entertainment

Blurred Vision 3 [A Short Story]

KELLY J [Kelz] NEWSON

Blurred Vision 3

Check out ‘Blurred Vision 2′

Copyright 2020 by Kelly J. Newson

As the sun sets and the nurses and doctors at Huey Newton Memorial change shifts, Frankie Encarnacion lays in a hospital bed after a car crash that left him in a coma. Nikki Encarnacion, Frankie’s wife is sitting bedside reading a book as her husband lays in a coma next to her.

The night nurse comes in to check on Nikki and Frankie and to review Frankie’s chart and before she exits she asks Nikki if everything is okay and if she can get her anything. Nikki looks up from her book and says, “No, I’ll be fine,” before returning to her book and the nurse continues making her rounds.

As the nurse exits there is a cold chill in the room and Nikki begins to hear mumbling. Nikki looks over at her husband who she notices is doing the mumbling and frantically she gets up and moves closer to him. She begins calling out to him but she gets no response. It’s as though he is in a trance. Frankie continues to mumble and Nikki can’t figure out what he is saying. Nikki grabs the remote to call the nurse and afterwards continues trying to communicate with her husband but to no avail.

As Nikki begins to give up and have a seat, she feels a hand on her shoulder and she begins to awaken from what was a bad dream. “Bad dream?” the nurse asks.

Nikki, still awakening, looks over at her husband who is still in a coma and says, “I think so.”

“Yeah, well you must have hit the remote; the nurse’s station was buzzed,” said the nurse. “Oh I am so sorry,” responded Nikki.

“No worries, it happens from time to time,” the nurse says.

A little more alert Nikki asks, “What time is it?”

“Fifteen past nine,” said the nurse.

“Oh shoot, I have to get home but if anything changes, please contact me immediately.”

“Will do!” the nurse says with a smile.

“Ok, thank you and again I am very sorry about the remote,” Nikki says.

“It’s no problem,” responded the nurse.

The nurse begins to exit and soon after, Nikki begins packing up her laptop and she notices something at the foot of her husband’s bed. It’s a manila envelope, Nikki moves to pick it up, opens it and pulls out a letter and begins to read.

[August 1, 2017]

To my son,

By the time you read this I’ll be gone and you will be an adult. But know I love you and I never stopped loving you. Just like myself and we never stopped our search for you. We tried our best to keep the family together but things got really rough and we had to do what was best for you and your brothers so we gave you up for adoption in the United States. The three of you didn’t deserve a life on the run but instead a real childhood. I hope you can forgive your father and I for it was the toughest decision we have ever made. Maybe we will see each other again in this life but if not, I will never stop loving you and I will continue to write you for as long as I have an address for you.

Sincerely & Love,

Mom

The letter leaves Nikki speechless and astonished as she also wonders if the letter is legit and re-draws her attention to the date on the letter and sees that the letter was written fairly recently. This could mean that Frankie’s mom is out there somewhere, but where?

Nikki continues to stand over her husband a few minutes longer not saying anything just wondering who and where Frankie’s mom could be and wonders how she knows where Frankie is. It’s a thought Nikki ponders until she makes it home from the hospital.

The Encarnacion Residence

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Upon arriving home, Nikki finds her teenage son watching TV and her younger daughter coloring in a coloring book.

“Well, what are you two doing still awake?” Nikki said.

“We wanted to be up for when you got home. We wanted to know how dad was doing?” TJ says.

“I see, and your dad…” Nikki looks over at her daughter who is fixated on her and continues saying, “Your dad is still resting.”

“Oh. Well, I was wondering if I could go see him tomorrow after school?” TJ asks.

“I see no problem with that but come home right after ok,” says Nikki.

“Will do,” TJ says excitedly.

“As for you my little princess,” begins Nikki, “We will visit daddy after I pick you up ok?” as TJ looks on smiling. “Ok let’s all get ready for bed. We do have school and work tomorrow,” Nikki says yawning.

TJ and his sister head up stairs for bed as Nikki makes her way for the kitchen for a glass of water and an aspirin. Her mom already has a nice cold glass of water waiting for her. “Thanks mom!” Nikki shouts.

“Rough day I expect,” mom says.

“Yes, had court early this morning. A 14-year-old is on trial for murder and the prosecution wants to try her as an adult.”

“What is this world coming to? Babies killing babies and the system wants to make an example out of them,” mom says frustrated.

“That’s exactly my thoughts, Mom. And I don’t want this case but I need whatever case I can get right now especially with Frankie in the hospital and out of work. So let’s just hope I don’t drink too much during this trial, because I can feel the added stress on top of Frankie’s medical bills.”

“Your medical insurance is not covering Frankie’s care?” says mom.

“Not any more, I just received notice in the mail a few days ago.”

“What about the FBI, they can’t pay for any of it? mom asks.

Nikki takes a sip of her water and takes an aspirin before saying, “Nope. They actually have him on unpaid leave now.”

“Wow!” shouts mom.

“Wow is right! But for now we are good, we have about $100 thousand saved and about half of that is going towards Frankie’s medical bills. Thankfully, our house is paid in full.

“That is some good news, one less bill” says mom.

“Yes,” Nikki says putting down her glass before moving to hug her mom and saying, “I’m going to bed, see you in the morning.”

Though before Nikki could move to the door her mom notices something sticking from her briefcase, ‘What’s that?” mom asks.

Nikki turns to her mom who is pointing towards her briefcase and notices the manila envelope sticking from her briefcase. “Oh, this was at the foot of Frankie’s bed. It’s a letter from his mom. Well is says it’s from his mother” says Nikki.

