Chapter 9

Written by: Kalli Deschamps

“Sh-h-h.” Don hugged her again. “It’s okay. They are in a trance. They’ll wake up soon.”

“Wha-why?” Elizabeth’s shaking body threatened to slip from Don’s protective arms.

“To help them find peace. Remember when we first met? When I came to work for your father?”

“Y-yes,” came the hesitant reply.

“I told you about our guru. How if you came with me I’d help you to find your own peace and tranquility.” He reached down and softly kissed the top of her head. “We are here. This is the beginning of your conversion.”

Startled, Elizabeth sprung from his arms and turned to face him. “Wha-at do you mean!” Like a shadow from the past, words flooded her mind. Evil, foreboding, dark, sinister. “Conversion to what?” She stared down again at the slowly stirring figures scattered across the warehouse floor.  She hugged her shivering body in an attempt to find the elusive warmth. “What happened to them? They look drugged.”

“Not drugged exactly.”

As Don reached for her body Elizabeth jumped backward almost tripping over a prone form. She screamed!

“I can’t stay here! Let me go!”

Don’s voice flowed like syrup. “Please, Elizabeth. Just give me a chance to show you this better world…a place of peace and harmony. You will never face fear or trauma again. You will only know love…my undying love for you. I have missed you so much.”

“You don’t even know me.”

“Ah, but I do. Your spirit is entwined with mine. I have loved you since we first met.”

Elizabeth remembered her daydreams. And how hard she had tried to find him in the city. Remembered how he had filled her lonely heart with stories of the world that could be hers if she would only come away with him.

“Wh-what would I have to do?” Her shoulders slumped. Her head drooped. She was so tired.

Don took her gently by the elbow. “Come with me. See that door over there?” He slowly turned her tiny form toward the right and threaded his way through the mass of writhing bodies still littering the floor. “I’ll brew you a cup of my very special tea and we can talk about your future.”

She sipped the fragrant tea and stared with troubled eyes at Don. He had removed the colored contacts and looked more like the handsome young guy she remembered.

“I still don’t understand. All those people? Are they drunk or drugged?”

“You’ll see,” he murmured. “You are already feeling better.”

She could feel her eyes beginning to close. She struggled to keep them open. She couldn’t stay awake.

As she was about to tumble from the chair Don scooped her into his arms. He laid her gently on a couch and covered her with a pink eiderdown. He smiled as he retrieved the half full cup and dumped its contents into the sink.

The alarm jangled at 4:00 AM as her father called from the kitchen. “Time to rise and shine!”