Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Second Thoughts

The drive seemed longer than last time. Amanda was exhausted but couldn't sleep.  Todd was also quiet. Both of them were anxious about the trip.

The sun filtered through the trees then glare through the driver side window, then move through the windshield. Then it would move back and hide behind the mountains as the car turned the curves.

When the sun hit the windshield again and Todd readjusted the visor for the umpteenth time he scoffed.

"I should have gotten sunglasses!" he said, annoyed. Amanda chuckled in agreement. At least she can take her eyes off the road to get away from the blinding light.

They finally reached the parking spot. Todd got out of the car, but Amanda hesitated. Part of her knew that she had to go. However, she was afraid. She had a feeling that her past involved a lot of pain. Pain that she did not want to experience.

However, she was concerned that if she didn't learn about her past now, things are going to get much worse.

Todd opened her door.

"You are not having second thoughts now, are you?" He asked.

Amanda turned and swung her legs over onto the dirt.

"It's just," Amanda said then trailed off. She really couldn't put it into words precisely what she was feeling.

"I guess everyone is afraid of the unknown," Amanda sighed, "I'm not sure if I'm ready to face it yet."

Monday, May 22, 2017

Preparations

"Are you awake now?" Todd asked.

"Um," Amanda was a little confused. She looked at Todd for a moment, then finally sat up.

"I guess." She couldn’t figure out where she was. She looked at Todd, trying to remember why he was there. She thought he was gone.

Todd sat next to her and put his arm around her. She leaned on his shoulder. After a moment, She remembered what was supposed to happen.

"Oh, right," Amanda said and sat up. "I need to grab my stuff so we can go to the lake."

She could barely see Todd in the early morning light but she thought she heard a quiet sigh of relief.

Her phone had the clock screen saver running so she was able to grab that first. She turned on the brightness and set it up on it's built in stand as a low-level light. Then she grabbed her bag.

Todd watched her for a moment and got up and walked over to her. Amanda could feel him trace across her upper back until he reached her other shoulder. Then he moved his hand to her upper arm and pulled her in close.

"Are you sure you want to go through with this?" Todd asked quietly.

There was a familiarity on how he held her, his breath on her temple, and his quiet low voice that triggered something. She was suddenly hyper-aware of her surroundings. Her phone's screen seemed to hum, the energy from the sun as it started to peak from the horizon. Even the house's wi-fi seemed to buzz in the air.

She pulled partly away from him and turned herself so she could see his face. It took a moment to not only make sense of what happened but to also gather her thoughts so she could give him an answer.

"I have a feeling that if I don't find out my past soon," Amanda said after a moment, "My past will catch up to me and something bad will happen." It was the best explanation that she could give. She couldn't remember her entire dream, but she did remember a sense of urgency.

Todd grabbed her other shoulder and now was facing directly at her, looking intently.

After a moment, Amanda had a feeling that can only be described has someone rummaging inside her head.

Amanda blinked and the feeling was gone.

Todd nodded and sighed. He leaned forward and kissed her on top of her forehead.

"Well, then," Todd said, "I guess I'll have to get my bags, too." With that, he went into his room.

Amanda stared at him leaving. The anger and frustration bubbled up again. Something about seeing the back of Todd as he left the room irritated her. She took a deep breath and finished packing her bags.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

Dimmer Dream

Amanda saw Margret happily talking, but she couldn't understand what she was saying. It was as if she was speaking another language. It reminded her of the dream of when she was found. She can hear the syllables, but she couldn't make out the words.

She turned to Todd. He watched her intently as if he was waiting for something to happen.

She turned back to Margret and she wasn't there anymore. The entire house was gone and a forest replaced it.

Amanda knew at that moment she was dreaming, but she had no control.

The trees extended endlessly to the sky. At first, she thought that she was by the lake, but as she looked around, she only saw trees and they all looked the same. At that moment, a feeling of loss and a sense of panic set in. She wasn't sure what she was afraid of, but she knew that she couldn't stay in that spot any longer.

She started to run, but the more she ran, the denser the woods became. Soon it was too dense to even move in. The trees grabbed at her clothes. She can feel the branches start to pierce her skin. She had lost hope of surviving, but at least she can stop the trees from hurting anyone else.

She reached into her pocket and pulled out a silver ball. She knew that it would be the end if she activated it, but it appeared that she had no choice.

She pressed an indentation in the ball and it separated in half and started to click. She looked up to see an opening in one of the stumps of the trees. She clutched the now clicking device in her hand and crawled through.

She stood up to be faced with the same light orb she saw in previous dreams. Except it was much smaller and dimmer.

She looked carefully at the light and saw that it was inside a clear box. In the corner of the box was a thin slot.