“I thought his parents died when he was young?” mom says confused.

“I thought so too, but there seems to be someone either posing as his mom or maybe she really is alive somewhere” Nikki explains.

“I see. Tell me about it tomorrow I know you’re tired honey,” mom says in a soft voice.

“Thanks, good night mom!”

“Good night sweetie”

The Next Morning

Nikki is up at 6:45 am as her kids and mother are all asleep in their bedrooms.

Nikki rises out of bed and heads to wake up her son TJ and daughter Terri up before heading for the kitchen to make a quick of breakfast of turkey bacon, and cheesy scrambled eggs, which is TJ and Terri’s favorite dish.

After TJ and Terri finish getting dressed they enter the kitchen where Nikki is making their plates.

Nikki gets them set up then she heads for her room to get dress for work before returning to the kitchen to enjoy some breakfast as herself.

After everyone eats Nikki, TJ and Terri grab their briefcase and backpacks to head out and kiss their grandmother as she escorts them out, wishing them a good day.

Nikki drops off Terri first who she walks into preschool and afterwards it’s off to TJ’s school, Hughes-Hurston High School.

After the kids are dropped off Nikki heads to her office where she is a senior partner with Craig and Associates a Law Firm. She is known for standing up for women’s and LGBTQ rights.

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Pexels.com

Nikki has been with her firm almost 10 years now and became senior partner after just three years. She has seen the firm go through many changes, both minor and major including that of the recent ownership change of then founder Casey Craig who passed away of breast cancer a year ago.

Shortly afterwards her husband took over, and against his late wife’s wishes attempted to have things his way. Though, with the help of outside lawyers Casey Craig’s will was upheld and her husband Kevin Todds was placed on indefinite leave.

In her will Ms. Craig asked for her firm to continue on with a few of its finest and that’s having a board that consist of three women and two men; all of whom have been with the firm at least two years. Of the three women on the board sits Nikki and on the 15th floor is Nikki’s office space that overlooks the capital of D.C.

Nikki loves what she does and feels a great passion for what she does. Still, she only wishes she had more time with her family. But as a chairwoman and senior partner, it’s to be expected of her not to mention the 51-1 track record she has accumulated over the years. Her only lost came when her client left critical details out of his case, otherwise the case would have been a slam dunk but her opponent jumped in on the side details and used it against her. Nikki wasn’t able to combat it and it crushed her client’s credibility and she lost the case. Nikki tried her best to still get the victory but the prosecution team had already painted her client as an extortionist to the point Nikki could only try for a lesser sentence. The case taught Nikki a lot, and made her into a better person and smarter lawyer.

8:30pm

Nikki is walking out of her office in hopes of winning case 53, but still her mind is focused on her husband who lay in a coma at the hospital. It seems like just yesterday when she and her husband Frankie were still in search of their son TJ. And just a few years after that she gave birth to Terri. Nikki and Frankie have been through a lot. Highs and lows and on some days, she finds it hard to stay strong for her children while Frankie lies in a coma at a nearby hospital.

For Nikki, keeping busy at work keeps her busy enough that she doesn’t worry too much including taking on a second case. One that is close to her heart and it involves a young boy who ran away from home to live with his Aunt.

His Aunt found out about Nikki and her firm through volunteer work that Nikki did a few years back with her church. Naturally, the boy’s Aunt couldn’t afford the services of Nikki or her firm but Nikki was willing to work with the boy’s Aunt. She felt obligated to help make sure the boy didn’t return to his parents but was raised in a loving home. So Nikki helped organized a few fundraisers and they raised over $2,000. But instead of taking the money, Nikki advised that the Aunt to save it for when she received custody of her nephew.

Now on the morning of Nikki’s final court hearing of a case she’s been on for a month now, the boy’s father hasn’t showed and neither has his mother.

Nikki and her client see this as a victory, but just before the judge can make his judgment, the father enters the courtroom pleading with the judge to keep custody of his son.

He cries that his son is all he has. The judge looking unmoved by his actions and continues to look on as he pleads his case. Even saying he entered a drugged program and is six months clean, but the judge still seems unmoved and begins to question the father.

“Mr. Dexter you have interrupted my courtroom for the last time. Court began at 8 am sharp, whatever your reason for being late is, I don’t want to hear it. I have already made my decision and that is to place Troy Dexter in the custody of his Aunt, Mrs. Rays. However I will only grant her temporary custody for one year. You will be authorized supervised visits but you must attend a court approved rehab facility, and afterwards find yourself a decent place to live and work. Am I understood?”

Looking a bit surprised, Mr. Dexter agrees before taking a seat next to his court appointed lawyer.

“Now back to you Mrs. Rays. I am placing the minor, Troy Dexter, in your temporary care for the duration of one year. He is to have supervised visits with his father on weekends by a court appointed social worker. Yourself, Mrs. Dexter, or your husband may not be in attendance but your lawyer may be if that makes you more comfortable. I am setting for this court to re-adjourn one year from today at 8 am sharp and Mr. Dexter, next time you tardiness will be held against you, so show up on time and have the requirements I am asking completed.”

Mr. Dexter nods his head in agreement as the judge dismisses the court until their next meeting. Afterwards, the bailiff instructs the court to rise as the judge exits and once he exits Nikki and Mrs. Rays, quietly cheer on their small victory before moving to Mr. Dexter and shaking his hand as she wishes Mrs. Rays good luck as he works to get clean.

