Authors: Mitzi Pool Bridges
Thank you for purchasing this publication of The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Mitzi Pool Bridges
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental.
Find My Baby
COPYRIGHT © 2012 by Mitzi Pool Bridges
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission of the author or The Wild Rose Press, Inc. except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews.
Contact Information: [email protected]
Cover Art by
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
PO Box 708
Adams Basin, NY 14410-0708
Visit us at www.thewildrosepress.com
First Crimson Rose Edition, 2012
Print ISBN 978-1-61217-319-1
Digital ISBN 978-1-61217-320-7
Published in the United States of America
This is Mitzi's tenth published work.
“Mitzi Pool Bridges writes true to life characters who will touch your heart.”
~Linda Warren, award-winning
bestselling author of thirty books
“Mitzi Pool Bridges creates characters for her books that you could expect to meet any day. They are so real you want to follow them after the novels end. Mitzi’s story lines are well-developed and engaging. She is an author worth following.”
~Naomi Giroux, health care advocate,
radio host of Coffee with an Author,
and owner of Innovative Analysis & Education
Without the help and encouragement of the following,
this book would never have been published.
Charley. I couldn’t do this without you.
Ann Kellett, Diana Bushong & D'Anne Pamplin
You amazing ladies keep me on the right track.
A million thanks.
Twenty-five-year-old Kayla Hunter opened and shut her eyes a few times, trying to see beyond the ink black darkness, but she couldn’t see her hand in front of her face.
Tonight, something was different. That something kept her awake and escalated her fear. Try as she might, she couldn’t define the edginess that made her insides shake more than usual.
After weeks in this room, she knew it better than she knew her own bedroom in her apartment—knew how many steps to the door—to the bathroom. And knew when they would bring Sam to her.
Nerve endings hummed as she listened for her baby’s cry, and for the footsteps that would bring him to her overflowing breasts.
Something was wrong.
Hysterical laughter bubbled up. Wrong? As if being kidnapped and held captive for weeks wasn’t wrong. As if keeping her baby from her wasn’t wrong. But they hadn’t brought her son at dusk as they had all these many days. It was a routine she lived for.
Kayla took a deep breath, forced calm.
As suddenly as it began, the routine had changed. They’d forced a couple of pills on her earlier. Another thing they’d never done before. She’d put two fingers down her throat and vomited them back up after they’d left the room. Plus, they hadn’t brought her the usual healthy evening meal. Rather, they’d shoved a peanut butter sandwich at her. The scary thing was that they acted different.
Fear welled up into her throat. The taste of peanut butter came with it. She put a hand over her mouth to keep it down.
Sam’s cry filtered through the thin wall separating them. She had to be strong. Her son needed her.
Ignoring the dark, she got out of bed, held out her arms, shuffled her feet along to keep from stumbling, and made her way to the door. She prayed they had forgotten to lock it. She’d take Sam and run. This nightmare would be over.
Her hand found the knob. One silent twist. Locked.
Just like the last four weeks.
Four weeks of hell—of being held prisoner—of fearing for her life and the life of her son. Four weeks balancing on the edge of sanity.
She’d had four weeks to think, to question the reason for her capture, for what was happening to her and her newborn son. If they wanted her child, why didn’t they just take him? Why let her nurse Sam, but not let her be with him?
Why kidnap her in the first place?
It didn’t make sense.
Hot bile rose up. She swallowed it down.
Sam cried out again. Louder. He wanted his mommy and she couldn’t go to him. She so wanted to hold him, love him. The ache went deeper, the squeeze around her heart almost sending her to her knees.
Her baby’s muffled cry sent a burst of anger pulsing through her. She tried the door again. Somehow, she had to get to him, get him away from the kidnappers and take him home.
A car door slammed.
Another weird thing about tonight. Her captors never left after dark. Her heartbeat accelerated. Someone else was here. Someone other than the two who had kidnapped her weeks ago, delivered her baby, and held her prisoner.
Could it be the police?
Muted voices filtered through the thin walls. Putting her ear to the door, she tried to hear what they said. Couldn’t. Her burst of hope shattered. It wasn’t the police.
Sam’s muffled cry stabbed her heart.
She wanted to pound on the door, beg them to let her out. But she’d been doing that now for days that had turned into weeks to no avail. Some sixth sense kept her from doing so tonight.
This wasn’t right. It couldn’t be happening. It just couldn’t. Hadn’t she done everything she was supposed to do from the moment she’d found out she was pregnant until the morning she’d been kidnapped? Hadn’t she exercised? Taken her vitamins? Avoided all the wrong foods? Eaten the right ones? She had wanted that life inside her as she’d wanted nothing before.
She sank to the floor, dropped her head in her hands. She had to get free so she could hold her son when she wanted, snuggle him close and inhale that sweet baby scent. She wanted her life back.
Sam let out a louder, sharper cry that pierced her to the soul. Even he knew something was different tonight. Her breasts ached with his cry. They hadn’t brought the breast pump either, and they were never this late.
