Somehow They're Alive (part 22)

This quiz runs longer than most of my others. My others have been only ten-twelve questions long while this one is fourteen questions long. A lot happens in this one and more happens in the next installment.

I have a lot of things planned out for the ending of this series. The ending isn't here quite yet, but it's right around the corner. Hopefully you'll all be satisfied.

Created by: Topaz

  1. ***Jaslina's Point of View/ Purple Mountain: Twenty-Four Hours In*** "I see it," says my father, "I just don't believe it. My youngest daughter came from California to Ireland with four of her friends in some crazy attempt to save her long lost father. How'd you do it?" "It's a very, very, very long story. It starts at the beginning of last summer." "Wow. Well, I do want to hear it. Of course, I'm still getting over the fact that you're my daughter and you and your friends came to rescue me!" I laugh. "I most definitely am your daughter, and we absolutely came to rescue you. I'm just glad that we finally found you." "We've been in Ireland for weeks," says Rayla. "For a while we didn't ever think we'd manage to find where Sapphire was hiding you. Then we got help from a couple named Tom and Rosie and from Landon." "From Landon? You must be joking! Are we talking about the same Landon here?" "Yes, dad, we are. We actually have another ally that will probably surprise you quite a bit." Now dad's the one laughing. "If you're talking about Sapphire's brother, Ryan, that's no surprise. You've no idea how many times I've heard her brood over his treachery. If the girl finds out that her boyfriend has betrayed her, too, I think it would be enough to make her unleash her full fury." Just then the look on his face tells us that he's had a shocking revelation. "Speaking of monsters, where is she? I would've thought that you'd have had a run in with her to get to me." "We didn't just get some help from Landon. We got a lot of help from Landon. He actually took her off somewhere for a few days to give us time to get to you." "Not only that. He gave us this map, too," Audrey adds giving it to him. He gladly takes it and examines it carefully. "Wow, he really put himself out on this one. It must've taken him days to create this. I believe that I've misjudged the boy." "Trust me. We've all misjudged him." "What do you mean by that?" "Like I said, it's an extremely long story. Sadly, there's no time to tell it right now." "Why ever not?" " Landon's only going to be away with Sapphire for so long. Before the three of us came in here it was agreed that we'd be out of here in thirty-eight hours maximum. Our friends would like us out of here in thirty-six hours, but we're not sure if that's attainable." He raises his brow. "That sounds nearly impossible. How many hours have you spent down here already?" "We're currently at twenty-four. And counting." "That means we only have fourteen hours. If we're gonna get out of here, we'd best get going." He pauses for a second and then continues. "I don't mean to slow down our progress, but can I please take a shower before we leave? Or maybe four? I can't remember the last time I took a shower and had a haircut." "Of course you can, Mr. Rowe. Hopefully you don't mind using Sapphire's shower," says Audrey. "Mind? What do I care so long as it's a shower? The haircut can wait though. I'm not sure I should trust three girls who've never been to beauty school to cut my hair." I smile. "Dad, that should offend me, but it doesn't. You're right. None of us have any idea how to cut hair." Rayla takes a pair of men's khaki's, a black t-shirt, and a plaid button-up-the-front shirt out of her bag. "Oh, I almost forgot! Mr. Rowe, I have something for you. Our friend Chuck thought that you might need these when we found you. He gave them to me at the last minute." "Well, tell Chuck that Carson Rowe said thank you." He takes the clean clothes from her and walks into the bathroom. Hopefully my father is in good enough condition to walk. If he's not then we could be hours over our time limit. Oh well, there's no need to worry. He had no trouble at all during the twenty minute walk up here. Perhaps he is in good enough shape.
  2. ***On the Road to Chuck and Michiko's House/ Total Hours Spent in Purple Mountain: Thirty-Seven and A Half*** I way underestimated my dad. He absolutely can walk. The man can walk better than Rayla, Audrey, and I. Apparently he spent the majority of his time in the cell doing exercises and conserving food. He said that he didn't start doing that last part until the White-dressed Woman left him a couple of times and he had to go hungry for three and four days in a row. It was only the third time she did that when he was smart enough to save some of it. I thought that I told him he looks remarkably fit and average weight for someone who's been trapped in a cell and been fed two meals a day for the past sixteen years. He said it's all due to his daily exercises, his food conservation, and to God. I can't help but agree with him. As I drive our car slowly through the black forest I can't help but cry with relief. I am so happy that we're returning with my father. Part of me is happy that there's nobody awake to see me cry tears of joy for the hundredth time. Another thing that makes me happy is that all I can feel is silence and God's presence as I mumble prayers of thanks. I've never expected things to work out perfectly for a change. Through the branches of the trees I can see the crescent moon hanging high in the sky. It must be very late. I glance at the dashboard clock and realize that it's one forty-five in the morning. Wow. Hopefully we don't startle everybody at the house too bad. Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Rayla curled up into a ball in the passenger seat. In the seats behind me I can sense that my father is sprawled out across the backseats asleep. Audrey is farther back, but she's not asleep anymore. I can see her sitting upright and staring out the window in the rearview mirror. At first I'm going to say something to her, but then I decide not to. By the set of her eyes it's easily seen that she's deep in thought and not to be interrupted.