Nikki and her client begin heading out the courtroom to where Troy is sitting with a social worker. When he sees his Aunt he runs to her and hugs her demanding to know what happened. Mrs. Rays looks at Nikki then her nephew and tells him not to worry about it, he’s going home with her and they will discuss the details later. Not making a fuss Troy nods and begins walking with his Aunt as Nikki walks them out and before they part Nikki tells the Aunt, “I’ll be in touch. If you need anything don’t be afraid to contact with me. You have my office and cell numbers as well as my e-mail. I’ll be calling you this coming Friday so we can discuss the first visitation.”

“Thank You!” the aunt exclaims, as she moves to give Nikki a check.

Nikki smiles and politely rejects the check saying, “Keep it, you will need it to care for your nephew.”

“Thank You!”

“The pleasure is mine,” Nikki responds.

Mrs. Rays and Troy continue to enter their car as Nikki stands on the curb watching them pull off before she heads to her car.

At TJ’s School

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Across town just ten minutes before the final bell rings, TJ is sitting in his biology class looking out the window daydreaming. Completely ignoring classroom instruction. For now TJ’s mind is every where else but in the classroom. His teacher sees him and makes a move in front of his desk, grabbing his attention instantly saying, “Mr. Encarnacion, please if I could hold your attention for just a few more minutes. I am trying to explain tonight’s homework assignment and would like for all my students to understand, complete, and turn in this assignment. So please, focus for just a few more minutes. Thank You!”

TJ grabs his pencil and goes back to taking notes as his teacher Ms. Perkins continues explaining the assignment and shortly after the bell rings. But TJ is called up to Ms. Perkins’ desk before he exits the classroom. TJ makes his way up slowly with his head down low and as he stands in front of Ms. Perkins who is sitting across from him she says, “TJ you are falling behind. You were once one of my top students, now I don’t know what to say. You’re not turning in homework, you’re falling asleep and daydreaming in my class, what has happened? Is everything okay at home?”

TJ nods his head up and down.

Feeling restless, Ms. Perkins says, “I am going to have to call a parent-teacher meeting to speak with your parents on this. Your mother explained to me that she wants know when if you start having trouble because if you flunk my class you don’t move on to the next grade. Look TJ I know about your dad and how much a sick parent can burden one’s mind but you cannot stop completing your studies. What would your dad think of the student you have become? Think about that, and I’ll see you tomorrow but I will be calling your mom tonight.”

TJ nods, “I will try harder.”

“Good, now you understand tonight’s assignment? You have any of your classmate’s numbers? My email for any questions?”

“Yes, my mom has it in her phonebook,” TJ says.

“Ok, then I expect tonight’s assignment turned in tomorrow.”

“Yes ma’am,” TJ says as he continues to the door and exits the classroom.

From school TJ takes the city bus to the hospital to see his dad. It’s an hour long bus ride so TJ gets out his biology book and begins reading the required chapters for tonight’s assignment. As he arrives at the hospital he gets off the bus and begins walking across the street to the hospital and to his dad’s room which is on the 5th floor. As TJ enters his dad’s room there’s a cold draft blowing, so TJ goes to close the window before taking a seat next to his dad’s bedside.

TJ talks to his dad like he is awake and is listening, telling him how much he loves and misses him and about his current status in school. Even saying, “Dad I know you will not be proud of me right now for my current grades but it will all change soon. That’s my promise to you, I will do better in school and continue to look after mom, Terri and Grandma until you get better. Love you dad!”

TJ gets up and kisses his dad on his forehead before heading out of the room and just outside is his mom and sister Terri. Nikki tells TJ to sit tight for a minute and he can go home with her but to just her a few minutes to let Terri see their dad as well. TJ nods and has a seat in the waiting room, taking out his art and history books as he waits on his mom and sister.

Later that Evening

After dinner, as TJ and Terri head upstairs Nikki gets a phone call. She checks the caller ID but doesn’t recognize but she answers it anyway. On the other line is TJ’s teacher, Ms. Perkins and at first introduces herself before going on to tell Nikki about TJ’s grades dropping and about possibly getting a tutor. After hanging up Nikki calls TJ down from his room and they both have a seat in the living room across from another. Nikki speaks first, “I just received a call from your teacher Ms. Perkins, and do you have any idea why she would have called me?”

TJ remains silent at first as he looks down at his hands and mumbles, “I believe so.”

“And what is that?” Mom asks.

“My grades have slipped and I am in danger of failing,” TJ says looking up shyly.

Nikki looking more serious now says, “That you are correct! What is wrong? TJ this isn’t you! Howhave you let your grades drop like this?”

TJ shrugs his shoulders.

Nikki breathes a huge sigh before saying, “TJ, I am very disappointed in you. Why you didn’t come to me sooner? But here is what we are gone do. Ms. Perkins told me that she offers tutoring during lunch and after school. I told her that from now on you will be attending both sessions and she is to notify me if you miss one session, understood?”

TJ looks up at his mom and says, “Yes.”

“Ok, and know that I love you and only want the best for you. You may go back to your room.”

“I love you too mom!” TJ says as he rises to his feet and heads to his room but not before he hugs and kisses his mom.

“Oh and another thing I will be leaving for the hospital in few, your grandmother will be looking after you two and taking you to school in the morning ok.”

“Ok,” TJ says as he turns to acknowledge his mom before disappearing into his room.

