Olivia entered Dr. Bradley’s waiting room to find his office door open slightly. She peeked her head in.
“Hello?” She asked timidly.
“Come on in.”
“Sorry I’m late.”
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Have a seat.” Dr. Bradley was looking at his phone. He silenced it and tucked it into his pocket as he got up from his desk and moved out to the chair opposite Olivia. “I’m sure you’ve been busy with the frenzy that’s been going on.”
“Yeah, well, manual labor, mostly.”
“So you were in the thick of it, then?”
Olivia wasn’t giving up much, but Dr. Bradley knew there must be reason she scheduled an appointment. There was something she wanted to talk about, but she needed a push.
“Did anything else happen?” He asked nonchalantly.
Olivia’s eyes widened a bit. “There was a woman. She needed help, and I was able to save her.”
Dr. Bradley looked impressed. “It must feel good to help someone in danger.”
“Yeah…except…” Olivia shook her head a bit. “It turned out, she wouldn’t have needed my help.”
“How do you mean?”
“The flooding stopped before she would have drowned. Actually, I put her in more danger trying to save her.”
“You couldn’t have known that. You have to assess the situation and act without knowing the future.”
Olivia sat quietly for a moment, thinking. Dr. Bradley watched her eyes dart around, looking at the carpet, and asked. “That’s not what’s bothering you today, is it?”
“Not exactly. It’s hard to put a finger on it.”
“It’s a process. It can take years for some people to unpack a big event like that.”
Olivia examined the coasters on the table in front of her. They had a circle of exposed cork framed in a metal square. She wondered what kind of drinks people brought to a therapist session… probably coffee, she decided.
“It’s not that she might have gotten hurt that bothers me. If I’m being honest with myself,” Olivia said. “I was disappointed.”
“I don’t follow. With what?” Bradley asked.
“I thought that I had gone above and beyond… to do something that really mattered… but, in the end, it wouldn't have made a difference at all.”
Major Dellucci had been pacing around his office all day. He didn’t know exactly how to go about sharing the information he had with the higher-ups, so he didn’t bother moving up their usual briefing time. When he walked into the conference room, the others were already in mid-conversation. He sat at the end of the table, a couple chairs away from the group, and composed himself. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed before they noticed him. It could have been right away or it could have been several long minutes.
It finally got through to him and he responded.
“Yes!” He fumbled through his folder.
“What do you have for us today?”
He slid copies of the electromagnetic radiation tests across the table without saying a word. It only took a few second before the entire room knew they had something significant. They poured over the images showing a concentration of a specific range of electromagnetic waves pulsing through the water along the shoreline.
“It would appear that these readings are concentrated at the bend in Lake Shore Drive at Oak Street Beach.” The General began; he was interrupted by another.
“That was Day One, by Day Two it changes direction to South of the river around East Randolph Street… why would that be?”
“Sergeant Reid.” Major Dellucci said as all eyes snapped to him.
“What’s that, Major?”
“Those are the sites that Sergeant Reid was assigned to during the flood.”
Some of the officials took another glance at the photos.
“And you think there’s a connection?”
“It’s not just the location,” Dellucci continued, reluctantly. “It’s the time. Those frequencies changed direction the same time she was repositioned.”
“Damn!” The General slammed his copy of the photos on the table. “We had her in here before this ever got started! This is on your head, Major.” He pointed as his voice filled with gravel. “You told us to be patient while you brought her in, and we just about lost the entire city in the meantime.” He turned to the others and handed down orders. “I want her found and brought in. We’re going to serve her up to the Tomb on a silver platter… See what this thing wants with her.”
“No! You don’t have to do that, I can convince her to come in.” Dellucci pleaded.
The General pushed past him. “We already tried that.”
Major Dellucci followed after the group down the hall. “Please, we don’t know what will happen to her. You’re acting like a human sacrifice will solve all our problems.”
The General stopped abruptly. “I don’t know what electromagneticwhateverthefuck waves are, all these pictures you people keep showing me, but the fuzzy little waves are pointing at one person… it is not a coincidence, Major. The thing that killed her father wants her too, and it’s gonna punish all of us until it gets what it wants. Simple math.”
“I hate this game!”
“You’re the one who wanted to play it!”
“I think I like the idea of playing it more than playing it.” Ella flipped the cards out of her hand and watched them flutter to the floor; Olivia set hers face down on the rug.
“You don’t want to play anymore?”
“Nah, I don’t think I’m smart enough for this game.” She stood from the little gaming area they had cleared off and went to the kitchen for a drink. Olivia blinked rapidly at the two boxes of cards sitting next to her.
“We just spent eighty dollars on Magic cards...”
Just then, there was loud pounding on the door of their apartment. Olivia got up from the floor, her brow furrowed as she tiptoed her way to look through the peephole. She thought there must be an emergency or someone was being a jerkoff. When her eyes refocused through the tiny lens, she could make out at least three figures in military police uniforms. She immediately scanned her memory for any regulations she may have broken as she opened the door.
The MP’s had been ordered to arrest Olivia on sight, so they burst into her apartment and grabbed her. Ella exited the kitchen so fast at the sound of the commotion that she tripped and found herself face down on the floor.
“Ah! What are you doing? What is this?” Olivia shouted.
Ella could be heard whimpering and Olivia twisted around the MP to get a look. She saw Ella pinned to the floor with an officer's knee squarely in her back.
“You bastard!” She screamed with a fire of intensity. She locked her arms around the MP attempting to put restraints on her, shot out her hip, and judo threw him to the ground with enough force to knock him out cold. Next, Olivia bolted toward the officer hurting Ella and laid her shoulder square in his jaw, his head snapped back, blood flying through the air. She climbed on top of him and threw sharp elbows that pierced the skin on his forehead. The last remaining officer grabbed Olivia from behind, pulling her off the bloody MP. He twisted her arm and put all his weight onto her. She squirmed to free herself but felt her legs get wrapped up by the bloodied MP. She pushed and pulled with her one free hand, but it was no use. Ella lay crying and shouting, “why?” while Olivia felt helpless.
Around the time Olivia was securely in restraints and beginning to calm down, Major Dellucci walked in the apartment. He glanced around at the obvious struggle that had occurred.
“What the hell is going on here!?”
“She resisted, sir.”
Olivia tilted her chin in the air. “So, this is your doing, Major?”
“This wasn’t my call. It came from higher up. I tried to reason with them.”
“Yeah, me too.” And she gestured toward the bloodied MP. The others forced her to start walking, but Dellucci stopped them, putting his hand on her chest.
“I tried to help you. I did.”
Olivia shrugged him off and turned to Ella.
“You’ll be alright, Ella. Just stay here, wait for my call.”
She had no idea what was about to happen to her, let alone if she’d be allowed to contact anyone, but she had to say something to comfort Ella after she had been so shaken.