All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Four

With x-rays and the daily report in hand, Dr. Burt knocked on the King’s door.

The King’s most trusted ally, Lucius, also known as the King’s right hand, answered the door.  “Yes?”  he said as he carefully scrutinized Dr. Burt.

“I know this is a bit irregular but I wanted to give the King this information personally,” Dr. Burt said.

The King was standing in front of a large window, with his hands in the pockets of his casual Armani suit.  A face to face with the King was indeed irregular and would have never been allowed, had it not been for the unusual circumstances.  It was said that he was more protected than the President of the United States.

Not much was known about him and only those within the family had ever seen him but the word on the street was that he was a remarkably handsome man.  A man’s opinion might differ from a woman’s but even his soldiers commented about his striking looks.

He didn’t turn as Dr. Burt began.

“Sir, I haven’t much in the way of new information but I wanted to give you what I have.  I believe Roy has informed you that we ran fingerprints and found no record on file.  Of course, unless she has a criminal record, was in law enforcement or had a concealed permit, nothing would.”

Dr. Burt didn’t know that Foy was a step ahead and had already erased all records of her fingerprints from the data bases.

There was no response from the King.

Dr. Burt continued.

“Aside from what you have already been told, there has been a development.  It is my opinion that this woman has had plastic surgery to alter her looks at some point and it’s also my belief that the reason is from suffering unbelievable brutality of some sort.

I would guess her age to be in her early thirties and just from my point of view, she is exquisitely beautiful.”

There was silence from the King, who still hadn’t turned to look at Dr. Burt.

Clearing his throat, Dr. Burt said “I believe the blow to her head has caused total amnesia and in my medical opinion, I’m not sure she will recover any memories but I will continue to work with her, if that is your wish.  Of course, there’s always the possibility that she’s a very good thespian but as I said, I believe her loss of memory is genuine.”

“I’ve seen a lot in my day and I usually know when I’m being played but I believe her when she says she has no memory of who she is or how she came to be on the yacht.  I’ve used different tactics to try to ‘trip her up’ as it were but she has remained steadfast in that she remembers nothing.

There seems to be a great mystery surrounding her…who she is…why she was where she was…what happened to the companion she obviously had, but I just don’t have the answers right now.  As I said, if it is your wish, I will continue to work with her and I have a suggestion.”

Dr. Burt suggested that she be allowed to leave her room and co-mingle with some of the staff.  “You never know.  She might form a bond with one of them and possibly confide in them.  As I said.  It’s just a suggestion.”

The King slightly turned his head and said “just find out who she is.”

 

To be continued________________

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Three

Dr. Burt was clearly puzzled when the only word that seemed to register with Adeline was “yacht.”  Nothing about memories or storms or injuries or even a man’s clothing gave her pause.

There was no “hmm,” or “what are you talking about?”  He hoped that he had triggered something but he didn’t want to push her.  He waited for questions or comments but none came.  She seemed almost robotically uninterested.

“Okay,” he said.  “I’ll be back later and we’ll talk some more.”

Adeline turned her back, walked over to the window and casually dismissed him as she said “I’m sure you will.”

Dr. Burt ordered a full body x-ray before he readied the usual daily report for Roy.  He expected everything to be unremarkable but thought should it show anything remarkable, it might be useful to coax Adeline’s memory if it revealed something such as a previous broken arm or leg.

While the x-rays were being read, Dr. Burt went back to visit Adeline.

He tried an old psychiatrist’s trick when he casually asked “what shall I call you?”

Many times, the mind will instantly react and the memories will suddenly come back as if a light switch had just been turned back on.

It didn’t work with Adeline.  She looked at him and said “what do you mean, what shall you call me?  How the hell am I supposed to know what you should call me?  Haven’t we danced this dance before?

I don’t know what you should call me.  I don’t know what I should call myself.  How about ‘the woman with no name’?  Or ‘nobody’?  Or ‘the foundling’?  Or ‘whatever the hell you want to call me’?

A knock on the door put a halt to her rant.  Sam, the radiologist peeped in and told Dr. Burt “you need to see this.”

Dr. Burt waved him off but Sam was insistent.  It annoyed Dr. Burt but he excused himself and walked over to the door.  Holding the x-rays to the light, his only response was “my God.  What happened to this woman?”

He told Sam to hold on to it. “Tell the King that I will be delivering the report personally.”

He knew he worked for a drug lord but he had never forsaken his duty to act nor had he abandoned his empathy.

He had never been commanded or even asked to kill.  He had made it clear from the beginning that he would turn a blind eye to the “business” but his medical skills were for healing, not ending lives.