  3. I focus my eyes on the road and stay focused until the simple dirt driveway comes into focus. Normally a person would think that a little blue house in the middle of the forest would look creepy in the light of the moon at nearly two o'clock in the morning. Not this one. It looks so quaint and peaceful. When the living room light comes on the picture fades. Through the big picture window I can see everybody moving from through the living room making their way toward the porch. Once on the porch they don't confine themselves to that area because all of them are making their way toward the van. I shake Rayla and dad awake before stepping out of the vehicle to greet my patiently waiting friends. The moment I'm out of the van Ryan engulfs me in hug. "You guys made your deadline! We were all starting to get a bit anxious." I stand there for a second and let him hold me. "I take it that we didn't wake any of you." "You didn't, actually. We've been up for hours waiting for you. We would've stayed awake all night if we had to." "Ryan, you're so sweet. I'm glad that I chose you as my boyfriend." He gives me a peck on the cheek. "I'm glad, too." After a slight pause, "I'm guessing that you found your dad." "With Landon's map and God's help we were able to do it." To everybody else, I say, "Everyone, this is my father, Mr. Carson Rowe." Dad moves out from beside the car to accept everyone's hugs and handshakes. "It's a pleasure to meet all of you," he says. "I can't thank you enough for helping rescue me." "There's no need to thank us," says Michiko. "Just be happy that my husband and I have been giving them a place to stay and will continue to do so. While the girls were off looking for you I took time to make up your room as well. You can stay as long as you like. I'll even offer you a free haircut if you want one." "That's very generous of you, ma'am." "Don't be so modest. I'm glad to do it; especially if it's for Jaslina Rowe and her friends. I don't think there's a single one of my friends who hasn't heard their incredible story." Dad smiles and turns his attention to me. "Jaslina dear, before I do anything there are some things I need to know. First off, what is it that happened to you children last year? I've heard a lot about it and I need to know. Second, there is something that's been bugging me since I've first been rescued. I don't know if I'll like the answer, but I need to ask anyway. Why did you come to rescue me when your sister didn't? Is little Josie off at college or what?" That last question nearly makes my heart stop. Josephine wasn't with dad in the mountain and I didn't even notice. Even if I had noticed I thought for sure that he would know her whereabouts and that we could find her easily. So if mom and I don't know where Josephine is and dad doesn't know either then where is she?
  4. ***The Next Evening*** I'm trying very hard to not be depressed about my sister and the impossibility to track her down. Absolutely nobody knows what happened to her. Not even my father, although I hoped that he would. The last time he saw Josephine was in the moments before he was kidnapped by Ryan and Sapphire's mom. He said that she knocked him out and that was the last he'd seen of my sister. Dad had always assumed that the woman had left her in the car and that the police found her and returned her to mom and me. He never had any idea that she wasn't with us. Just like I never knew that she wasn't with him. I'm trying to be happy that we at least found him, but it isn't easy at all. It feels like without Josie this whole trip was in vain. I know that it hasn't been, of course. Really, it's been quite the opposite. Even though it seemed nearly impossible we found my dad! It's something that we shouldn't have been able to do. Either way I guess we accomplished it. Who knows? Maybe we'll get lucky and find her before we leave. I seriously doubt that, but maybe it could happen. I guess for the time being we should forget about my sister. At the moment there's something else we're trying to deal with. Chuck is at his job and Michiko is out on the porch giving dad a haircut and cutting off his beard. Dad said that he wants his hair short and his beard gone. The last thing he wants to look like is a dirty hobo; although, it'll take another shower or two to get the year's grime completely off of him. Once she's done with his haircut Michiko will be spending time in her garden and dad trying to get cleaner. So, right now, this leaves, Rayla, Tammy, Audrey, Jay, Ryan and I in the living room gathered around the phone wondering what to do next. "I know we made a promise that we would, but should we? I'd feel bad about putting Landon in jail," says Rayla pacing the floor. "Yes," says Jay, "but would you feel bad about putting Sapphire in jail?" "No. None of us would. She deserves prison. Maybe even the death penalty. It's just awful that Landon has to be dragged down with her." Audrey puts in, "It's extremely awful, but it's what has to be done. Would it really be right to leave someone as dangerous as Sapphire Caroga on the streets when we have all the means necessary to help capture her?"