"What key?" Amanda asked, remember the last time.

"You have it."

Amanda, a bit startled, looked up to see the blue lady, except she wasn't glowing anymore. In her normalcy, she looked like Amanda.

No wonder she looked familiar, Amanda thought.

She looked down at her hand that clutched the device. It was still clicking. When she opened her hand, however, it was a flat, rectangular, crystal object. It pulsed a white light with the clicks. She knew that it fit into the slot and it would open the box.

"I don't know if I want to," Amanda said. She realized that she was afraid of letting the energy out. It was there for a reason.

The woman looked at her with empathy. "I know you don't want to deal with the life that you forgot, but you must stop running and face it. The problems from your past will make you stronger. I know you have the strength to deal with them. You must trust your instincts."

"But what if I don't want to see my past. What if I live in this ignorant bliss?"

"If choose not to release the energy, this light will die, and you will die with it. Without this energy, you won't be able to face the new problems."

"What new problems? How long do I have?" Amanda asked.

There was no answer. Todd woke her up.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Good Night

It was a long day. The car did finally show up. Todd and Amanda went out for dinner and to check on local attractions.

Later, the four of them sat in the family room and reminisced a little about the past.

Amanda mentioned on how she got the laptop.

"My social worker gave it to me on one of our weekly meetings," Amanda said. Her social worker would take her out for ice cream once a week to discuss random things.

Margret chuckled, "I'm not surprised. Was she the one who suggested that you go to the library for the internet?"

"No," Amanda blushed. She felt bad for disobeying even now, "That was me. I just wanted to get my book done and it was the only way I could communicate with Todd about publishing."

"Well," Michael said, "You were always intuitive about such things. It's too bad we didn't see it then, but I'm glad that it worked out."

Then the conversation turned to them talked about visiting their daughter. Margret was so excited about her plans that Amanda didn't dare to interrupt. It was good to see her so happy.

Time flew by and it wasn't before long that Amanda and Todd had to go to bed.

"We need to be up early tomorrow," Todd said, putting a stop to the conversation. "It's probably a good idea to go to bed now."

Amanda sighed and got up. In doing so, she almost lost her balance.

"Wow, I'm much more tired than I thought I was," Amanda said as squeezed the bridge of her nose.

Todd grabbed his and Amanda's phone and headed towards the bedroom. After Amanda stabilized herself, she wished her foster parents good night. They responded in kind. Amanda couldn't help but noticed that Michael seemed concerned about something. Margret seemed sad.

Amanda brushed it off as parting blues and headed towards bed. She reached her room and saw Todd plugging in her phone. She had no idea on how she got into bed.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Second Chances

Amanda and Todd spent most of the morning on their phones.

Todd was on his phone, trying to find out what happened to their rental. Amanda could see him struggle to maintain composure as he was sent from one department to the next.

Amanda didn't want to bother Todd and she was too nervous to go outside. So she spent most of her time on an image app.

Eventually, she got bored of it and contemplated getting her laptop out of her bag in the bedroom.

At that moment a car could be heard in the driveway and Amanda jumped up to check the window. The familiar gray sedan stopped in the driveway.

"Mom and dad are home," Amanda said, then realized that Todd was still on the phone. Without another word, Amanda walked over to the front door and helped them with their purchases.

"Look, we got you some items to take back with you," Margret said. She pulled out a few things including a gallon of maple syrup and buckwheat mix.

"Oh, wow," Amanda said, "Thanks!"

They talked about the differences between California and Vermont. Amanda had to explain that Los Angeles was not a day trip and that it takes more than 8 hours to get there, depending on traffic.

Todd, in the meantime, finally finished his phone call with a sigh of relief. "Well, that's taken care of, at least." He walked over to the kitchen where the trio was talking. "The car will be here in a couple of hours, I hope."

The topic then turned to the future.

"Dad and I found a motorhome we liked. It's not too big, and it looks perfect. We'll be talking to a realtor tomorrow after you leave," Margret said.

"Leave?" Amanda looked at Todd and then realized what they were talking about. "Oh, I guess you actually planned on tomorrow, after all," Amanda said.

"It's a good thing, too," Todd said holding up his phone, "I don't think we would be able to get to the spot before dark."

Just then Todd's phone rang again. He walked back to the family room with his phone and sat on the Sofa.

"I'm just glad everything is working out," Margret said, "Our oldest daughter decided to talk with us again and invited us to go and visit her and her husband."

"The interesting thing is," Michael said, "it wasn't until we realized that we were too focused on what we were doing rather than accepting God's grace for what it was."

