Saturday, March 7, 2009

Hidden Nature pg1

Thunder flashed through the trees. Karen could hear cries of fear, but she couldn't...she could never make out the faces in her dreams....
Lightning snapped in half a tree in the distance and she sat up straight in her bed, soaked in sweaty fear...."What happened that night? Why can't I remember?" she rubbed her bloodshot eyes, distraught that she had not been able to sleep for the last seven months. She glanced at the clock, a blurry glare in her tear stained eyes. A loud knock sounded at the door. Startled, she hesitated before throwing back the covers and walking towards the door on wobbly legs. She looked into the peephole and saw a distorted figure of a man standing in the hallway. "Ralph." Even in the moonlight she could see that Ralph Cooke's dark black hair was disheveled and gleamed in the moonlight. His hazel eyes had a look of deep worry.
If only I knew where I came from, she thought. Was she married? Was she in love? If so, she was in a lot of trouble. She was beginning to fall for that overprotective cop who always seemed to come when she needed him most.
"Karen!! Open up!" His deep, throaty voice yelled impatiently, frantically through her door. She always had the feeling that he somehow felt responsible for her. Like it was somehow his fault that she was left for dead in the icy cold waters of the ocean.
"I'm about to come in!"
She opened the door just before he began to ram the door.
"Karen!" He looked around the room, walking past her to make sure no one was there.
Thunder flashed and light flooded into the room, making Karen look even more terrified than she looked when he first saw her.
"Are you alright?" It seemed that those were always the words he used whenever he saw her.
Ralph thought back to the night he’d first met Karen. It was a cold December night on the coast of Maine. As he drove alongside the rocky coast his eyes met the steep cliff, reminding him yet again of his late fiancé Anna’s death. Goosebumps rose on his arms as he remembered how cold and lifeless Anna’s body was when he found her body.
The radio had interrupted his thoughts. A call came in that a woman had been found just barely alive at the bottom of a rocky cliff and she was beginning to respond to police questions.
"Anna??!! No, I saw her body myself. I identified her body." He shook his head in disbelief, wondering if he’d heard right.
'I must be drinking too much coffee,' he thought as he answered a response into the radio. The voice confirmed what he heard and he sped out toward a stretch of beach not far from the site where his Anna was found.
They had to take a boat to reach the small stretch of beach at the bottom of the cliff. Large boulders lay on one side of the beach. On one of the rocks sat a ghostly looking woman, shivering in a white nightgown.
A white nightgown, he thought. Nausea swept over him as the memories of that horrible night flashed before him. Anna was seen walking outside in the freezing rain in a white satin nightgown.
Get yourself together, Ralph. You can do this.
Fighting for composure, he’d walked in the direction of the lady.
His breath unexpectedly caught in his throat. Even though her skin was almost blue from exposure, she was one of the most beautiful women he had ever laid eyes on. He felt guilty for thinking like that when his wife had been dead for only a year...but he was a man after all. A man who spent entirely too much of his time chasing after bad guys and coming home to an empty bed every night.
When he got to the edge of the water she was sitting there staring at angry waters as blue as her eyes.
"Ma'am, are you alright?" Scared sky blue eyes stared at him in confusion.
"I don't know. I don't remember my name." She winced and he saw that she had a large bruise on the side of her head.
His partner Tom walked up and said, "Jane Doe must've washed up here. She's in pretty bad shape. She has serious bruises and lacerations. We're waiting for the ambulance to carry her to the hospital. I think she has some broken bones. It seems that someone tried to murder her. She's quite lucky."
Ever since then he'd watched over her. Even named her Karen and got her an apartment across from his. He’d felt that somehow his wife's death had some connection with Karen's mysterious circumstances and wanted to keep her close by. As time went on, his interest in her went far beyond concern and police protection. He was beginning to have strong feelings for her. But how could he develop feelings for a woman with no history? Was she married, did she have children? No one knew. It was as if she never existed.
Now, eight months later, there were no leads in the case. He was just starting to think that she would never remember anything when she started having dreams a few weeks ago.
As he stood in the doorway, he couldn't help thinking about how sexy she looked with her long dark red hair hanging damp and rumpled against her shoulders, and her black silk pajamas plastered to her shapely body. He fought against the urge to kiss her and settled for touching her shoulders to steady her instead.
"I'm alright, Ralph. I had one of those dreams again."
As he gently pulled her into his arms, she closed her eyes and sighed.

