Chapter 8 – Recovery
I woke up to the sound of hushed voices. My mouth was drier than a sandpit in July. I opened my eyes and tried to work up enough spit so I could talk. The noise of my movement must have alerted the people in my room of my change in consciousness. A nurse in powder blue scrubs brought a glass toward me and inserted a straw between my lips. I sipped greedily before she pulled it away.
“You don’t want to take too much right now dearie, baby steps. I’ll just go get the Doctor and let him know you’re awake.”
I nodded and cleared my throat. “Which hospital am I in and where are Eric and Pam?”
Now I had my bearings, I could see that it was Detective Fowler and Agent Norris in the room. He nodded to the Detective and she came over and perched on the bed. The movement made me aware of a dull pain in my wrist; I looked down and saw I had a thick elastic bandage covering my left arm and hand.
“You’re in Schumpert, Eric and Pam are here too. Do you remember a lot of what happened, Sookie?”
I shook my head. “I remember everything but I have no idea where we were or who those people were. I think … I know we were drugged and taken away by Officer Clarke; we woke up in a hole, like a cellar. Andre, Andrew Polson, opened the hatch, dragged us out and tried to get us on the boat. Then you guys showed up.”
“You were in a small abandoned area on the shore of Lake Caddo. From what we can gather, they had planned to take you across state lines to Texas in the yacht and they had a private jet waiting at Cypress River.”
“Okay, can you tell me how my friends are? Eric got knocked out before we were pulled out of the hole and Pam looked unconscious in the boat.”
“Eric has a concussion but he’s awake and seems physically fine other than that, he wanted to come up here and see you but the Doc ordered him to rest at least overnight. Pam is … she had been kept sedated for a number of days. We don’t know what drugs they used yet, she woke up a little a couple of hours ago but she was so traumatised the doctor had to sedate her again.”
Agent Norris said he would go and let Eric know I was awake. Det. Fowler watched me expectantly, waiting for my reaction to the news of how my friends were. A Doctor came in and told me what I pretty much already knew; bumps, scrapes, badly sprained left wrist and, more than likely, mental and emotional trauma. I could deal with the known elements later, right then I wanted to deal with the unknown. Just like ripping off a band-aid, I wanted to go and see Pam and Eric and see for myself how they were.
“Do you think it would calm Pam down if I was there when she woke up?”
Detective Fowler looked at the Doctor and the he nodded that I was fine to get out of bed.
“No doubt it would, do you feel up to it?”
I sat up and stretched my arms before swinging my legs over the side of the bed. I was shaky as I stood and the nurse ran out and brought a wheelchair into the room. Detective Fowler was looking at me like I was a puzzle; by the time we got into the elevator I was sick of it.
“What? Why do you keep looking at me like that?” I snapped, making the nurse jump in surprise.
Det. Fowler coolly raised an eyebrow at my outburst. “You’re very calm for a person who’s gone through what you’ve been through.”
I laughed, it was bitter and cold. I’d never had reason to laugh like that before. “Trust me, I’ve done enough crying and wailing the last two days to last me a lifetime.”
“Still, you’ll probably need counselling. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right now, it’s better if you go. I can recommend some very good counsellors.”
I nodded and stared at the doors of the elevator. Counselling, doctors … I didn’t care about any of that right now. I just wanted to know my friends were okay. After I saw to Pam and let her know she was safe, I would go and see Eric.
I was wheeled into Pam’s room and the first thing I noticed was the beeping of her heart monitor. I got out of the chair and sat on the edge of the bed, taking her hand in mine. A Doctor came in with a syringe full of something.
“Are we ready to try waking her up again?”
I nodded and steeled myself for the worst possible reaction as Doctor Crane placed the syringe in the valve on the back of Pam’s hand. The beeps on the heart monitor sped up and Doctor Crane looked concerned. I rubbed Pam’s hand with my thumb and spoke gently to her.
“It’s okay Pam; you can come back to us now. It’s safe, no-one is going to hurt you here.”
Her eyelids fluttered but didn’t fully open.