Just as Amanda was about to ask more questions, Todd walked up to the island and said, "Welp, looks like we are leaving tomorrow in the late afternoon. Stand just called and his trip has been cut short." He saw the look on Amanda's face and quickly added, "We'll just leave earlier tomorrow. Like, just-before-sunup early."

Amanda was relieved and disappointed at the same time. She wanted to stay a little longer with her foster parents. Since they have changed so much, she had so many more questions.




However, she wanted to go back to where she was found. It had become an intense desire, almost as if someone was calling her there.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Ghosting

Amanda stood near the bottom of the stairs staring at a spot in the woods. She recognized the woman and didn't know what to make of it.

She decided not to get the berries and she went back inside.

"That was quick," Todd said looking up from his phone.

"Well," Amanda said slowly, not sure on what to say to Todd. Then she sighed and sat down at the table. The table was already set with plates filled with food.

"I've been hallucinating again," Amanda said finally. That was probably the case.

"What about this time?" Todd asked. He didn't seem too concerned. He set his phone onto the table and sat down in front of the other plate.

"I keep seeing this woman," Amanda explained, "At first it was in my dream, but then she seems to be everywhere. This time I saw her in the woods about where the berries are."

Todd nodded a little as if to indicate that he understood. He didn't seem surprised at all.

"Did you try talking to her?" He asked.

"Well, no. Why would I do that?" While Amanda was glad Todd didn’t think she was crazy, the question surprised her.

"I was just curious," Todd said quickly and he started to eat. After he swallowed his first mouthful, he said, "Sometimes if you confront what is bothering you, it finally goes away, or at least that is what I read, somewhere." He winked at her.

Amanda about to tell him more but when she noticed that he was bothered by something she decided against it. Why should she add more to his stress by telling him that the real reason she decided not to pick berries is because she felt the woman's fear?

Friday, May 12, 2017

One More day


Amanda woke up twice, thinking that she was in a different room that wasn't her apartment or her old Bedroom.

A few times she got up to touch the wall in her dream state logic, to see outside. The window to the outside was only a few feet from where she stood. She would then become fully awake, realize what she was doing, groan then go back to bed.

When she woke up the third time, the sun was above the window. She could smell eggs and bacon wafting into the kitchen.

"Oh wow," Amanda said, "how late is it?" She saw that Todd was already awake, talking to Michael. Margret was dressed up in slacks and a blouse.

Amanda paused for a moment to be sure that she wasn't seeing things. Margret was wearing makeup. The makeup was very subtle so if someone wasn't paying attention, or didn't know old Margret, they wouldn't have noticed it at all - Except that she looked good for someone who's past 60.

"It's almost nine thirty," Margret said, "We figured you would want to sleep in today."

In spite of the obvious changes the two went through, Amanda was still surprised at this. Her foster parents were sticklers on getting up early every morning, even on Saturdays. No excuses.

Margret put a covered pan of already cooked eggs and bacon on the island.

"Go ahead and serve yourself. Just be sure to put the dishes in the dishwasher," Margret waved at the food, "Dad and I are off to the farmer's market in town, and we'll be out doing errands until about two o'clock. There's food in the fridge for lunch. Todd has the Wifi password so if you want to go online, you'll have to ask him for it."

With that, Margret walked over to the table, grabbed her purse and headed out the door with her husband.

"Well," Todd said after they left, "They certainly are a lovely couple."

"Have I described to you how they were before?" Amanda asked.

"Well, you did say they were rather conservative," Todd said, "They seem alright to me."

"They were 'ultra' conservative before," Amanda said, "She always hounded me about sleeping later than six thirty and the internet was evil. I mean, they're not entirely wrong if you go into the NSFW on 4chan, but it was difficult writing that first book. I had to do it at the library."

"Oh, that kind of conservative," Todd said.

"And she was wearing makeup," Amanda said and trailed off.

"She was wearing makeup?" Todd said and looked over his shoulder at the door.

"Well, you haven't seen her without -" Realizing how bad that sounded, Amanda stopped.

Todd snickered.

"Open mouth, insert foot," Amanda said laughing.

After they calmed down, Amanda said, "So we are going to  the lake today?"

Todd sighed, "I've had problems with transportation. For some reason, we got lost in the system and the rental that was supposed to be here didn't show up. So I have to sort that out." Todd saw the frustration on Amanda's face and added, "Stanley can't take us back for a few days. So we can go tomorrow."

"I just want to get it over with," Amanda said sullenly.

"I know, it's just as frustrating to me, but look at it this way," Todd said, "You'll get to spend a little more time with your family." He walked up to her and took her hands in his, "This may be the last time you will see them in a while. They are selling and they will be traveling and by what Michael said, it looks like they have quite a few stops to make before they will be able to come to California."

Amanda nodded.