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Hidden Nature pg2

I usually dream about you, Ralph.
She blushed at the thought. Trying not to be so attracted to the man was utterly impossible. Especially since she'd spied him by the lake this summer sitting by the bank without a shirt on. She didn't remember if she'd ever been with a man, but right then and there she knew that she'd never been quite so attracted to anyone before. But it was more than good looks. He had this mysterious, and strangely familiar and quiet way about him that drew her to his side whenever she could think of a good excuse for coming over. Tonight was unexpected. Her dreams were so vivid, yet so vague that she felt tortured all week long. She wished she could stay with him instead of sleeping by herself at night, afraid to fall asleep.
"No, you're not alright, you're barely standing. Come, sit down." He wrapped a muscular arm around her waist, practically carrying her to a nearby chair. She leaned against his strength, relishing in the warmth radiating from his body. She shivered, but not from fear. Whenever he was close to her, or so much as touched her, she nearly fell apart. She wondered if there was someone else that her heart belonged to that made her feel like melting whenever he touched her. A faint feeling of remembrance passed for an instant. She couldn't quite grasp it. Someone who reminded her of Ralph for some reason…
He let her go, reluctantly. She felt so good in his arms. He wanted to stay the night. To hold her all night until she felt safe again. But the cop in him wouldn’t let him cross the line. He reminded himself that he was there to protect her, not to pounce on her and began questioning her about the dream.
"Could you make out any of the faces this time."
"No, but this time I could see that I was tied up in some kinda barn. Or, maybe it was a ship's cabin. Now that I think about it, I do remember feeling a little sea sick."
She paused as she thought about the details of her dream.
"One of the voices seem to be familiar, like I knew them. I get the feeling that the person that I knew was trying to kill me. Why would anyone want to hurt me, Ralph?"
"I don't know, Karen. I can only give you my word that I'm doing everything in my power to help you. I won’t stop until I find the bastard that did this to you."
He sat down beside her and took her hand. Caramel eyes gazed into hers with such intensity that she had to look away.
How does he do that?, thought Karen. Just one look, and I lose all composure.
"Thank you, so much. I appreciate that very much. You know, you're all I have right now. For some reason, my subconscious has blocked out all memory of my previous life. It's so hard to trust someone when you feel so vulnerable, but from the beginning I knew I could trust you. Thank you for being there."
His voice changed to a low husky tone that sounded like he was struggling to speak.
"I promise I'll be there this time. I promise."
Karen turned to give him an inquiring look, but he'd already stood and started walking to the door.
Wait., she wanted to say. Stay with me tonight. I don't care about my past; I just want to be with you. But she held her mouth open as if to speak, then looked the other way, admonishing herself for her cowardice.
"If you need me, you know where to find me." he said behind his shoulders. He had to get out of there. Angry tears threatened to cloud his eyes. He wanted so much to be in the arms of a woman again; Karen, in particular. But he wouldn't allow himself such comfort. All he could think of was how he'd failed Anna when she’d needed him. How he’d worked so hard, he didn't come home from work the night before his wedding until a call came in on the radio that she'd been found dead at the bottom of the cliff two miles away from their house. Guilt raked his soul every night for the woman he’d loved and lost.

His keys jangled in his hands as he fumbled with his keys, trying to open his door. As he stepped inside his apartment he noticed for the first time how empty it all looked. Even his bedroom, he thought as he stood by his bed staring at his fiance’s picture, seemed unlived in. Like one of those rooms in a furniture store. In truth, it was. Since the death of his fiancé, Ralph had worked overtime to keep his mind off of her suicide. He’d tried, unsuccessfully because something just didn't sit right with his fiance’s alleged suicide.
They were to be married the very next day, and Anna seemed very happy. Why would she kill herself? Everything wasn't perfect between them, but she wasn't suicidal. He just knew it. Besides, why would she walk outside in the freezing rain in one of her flimspy nighties to kill herself?

No, he didn't deserve Anna, and he doesn't deserve anyone else either, he thought as his body lay down for yet another sleepless night.

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