  5. "No. It wouldn't be right at all," Rayla confesses defeated. "It also wouldn't be right to put somebody in jail that's helped us so much!" Tammy exclaims. "Tammy, please don't do this now," I say. "You know as well as the rest of us that Landon brought this on himself. Even if he has now made it right he'll still have to pay for his earlier decisions. Whether we like it or not that much is true." At that Tammy is silent. For a very long time she says nothing. Finally she says, "Fine, we do need to call the police on them. But I do think that it would be better if we waited until tomorrow to call. By then they'll be inside the mountain and will be trapped there. This way at least there's a better chance of nobody getting hurt." We all exchange glances at Tammy's proposal. "Are you certain that's a good idea?" asks Ryan. "Sapphire being trapped somewhere isn't a good scenario. Knowing my baby sister, a bunch of police trying to ambush her and capture her could mean a slaughterhouse." "More of a slaughterhouse than it'd be publicly?" asks Tammy. "Yes! She'd have more people to go through to get out; therefore it would mean more shooting and more killing. When my sister wants to avoid life in prison very, very, badly she can get trigger happy." Jay sighs. "Ryan, you know that I'm usually on your side, but this time I'm sort of with Tammy." "What? Why? You don't believe that what I'm saying is true?" "Well, I do and I don't. I do believe that she would shoot, but I don't think that she'd go crazy. By randomly shooting she'd be risking Landon's life. Do you really think that she'd do that as much as she loves him?"
  6. All of us except for Ryan consider what Jay is saying. We know that Ryan isn't considering it because he's still trying to convince us otherwise. "Guys, I know that she loves Landon. For once I think that my sister is truly in love. However, there is one person Sapphire loves more and that's herself. If Sapphire wants something and it meant eliminating Landon she'd kill him in cold blood." "I'm sorry, Ryan, but I'm siding with Jay. She loves Landon way too much to risk his life. Calling the police tomorrow will be better," says Rayla. "I second that," says Audrey. "Audrey, Rayla, Jay and I. That's four against two, Ryan. Would you like to argue further?" asks Tammy. For once she's honestly asking and not being sarcastic. "No. I guess not." "Jaslina, what about you? You haven't said anything on the subject all day," asks Audrey gently. I sigh. "Honestly, I do think that it would more dangerous for the police to trap Sapphire inside the mountain. On the other hand, since the majority of the group disagrees with that statement, I guess we should wait until tomorrow morning to call." Jay smiles at my words. "Thank you for your input, Ms. Rowe. Meeting adjourned." From there we split up. A few go join Michiko in the garden and others head for the greenhouse. Ryan, Jay, and I still linger inside the house with words buzzing around the inside of our skulls. I try to stay calm about our group's decision, but I can't. For some reason a deep sense of dread washes over me and I can't shake it. Doing the best I can to ignore it, I run off to join Rayla and Tammy in the greenhouse.
  7. ***I wake up out of a sound sleep. Not because of a noise and not because of my cashew sized bladder, but because of that dreadful feeling that I can't be rid of. Several times I try to fall back asleep, yet it does no good. Unable to lie down on my cot any longer, I grab my robe and climb over Rayla and Audrey in hope of reaching the stairs. Normally Chuck and Michiko's beautifully refurbished basement feels like a lovely and comfortable place to sleep. With its soft green carpeting, brown chair set, and spacious floor it's absolutely breathtaking. Tonight it's neither comfortable nor breathtaking. Tonight it feels like a room that's closing in and that I must escape from. I trudge up the stairs as quietly as possible until I reach the kitchen. I have to be quiet in here too. I don't want to wake up Ryan and Jay who are sleeping peacefully in the living room. For a second I just stand between the sink and the island listening to every sound I can hear. The wall clock in roman numerals is ticking away. If I squint enough I can see that it's almost two-thirty. From the living room close by I can hear Jay and Ryan's snoring and the gently hum of the air-conditioner. The one main sound masking these other sounds is the heavy pounding of rain on the roof and on the windows. When we went to bed it was only sprinkling. Now it sounds like the streets will soon flood. I turn and open the cupboard above the sink for a glass. Suddenly I am very thirsty. Luckily the tap water here is very good. My legs are starting to tire from standing in the same place so I start to pace the floor, occasionally sipping from the plastic glass. Every time I pass by the window that shows a full view of the driveway I can't fight the urge to peek outside. I know that I will see nothing, but actually seeing nothing helps to calm me.