Something terrible had happened to this woman.  He had already suspected that at some point in her life she had undergone plastic surgery.  Only a discerning eye could see the tiny tell-tale traces of scarring in the right places but the injuries shown in the x-rays were the result of something horrendous and he felt overwhelming compassion for her.

Back in the room, Dr. Burt starting seeing Adeline in a somewhat different light.  Whoever she was and wherever she came from, this woman had been to Hell and back.

What’s wrong?” Adeline asked, reading his face.

“I was just wondering…about your name.  How about for now, I call you Sela,” he said.

“Sela?” she asked.  “Yes,” he said.  “You look like a warrior to me.”

She smirked and said “you think I look like a warrior?”

Dr. Burt said “yes and let me tell you why I chose that name.”

“This woman named Sela, was a fifth century warrior princess who was the sister of Koller, the King of Norway.  She fought with him against King Horwendil and made her mark as one of the bravest warriors in history.”

Adeline said “are you a historian as well as a doctor?”

Dr. Burt smiled and said “I enjoy history as well as medicine.  I particularly enjoy tales of feudalism.”

“Hmm.  So you want to call me Sela?” Adeline asked.

She repeated it.  “Sela.  Sela.  Okay.  I don’t really care for the princess part but I do like the idea of a strong female warrior.”

In that moment, Holly, who had become Adeline, had now become Sela.

 

To be continued_______________

 

 

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter Two

A still groggy Adeline awoke the next morning and discovered that she was alone.  She held onto the bed as she tried to steady herself enough to walk over to the window.

Looking down from the second floor, she scanned the meticulously kept grounds.  Honeysuckle bushes were boldly climbing up the brick wall on the side of the house.  She smiled as she watched a tiny hummingbird flitting from flower to flower.

In the distance a Gazebo, heavy laden with Wisteria lent a romantic view one would expect from a story such as Romeo and Juliet.

As she was thinking “this is incredibly beautiful,” her thoughts were interrupted by a slight tap on the door.

“Ah.  I see you’re awake,” said Dr. Burt.  “How are we feeling today?”  As her eyes cut to him, he caught himself, cleared his throat and said “I mean.  How are you feeling today?”

Adeline said “I’m a little groggy from whatever it was you gave me yesterday but other than that, I feel okay, I guess, but I feel like I’ve been put through a ringer.  Do you know what I mean?”

Dr. Burt said “I do indeed know what you mean.  You’ve certainly been through an ordeal.  I’ll order some x-rays to see if there is anything going that we may have missed.”

Adeline continued. “I still don’t know what happened.  I still don’t know where I am.  I still don’t know why I’m here.”

“And, have you remembered who you are?” asked Dr. Burt.  Adeline looked down as if ashamed and said “no.  I don’t remember who I am.”

Dr. Burt began his questioning:  “What’s the last thing you remember?

Adeline said “I think I remember someone pulling me or something.  I think I remember being wet and cold.  I know I remember waking up here and I was in this hospital gown.  Do you know what happened to my clothes?  Did you take them off?”

Dr. Burt said “I helped.”

Adeline’s lips tightened as she wrapped the furnished bathrobe around herself like a cocoon as if to hide what had already been seen.  “I’d like to get out of here, if you don’t mind.  Could you call me a taxi?”

Dr. Burt asked her where she thought she was going.  “Somewhere.  Anywhere.  I don’t know.  I just know that I want to get out of here.”

“You don’t know where you are.   You don’t even know who you are,” Dr. Burt said.

Glaring at him she said “Right now, I don’t care where I am but I’ll find out who I am.  Surely someone is looking for me.  Could you find my clothes please?”

Dr. Burt explained to her that she wasn’t going anywhere in her present state.  “So I really am a prisoner.” she said.  “No, you are not a prisoner but I would like for you to calm down and talk to me.”

He took a fatherly approach as he said “amnesia is strange and sometimes, misunderstood.  Memories that have been lost can be restored in a matter of minutes or months but in some cases, they may never be recovered.  You need to understand that but before we admit defeat, I’d like for you to try to remember as much as you can.  Even something as simple as a smell can trigger a memory that will ultimately result in total recall.”

Adeline sat down and said “I honestly don’t remember anything.  Maybe if you showed me the clothes I was wearing, I might remember them.  Or if you told me where you found me.  Or if you told me how you found me.  Or if you told me any fucking thing!”

She was clearly becoming agitated again.  “Dr. Burt smiled and said “obviously, you remember how to curse.”