10:04 pm

Nikki is sitting next to her husband at the hospital reading over some briefs for work. The room is dark except the one lamp Nikki is using as her husband lies in a coma next to her. Nikki continues going over her briefs for the next hour until she finds it difficult to keep her eyes open and fight sleep. That’s when Nikki gets into the empty bed across from her husband and falls asleep and for the first time in a month Nikki gets some much needed rest but finds herself waking up at about 3 am due to a cold wind blowing through the room.

Nikki notices that the window behind her is open and as she rises to get up she notices what looks like a little girl at the foot of her husband’s bed. Nikki rubs her eyes hoping she is just dreaming but the girl is still there mouthing something that Nikki can’t make out. The girl begins to move closer to Nikki and at this point she is a bit afraid, looking at her husband who is across from her in a coma then she returns her attention to the girl who is just inches from her. Even more stunning, the girl speaks saying, “Don’t be afraid Nikki, I won’t hurt you.”

Unable to say a word, Nikki remains speechless while sitting on the bed and listens to the girl as she continues to speak.

“Please don’t be afraid Nikki, I am Frankie’s sister. I died years ago. I never got the chance to really meet him.” She continues on as she moves her attention to Frankie before turning back to Nikki and giving her an envelope.

“What is this?”Nikki asks.

“It’s what Frankie has been looking for; it’ll answer all his questions about his…our family’s past. Please continue to look after him; I don’t want him getting hurt anymore.”

Nikki nods, “I will do my best.”

“Thank you,” the girl says as she begins to exit the room.

“Wait! I didn’t get your name,” Nikki says but the girl is already gone.

Nikki begins to open the envelope but before she can get open she feels a cold hand touch her hand. It’s the nurse lightly touching her hand, awakening her from another dream. Nikki jumps up startled till she realizes it’s just the nurse.

“Bad dream?” the nurse asks.

“I guess so, everything ok? What time is it?” Nikki asks in a panic.

“It’s 4 o’clock and yes everything is ok, I am just making my runs this morning.

“I see.”

“You have a hard time sleeping here I see,” the nurse says.

“That I do, so I think I am going to leave. Plus this bed is not as comfortable as I had hoped,” Nikki says letting out a sarcastic laugh.

“Ok, and if anything, you let me know,” the nurse says.

“Thank you!” Nikki says as she grabs her briefcase, keys and head out.

7am

Nikki is awakening to the sound of her alarm clock. She shuts it off, gets up and heads for her bathroom for a shower and to get dressed for work.

After getting dressed she heads for the kitchen to make a light breakfast before heading out to work and as she is pulling out of the garage she sees her mom pulling up who is returning from dropping TJ and Terri off at school. Nikki waves quickly acknowledging her mom before continuing and driving off to work.

Later into the day at approximately 2pm Nikki is wrapping up a meeting and before heading to a late lunch with good friend and old college roommate, Mayor Natasha who, is in town for a conference from New York. Nikki heads to her office to drop off her MacBook and briefs but before she can get in her office her phone is rings. It’s her secretary saying, “Mrs. Encarnacion your 2 o’clock is here.”

“Ok, send her in.” Nikki says as she hangs up and continues squaring her things and within a few minutes Natasha is standing in the doorway. Nikki looks up, “Sister 5!”

“Sister 3, Alpha Kappa Delta in the house!” Natasha says as she moves to meet Nikki midway and they embrace. “So how are you, the kids? Frankie?”

“We are all good, and Frankie is still in the hospital in a coma. No improvement yet but hopefully soon. Girl, how you been?” asks Nikki.

“I’m good, and I do have some news for you but we can discuss this over lunch because I am starved,” Natasha says with a laugh.

“Let’s do that! Just let me grab my purse and we can head out” says Nikki.

Nikki grabs her purse and the two friends begin walking to the parking garage where they take Natasha’s car and Nikki notices Natasha’s new car.

“New car Tasha?”

“Yeah girl. I just got it a few days ago,” Tasha says smiling.

“It’s nice and I see you still into beamers, girl,” says Nikki.

“Girl you know me, I am a BMW girl for life. Ok, so what is good to eat around here?” Natasha asks.

“Well there’s Kelz Chill Grill, it’s about 15 minutes away from here and it’s very good.”

“Let’s go there then.”

Kelz Chill Grill

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Nikki and Natasha both enter Natasha’s car, heading to Kelz Chill Grill where Natasha tells Nikki a chilling secret about Frankie. From Nikki’s office the drive to the restaurant is about 15 minutes but seems shorter because surprisingly there is no traffic. As the two friends arrive at the restaurant, they park and head in where they are seated almost immediately. They begin looking over the menu and Natasha asks Nikki what is good and they both agree on a bottle of champagne to enjoy with their meal. After they each look over the menu and give their orders, Natasha turns the conversation serious by dropping some heavy news on Nikki.

“Not sure how to say this so I am just gone say, you think you have been visiting Frankie in the hospital,” Natasha says.

Looking astonished, “I think, I have been seeing him,” Nikki says certain of herself.

“No, that is what I want to tell you. You see, that isn’t Frankie you have been visiting, it’s his father.”

“His father is dead; he died when Frankie was young,” Nikki says confused.

“No, not true and Frankie knew in fact they were in the same car together but they can’t find Frankie.”

Nikki puts her hand over her mouth in a state of shock, “How do you know they were together?”

“The police found Frankie’s wallet and Frankie’s bloody fingerprints on the door,” Tasha explains.

“So he is alive? Nikki asks.

“He is believed to be but his whereabouts are unknown but it is believed he was taken and police may have a location. But we aren’t certain where it’s just a hunch. But it is being taken seriously and being thoroughly investigated.”