Her breathing accelerated.
Since the first day when they brought her here, she’d struggled against panic attacks. She would not succumb now.
Willing her heart to still, she wiped sweat from her brow with the sleeve of her shirt. Sam cried out again, more muted, further away. They weren’t bringing him to her. Then a car door slammed again.
Putting an ear against the door, she leaned into it, listened for her baby’s cry. Silence.
What could she do to free them? A wave of anguish swept over her—anguish mixing with fear as she put a hand to her mouth to keep from crying out.
The darkness felt oppressive, desperation had her shrinking into herself.
“Sam,” she whispered.
But Sam was quiet now. Had he drifted off to sleep? Did he miss her?
Her captor’s voices grew louder. Who were these monsters? They hadn’t hurt her physically, but the emotional abuse was sheer torture. She was only allowed a few times a day to hold and nurse Sam, too few for her to bear.
Silently, she forced herself to scramble up, stumble her way back to the bed, to lie down and pretend sleep.
A few seconds later, the door opened. Light spilled in when the man and woman came toward her. Her heart pounding, Kayla willed her breathing to sound normal.
“She’s out,” the female said. “The pills will keep her that way the rest of the night.”
“Good,” the male answered. “We don’t need problems tonight.”
Sleeping pills? Why?
Kayla opened her eyes to slits. Light from the open doorway gave her a good view of them. They smelled of oranges. Oranges! They’d fed them to her every day. Forced her to eat them, even left a bowl of them in her room. “For the vitamin C and calcium your baby needs,” they’d told her. And they must have eaten a dozen a day themselves because their hands, their breath reeked of the citrus smell. She struggled to keep from gagging. She’d never eat another orange as long as she lived.
The woman pulled down her surgical mask. For the first time, Kayla saw her face and memorized her features. Short gray hair was tied in an untidy knot on the top of her head. Her eyes a dark color, brown or black maybe, an oversized nose and thin lips. She was around five foot four or five and slightly overweight. From the way the woman took care of her, Kayla thought her a trained nurse. But why would a nurse be involved in a kidnapping?
“What are they going to do with her?” the woman asked.
“Not our concern. The baby’s gone. She’s sedated. We’re almost done. She’s the next guy’s worry. Let’s finish. We don’t want to be here even a minute after ten.”
Sam was gone? Dear God. Where was he? Her heart tripped faster. And what happened at ten o’clock? She strained to hear Sam’s cry. Even a little hiccup. Nothing. It took every ounce of willpower she possessed to lie still when she wanted to jump up and attack them.
The car! No! Her heart roared. They wouldn’t.
She willed her limbs to remain limp.
“Will they let her go?” the woman asked.
The guy chuckled. “Would you? She’s the only one who might look for the brat.”
One of them lifted her wrist. It wasn’t easy to pretend sleep when she wanted to fight, but she let her arm drop to the bed. “She’s out of it.”
Kayla kept her eyes shut.
“She isn’t going anywhere. Not after the pills we gave her.”
The woman mumbled, “To tell the truth, I didn’t think my job description included murder.”
Kayla’s heart sputtered to a stop then began again, an erratic pounding so loud she was sure they heard.
“Our hands are clean,” the man said.
Kayla opened her eyes to slits again and watched. The woman didn’t like what was going on; the man didn’t seem to care. A shudder crept up her spine. Stay still. Don’t move a muscle. The man walked into the light, but didn’t remove his mask. She’d already memorized everything she could about him. He wore his dirty blond hair in a ponytail; acne scars across his forehead were probably on the rest of his face, too.
For the next ten minutes, the man and woman sprayed some kind of cleaner on every surface then wiped it down. Going into the bathroom, they did the same. The smell of bleach mixed with orange. Her stomach rolled.
They were talking and laughing as they cleaned the bathroom. How could they? Sam was gone and they’d tried to drug her. But the door was open. Now was her chance.
Without making a sound Kayla moved off the bed, picked up her shoes and slipped out the door. Shutting the door quietly, she twisted the lock. Let them see how it felt to be a prisoner.
“Thank you, God! Thank you. Thank you.”
Free now, she had to find Sam. Maybe she’d heard wrong. Maybe he was asleep. She would grab him and go to the police. They would find out who these people were and put them where they belonged.
She put on her sneakers as fast as her trembling fingers allowed, then searched through the small house, barely noting the shabby furnishings, the cracked paint or the threadbare carpet. Sam was gone! She had heard correctly. Someone had taken her baby.
The only thing she found was a small book of matches tucked down by the arm of a chair. She stuck it in her pocket.
Dizziness washed over her. Where had they taken Sam? Who had him now?
“Let us out!” the man yelled. Fists pounded on the door. A booted foot kicked at it. Most bedroom doors were made of wood and had the lock on the inside. This one had a new lock on the outside.
“How does it feel?” Kayla called back as she went to stand on the other side of the door. “If you tell me where they took my baby, I’ll open the door.”