Read The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series) Online

Authors: Alex Crimson

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Mystery; Thriller & Suspense, #Thrillers & Suspense, #Crime, #Psychological Thrillers, #Teen & Young Adult, #Crime Fiction, #Noir, #Thrillers, #Psychological

The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series) (10 page)

BOOK: The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series)
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I pushed harder. “Come to the clinic, Jack. Let’s talk.”

My left hand was resting on the steering and my index finger was involuntarily tapping against its surface. The moment I noticed it, I pulled my hand away. It was making me nervous. It felt like I was shaking out of control.

Jack responded after a long and patient consideration. “Let me think about your proposal, doctor. Get back home. You will find instructions waiting for you when you get there. Call me when you find it.”

I nodded and disconnected the call. I knew what Jack was thinking. He thought he still held the advantage. He thought he knew everything that was happening in his story…but he was wrong. He had finally made an error. I sat back, pushing against the car seat and took a deep breath. I typed a message into my phone.

Aunt Matilda’s Diner. On the highway. That is where he took them. Nothing to be found here except the camera footage. Find Annie’s car.

I sent the message to Paul. Then, I fired the engine and headed back towards home. A few minutes after I had started from the diner, I got a reply from Paul. I read it even as I drove the car.

On it. I promise I will find them.

I tossed my phone onto the passenger seat and nodded to myself again. I had turned Jack’s own weapon against him. He had made a mistake and I was going to exploit it. I had lied in the latest journal entry which I had shared with him a few hours earlier from the security terminal in my clinic.

I had first seen the opportunity to act against Jack while I was seated in the storage room in the middle of the phone conversation with him.

“Where are you right now?” he had said. His voice had sounded uncertain.

“I am in the security room.”

“Security room?” he checked. And that is when it had hit me that it was a part of the clinic which he could never have had access to because it was usually kept locked. He was probably not even aware that it existed till I had told him about it on the call. Even as I continued the conversation with him, I had started looking around the room.

The room had no windows. Besides the door, the only opening to the outside world was a tiny vent in one of the walls. And there was no way it could be used to keep a watch on what was happening inside the room. The computer I was using had no inbuilt camera or a microphone. It all meant only one thing. The room was a black box for Jack. It was his blind-spot. There was no way for him to know what I was doing inside that room until I shared the specifics in my journal.

After that call with him, I knew that I had two immediate tasks at hand. The first was to find the clue that he had left for me and the other was to reproduce the actions I had taken to find it in my journal. But he had not specified any time limit this time and that gave me just enough room to act against him.

I had immediately opened the browser on the security computer and written an email to Paul.

The subject line was–
Urgent. Help.

And the mail began with a clear instruction–
Read the entire mail till the last word before you act.

In the e-mail, I made sure that I covered all the details that Paul could possibly need to find Jack and Annie and Sarah. I highlighted the course of events which had taken place since the moment I had received the first call from Jack two days earlier. I mentioned Jack’s full name and other specifics that I knew about him from his file in the clinic. I described his history, particularly the death of his wife, and his profession. I described his psychological condition to emphasize that he could not be expected to act or negotiate logically. I took a snapshot of Jack’s image from the video recordings and attached it to the email. Finally, I mentioned that I would also forward to Paul all the journal entries which I had sent to Jack. I concluded the mail with yet another instruction–
Call me only when you have Annie and Sarah. He is contacting me on the phone. He might become suspicious if he finds my phone busy on another call.

After sending out the e-mail, I had picked up my phone and sent a text message to Paul’s number–
Check Email. Urgent. Do not call me back. Do not share with anyone else. It’s about Annie and Sarah.

I did not know what else I could do to alert Paul. So I sent the same message to him two more times just to minimize the risk that it somehow did not reach him due to faults in the telephone network. It was 5.15 am by the time I had sent those text messages to him.

After ensuring that I had done everything I could to reach Paul, I once again focused my attention on tracking down the clue that Jack had left behind even while I anxiously awaited a communication from Paul confirming that he had received my messages.

About thirty minutes later, I had found the light blue envelope which Jack had dropped outside the storage room. Then I stepped outside the clinic, holding the envelope in my hand. As I stood out there in the cold, scanning the street to spot Jack, my phone had buzzed in my pocket signaling an incoming text message. I stepped back into the clinic and headed into the security room to check my phone. It was a response from Paul. He had just confirmed receiving my messages.