Nikki sits in silence and surprised by what Natasha is telling her. She finds it hard to believe, “So what now?” Nikki asks.

“He is believed to be no longer in the U.S., and I have the CIA fully investigating this as well as the FBI who are working with us to find and bring Frankie home safely. Just one thing does Frankie have a passport?” Tasha asks.

“Yes, we all have passports. What does have to do with anything?” Nikki responds.

“When was the last time he used it?” Natasha asks.

“It’s been awhile, we haven’t had any time for a vacation so maybe 2 or 3 years,” says Nikki.

“You sure? Tasha asks.

“Yes,” Nikki says firmly.

“Ok but I am going to need to see it, and could we drop by the hospital after lunch?”

Nikki nods her head, “Sure.”

“Don’t worry we will find Frankie and find him safe and sound, ok?” Tasha says.

Nikki a bit nervous of the information she is taking in and just nods her head.

“Everything will turn out just fine, and today’s lunch is on me.” As Natasha finishes her statement the waitress returns with their food and two friends enjoy their food and afterwards heads to Huey Newton Memorial to visit Nikki’s now estranged father-in law where Nikki has the nurse remove the bandages from what was perceived as her husband and she sees that it isn’t.

It turns out that after comparing a photo that Natasha was right. Before they leave the hospital Nikki shares the envelope she found with Natasha but doesn’t tell her how she obtained it just that is was at the foot of her Frankie’s father bed. Nikki surrenders the envelope to Natasha and they head to her home where she shows Natasha Frankie’s passport and to her surprise Frankie’s passport is missing. The rest of the family’s passports are all in their proper place but Frankie’s is missing and this is astonishing to Nikki as she really wonders now. However, she straightens up when she hears her children enter the house with her mom.

Natasha and Nikki meet them in the living room and Natasha is met with Terri running to hug her as TJ follows behind to hug his godmother as well. TJ questions the reasoning behind Natasha’s visit but Natasha looks at Nikki and back at TJ and says, “I am on vacation.”

“Oh, well glad to see you Aunty Tasha,” TJ says.

“Yes, happy to see you Aunty T!” Terri says.

“And I am happy to see you too,” Natasha says picking up Terri and giving her a squeeze. “Well I must be going before it gets too late and I have to drop you off at work so you can get your car.”

“That you do, so kids be good and get your homework done and TJ please have some of your homework done when I get back. I want to talk to you about something too ok.” Nikki says.

“Ok,” TJ says.

Nikki and Natasha head out and they return to Nikki’s office where she drops Nikki off as she continues on her way to investigate further on where Frankie could be.

The Next Day

Nikki awakens, and this time she takes TJ and Terri to school and since she has no court today heads for the hospital and does some work there. She hopes her newly found father in law will awaken from his coma and he’ll answer her questions.

So to pass time she sits across at a small desk with her MacBook and some briefs working on cases. Just a few minutes into her work and Nikki is distracted, this time it’s the little girl re-appearing and standing near the bed and as she begins to move forward Nikki becomes frozen and speechless. “He’s close Nikki, he’s close,” the girl says.

Yet Nikki is confused and asks, “Whose close?”

“My brother, Frankie, he’s close,” the girl says.

“Where is he?” Nikki asks, almost pleading, but she doesn’t get an answer for the little girl has already exited the room. Nikki jumps from her seat and runs to the door but nothing. Just nurses, doctors and patients wondering about. Nikki heads back into the room closes the door behind her and as she pushes the door close with her back against it she notices an envelope on the floor under the bed.

Nikki goes to pick it up and as she goes to open it, the contents inside surprise her. Inside there’s a photo of Frankie tied to a chair but before she can fully grasp the picture her phone begins ringing in the background almost startling her. Nikki hurries to the desk she vacated and answers, and to her soothing it’s Natasha telling her something has occurred. Natasha tells her that this may be the break they are looking for. Afterwards, Nikki tells her of the photo she found and tells her to hurry to the hospital.

Across Town in an Abandoned Warehouse

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Frankie bound to a chair, half drugged, blind-folded and with a video camera afixed on him.

He appears to be alone for the moment but as he raises his head he sees the red light for video camera indicating that it is recording, though it’s a bit of a blur. Frankie, for the time being, at least is helpless and whoever is holding him hostage knows exactly what they are doing because no one knows where Frankie is.

Most suspect he was taking out of the country but here he is still in D.C., bound to a chair in an old abandoned warehouse near the ports. Not even Frankie knows where he is and now barely has any strength so for him to escape he has to play safe and smart and time it out just right.

So he tries to loosen the rope around his wrists and after a few tries he finally gets the rope looser to the point where he can slide his arms out but he doesn’t want his captors to know he is loose. So Frankie awaits for their return and its only within minutes does Frankie begin to hear voices; two men who are entering in another room so he plays like he is still out of it and drops his head forward. Still listening to their voices and where they are in the warehouse but he can’t understand what they are saying for they are speaking in what seems to be Russian. But one of the men speaks in English and says, “Whatever you gave him, sure knocked him out, he’s still out cold,” the man says moving closer to Frankie and raising his head up to only see it fall lifeless like again.

The other man stands by before moving to the camera says, “Let’s see about that, and yes I knew it. He is faking, he isn’t sleep, look at this,” he says gesturing to the camera before moving over to Frankie and gives him a huge smack across the face knocking Frankie backwards.

