Thursday, November 22, 2012

Escape Down Memory Lane-Part 4: Discovery

The following story is true. Only names of people and places have been changed. This particular section took liberties with the specific details of the discovery of Karen’s absence, including speculated emotions and thoughts of staff members.

Part 4: Discovery

After bedding some of the clients in another hallway, Tracy Wilson left her aides and returned to Karen’s room. While Tracy’s routine suggested giving Karen her pills at the scheduled 10:15 time (something Karen meticulously planned on), Tracy decided that if Karen was going to bed early, she might as well take her pills now and be done for the night.

Upon returning to Karen’s room, Tracy found it empty. Had she been a little bit farther down the hallway, she might have heard the muffled crash of a wheelchair falling out of a window, but instead she performed a quick sweep of the cluttered room before noticing the bathroom door cracked open with the light on. Assuming Karen was just going to the bathroom, Tracy decided to return a short while later. As she left the room, she felt a strange draft of air usually foreign to that wing.

Moments later, while continuing to bed and administer medicine to clients and then stopping to engage in conversation with her fellow employee stationed at the front desk, Tracy missed out on seeing one of the clients return from the far hallway and slip into her room.

After ten minutes passed, Tracy returned to Karen’s room. This time she called out Karen’s name, then knocked on the bathroom door while opening it. Her heartbeat immediately quickened as soon as she realized that Karen was not in her room.

Part of Tracy wanted to smile at Karen’s delinquent behavior, another part tugged with minimal concern at her disappearance. While an inconvenience, Tracy knew that Karen certainly could not have made it past the main entrance without being seen. Regardless of her thoughts, the search had commenced, so she called out to the front desk, notifying them that Karen was not in her room.

Tracy’s next move had her unknowingly retracing Karen’s escape path, correctly sensing that the feisty tenant would not have gone towards the main entrance. She passed the homely displays in the hallway and found herself rounding the bend towards the dining area, her pace accelerating with each moment she did not see Karen. She quickly passed a tall window, not even noticing the rubber pin sitting loose on the sill next to it.

Scattered tables and chairs soon surrounded her as she entered the main dining area, where the other hallways merged together. Tracy saw some aides working down the main hallway, signaling that they failed to find any trace of her. That left the final loop to the wing and Tracy swiveled towards the unsearched corridor. About to fall into a partial jog, Tracy skidded to a stop in front of the main window. Something about it caught her eye. Tracy could not help but notice that the black out the window seeped peculiarly dark through the window. She walked up to the window, ignoring the building concern shown on her reflection. She suddenly realized that the screen to the window was missing.

Just as Tracy slipped out the rubber pin holding the main window closed, the aides closed in on her from behind, firing queries at her that she would not respond to. Instead, she slid the window open, stepped up the table, and passed through the window into the courtyard beyond.

The aides watched, the dawning of comprehension lighting upon their faces, as Tracy tromped in the darkness until stopping by another window missing its screen. There, mangled in some bushes, lay a wheelchair. The same wheelchair Karen kept in her room.

Tracy quickly scanned the empty courtyard before shooting a glance over to the aides. “Call the police. Tell them that we need to report a missing person.”
©2012 Marty Reeder