“Pam, its Sookie. I’m here for you, please wake up.”
I could see her trying to open her eyes. I kept speaking softly, asking her to look at me and holding her hand. When her eyes opened, I could tell she was going to look around the room before the person in front of her. I put my good hand on her cheek and leaned in, blocking her view of most of the room.
“There’s my Pammy.”
Her scowl told me everything. She always hated being called Pammy.
It took almost an hour for her to come round completely and start to speak. My presence there seemed to keep her grounded as the Doctor explained how much damage had been done to her. I tried not to cry, the last thing she needed was to think I was the one who should be comforted. The lab had found traces of Ketamine and Pavulon, a paralysing agent. Pam gripped my hand tightly, as she nodded. Doctor Crane mentioned that the level of vaginal and anal tearing that she displayed was consistent with repeated, frequent rape and sodomy.
Again, she nodded.
That worried me more than anything. It was almost like she knew all of that already.
“Pamela, none of this seems to be shocking you.” Doctor Crane’s voice was gentle but serious. “The fact that you have Pavulon in your system leads me to believe that you were awake during the process.”
Again, she nodded.
My efforts not to cry fell by the wayside. “Pam. There’s more … when Bill found out you had gone missing he went crazy. He was in a really bad accident and … I’m so sorry Pam.”
“Yes. I don’t know what to say; on top of everything you’ve been through and now this … I wish I didn’t have to tell you about Bill.”
Pam took a deep breath. “In a way … I think him dying would have been better than finding everything out. He would never have forgiven me.”
I gaped at her, had I always known Pam was this selfish? I’d never really noticed it before, but I was comforting a woman who would rather her husband died while he loved her than lived hating her.
“I know this is hard for you, but it’s not been easy for me either the last week. I’m going to leave you for a while and get myself cleaned up … I’ll probably have to talk to the Feds again too. I’ll come by later and see you again.”
A single tear rolled down Pam’s cheek. Again, she nodded.
I was about to walk out, but the nurse glared at me. I slumped into the wheelchair and she took me out of Pam’s room to find Agent Norris waiting outside.
“Eric is asking for you.”
“He was my next stop.” I turned around in the chair and looked at the nurse. “Where are my clothes? It’s just that, I don’t have anyone to call and bring me new ones to wear … and I don’t really want to go home wearing the gown.”
Agent Norris answered me. “I’m afraid the Doctor’s cut most of your clothing off while they examined you, they weren’t sure if you had major injuries and didn’t want to disturb you too much. I’m sure we can swing a set of scrubs for you. Once you’ve gotten changed, fed and watered, we’d like to take a statement from you.”
I nodded. “Did you find my keys? My cell phone? They were all I had on me when I was taken.”
“Your keys and your cell were found. You’ll get them back when you sign the discharge forms. We called you brother Jason, his name was down as next of kin on your medical records.”
Jason? I hadn’t seen or heard from him since Gran’s funeral three years ago. “Oh? Did he say anything interesting?”
“It was … strange. He seemed annoyed that we’d contacted him for something as frivolous as you being kidnapped and physically hurt.”
“Yep. That’s Jason. Unless there’s money in it he doesn’t care.”
Eric’s room was on the same floor as Pam’s, so it didn’t take long to get there. As soon as the door was opened, I was out of the chair. Eric was waiting with open arms. We hugged as well as we could with me having one arm out of action and drew back to check each other’s injuries. I tentatively touched the dressing on his head and he brought his hand up to grab mine, placing a kiss on the palm and closing his eyes as he held my hand to his cheek.
“I’ve wanted to see you since I woke up.” He whispered.
I curled on the bed in his lap and kissed his forehead. “They had to sedate me to get me to the hospital. I was a mess.”
“You were very brave, from what the Police have told me.”
I snorted. “I don’t think pissing myself in fear is being brave, but whatever.”
Eric’s arms went around me and pulled me closer, his nose nestled in the crook of my neck and I felt his soft kisses on my collar bone. “I don’t know what I would have done if I lost you.”