Frankie tries to keep his hands and the rope concealed as they pull him back up in the chair and both men stand over him now. Frankie completely lets the rope loose but holds on it for it is the only weapon he has for now. Still blind-folded but with part of his eye not revealed he sees one of his captors and is able to identify him but before he can move his attention to the other he says, “Don’t look at me!” before hitting Frankie once more this time in his side and knocking him to the floor again but Frankie makes sure that as he falls his hands remain behind his back.

“Should we get him up?”

“No! Leave him there for a bit,” the older man says.

Both men leave and head to another part of the warehouse leaving Frankie, not knowing that he can get free.

Back at the hospital Nikki and Natasha are standing over Frankie’s dad discussing the photo Nikki found. Nikki hands the photo to Natasha and she examines the photo, studying the background and the traits of the place where Frankie is. After about five minutes Natasha notices something familiar on the wall behind Frankie and points it out to Nikki.

“What is this?” Nikki asks.

“It’s a symbol, a gang symbol for a gang that is heavily concentrated in New York and Miami but something tells me he isn’t in New York or Miami but right here in D.C…”

“What make you say that?” Nikki asks.

“I don’t know, I just have this gut feeling that he is close.”

“Well I wouldn’t’ doubt that, maybe he is close. Or I hope he is.”

“We need to have every abandoned warehouse searched and cleared, and it’s a good thing the Mayor here owes me a favor. I will give him a call, give me a second,” Natashas says stepping out to call the Mayor of D.C., who she gets to send a helicopter and some officers to check out the old abandoned warehouses by the ports. Nikki and Natasha wait for the Mayor to pick them up before they also head over the abandoned warehouse.

Meanwhile, across town Frankie’s captors return to the room that they left Frankie in to only find him gone so they search the room and around the warehouse but don’t find him anywhere.

Frankie holds his position just inside a dumpster, he remains hidden until he hears the voices move further away and he hears a motor. So he takes a peek and sees it’s a black Mercedes Benz and the two men entering inside it and driving off into the distance.

Frankie takes this cue and hops out of the dumpster and runs as quickly as he can in the other direction to the end of the port. He hops inside of boat that is parked nearby and hurries to the cabin to hide until he can figure a way out. Suddenly he hears barking, and realizes the two men are back and this time with a dog.

Frankie begins searching the cabin for anything he can use for a weapon and begins checking the cabin to see if the boat will run and run far enough to get him out of danger. A bit tired of waiting and now anxious, Frankie attempts to start up the boat but it isn’t until his third try that it starts and loud motor gets the attention of the two men. One of whom hops on aboard before Frankie takes off while the other stays back with the dog, prepared to shoot if he gets a shot.

The man takes a few shots and on his 4th try he is able to shoot out the engine and stop the boat dead in the water and about 20yards from where it pulled off. Aware of the other man on board, Frankie grabs the knife and flare gun he found. He tucks the flare gun in the back of his pants and begins to move the door where on the other side the man stands poised. Frankie backs off and instead hops in the bathroom and hides behind the shower curtain in the tub. The man on board now anxious, charges in the room kicking the door open but Frankie is nowhere to be seen. He searches the room including the bathroom and as he goes to check the tub Frankie and just as he goes to lift the shower curtain Frankie kicks him in the head causing him to go flying across the bathroom. Frankie grabs the duck tape and rope he found and ties the man up in the tub. Afterwards he moves out of the bathroom and back to the cabin, grabbing the satellite phone and calls police.

While Nikki and Natasha are still awaiting the Mayor outside the hospital 20 minutes have passed since Natasha called him. Natasha tells Nikki to hold tight and that he will be here and just as she finishes her statement she sees the Mayor’s car pull up just a few feet away. The Mayor gets out of his car and approaches the two women, introducing himself and Natasha introduces Nikki to him. “So glad you can make it Mayor,” Natasha says sarcastically.

“It’s been a busy day, what can I say. So what’s so important that you needed a helicopter and police and let’s make this quick I have an appearance to make at the port,” he says.

“The port? What is going on there?” Natasha asks.

“A man is on the run, a boat has been stolen and now there’s a hostage taking on the boat. It should all be over soon the engine been shot out.”

“What’s the description of this hostage or the person you are looking for?’ Natasha asks.

“When I got the call, there wasn’t any but I am headed there now,” the Mayor says.

“May we come along, I think this might involve the missing person I am looking for,” Natasha says.

The Mayor takes a deep breath then lets out a, “Sure, just stay out of the way of the police is all I ask.”

“Agreed!” Nikki and Natasha say in unison.

“Ok, let’s get to the car and get to the port,” the Mayor says.

At the Port

Photo by Albin Berlin on Pexels.com

Back at the port the police have arrived. A helicopter is circulating around up above the boat and the other man is still there but has told police that the boat is his and that the thief is on board with his brother and is armed and dangerous. He even goes as far as showing them his self-inflicted gunshot wound to his leg.

Police get him medical help and begin calling for their suspect to surrender. Frankie now realizes he is the suspect and no longer the victim at least to the police that is. Frankie moves to the top deck and peeks out a window and sees police lined up as well as a sniper in the helicopter all ready to take him out at a moment’s notice. Frankie has to think fast and think of getting out alive as well.

Frankie returns to the cabin downstairs, entering the bathroom and has a seat on the toilet. Looking over at the man in the tub Frankie contemplates actually killing him since they already see him as suspect and sees that his chances of escaping alive are not very likely.

Now as he sits contemplating, police have begun to throw tear glass inside and one actually rolls the downstairs. Frankie grabs small blanket covers his mouth and nose as he goes to pick it up and toss it up stairs. However, it begins to affects him and he begins coughing and vomiting. Frankie finds a small window that leads to the water. Frankie goes through and swims his way back to the port and upon reaching he puts his hands up in surrender as police make their way down to arrest him.