Adeline gave a weak apology and said “I just don’t understand.  Why can’t I remember anything?  How long am I going to be trapped in this anonymous world, with people like you asking me questions and refusing to let me leave?”

Dr. Burt said “I’m going to go against protocol a bit.  Normally we like for the patient to use their own devices to try to recover their memory but I am going to give you a few bits of information, if you like.”

“Please,” said Adeline.

Dr. Burt began.  “You were found on a yacht.  You had obviously weathered some sort of storm that threw you off course.  We found you unconscious and near death from a pretty severe head injury, possibly from being tossed around but that can’t be accurately determined.”

He hesitated and made sure to look for any reaction in her face when he said “we also found some men’s clothing aboard.  As far as any identifying items, such as drivers’ licenses’ or passports, none were found for either of you.”

Dr. Burt was surprised by her response when all she said was “a yacht?”

 

To be continued________________

 

 

 

Sweet Jane

I didn’t know her very well.  Actually, I didn’t know her at all…this tiny wisp of a woman named Jane.

I used to see her walk by my house.  She never looked my way and she never spoke but I could hear her mumbling to herself.

Rain or shine, freezing cold or blistering hot, she walked.  Sometimes I would see her husband Ed, walking with her.  Slow and steady, always with his arms behind his back as if trying not to seem aggressive.  He patiently walked with her, knowing that she no longer knew who he was.

Several months later, I noticed that she seemed to be more and more confused.  She would have on pajamas, with no coat and wearing mismatched shoes, carrying the mates in her arms.

A few times, I coaxed her onto my side porch.  She showed me the things she was holding like they were her most valuable collections.  Paper plates, sweaters, shirts and cards.  She said she was on the way to give them to somebody but she wasn’t sure they would want them.

Eventually, I would text Ed and tell him that Jane was “loose.”  He would come tearing around the corner, looking for her.  She got lost several times and the police escorted her home.

I would find her wandering around in my yard and young son would take her hand and lead her home.  Sometimes I would walk with her and try to get her to come to my house so I could call Ed.

She had an unassuming elegance about her and even though who she used to be was lost, her eyes danced when accompanied by a rare smile…this woman named Jane.  The ravages of time and disease had taken their toll but you could tell that at one time she was a great beauty.

Last week, Ed had to put her in a home.  He cried on my shoulder when he told me the last thing she said to him before he left.

“Please.  Can you tell me my name?”

All Is Not As It Seems – Chapter One

The yacht with no name had been driven into the protected waters surrounding the Phantom King’s private island.  With the swiftness of a cast of Peregrine Falcons, the yacht was surrounded by an army of men known as members of the “family.”

Armed with AK-47s, they boarded and searched the yacht.  They found what they thought was the lifeless body of Adeline, until they heard her moan.  Quickly radioing base, they followed instructions to tow the yacht to shore.

Only a select few of the family’s members actually had direct contact with the Phantom King.  Even fewer knew his real name.  There was a rumor that the King had once shot a member in the face for calling him by his first name without permission.  His body was then cut into pieces and fed to the pack of guard dogs who freely roamed the estate.

The family had several Lieutenants with definitive pecking orders.  It was the lower echelon who attended to small details like controlling the situation when a visitor, whether accidentally or on purpose, happened to invade the privacy of the Phantom King’s domain.  Purposeful visitors had never lived to tell the tale, or so legend had it.

The Phantom King’s domain was entirely self-sufficient.  An actual “hospital” wing had been established and doctors and nurses were on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  Being given handsome salaries bought their expertise, their silence, and their loyalty,  They wanted for nothing.  Attorneys’ had elaborate accommodations not far from the main house and they too, were paid handsomely for limiting their practices to one client.

Two days after the yacht with no name was towed to the island and carefully disassembled, there was a happening.

In a brightly lit room, the curtains  softly billowed by a gentle breeze.  The smell of honeysuckle wafted through the air and the sound of birds singing lent an almost fairy-tale ambiance to the room.  Adeline was aware of someone standing over her asking “can you hear me?”

Her head was throbbing and her eyes could barely focus but she managed a nod.

“You can call me Dr. Burt,” he said.  “How do we feel?”  Adeline said “I don’t know how you feel but my head hurts.”

Dr. Burt chuckled and said “yes.  What else?”  Adeline looked around the room and said “I don’t know.  I mean, I don’t recognize this place.  Am I in a hospital?”

“Of sorts,” said Dr. Burt.  “Can you tell me your name?”

“Of course,” she said.

Dr. Burt looked at her and said “well?”