  8. After about twenty minutes of this endless pattern I laugh at myself. "Jaslina, you paranoid freak, go to sleep! There's nothing to be scared of. Go to sleep." Just as I turn to go down the basement stairs I see it and know that I'm not crazy. A sudden burst of light comes through the window, it reflects onto the wall, and then it disappears. Despite the fact that I'm a little frightened I walk toward the window to peer outside one more time. Just as I suspected there is a car there. Even through the pitch black and the rain I notice it. A large silver vehicle that looks extremely familiar. It's like I've seen it before. Then I realize that I have. "Our stolen rental car," I say aloud. That very moment a dark figure gets out of the car and slams the door. I can hardly see the person trudging through the rain toward the front door. The only way I can tell they're there is when the moon reflects off of something small and metal in their hand. It takes merely seconds for me to realize that it's a gun. Sapphire. She found us. "Jaslina, what is it?" I turn to see a drowsy Ryan and Jay standing next to me. I didn't even hear them join me next to the window. All of the sudden I can't find my voice. Rather than trying to speak I point. All it takes is a glance for Ryan to tell whose approaching. "Oh crap! She's found us!" Ryan rushes toward the basement stairs. "Everyone get out! Run for the woods! Hurry! Sapphire's found us!" "Ryan, what are you talking about?" shouts Tammy in irritated response. "Tammy, he means it! Sapphire is walking up the driveway! Everybody run!" I can suddenly hear them coming up the stairs. Relieved that they're listening, I run for the back door. I jerk on it, but it proves to be useless. The door is completely jammed. We're trapped.
  9. "Jaslina, why aren't you going?" shouts Audrey. "I can't! It won't open!" "Yes it will!" says Jay pushing me out of the way and attempting to open it himself. For a second I'm hopeful that it'll come loose. It doesn't. "What do we do now?" cries Rayla. "Take cover!" Ryan yells. "Run to the basement and lock the door!" We do what he says before he finishes his sentence. The good news is that we don't have to alert Chuck, Michiko, and my dad. The commotion we caused woke them up and now they're following us down the stairs. "What's going on?" asks Michiko. "It's my sister," says Ryan. "She's found us and is coming toward the house with a gun. The back door is jammed and we can't get out, so we have to take cover down here." "Well, this won't do. Someone has to get to the living room and call the police." "Michiko, please don't," I plead. "There's no time. Anyone who goes upstairs now will be used for target practice." "I can't just sit here and do nothing." "You have to if you want to live." When the sound of the door getting kicked in fills the house we all go quiet. It wasn't too hard for her since Michiko never locks it. We huddle closer when we hear her soft feminine footsteps cross the floor. Even though she's stomping and trying to sound threatening her footsteps still sound remarkably light and female. When she starts shouting is when she sounds truly threatening. Threatening like a demon taking over a woman's body. When she can't tell where we are right away she swears. Nevertheless it takes her no time to get to the point. "You should give yourselves up right now, big brother! I know that you're in here somewhere!" Her words are followed by a round of gun shots. "If you don't reveal yourselves and follow my commands I'll find you and I'll shoot! If shooting doesn't do it I'll set the place on fire! I did it to Tom and Rosie's house and I'll do it to this one!" Another round of gunshots sounds off. From there we hear glass breaking, things being torn apart, stuff being thrown off of shelves and out of drawers, and many more rounds of gunshots. For a never-ending fifteen minutes we hear this.