Frankie not having any ID or his badge on him he cannot prove who he is so he must do as police say until he can call someone to prove his identity. Police proceed to take Frankie to the police department just missing the Mayor’s car as it pulls up.

First ones out of the car are Nikki and Natasha and they see a man being escorted by police off the boat. Nikki runs closer but to her dismay sees that it’s someone else. Natasha gets Nikki and they head to the lead cop on the scene who tells them that their suspect is being taken down to police department now and that the man they see is the victim.

Natasha tries to get him to describe the man they arrested but he refuses but he does share more details with Mayor when he approaches him. The Mayor approaches Natasha and Nikki and informs them that the man arrested seems to fit the description of Frankie but to not get to hopefully either. Before leaving, Natasha approaches the lead cop and says, “Do not let him go, obtain him for questioning. FBI agents should be pulling up any moment, so please would you cooperate.”

“But he is the victim,” the police officer says.

“We don’t know that, the man you arrested may be the victim so who is to say he is the victim. Detain him for questioning, we will get to the bottom of this,” Natasha says as she begins walking back the Mayor’s car leaving the cop a bit confused but he does as she says and has the man detained for questioning.

At the Police Department

The Mayor and police chief have a few words before entering the viewing room along with Natasha and Nikki where they finally come face to face with who the guy is and they see that it is Frankie. However, Detective Stanley with DC Police is determined to believe that Frankie is the suspect and doesn’t believe him when he says he is an FBI agent.

Tired of the charades Nikki exits the viewing room and enters the interrogation room, “Detective, my client will no longer be speaking and from this point on I will be speaking for my client,” Nikki says.

“Do you even know who he is?”

“That I do, and I have proof right here,” Nikki says reaching into her purse. “This should settle it,” Nikki says giving copies of Frankie’s driver’s license and FBI badge.

“Well you came prepared but one thing how did you get this?”

“I’m his wife.”

Detective Stanley just stands there in a bit of disbelief but proceeds to grab the copies from Nikki and look them over. The look on his face as he realizes that Nikki is telling the truth is astonishing. “Thank you for this but I need further confirmation and any moment someone from the FBI shall be walking through that door to confirm or deny if Frankie here is who he say he is. Until then I will like to continue questioning him on why he was at the port on a stolen boat.”

Looking more sternly and focused Nikki looks the detective in his eye and says, “Like I said, all questioning goes through me. I am his acting attorney for now so you want to question my client you go through me.”

“Fine, let’s do this,” he says gesturing for them both to have seat at the table where Frankie is seated.

“Just give me five minutes alone with my client first, then anything you want to ask you may ask, deal?” Nikki says gesturing to shake hands.

“Deal, but five minutes and that is it,” says Detective Stanley.

Detective Stanley exits the interrogation room, leaving Nikki some time to talk to Frankie for a few minutes. Nikki moves to the table and sits in the chair across from Frankie. Not having a pad and pen Nikki instead takes out her iPhone and opens her notes app to discuss a few things with Frankie. Frankie recognizes his wife and says, “Thanks for stepping in as my lawyer.”

“It’s not a problem and you will be getting my bill,” Nikki says with a smile.

Frankie smiles back.

Meanwhile on the other side of the glass stands Natasha and Detective Stanley who tries to listen in on Nikki and Frankie’s conversation but Natasha deactivates the speaker so that they may have private conversation. “He has rights you know!” Natasha says.

“Fine!” I am going to get some coffee, see you in a few.

“Yes you do that.”

Across town at Nikki and Frankie’s home

Photo by Scott Webb on Pexels.com

TJ and his sister Terri are sitting in the living room watching TV as their grandmother sleeps in an upstairs room. Suddenly there is a knock at the door, wondering who it could be TJ tells his sister to sit tight as he heads upstairs to wake their grandmother who is resistant and doesn’t wake up.

TJ hurries back downstairs and to the door and asks, “Who is it?” while peeking out the peep hole. TJ sees a man in a trench coat pacing back and forth but doesn’t answer TJ. Leaving TJ to dead bolts the door, grabs his sister while telling her to keep quiet as they head up stairs but not before turning off the TV and lights downstairs.

TJ and Terri hurry to their grandmother’s side and once again try to awaken her and are successful and he tells her about a man outside the front door.

They hurry to their parent’s room and through the camera system in the room see that the man is gone from the front door. So they check the other cameras around the house and find that he is attempting to enter the house from a side door. TJ recognizes the man can’t place where he has seen him but also realizes he must think quick so he moves to close and lock their parent’s bedroom door as he returns to his grandmother and sister’s side and through the camera system sets off the silent alarm.

Afterwards he grabs them both and leads them inside his parent’s closet. Feeling terrified Terri wets herself, “It’s going to be ok, just hold my hand ok?” TJ says trying to comfort his sister. She nods and wraps herself around his leg as their grandmother huddles around the both of them. TJ grabs his iPhone from his pocket and attempts to call their mom but she doesn’t answer so he tries a few more times before finally leaving a voicemail and text message. Only then does TJ remember that his mom said that she will be with Natasha so he tries her phone and reaches her.

Natasha steps outside to take the call and TJ tells her what has occurred and is occurring at their home. He tells her that he set off the silent alarm in the house but no police. Natasha tells TJ to hang up, place his phone on silent and to text message her so that he won’t hear them and finds them. They hang up and Natasha heads into the interrogation room to inform Nikki who becomes worried but Natasha tells her everything is alright TJ has things handled and police is headed to them now.