“Well what?” she asked.

Dr. Burt said, “you were going to tell me your name.”

“It’s…it’s.  Dammit.  I know it.  I just can’t seem to remember it right now.”

“Okay,” he said.  “We’ll give you a little while.  You just rest.”

As he turned to leave the room, Adeline said “where am I?”

Dr. Burt said “as I said.  You’re in a hospital of sorts.”

Adeline was clearly starting to get agitated.  “What kind of hospital?  A mental hospital?  A psychiatric hospital?  Am I the only patient?  Am I a prisoner?  How did I get here?  Who put me here?”

Dr. Burt tried to calm her down and said “nobody put you here, my dear and you’re not a prisoner.  You’ve had a shock.  We’ll talk more tomorrow,” and motioned for the nurse to give her a sedative.

When he stepped out of the room, he gave his report to Roy, who was assigned to guard the room.  “Tell the King that she has no memory of what happened.  She doesn’t know who she is or where she is and she has no idea how she got here.  It might take a while, but I’ll find out what’s going on.”

 

To be continued___________

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Art Of Revenge – Chapter Seven

As Foy and Nedward tried to get things organized, the question was “how do we get our hands on a yacht that doesn’t have an HIN?”

Nedward said “I’m not sure we can but do you remember that one we confiscated that had just been built?  The one in the corner of the hangar? It might not have the HIN yet.  If it does, we can always make it disappear, right?”

Foy said he didn’t remember.  Nedward said “you don’t remember?  It didn’t have a name.  It’s bad luck for a boat not to have a name and we laughed about it being true since the owner was never going to set sail.”

Foy started laughing and said “oh yeah, I remember now.  Wasn’t that the one we were going to sneak out of the warehouse and take for a spin?”

“That would be the one,” Nedward said with a sigh.  “And as I recall, we were a few sheets to the wind.  Probably a good thing we didn’t try.”  Foy laughed and said “probably.  Okay, let’s go check it out.”

When they got to the hangar where all the private planes, cars, boats and yachts were stored until the eventual auction, there sat the “no named” yacht.  “Let’s get her,” Foy said.

Armed with all the necessary, albeit faked paperwork, Nedward and Foy had the yacht loaded onto a trailer and hauled away.

After a thorough examination, it was determined that the yacht, as they hoped, didn’t have an HIL.  Nedward asked about a name or rather, the lack of one.  “Won’t that be bad luck…again, like for Adeline?”

Foy looked at him and said “who?”  Nedward smiled and nodded.  Adeline didn’t exist.

They had collected cash, jewelry and clothing, just as Adeline had requested.  When they were readying the yacht, Adeline suggested there be some men’s toiletries and clothing aboard in lieu of cash, designer clothing and jewelry.

When questioned, she said “when I’m found, alone with amnesia, who knows what might have happened?  I may have discovered that I had a cheating husband or boyfriend, which resulted in a scuffle.  He may have, in a fit of anger for having been found out, thrown my purse, jewelry and clothes overboard.

Since he won’t be there, it can only be assumed that the poor thing, in his aforementioned fit of anger, must have fallen overboard as well and was torn apart by some blood-thirsty, flesh-ripping, man-eating fish, lurking beneath the cold, dark water.”

Although a bit dark and twisty, Adeline was showing a sense of humor for the first time since she had “awakened.”

It was decided that she would embark on her journey the upcoming Saturday.  The Phantom King’s private island was only a few hours away and she would be well within daylight when she arrived.

Nedward and Foy watched as her long, now blonde hair seemed to take flight when a slight breeze danced softly by.  There were no goodbyes. There were no hugs.  There were no “good luck” wishes.  There was no backward glance as she boarded the yacht.

She had promised to call one time before she tossed the burner phone into the ocean.  Nedward and Foy knew that would be the last time they heard from her until she had tasted her revenge.

Nedward looked at Foy as she steered the yacht away from the private slip that was made available from yet another of Foy’s contacts.  “She’s ready for her close-up,” he said.

Two hours later, Nedward received what he knew was going to be a bittersweet call but something wasn’t right.  He could barely hear her as she talked.  Finally, he got a signal and all he heard was “I’m in the middle of a freak storm that has turned pretty ferocious and…..”

That was the end of the call.  Nedward called Foy, not really in a panic but Foy could tell he was concerned.  Foy said “she’s tough.  She can handle whatever is thrown at her.”

As Adeline tried to maintain control of the yacht, she was violently tossed around the deck.  She fought to not only keep control of the yacht, but also keep upright, holding on with every ounce of strength she had.  Her efforts were in vain as a huge wave slammed into her, causing her to strike her head on the huge metal prop.

