The Sequels to Syrrah's Game SGSequels

chapter 47

Wednesday, September 27th, 9:39 AM

Minneapolis, MN

 

The ache in her stomach. The strain in her mind. The pain in her joints and muscles. And the stress from the inevitable in the future. It was all taking a huge toll.

She leaned against the wall and secretly eyed Evan’s massive, broad shoulders, constricted and practically bursting out of that black leather jacket. He had all his attention on getting the room’s keycard to work. She inhaled deeply, relishing his presence so close to her, the deep breath relieving some of the pain. Does he even know, her feelings about him? He might have some idea, but he hadn’t given much of a hint since Friday.

But what did it matter now?

He finally got the door open. About time. He looked behind her and out in the hallway. She did the same. But no one was around. Not that pap. Not Hal. Not anyone else.

She walked in after him, removed her sunglasses and slipped them into her jacket’s inner pocket. She felt her spirits lift slightly; the drapes on the windows were wide open and morning sunlight splashed across the small suite. How nice. Opposite from where she stood, in the doorway, was the sink, separate from the main bathroom toilet and shower, like those Embassy hotel room photos online. And to her right, near the windows, was the king-size bed, with white covers. A small, multicolored ottoman seat was placed at the foot of the bed. Across from the ottoman, next to the wall, was the typical luggage table and desk set, with two of those soft desk chairs on wheels nearby, and a thin, wall-mounted TV above the desk. 

It wasn’t what she was used to, but for $175, it was good enough.

Evan locked the door behind her. He walked over to the window near the desk’s end. “Wow. Great view, Dana. And cool. You should see this. The Bob Dylan mural from up here.”

“Okay. Hold on.” She removed the hat and tossed it onto the bed. Evan did the same, placing his hat and shades on the desk, along with the bag of brandy and food. “Finally.” She raised her hands up, her elbows aching in pain, and began loosening the hair topper. “Sorry we had to wear all this.”

“It’s all right. No problem.”

His considerate behavior was soothing, but it couldn’t distract from her torturing thoughts.

No. Please. Go away.

She finally had the wig unclipped. She tossed it onto the desk. She walked near the window and tried to concentrate on the mural below. But the memory wouldn’t go away. Please, understand, leave my family alone! They’re innocent!

That toddler memory pushed through more forcefully than ever. And yet, maybe the time had come. She had been trying for so long now. It was her they wanted, not her family. They had to understand this! Maybe this truth had to be revealed. It wanted to be known! Yet, much as it tried, only parts were materializing. Hands, shaking severely, and trying to hold back from grabbing a thick, silky cord, like the kind used to tie back enormous, elegant curtains. Yes. That was it. And gold in color, like those elevator doors. But the hands were being forced to wrap the cord up into…into… No. Can’t be. A hangman’s noose.

“Dana.”

She looked into Evan’s face. “Yes? What.” 

He had removed that leather jacket and laid it over the chair closest to the window, his large, muscular body practically ripping through the black T-shirt he wore. He was drawing closer to her. Too close. “Are you all right?”

“I think so.”

“I didn’t want to tell you earlier, because of everything going on, but does your sternum feel okay?”

“My what?”

“What Chella told me. They did CPR on you. Your breastbone. Does it hurt, have you been breathing okay?”

She inhaled a deep breath, like earlier. “Yeah. Breathing okay. It hurts a little there, but I can breathe all right. Besides, I have pains everywhere. Not a biggie.”

“I’m sorry, Dana.”

She looked at the elegant king-size bed, to her right. “I…I think I need to lie down. Just to rest.” 

“Of course. You want me to help you?”

She stepped closer to the bed. “No. I can do it.” She leaned over, picked up her hat and threw it over to the desk. She slipped off her jacket and laid it upon the small ottoman. She removed her sneakers too, leaving them on the floor, and then crawled upon the bed and slumped down near the other side, nearest to the wall separating this room from the bathroom sink.

“Do you want me to get you anything?”

After lying on her right side, she placed her arm under her head. She looked up at Evan. “Umm, no. Just want to rest right now.”

“Okay.” He nodded. He was so attentive. So nice. Maybe even too nice. “I locked the door already.” He walked toward the bathroom. “I’ll be back. Too much coffee.”

She gave a brief smile. “Sure. Have at it.”

She closed her eyes.

The memory was relentless. It was not going to leave her alone now. Something felt different this time.

She sighed. Fine. Maybe they wanted her to know, for some reason. Just let it out. She picked up from before, with the hangman’s noose. Those shaking hands belonged to a woman, the same woman Dana loved. But, not her mom? Who was she then? And those bare feet, hanging. Yes. The memory made sense now. This woman had somehow been mind-controlled to make a hangman’s noose, and then forced to wrap the noose around her neck, tie it up high to that shower rod, a strong, sturdy, black metal shower rod, and slip her feet out from a small, tumbling ladder on the tub’s side.

She covered her hand over her face. “God, no,” she whispered. “Why, why?”

No wonder. No wonder Lloyd wanted this memory hidden, yet someone else to occupy this mind.

But something else was missing. Other details. There was more.

She heard footsteps. She lowered her hand and opened her eyes. Evan was back. Man, he is so hot.

Yet all was meaningless now.