  10. "I know now that all of you are in the basement and that I'll never be able to knock the door down to get in there! I also know that from your side you have to push to get out and that I can barricade you in! If you don't show yourselves right now I'm going to trap you and set fire to the house! If you don't feel like burning to death you'll come upstairs and follow my commands!" By now I can feel myself being so scared that I'm in tears. I can sense that the others are too. Another ten minutes of crashes and gunshots is all it takes for either Rayla or Audrey to start openly crying. My only comfort is in my prayers and Ryan's strong arms holding me tight. Without warning Ryan gives me a long sweet kiss and then stands up. "Ryan, what are you doing?" I ask in distress. As he turns to me I can see tears in his eyes. This is the very first time I've seen him cry. No matter what has happened before Ryan has never been the crying type until now. "She means what she's saying. If someone doesn't try to meet her demands right now she'll set fire to the house and kill us all. At least this way there's some hope." He calls out to Sapphire as he runs up the stairs. "Sapphire, it's me, Ryan! We're willing to negotiate! Just please don't shoot!" Suddenly the noise from her ransacking stops. "Ah, Ryan, I knew that you'd be the one to try and make a deal," Sapphire says menacingly through the door. "Alright, here's my offer. Let me warn you one more time that if you don't follow through on your end of the deal you won't make it out of here alive." Ryan gulps. "We know. Just tell us what you want. Please." "With pleasure. First off, just to make your little girlfriend happy, I won't harm or recapture Carson. She can keep him with no strings attached." By the way he's biting his bottom lip we can all tell that he doesn't believe her. "Don't play games. We both know that your deals are never described as no-strings-attached. Just tell us what the catch is." She gives a laugh. "That's one thing that has never changed about you, brother. You're always so quick to get to the point." After a blood-chilling pause she continues. "Of course, you happen to be right. See, since I'm letting Ms. Jaslina keep her daddy, I'll need a little something in exchange."
  11. Ryan articulates his words carefully before speaking. "What might that be?" "Audrey," demands Sapphire. "Give me Audrey." "Audrey?! What do you want her for?" shouts Tammy who is now standing in the middle of the stairs. "Does it matter why I want her? If the rest of you want to escape with your lives, give me Audrey." "You'll hurt her if you take her!" Tammy exclaims. Then she says something surprising, and is dead serious while saying it. "Sapphire, please take me instead. You've already almost taken my life once. This way you'll get the joy of almost killing me and then killing me again. I know you'd like that." "As tempting as your offer is, Tammy, I'm afraid that I can't accept it. I want Audrey. If you don't hand her over there's no deal." For a second nobody says anything or moves at all. Should we really do it? We can't just let her have Audrey can we?! Without my realizing it, we've formed a little protective circle around Audrey. Looking at her I notice that she isn't in tears or in fetal position. She just looks very stunned and very scared. Like the rest of us. Then she stands up. The basement is then filled with a loud panicked chorus of "Audrey, don't do it!" and "Audrey, no!" When Sapphire hears this there is some sort of twisted joy in her voice. "Is Audrey willing to comply?" "Yes. I'll go with you as long as you don't hurt my friends." "It's a deal." Slowly she makes her way up the stairs. Tammy tries to block her off and then Ryan, but it does no good. Not once we hear Sapphire open up a can and the smell of gasoline threatens to overwhelm us. Once that happens we had no choice but to let her out. Sapphire jerks Audrey to her side and presses the gun into her back. For some reason she doesn't pull the trigger. "Thank you all for your cooperation," is all she says before exiting the front door. For a second we're shocked and unable to move. It actually is only for a second, because we soon rush up the stairs. The wrecked remains of Chuck and Michiko's house don't even occur to me as I rush onto the porch. I can't see the car's outline through the heavy curtain of water. All I can hear is the slam of one door, then the slam of another, and then the sound of a heavy engine and car wheels squealing down the driveway.
  12. "Audrey, are you okay?! Audrey?! Auuudddrrreeeyyyy!!!?" I continuously call out with help from the others, but we get no response. Without a doubt they're gone already. Realizing that there's nothing we can do, I walk back inside to view the debris. Nothing is like it was an hour ago. Contents of drawers are spilled out everywhere and pillows and mattresses have been torn to shreds. The love seat is now in the kitchen rather than in the living room, and the chairs from the dining room look like piles of firewood. However, nobody seems to care. Our prime focus is on Audrey. "Don't worry. We'll think of something," says dad. "The phones may be destroyed, but there are still phones in town. We can drive there and call the police." "Sorry, Mr. Rowe, but that probably won't work. It's a forty-five minute drive to town. Sapphire will be long gone with the lass by then. Besides, Sapphire probably took the car keys!" Chuck argues. While dad tries defending his idea I go look into Chuck's missing-car-keys theory. For once he's wrong. They're still in the exact same place on the counter that they were before. Wow, those detectives on Investigation Discovery were right. Every criminal does make a major mistake. This could be Sapphire's, and not because we can get to town to turn her in. My reasoning is it makes me capable of chasing her down. I shove the car keys into my palm and run out the door to our car which still sits in the driveway next to Chuck's car unharmed. Even though Sapphire's criminal mistakes come in few numbers, they're very dire to her once they do come.

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