The Reprisal – Part 1

A few years ago,  I was listening to “Badge” by Cream, and a story suddenly came to my mind. As it flowed out, it went through stages of being sensuous, dark and quite a bit disturbing. I haven’t shown it to very many people, but I have decided to post it on this blog.

This is Part 1.

Sarah looked out of her back door. She couldn’t count the number of times she had stood in that spot and taken in the view. The house, while modest, sat on a cliff overlooking the ocean, and the beauty of that spot always mesmerized her. Nothing compared to the sight of the sun setting over the horizon. It was setting now, but Sarah was not looking at that. Her eyes focused on her husband sitting in a deck chair.

Ethan Cord had not spoken a word in twenty-seven days. Not since the day that the newspapers called the “Crossroads Massacre.” Sarah badly wanted, no needed to know what was going on inside of him. Doctors had examined him. Psychiatrists and therapists had talked to him. But no one could explain why he remained in what they could only describe as a “walking coma.” Ethan was awake, but he wasn’t.

Sarah worked everyday to help Ethan get better. The psychiatrists had theorized that he was in shock and released him to go home. Maybe familiar surroundings would trigger a response. Maybe listening to Sarah talk about familiar things would motivate him to open up. Sarah needed to know what was in his mind, but the police did too. Only Ethan knew what happened that night, and only he knew the key to the largest investigation in the city’s history. Sarah’s job was to bring back her husband and everything he knew.

Sarah spent everyday talking to Ethan. She told him about their son, Jonas, and how he was married to Mabel. Ethan loved Mabel, and Sarah knew why. She filled a void left by a tragedy that would haunt them forever. As she stared out of the window, Sarah thought about that day long ago when their lives changed forever. She remembered the last words she said as her daughter ran out of the door to visit her friend.

“Madeline! I told you not to wander around in the dark! Maddy! Come back into the house!”

Hours passed. Then days. Police searched. Volunteers searched. Television crews interviewed everyone. Local channels. National news networks. It was the largest manhunt in the history of the state. Ethan went silent at first. Eerily similar to what he was doing now. He sat in his office with his history books, his maps, and his photographs. In their old life, Ethan was a history professor with an expertise in the Indian wars of the American West. With his daughter missing and activity swirling through the area, Ethan sat reading about pioneers abducted by Indians. That’s what he always did. When there was a problem he knew that he could find the solution in history. Once he found it, Ethan came out of his office.

Professionals and volunteers from across the nation had been searching for days. Calls were coming in from everywhere with leads to Maddy’s location. But none of them could find her. Ethan knew he could. He told Sarah he could. Ethan joined the search and within hours they found Maddy. Her charred body was found half buried in a wooded area five miles from their home. Ethan was with the search team that found her.

Maddy’s death took a toll on their marriage. Ethan blamed Sarah for letting their daughter go out at night. Sarah blamed Ethan for not joining the search earlier. They almost divorced but realized they couldn’t for their own sakes and for Jonas’. Instead of leaving each other they decided to leave their location. They moved to the coast when they found a house that they believed would help them make a new start. It needed work, but the view was amazing. The refurbishment took up time and allowed them to focus on something other than the loss of their daughter. The little house on the cliff became their dream home, but it also became their salvation. Ethan recreated almost perfectly his office full of history in anticipation of continuing his teaching career, but he needed more. Something in Sarah knew that.

She supported him when he told her that he didn’t want to teach history anymore. He wanted to become a detective and help other families find their missing loved ones. Sarah worked as Ethan went back to school. He received a degree in criminal justice and graduated from police academy. He had a new job. They had a new home and a new life. The years went by quickly until twenty-seven days ago. That’s when time stopped and old wounds returned.

Sarah stared through the door at Ethan. Although the years and the tears had taken their toll, he was still the most handsome man she had ever seen. His eyes were still bright blue although they were now outlined by crow’s feet. His hair was now white. Shockingly, it was only speckled with gray twenty-eight days ago. Ethan’s job kept him fit, and he wore his favorite jeans and t-shirt well.

The door squeaked as Sarah opened it. It always squeaked. She walked to Ethan, kneeled in front of him, and laid her head on his lap. She closed her eyes and prayed that God would bring him back to her. Whatever had put him in this state could not hold on to him forever. They had been through too much together, and Sarah was not going to let Ethan go without a fight. As she prayed Ethan suddenly began to whisper. Sarah’s looked up at him, and her eyes met the blue eyes that had melted her years before. She hadn’t heard him, so Sarah asked over and over what he had said. She was not going to let this opening close. He turned his head, but she took his face in her hands and almost screamed, “What did you say?!”

“I was talking about a girl that looks quite like you”.

Tears began flowing down Sarah’s face. She tried to hold them back, but she was so happy that she could not stop. She knew what those words meant. On their first date an uncomfortable silence had set in. It happens when two people who barely know each other want to talk but can’t think of anything to say. She had broken the silence by asking Ethan what he was thinking about. He said that he was thinking about a girl that looks quite like you. From that point on that was Ethan’s way of saying that he loved her. She loved those words but knew she was not the girl that he had first said them to all those years ago. Her dark hair now had some strands of gray. And like Ethan wrinkles now lined her face. She had kept her body fit, but that was covered now by baggy shorts and a t-shirt covered with paint stains. Sarah was not the girl that Ethan had first said those words to, but she knew those words meant that the man she loved was returning from a darkness that only he could understand. Maybe now they could understand it together.

     Sarah knew what she was going to do next. She had been thinking about it since Ethan came home. When he finally began to come out of his shock, she would give him a night he would never forget. It would be a night that neither of them would ever forget.

19 Responses to “The Reprisal – Part 1”

  1. Well, ok, I’m hooked…impatiently anticipating the next part… 🙂

  2. Can’t wait for the next part!

  3. Sigh… I want more.
    *patiently waiting*

  4. […] The continuation of The Reprisal. […]

  5. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6 […]

  6. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 […]

  7. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8 […]

  8. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9 […]

  9. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10 […]

  10. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11 […]

  11. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12 […]

  12. […] Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13 […]

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