and gentle
demeanor seemed to soothe her.
“We want to make sure you are good and strong before
you go hopping around again. Looks like you already
had a bit of trouble.” Celia nodded to Evangeline
bandaged side. Her fractured rib had been rebandaged
“You did this?” Evangeline touched her hand to the
wound. When Celia nodded, she seemed genuinely
surprised. “I don’t understand. Who are you? Where am
“All you questions will be answered soon,” she smiled,
“Let’s just say I’m a friend of a friend.” She flashed
that sweet smile again. Evangeline could feel the room
spin, she leaned into Celia for support. “That’s the
stuff Steve gave you for the pain.” She continued.
“You poor girl, you’re probably starving, I’ll get you
something to eat.”
As Celia got up, Evangeline collapsed back onto her
pillow; nursing the onset of a headache. She closed
her eyes waiting for the moment of unsteadiness to
A lifetime later, Evangeline opened her eyes again.
She realized she had fallen asleep again, more than a
little annoyed she swung her bare feet from the bed.
Her side still hurt, her thoughts were still muddled,
and her head still spun. Somehow she was even more
confused than before. Her eyes shifted about the empty
room. The woman…where was she? Beside her on the
bedside table, lay the wet cloth and the glass of
water, there was still a little left. She reached for
the glass, raising it. Bringing it to her lips, she
noticed a white powder-like residue had settled at the
bottom. Instantly, she lowered the glass back onto
table with a large thud.
“Oh my God,” she got up, steadying herself on the
bedpost. Her legs felt heavy and the water had left a
bad after taste. Shielding her eyes from the light of
the lamp, she walked across the small room, making her
way to the closed door.
Turning the door handle, Evangeline was surprised to
find it open. Outside her room, Evangeline was
instantly blinded. Bright Fluorescent fixtures lit
what seemed like a never-ending hallway. She raised
her hand in an attempt to shield the light.
“Celia,” she called out, her voice hoarse. But all
that came out was a loud whisper. Picking a direction,
she looked away from the light overhead, feeling along
the red brick wall as she mad her way down the hall.
Her eyes slowly adjusted as she moved further and
further down the hallway. Somewhere in the distance
she could hear voices.
“Celia,” she tried to call out again, but nothing came
out. She let the voices guide her until finally the
hallway opened up into what appeared to be a large
lobby. The light was still blinding as she tried to
look up. Instantly, she made out the woman’s face,
“Help me please…” She finally rested against the wall
facing Celia. The woman looked up to see Evangeline
“Look who finally got up.”
Evangeline hadn’t noticed the man standing beside
Celia with his back to her.
“What did you do to me?” She closed her eyes, trying
for the umpteenth time to clear her thoughts.
“Gave you something to help you relax.” A male voice
spoke this time. Celia was moving toward Evangeline.
“No,” Evangeline pushed herself from the wall.
Something about this wasn’t right. This place, this
woman, that man. She looked up at Celia; she had to
get away from them.
“What are you doing to me…” she started to pull away,
her eyes moving to the man who had spoken. I know that
voice. For several minutes she studied his face,
transfixed by his appearance. I know that face. I know
that face, I know that face, I know that face, I know…
“Oh my God,” she whispered as she recognized him.
“Evangeline…” Celia spoke but she didn’t respond,
instead she used all her strength to push away from
Celia, before turning the corner and heading back down
the hallway r she had come from.
“Somebody help me!” she tried to scream, stumbling as
she willed her legs to move, traveling as fast as she
Her cry for help was drowned out as she felt the
strong arms that had rescued her from the cab take
hold of her. Evangeline clawed and flayed, thrashing
as the strong subdued. She tried to scream but her cry
was muffled as a piece of cloth closed over her mouth
and nose. Her thrashing creased substantially. She
was looking up at him as she inhaled the chloroform
fumes, realizing what he was doing. As she collapsed
in his arms, Evangeline fought to remember.
I know that face. The doctor. Steve…Steven. Steven