I think I must have kissed every inch of his face, bandage and all. Eric may have missed a spot to the left of my chin but since we had moved on to full mouth on mouth kisses, I didn’t really care. We both had a desperate need for affection and … love. His tongue swept across my lips and I granted it access, massaging it with my own and slanting my mouth over Eric’s. The joy of being lost in the kissing and groping didn’t last long, As soon as Eric’s hands cupped my ass, Agent Norris cleared his throat, breaking whatever spell we were under.
I rested my forehead gently against his and tried to catch my breath. “I wish I didn’t have to leave you here tonight.”
“I wish I could come home with you.” He sighed. “So … how is Pam?”
“Awful, Eric, just awful, the things they did to her. She looks like she hasn’t eaten in weeks, she has so many bruises … and I had to tell her about Bill too. I know it’s selfish but I don’t think I can handle dealing with her until I’ve come to terms with everything that happened to me.”
Eric cupped my face in his big hands and looked into my eyes. “You’re not selfish. You can’t help Pam if you’re in a mess too.”
I nodded, blinking away the tears that had pooled and snuggled against Eric until Agent Norris got pissy again.
True to his words, Agent Norris managed to get me a pair of scrubs to go home in and also drove me back to my apartment himself. He left me his cell number and told me to call when I was ready to come down to talk to them. I was very eager to get that part out of the way, so I showered and ate as quick as I could, making sure to pop some Advil for my wrist before I called Agent Norris. He sent another agent, Agent Felton, to come and pick me up. My car was still at the station, I knew it would be a struggle to drive home with my wrist, but if I took it slow I’d be fine.
I was treated with kid gloves at the station as the Feds took my statement. I just wanted to get it over with so I could move on. After signing a few copies of my written statement, I was finally given some information. Andrew Polson and Sofia Clarke were real people, a real administrator and a real cop, working under the pseudonyms of Andre Paul and Sophie-Ann LeClerq. It explained how they were always able to avoid arrest and knew how to cover their tracks. Several properties belonging to Andrew and Sofia had been searched, a large amount of Methamphetamine and Heroin had been found along with technical equipment, security camera tapes of well-known people indulging in the services they offered, audio recordings of all the ‘sales’ they had made and detailed files on every person they had ever drawn into their world.
I was completely shocked at how their greed had overcome their human compassion. I drove home in a daze, not even noticing my wrist, and sat on my couch … absorbing everything that I’d been through in less than a week. My cell was still turned off; I switched it on and looked at the date. Sunday 1st August. We had missed Bill’s funeral.
Sure enough, my phone chirped with a lot of missed calls. Five of them were from Lorena; they ranged from annoyed to livid to concerned. There was a message from Agent Norris and one from Jason. I called Lorena as soon as I’d made sure there weren’t any more pressing matters. She picked up almost as soon as the phone started ringing.
“It’s me, Lorena, I’m so sorry we missed Bill’s funeral … we got kidnapped.”
“You could have just said you didn’t give a shit about my brother, you don’t have to make some tall tale to excuse yourself!”
“I’m not … we really were kidnapped. By the same people who had Pam, we found her … alive, barely. I didn’t even know what day it was until I turned on my phone. I’m … I really wanted to be there.”
“Are you okay? What about Eric did they get him too?”
“They took both of us. Eric has a concussion and I’m fine other than being found hysterical by the cops and having a badly sprained wrist. Did the funeral go okay? Was there a good turn out?”
“There was, his boss actually closed the office for a few hours so all his colleagues could attend. Russell read a wonderful poem in eulogy. Will you keep me updated on how Pam is getting on?”
“Sure I will, she’ll need a lot of counselling and I’m not sure how she feels about … talking to people about what happened. But I’ll keep in touch.”
“Thanks Sookie. It’s a shame you weren’t there to say goodbye.”
“I know. I wish I could’ve been. You take care, Lorena.”
“You too, Sookie, bye.”
I ended the call and searched the recesses of my brain. I couldn’t think of another pre-kidnap thing I had to tie up. It was a good feeling. It felt like I could rest … and concentrate on me.