Her stomach started aching again and she felt sharp pains in her intestines. She inhaled a deep breath and exhaled it out slowly.

She carefully eased herself up until sitting on the bed’s side.

Evan sat next to her on the bed. “Dana. Can I get you something, help you out in any way?” 

She held out her left hand. “Yes. Help me up. I need to use the bathroom.”

“Of course.” His large, warm hand engulfed hers, and he stood up, helping her to stand up as well.

She slipped her hand out from his grasp. “I can take it from here. Thanks, Evan.” She slowly stepped in the bathroom’s direction.

“Sure. Call out to me if you need help in there too.”

She looked back at him and laughed. “You serious?”

He wasn’t amused. “Uhh, yeah, Dana. I’ll break that door down if I have to.”

She smirked. “All right. I’ll keep that in mind.” She turned and continued to the bathroom.

That memory seemed to be fading, for now. Thank God. Was too much to take. Her own mind needed a rest.

Before heading into the bathroom, she went to the sink and washed her hands and face, and checked for any evidence of puke pieces. But, she had apparently done a good job at the mall bathroom. All looked fine, except for her pale face and the lack of makeup. But again, why should it matter?

She sighed and entered the bathroom. She closed the door, but left it unlocked. 

Once sitting on the toilet seat, she noticed Evan had left his iPhone on a small wooden stool across from the toilet. She picked it up and held it in her hand. Felt nice to caress something he had held. “So,” she whispered, “what do you have in here?” She had seen his pattern passcode several times, some sort of Z swipe. She tried, several attempts, and finally got it correct, the phone opening for her. He had his band’s name, Ten Dissent, along with his band members, in the background. Cute. Her stomach, intestines, and joints were still hurting, even after peeing. “Sorry Evan, but I need a distraction now.” She clicked on his photo gallery. Oddly, didn’t appear to be that many photos. She clicked on some recent ones. A few stage setup pics. He always showed interest in watching, and helping, with the stage and sound system.

“What else do you have?” she again whispered, scrolling through the older pics. A few photos of Chicago showed up. And some other photos from past concert venues.

She kept scrolling down. A video, with a girl, showed in the tiny gallery icons. His girlfriend? She lowered his phone’s volume all the way down first and then selected it.

The video started playing right away. Her heart nearly stopped beating. “What the actual hell?” It was that video Neraeh took of them both at Mall of America.

She quickly closed it off. This was impossible! Her body began trembling. She looked at the other video icons. Two others. Her now trembling finger clumsily selected one of the icons. Immediately that video of her singing Oceans, at Sauk Centre Baptist church filled the phone’s screen.

Her breathing increased. She closed off the video. “This is impossible, this is impossible.” She kept her voice hushed. “I’m seeing things, I have to be seeing things!”

She clicked on the Mall of America video again. But it showed the same views, of her walking around the mall, Neraeh nearby. “No, no, no, this can’t be!” She closed it off and quietly placed Evan’s phone back on the stool.

She recalled what that pap said. Quite the dangerous, unpredictable guy you got here, Dana. And how he had noticed her pause in the Casper walk-in. But he was right. It didn’t sound like Zypher. No, not at all. But this couldn’t be possible! The only way, Evan could know this – he was being mind-controlled by the same awful entities monitoring her and forcing her, or others, to do things. Now it all made sense. Neraeh showing up. And the recall of more and more details from the past, things hidden away. This had all been a setup. All of it. All of it to destroy her, and Neraeh, and Mommy and Dad.

The pap’s last words, before she rushed to the bathroom came screaming to the front of her mind. I hope you realize your boyfriend here came from a religious cult family.

How could she have been so blind!

Her breathing increased. She grabbed some toilet paper, wiped herself, her hands still shaking, and stood up. She walked over to the window. Tenth floor. There was no way out here. 

But wait. How Evan had saved her. How he helped her.

No. It was all a setup. He was just acting nice. And how did he get those videos?

A terrible, sickening thought cut into her mind. He had harmed Neraeh, forcing her to give these videos. “No, no,” she whispered. “But that can’t be! I just saw her, and she looked fine.”

She carefully picked up his phone again. Her fingers trembled excessively, taking several attempts, but she finally entered his pattern passcode again. She swiped into the gallery. The photos were categorized by month. August, the date of those videos. This wasn’t making any sense! Neraeh was fine. Did he somehow trick Neraeh into giving the video? 

She began pacing, quietly, back and forth along the bathroom’s length.

He has to be a plant. He has to be mind-controlled by those entities, those things, to deceive and influence me, and Neraeh too. He’s a test!

Hard to believe she was trying to save his life from Lloyd and Carter. How wrong she had been.

Think. Think! Figure this out!

She could leave, but he would follow.

Her pulse pounded harder, rattling in her neck and ears. Sweat sprung out around her body. The pains diminished in percentage, like they always did, when adrenaline hit.

She wasn’t going to be able to escape. And maybe, if she could take him down, they would leave her alone, leave her family alone. Yes. Yes, that was the only answer.

That gun. But it only had one bullet! And Hal had been disarmed so effortlessly, by him.

But she had something too. Something Carter gave her. She reached into the tight fit of her leggings pocket, pulled it out, and after grabbing a small towel, opened it carefully within the sound-dampening cloth of the towel.

The SOB had it coming.