It was time for me to write the journal and describe what I had done to find Jack’s clue. It was time for me to make up a story of my own to make Jack believe that he was still in full control of what was happening.

Up until that moment when Paul’s message had come through, there had only been two main participants in Jack’s story–Jack and I. But from that point on, there was a third. Unlike me, Paul could operate outside of Jack’s knowledge and control. He was the story’s uncontrolled variable, somebody whose choices Jack could not program. Everything Paul did, every action he took and every way he influenced the story was based on independent decisions taken by him and uninfluenced by the whims of a psychotic kidnapper. But I gained knowledge of his actions only after everything was over…many days later…when video recordings of his debriefing interview were played in the middle of a courtroom as part of a trial.

13: Paul’s Debriefing Interview – Spanning Events Of Day 10

 

The dark screen flickered a couple of times before giving way to a bright glare. The image of Paul appeared on the screen, first in a slight blur, and then slowly becoming sharper. He was staring right into the camera. The hands of the debriefing officer were visible to one side of the screen as he adjusted and arranged a set of pages before him.

“Officer Lockhart,” the debriefing officer called out to Paul. Paul looked up at him. His eyes were directed at some point to the left of the screen towards the debriefing officer.

“Can you walk us through how and when you saw the text messages sent to you by the defendant, Dr. Robert Walker, on the morning of the day of the crime?

Paul nodded.

“I usually wake up around 6 am in the morning to workout at home. That day too, I woke up at 6 am to the ring of the alarm clock on my phone. As I turned the alarm off, I noticed that I had received three new text messages sent to me from Robert’s phone number. I ignored them at the time and got out of bed to freshen up. I got back to my phone twenty minutes later around 6:20 or 6:30 am. That is when I saw the messages.”

The debriefing officer handed a page to Paul. “This is a document from your telecom service provider. It contains the contents of the text message that you had received. Can you read out the highlighted words for the camera?”

Paul looked down at the page and read the message, “Check Email. Urgent. Do not call me back. Do not share with anyone else. It’s about Annie and Sarah.” Then he handed the page back to the debriefing officer.

“Officer, can you confirm if the other two messages that you had received from Dr. Robert Walker’s phone number contained the exact same words?”

“Yes.”

“And what was your reaction when you saw these messages?”

“I was surprised…umm…shocked. I sent Robert a text message in response. I think my response was ‘
Received your message. Looking at my email.’

Then
I rushed to my computer to access my email account. Robert had sent me a series of emails around the same time that he had sent me those text messages. If I remember correctly, they were sent at about 4:45 am. When I saw those e-mails, I opened the first of the series.”

The debriefing officer handed another page to Paul, “This is a copy of the email sent to you by Dr. Walker at 4:53 am. Can you confirm that this is the email you are referring to right now?”

Paul looked down at it. “Yes.”

“Can you describe the contents of this email, sir?”

“The email contained a description of events from the previous two days during which Jack Bryant had taken Annie and Sarah hostage. Then using them, he was forcing Robert to act in specific ways and follow a…a script of some sort. It also contained details about Jack that Robert had gathered from his patient records.”

“Can you read the highlighted part of the mail for me?”

Paul read from the page. “Call me only when you have Annie and Sarah. He might become suspicious if he finds my phone busy on another call.”

“And who is ‘he’ here?”

“It’s a reference to Jack Bryant.”

“Did the email contain any attachments?”

“Yes. There was one attachment. It was an image of Jack extracted, possibly, from the video feed of one of the security cameras at Robert’s clinic.”

“Officer Lockhart, can you explain to me why Dr. Walker contacted you and just you for this? He could have directly reached out to the police force, but why just you?”

Paul exhaled. “I believe it is because we are related. He is my brother-in-law. Also, I think he chose not to engage the police directly because Jack had specifically warned him that there he would hurt Annie and Sarah if the police got involved.”

“Is it because of your relationship with him that you keep referring to the defendant by his first name Robert, and not as Dr. Walker?”

Paul blinked for a second. “Yes.”

“Okay. I will come back to the question of your involvement in some time, officer. But can you walk us through what you did once you had read through Dr. Walker’s first email?”

