I stood in the doorway debating whether to go back into the fire house to use the phone. I thought, this blond is in traumatized and probably isn’t going to walk very far. Maybe, she even needs medical attention. So, leaving her leaning on the side table, I went in search of a phone. Fortunately, it wasn’t far back into the fire house. With the receiver clenched in my hand I dialed 911.
“911 what is the nature of your emergency?”
“I think the blond is in shock.”
“Are you in danger?”
I have no idea, so I say, “Yes. Maybe, I think so.”
“Are you injured?”
“No, but the blond might be, I’m not sure.”
“Ma’am. Who is the blond?”
“I don’t know.”
“Are you in danger?”
“I will be. I need to go. Look, can you just send an ambulance up Dixie Garden to get us?”
“Can you get to someplace safe?”
“I might be able to make it down the street a ways, but you need to send somebody to pick us up. You need to send an ambulance.” I racked my brain for an address or anything I could give her. “Oh! We will be headed to the Academy on East 70th Street.” I really did not want to take her to the studio, but I didn’t think I had a choice. It was only about 15 minutes away and my apartment was an hour on foot.
“Are you at 5151 Dixie Garden Drive?”
“I think so, but look, time is running out. I have to go.”
“Ma’am, help is on the way. Please, stay on the line until help arrives.”
“Are you crazy? I just told you I can’t stay here.”
At which point I hung up on the operator. Crap. I always thought I would be good in an emergency. We needed to leave; maybe we could try again from the studio. Meanwhile, I felt like my heart had turned into a timer and was ticking away instead of pounding.
I hurried back to the front door. I looked her over, trying to decipher whether or not she was going to make it all the way to the studio. She seemed calmer. I guessed I was lucky since she was dressed in jeans and a lemon yellow t-shirt instead of a teddy. She was pretty grimy though. Being tied up and slouched against the tire of a fire engine will do that. She had obviously collected herself, somewhat. I had noticed earlier that her shoulder length hair was straggly. She had finger combed it and retied it while I was on the phone. Good. I started out the door, carrying the bag. I didn’t touch her, but I sort of crowded her out of the building, down the driveway. I started rambling on the way.
“Hi. Sorry, I scared you earlier with the gun. My name is Jane. Are you injured?” Now, I sounded like the 911 operator. “Can you walk? I want to take you to the dance studio on Seventieth Street; do you think you can make it there? I called 911, but they wanted us to wait here, I don’t think that’s a good idea, right? I know the girls at the Academy, though and they will help us. Okay?”
She was still wide eyed and pale. She nodded her head at my questions though. It occurred to me she might be mute. I thought that would be a strange question though. She was limping slightly. I opened my mouth a couple of times on our way down the block, but I couldn’t think of anything to say. I mean I had a bunch of questions, but I didn’t want to pressure her. Besides, I couldn’t shake the question, “who would be carrying around a bag full of underwear and a gun?!” Which seemed very much the wrong thing to say right then.
After a couple of blocks her limp was worse, but she seemed more relaxed. Then, she opened her mouth, “I’m Sherry Lyn.”
“Hi, Sherry Lyn.”
“How… How did you know where to find me?”
“I didn’t. I tripped over this bag and found the gun. I was taking it to the station to turn in, because I don’t know where the police station is.”
“Oh.” She looked really confused.
We were passing houses. I wanted to ask Sherry Lyn if she wanted to stop at one of them, but I was feeling very paranoid. In my gut, I felt, that if we stopped at one of these houses, it would end up being the home of one of those firefighters. Not that they were home right now, but I just knew it wouldn’t be good. The walk took us about twenty minutes, being slowed by Sherry Lyn’s limp. We did make it to the studio, but we never saw an ambulance.
When we barged in, all five of the girls doing barre routines stopped to stare. They weren’t in class, they were practicing individually. They froze in all different positions, arabesque, fondu, plié etc. It was a perfect ballet vignette, except Sherry Lyn and me. It broke as soon as they saw her. I don’t know what they thought exactly, but they sensed something. They came around us like a cloak of cooing doves. All of them were saying “aw” and “poor thing.” They helped her to a plush chair in the corner. Magically, a cup of tea appeared in her hand. Ballerinas can be prissy, that’s true, but women… can be intuitive and compassionate.
Pretty soon Sherry Lyn was telling her story. She wasn’t a stripper. She was a model. She was on her way to a shoot at Cross Lake. She was, apparently, abducted off the sidewalk right where I found her bag. I made eye contact with her while she was telling the story; she just barely shook her head. She didn’t want to talk about the gun. I could hardly blame her with all the ballerinas tsking and wringing their hands. She also did not want to call for an ambulance or the police. “At least, not yet.” She was fairly adamant. She wanted to go home and take a shower. She reassured us she had not been raped or molested. She also claimed she didn’t know why she was taken. Those firefighters had taken her phone and her wallet, not to mention her house keys, though. I offered to share a cab with her and cover it. I wanted to “go home and shower too.”
Really, now that Sherry Lyn was verbal, I wanted to know the truth.
Well, I hope round two works for ya’ll. Let me know what you think. I feel like the story slowed down.
I’m not sure if that is good or not. It is necessary for development, but hard on the plot.
As always, please comment copiously.