“I told TJ to only text message me, don’t want his voice giving him away,” Natasha says.

“”That’s good,” Nikki says agreeing.

“I think we should get to them immediately.”

“You’re right, absolutely,” Nikki says before turning her attention back to her husband and the Detective Stanley and saying, “Detective, my client will answer no further questions in fact I recommend all charges dropped from my client and you follow myself and Natasha here to my home where we will prove to you that Frankie here is innocent.”

A bit confused, detective Stanley asks, “Why is that?”

This time Natasha steps in and says, “Well, you see you’re so called “victim” has broken into your “suspect’s” home with his children and mother in-law inside.”

Still confused detective Stanley becomes speechless.

“In other words, my client has nothing further to say and will not be answering any more questions, So you can either come along with us or stay here but no more questions for my clients.” Nikki says.

Less than a minute passes and FBI agent Troy Ricks enters the interrogation room and as expected confirms Frankie’s identity telling Detective Stanley that there is no way that agent Frankie is a suspect but was missing and part of a conspiracy theory dating back 10 years.

Detective Stanley looks on dumbfounded and can’t help but to surrender and release Frankie. “Also Detective Stanley you might want to visit agent Frankie’s home, I just received confirmation on who the suspect is from one of your own police officer’s,” Agent Ricks says giving a wink to Natasha and afterwards Nikki. Detective Stanley gets a frustrated look over his face before rising to his feet and exiting and another officer enters to uncuff Frankie.

“Ok, you ladies should get going, I will handle things here and get Frankie’s paperwork situated and I will be bringing him home shortly.” Agent Ricks says as Frankie stands back smiling and agreeing with Agent Ricks. Nikki heads over to hug her husband and says, “I Love you.”

“Love you too and tell the kids I will see them soon.”

“Will do,” Nikki says as she and Natasha take off and head to her home where police and a helicopter is flying high above surrounding their suspect who is barricaded inside the house. While police try to negotiate with their suspect Natasha communicates with TJ through text message asking him, “Can you see the suspect from where you are?”

About a minute later and TJ responds with, “He’s near, he’s searching the house for us we are in my mom and dad’s closet hiding. Gotta go, I think he is in the room now.” TJ sends the text before tucking his iPhone back in his pocket and tries to figure out their next move.

That’s when TJ notices a chest in the closet, and quietly tells his grandmother and sister to get inside and to stay quiet until he returns. As TJ closes and locks the chest, he heads for his dad’s side of the closet which is opposite of the chest and hides between some clothes.

He hears and can see the intruder enters the closet and he begins searching through closet first on Nikki’s side and as his back is still towards TJ. TJ slowly begins to step from the clothes, moving to the island and ducking quickly behind it as the intruder turns towards him.

TJ begins to move the opposite direction while remaining hidden as the intruder moves to the side that TJ has just vacated. TJ stands to his feet and without hesitation runs up behind the intruder, wrapping his arms around his neck, bringing him to the ground. TJ continues to hold tight as the intruder tries to fight but TJ holds his grip and slowly the intruder begins to weaken and go unconscious.

Not wanting to take chances, TJ grabs one of his dad’s neck ties from his pocket that he grabbed and ties the intruder’s hands behind his back. Afterwards he hurries back to the chest, getting his sister and grandmother out and rushing them downstairs and out the house to safety. Police hurry in afterwards to arrest their suspect but find no one inside but they do find a note saying, “I’ll be back, this is far from over. – B.H.”

Medics on the scene and check out TJ, Terri and their grandmother and give them the ok to go on but their home is now a crime scene so the family must find somewhere else to sleep for a few days until things are sorted out and back in order. Shortly afterwards Frankie, along with agent Ricks, pull up and get out and TJ is the first to notice his dad as he runs to him and hugs him, “Dad, you’re ok? What, what happened?”

“It’s a long story that we can talk about later but for now I want to hear about my son the hero.”

“I’m not much of a hero, he got away,” TJ says looking a little down.

“Yes you are, you helped your sister and grandmother escape, to them, me and your mom and Natasha you are a hero,” Frankie says trying to cheer his son up.

“Thanks dad,” TJ says giving him a hug.

“Ok, now let’s get out of here, I need some rest,” Frankie says.

“Daddy!” Terri says running up to Frankie who in pain bends down to pick up his daughter as she runs to him. “I was scared daddy!”

“And big brother TJ protected you right?”

Terri nods as she smiles and kisses her dad, “I missed you daddy.”

“I missed you too my princess.”

As Frankie begins to put his daughter down there’s a loud gunshot heard and Frankie falls to his knees screaming. Everything seems a blur for Frankie, as his son TJ attempts to run to him but Nikki grabs him as Natasha goes to grab Terri. Afterwards another set of shots are heard and their suspect is seen falling from the roof of the house to his death.

Police hurry to him and shortly after pronounce him dead as the coroner is called. While paramedics rush to Frankie’s side and to try and save his life as they load him on a stretcher to get him to the hospital. With Nikki, Natasha, TJ, Terri and Nikki’s mom right behind they arrive at the hospital just minutes after Frankie.

While Frankie is undergoing surgery to save his life agent Ricks appears in the waiting room gesturing to Nikki for a word. Nikki and Natasha both get up and move to agent Ricks who pulls out a photo of the intruder and asks, “Recognize him?”

Photo by kat wilcox on Pexels.com

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