“I immediately called the Police Station where I work. I found out who the junior office on duty was. It was Officer Dana Goldman. I spoke to her and told her that I needed all information she could help me gather about Jack Bryant. Then I sent his details–name, age and photograph–to her over mail. I requested her to feed his information into the databases and run a check on him. After that, I read the next email that Robert had sent to me. This second e-mail looked like one of the entries that Robert had made into his journal on instructions from Jack. When I was done reading that, I got out of my house and drove to the Police Station reaching there at about 7.20 am.”

“Did you see anything suspicious outside your house while you stepped out? Any unidentified vehicles? Any suspicious person?”

Paul looked down at the table for a second, shaking his head. “No. There was nothing unusual. No person or vehicle was parked out there to the best of my memory.”

“Okay. So you went to the Police Station. Had the databases returned any information at the time you arrived there?”

“No. Not by then. The queries were still running. While they continued to run, I spent some time reading through the rest of the emails that Robert had sent to me. They were all journal entries similar to the second email that we just spoke about.”

“Can you confirm if these are the emails you are referring to, officer?”

Paul looked down at the next set of pages handed to him and nodded. “Yes, these are the emails.”

“What happened after?”

“By the time I had read through these, the databases had returned some results.”

“Can you tell us more about that?”

“We had found a match on the DMV and driving license databases, so we had details of Jack’s vehicle and his last known address. We also had a match on the local police records which mentioned him in the report of suicide that had taken place about a year earlier. He was identified there as the husband of the deceased…who went by the name Catherine Bryant. There were no other matches. Jack Bryant basically had…no previous criminal record.”

“So you had Mr. Bryant’s address? Did you inform your supervisor, Officer Goldman or anybody else about this kidnapping which was under progress at the time?”

Paul said nothing for a second, just staring at his interviewer. “No, I didn’t inform anybody else.”

“And why is that, officer?”

“I did not want to let the situation go out of control. We could not have too many policemen going after Jack. If the threat that he had issued to Robert…if the threat he had issued to Dr. Walker had actual intent behind it, then he might have killed Annie and Sarah the moment he caught wind. I could not take that risk.”

There was a pause during which the debriefing officer once again arranged the pages before him.

“So what did you do with Jack Bryant’s address, officer?”

“I went after him. I drove…alone…to his last known address in the suburbs.”

14: Robert’s Journal – Of Day 10

 

Back at my house, I stood outside the door for a few seconds listening to the sounds of the day which was still in its infancy. The sun was shining in all its glory. I turned my back to the door, looking outwards at the road. I was uncertain if I even wanted to open the door and go in. I sat on the stairs for a few minutes looking detachedly as some of my neighbors walked out of their houses to pick up their newspapers while others stepped out to drop garbage bags into the dumpsters outside their homes. A couple of them looked at me and smiled. One of them just nodded. I returned the gestures blankly. From the distance, there was the sound of a lawn mower working tirelessly.

I gathered all the courage I could and finally went into the house. There was a light blue envelope waiting for me on the floor just inside the door. I picked it up and went into the bedroom. I had not opened the envelope yet.

I called Jack just like he had asked me to.

“I am home,” I said.

“Did you find what I had left for you?”

“Yes.”

“I want you to write your journal once again, doctor.”

“What do you want me to write about?”

“Nothing in specific, doctor. Just write about what you are feeling. Write about what’s going on in your mind–right now and in the moments after. When you are done, open the envelope. You will know where we are meeting and what to do next.”

He continued, “You said you wanted to talk. So let’s talk. Let’s have a conversation…one last time. This meeting will bring all of this to a close…it will be the end of this story…our story.”

I looked down at the envelope as the call ended. Then I switched on my laptop to write this journal entry…the last one before this story ends. Or at least that is what Jack wants me to believe.

I spent a few long minutes just staring at the blinking cursor on the screen, unable to decide what to write. Oddly enough, the blank screen with the blinking cursor describes me best in these moments. It represents to me the feeling of being isolated, of standing in one place…waiting…trying to move…but failing. I wish I could have sought help from someone to stop Jack, to convince him to let my family go.

But I can’t.

I have lost. And Jack has won.

I can only hope that Annie and Sarah will survive this. Because if they don’t, I won’t.

But Jack has been in complete control from the moment that all this began. And he continues to control and decide every detail of this story…his story.

I am afraid. There is very little I can do.

BOOK: The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series)
2.4Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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