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) (5 page)

BOOK: The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series)
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“Of course, whether you find them dead or alive depends on how well you continue to cooperate. If you involve the police or do anything that is not to my liking, I will kill them.”

I gasped for air, struggling to breathe. My muscles had tightened and I could hardly move.

“Now go to sleep, doctor. But sleep with your lights switched on. I do not want you to play any tricks under the cover of darkness. Remember…don’t improvise unless you absolutely need to.”

I left my phone on the table and spent a few minutes staring at it blankly.
What can I do?
I asked myself.
How do I seek help?

A few minutes later, I fell back on my bed staring at the ceiling, still thinking. I felt a desperate urge to escape from it all, to find a corner in the room where he could not see me. But it was not going to work. The fluorescent tube light in the room shone with the consistency of the sun, refusing to even flicker. My eyes fell upon the pictures in the room. Some of them hung on the wall. Some others were framed inside of photo frames which were placed on the table next to the bed.

I stared at a picture on the wall which had Sarah running through a clearing in a garden while Annie stood behind her in the distance cheering for her. I remembered clicking that picture in a park in France.

My gaze shifted to a picture of all three of us at a farm looking away at the setting sun. Frank had clicked that picture when we had visited his place the previous summer.

I closed my eyes, trying to sleep, reminding myself that there was little I could do while being under the kidnappers direct observation.
I need to think of this coldly
,
I told myself. Looking at the situation coldly did not mean detaching from the emotions which were driving me to the end goal of getting Sarah and Annie back to safety. Looking at the situation coldly meant that I could not let emotions blind me in the moment. It was about being able to act quickly and decisively when the opportunity to do so became available.

Even as I told myself that, my brain started to throw a consistent stream of memories of my family at me as if in an attempt to make me try harder. I turned in my bed, hoping that it would help put a stop to that. But, it did not work. I found myself worrying about what was going to happen next. I replayed the series of incidents which had happened that day, particularly the events which I had captured in my journal. Even though I was not fully awake at that moment, I understood what my mind was trying to do. It was collating all available evidence it could find…some of it irrelevant. Then, it would pull together memories of my previous experiences which even remotely seemed linked to the current situation–those memories could be anything from events I had experienced in person to a story that I might have read or heard about. The memories from the past would not be a clear recollection but my brain would just try to extract the essence of everything…small fragments which felt relevant. And then, it would stitch it all together into a massively complex fabric and somehow try to make sense of it all.

But it wouldn’t stop there. It would go a step further, extrapolating everything to predict what was coming. It was my mind’s defense mechanism playing out against fear and surprise–the two most lethal elements which could throw this situation out of my control…much more than it already was.

Then, for a second, everything went dark, but I was not asleep yet. The light came back, growing slowly in intensity. I felt the warmth of someone’s breath against my neck. Then, there was the warm metal of a gun pointed at my temple to my right. The temperature of the gun was dropping rapidly as it lost heat at a quick pace. And finally, I heard the click of the gun’s trigger and saw the blast of gunpowder before my closed eyes. Then, I woke up with a jolt.

I sat up in my bed and turned to look outside the window. It was morning already. I looked at the wall clock. It struck about six fifteen am. I had spent hours in bed trying to fall asleep and I hadn’t found any hint of success. I knew instantly that it was not a good sign. The last thing I needed in my battle against the kidnapper was a tired mind which was also suffering the onslaught of intense emotions.

I sat there, motionless, almost expecting the phone to ring. I waited, listening to the singing of the birds outside and the rustle of leaves in the cold, damp air. All hint of darkness receded at a rapid pace and soon everything outside was bathing in a constant stream of bright sunlight. I found myself struggling to stay attached to any single line of thought–not even the thought that I was unable to focus. I felt dehydrated and my eyes were dry and irritated. I thought of going to the clinic early but then I remembered what the caller had said the previous night. He wanted me to stick to habit. And anything unusual could be interpreted as a sign of improvisation.

I could not take a single step wrong, especially because I still did not fully understand his motives. I did not know if he was looking for anything tangible and that put me in a weaker negotiating position. Refusal to comply with his orders held an unknown element of risk and could prove to be costlier than I could have guessed. I could not do anything to push his buttons till I fully understood his motives.

I realized that I would eventually have to move to parts of the house where he would not be able to watch me from outside. Maybe, I could carry my phone with me and call Paul whenever I got a chance.
But what if the kidnapper tried to reach me on the phone while I was in the middle of another call? Would he know that I was trying to involve someone else? How would he react?
The same could happen if I tried to use the wired line to reach Paul. The kidnapper had not indicated that he would call me only on my cell phone. It was all too risky.

I can drop Paul a text message maybe…
I thought to myself. But no, there was no way I could explain the entirety of my situation to him over a text message which was highly limited in length. It would only make him give a knee-jerk reaction and that could put Annie and Sarah in bigger danger.
Maybe an email?
I asked myself. But my laptop was in the bedroom, in full view through the window. I could type the mail on my phone but it would take too long and the kidnapper might grow suspicious.

I decided to hold off on taking any action. It was all too risky. I had to wait and be patient. It was only a matter of time till the caller made a mistake. I needed to stay focused and grab the opportunity when I saw it, however small it might be.

I arrived at the clinic around 9.30 am and walked right in. On the way there, I had constantly kept a watch on the rearview mirror in the car trying to spot vehicles which were possibly tailing me. I had not spotted anything suspicious but I could not be certain. After all, I was not trained to identify a tail.