As quickly as it formed, the powerfully destructive storm cowardly disintegrated into nothing more than a summer squall…but not before leaving its mark.

Adeline lay in a pool of pink water, colored by the blood pouring from the deep gash in her head.

 

Qhov Kawg.

 

The Art Of Revenge – Chapter Six

Adeline’s plan was nothing short of brilliant.  It didn’t require any undercover skills.  It only required her to be a master of amnesia.

She had let her hair grow and bleached it blonde.  No one would ever recognize her, especially after the extensive plastic surgery.  Nedward often wondered if any of the “old” Holly was there.  She had still never mentioned anything about her past.

For months, she practiced ignoring her name when being called.  When involved in casual conversations, which would normally make a person unconsciously disclose information, she was adept at almost indetectable deflection.

Adeline’s rule was to always wait five seconds before pleading ignorance when answering a personal question, or giving her perspective or opinion on a certain subject.  She practiced often with Nedward and was honing her skills to perfection.

Having been kept away from the general public as well as other officers in the force for over a year she was, for all intents and purposes, Holly had indeed died and Adeline had emerged.

All records of her as Holly had been wiped clean.  Foy had an insider at AFIS who destroyed the fingerprints on file when she was an officer.  They had covered all bases.  Holly simply did not exist and Adeline only existed to Nedward and Foy.

Before Adeline told Foy what she needed, she paused and surprised both Foy and Nedward when she suddenly said “what happened to my house?” Nedward looked down and said “it was sold for back taxes.”

Adeline seemed unaffected but asked if he knew who bought it.  He looked at her and said “I did.”  Adeline didn’t show the slightest reaction when she said “oh.”

As if she had already forgotten what she had just asked, she continued telling Foy what she was going to need.  He sat motionless and expressionless as he listed to her.

“I need a small yacht.  I need jewelry that would make Nefertiti jealous and I need a wardrobe that looks like it came from Rodeo Drive in Hollywood.  I need cash and I mean a large amount of cash and I need a malfunctioning compass installed on the yacht.  I need a throw-away phone for a few hours and after we lose contact, I need for you to more or less play the waiting game.

She smiled and said “it’s time for the kill,” she said.

Foy hadn’t moved a muscle in his body or his face.  Finally, he said “okay.  It will take me a me a few days but I’ve got you covered.  Now you have to tell me your plan.”

Adeline got up and walked over to the window.  Looking out into the world she hadn’t seen in more than a year, she said “you see.  I will have been the recipient of a large inheritance.  I foolishly bought a yacht that I had no idea how to maneuver and somehow I ended up going the wrong way.”

“I am going to float right into the waters surrounding the island of the Phantom King.  My thoughts are that when he sees me through his binoculars, he will be either intrigued or paranoid, especially when he sees no one on board.”

“He won’t see anyone on board, because I will have taken a fall and hit my head, thus causing total amnesia.”

“My yacht will be escorted to the island.  Once there, I will be a helpless amnesiac, desperately trying to discover my identity.  I’ll be the fragile damsel in distress.  Understand?”

Foy knew not to question her again about her certainty of actually pulling it off.  She had blood in her eyes and he knew that nothing short of being killed herself would stop her from killing the Phantom King.

Nedward looked at Foy and said “the cash and jewelry won’t be a problem. We’ll just get it from the vault.  Do you have any wardrobe connections?” Foy said “quite a few.  They’re fake but they’re believable fakes.  You know that guy we’re always busting down on Thirty-Eight Street?”

Nedward said “the one who sells everything from “genuine” HERMÈS bags for $1,000.00 to Jimmy Choo shoes for a few hundred?”

Foy looked at him and said “yeah, that’s the one.  He’s really good.  He’s managed to fool even the most discerning eye.  If I make a deal with him and tell him that we’ll leave him alone for a while, he’ll pretty much give us anything we need.”

“And are you going to keep your word?” asked Nedward.

Foy laughed and said “nah.  He’s breaking the law, man.”  Nedward smiled and shook his head.  He wasn’t sure if Foy was being serious or just jerking his chain.

Foy looked at Nedward and said “Hey…how do you know about that stuff anyway?”  Nedward said “I pay attention.”

Foy laughed, stood up, clapped his hands and said “okay.  Let’s do this.”

He looked at Adeline and said “hang tight, kid.  Just a few more days.”

Adeline gave him a Mona Lisa smile, then turned and walked away.

 

To be continued_________________