As I entered the clinic, Alice stood up from her seat. She was the receptionist at the clinic and had been working with me for as long as I could remember.

“Good morning, Dr. Walker. How are you today?” she asked.

I paused in my stride and looked at her, delirious. “Sorry, what?”

“I was just saying good morning. How are you doing? You look very tired.” There was genuine concern in her voice.

I nodded, trying to decide if I could use her help somehow.

“All good, Alice. Just…wasn’t able to sleep much yesterday night.” I struggled.

“Should I get you a coffee?” she asked tentatively. She knew that I avoided caffeine but I needed it now more than ever. I was glad she asked because I wouldn’t have thought of it.

“Yes please.”

She nodded and moved swiftly towards the pantry. I stood there, opposite her desk, more because I did not know what else to do. I looked down at the wired phone on her desk. Then I looked around at the surroundings to spot how, if at all, someone could be keeping a watch on me inside the clinic. I extended my hand towards the phone on Alice’s desk but before I could do anything it started to ring. I pulled my hand away and looked towards Alice as she rushed back from the pantry with a cup of coffee in her hand. She handed the cup to me and took the call.

“Hello. Dr. Walker’s Clinic.”

I could not hear the voice on the other side.

“Sure. May I know who I am speaking to?” she said.

Then she nodded. “Certainly, can you give me a minute?”

I hadn’t moved an inch from my spot. Alice placed her hand on the microphone to block her voice as looked at me. “It’s for you, doctor. Should I transfer it to your cabin?”

“Who is it?” I asked.

“It’s a Mr. Noah. He did not give me a second name.”

I stared at her blankly. Then shaking myself out of the freeze, I nodded and walked into my cabin. As I entered the room I wondered if the choice of that name was just a coincidence or if it was intentional. That name–Noah–belonged to my father…my dead father.
Is it the kidnapper? What does he know?

I picked up the receiver in my cabin. “Yes.” I said, almost sure of who I was talking to.

“Is there anyone else on the line, doctor?” the voice asked. “Your receptionist maybe?”

It was, indeed, him.
Why is he using my father’s name? Or is his name actually Noah?
I could not remember anybody with that name besides my father.

“No”, I hesitated, “The phone line does not work that way. Only one of the phones can be active at any given point of time.”

“That’s good, doctor. It keeps things simple for us.”

A small pause. “So, are you ready for today’s performance?”

I waited momentarily before asking, “What do you want me to do?”

“Nothing out of the ordinary. Like I told you yesterday night, just be normal. I called you to inform you that I am watching.”

“Yes, I understand.” I said. “Can I talk to Annie and Sarah?”

Silence.

“I was wondering when you would bring that up, doctor. The answer is no. Not right now. I am still not convinced if I have your full cooperation. Our relationship needs time to stabilize without the influence of…external parties.”

I said nothing. He ended the call. After putting the phone back down, I looked through the glass wall which offered a view of the street outside. The curtains had been pulled aside–Alice did that every morning before I arrived. There was enough sunlight to illuminate the entire room but it threw small shadows towards the inner side.

I was reminded of something Annie had said while the clinic was being set up many years before. Her voice played in my ears but I wasn’t sure if I recalled it with the right pitch and intonations. I felt pathetic, pitying myself for possessing the human limitation that prevented me from remembering Annie with the finest of details about her. If I lost Annie now, I would never get to hear her voice speak those words again.

“Many people are going to come here and tell you that they feel alone, that they are lost, Rob. Wouldn’t you want them to see the world outside and remind them that they are not? That there are people out there who love them…people who are waiting for them at home…”

Annie had insisted on the installation of the glass wall which spanned half of the room, allowing a view into the world outside.

Alice opened the door and peeped in through the gap, calling me out and breaking my chain of thought. Patients had started to trickle in.

The first half of the day passed but not without inflicting further damage on my mental state. The insomnia from the previous night was starting to hurt me. But I realized soon enough that it wasn’t just the lack of sleep. It was the compounded effect of that combined with anxiety and the need to engage in psychologically draining conversations with my patients.

I found myself switching off after the first two appointments, finding it increasingly difficult to focus for long periods of time. I started to record the conversations on my phone whenever I could get the patient’s consent. By lunchtime I had begun to feel like I was experiencing black-outs, mixing the contents of one conversation with that of another. I recalled bits and pieces of information when it did not matter and forgetting details when remembering was critical. I needed to step back and take a break.

I found some respite when I finally left the clinic for lunch around 1.30 pm. I walked across the street to Sam’s Sandwiches on the other side of the road. After a ten minute wait in the queue, I sat alone on a little square table in a corner of the eatery. I looked closely at the people around me, trying to identify the kidnapper amongst them. I waited, hoping to catch one face in that crowd of people looking back at me and suddenly cutting through the noise to reach me. I expected him to walk up to me and sit opposite me on that table. But none of that happened. I rubbed my eyes and tried to focus. I tried to evaluate if one of the patients who had visited me that morning was the kidnapper. Of the five people I had met only one was a male. But he had not spoken a word. In fact, his wife who had accompanied him claimed that he hadn’t spoken a word for almost a month since his brother had died. If that was true, it could not be him.

I moved to another line of reasoning. I only knew the kidnapper by voice and that too, I had only heard over the phone. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to identify his voice even if he were sitting right opposite me. And I knew that he knew that too. If he wanted me to identify him, he would have to do something more…something that made it easier for me to recognize him.
But how would he show himself?

BOOK: The Secrets You Hide: A Mind-Blowing Thriller (The Psychosis Series)
4.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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