"Now I need to see if I can get our ride. If I can get it soon enough, we can go out for lunch instead of raiding your parent's fridge."

"I'm going to go for a walk," Amanda said. "There's a short private trail behind their house. I can check to see if there are any blackberries left we can have with breakfast."

"Oh, bring me some, please," Todd said, "I never had fresh blackberries before." He then pulled out his phone.

Amanda nodded and went out the back door. As she walked down the steps of the deck she noticed a figure in the woods. It looked like a woman, and she looked frightened. Amanda blinked and she was gone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dinner's Served

"So, where's Stanley staying?" Margret asked as she grabbed the pot off the stove and brought it to the sink to drain. Amanda finished unpacking first and walked up to the island that separated the Kitchen from the family room.

"I guess he's staying at a hotel," Amanda said, "You'll have to ask Todd."

"Stanley is on vacation. He wanted to come to Vermont this year to do some fly-bys. Something about getting some stock footage to sell."

"Ah, yes," Margret said, "It's a bit early for leaf-peeping season." She the pasta into a glass bowl. Then she grabbed the bowl along with the sauce and put it on the table. "He should hike in the woods. That's where the best pictures are at this time of year."

"Um," Todd said, "That pasta looks a little overcooked? I mean,  I never saw black pasta before."

"It's black bean pasta," Margret said. She grabbed a covered plate from the island and put it next to the other foods.

"Ployes?" Amanda asked.

"Of course," Margret said, "It's difficult to find a mix that doesn't have wheat, but I found it."

Michael walked in and set his ax by the front door, as he always done. "Heating for the winter is a full-time job. I wouldn't have to chop so much if heating oil wasn't so high."

They all sat at the table. Margret was always a good cook, and there was plenty to eat.

The conversation turned to selling the house.

"You know, in the past few years since SRS changed over to CPS, they have been a bit wary of anyone who is religious," Margret said. "You were the last one we had and even though our license is valid, they hadn't sent anyone to us."

"The house seems a little bit bigger than it used to be," Michael continued, "Way too big for a retired couple. I can't swing the ax like I used to anymore."

Amanda nodded but felt a little sad. She knew it was inevitable, but it was hard for her to fathom her foster parents to do anything but what they did.

"Recently, there have been some changes," Margret said, somewhat haltingly. She paused for a moment as if to pick her words carefully. "Well, we made a lot of mistakes in the past and recently, we reconciled with our kids."

Michael finished eating and took out an e-cigarette and leaned back in his chair. Amanda realized that there were no ashtrays and pipes laying around the house anymore. He must be trying to quit, she thought.

"We also wanted to apologize to you," Margret said. "To me?"

"Yes, we were a bit hard on you. I honestly don't know why," Margret put her head in her hand and looked at Amanda thoughtfully, "Out of all of the kids, you were the easiest. You kept your room tidy and you never asked for much. Of course, we hounded you with that laptop of yours. If I knew what you were doing and how you would actually make a living with it, I may have backed off a little. Then again, I didn't know because I was blinded by fear."

"Well," Amanda said, "I was never angry with you so you were already forgiven? But what were you afraid of?"

"My own shortcomings," Margret said quietly.

It was quiet for a moment and then Michael cleared his throat. "We have decided to sell the house because it was too big," he repeated himself. "So we are purchasing a Motorhome so that we can visit our kids. Our oldest daughter has invited us over for Thanksgiving."

"Well, that sounds fun," Todd said. The conversation turned to traveling.

Amanda helped with dishes then turned in early. After taking off her shoes, she gets up, walks to the wall and stops. There was supposed to be a closet there. Amanda looked around the room and remembered that there was no closet. Just a wardrobe, which was on the other side of the room.

I must be really tired, Amanda thought. Instead of getting pajamas on, she just crawled into bed and fell asleep.

Monday, May 8, 2017

The Ride Home

"Amanda, it is so good to see you!"  Amanda's foster mom greeted her with a hug. Then her foster dad also hugged her. The pilot walked by with some of the bags.

"Oh, ma, This is Stanley Winkler," Amanda said, "Our Pilot."

"These are my foster parents," Amanda said to Stanley, "Michael and Margret Risner."

As they greeted each other, Todd walked by to grab the last bags out of the plane. "And I guess you already met Todd."

"Well, only on the phone," Margret said. Todd put the last two bags into the trunk of the car.

"Everything is good to go," Todd said and he got into the back seat of the car.

Margret leaned towards Amanda and said, "He is cute."

"Ma!" Amanda said in a harsh whisper. She was glad that Todd was already in the car. She looked a little nervously at Stanley who seems to be too busy to notice. Relieved she got into the car with Todd.

It was a long trip. At first, it was small talk. Margret then told them that she and her husband were planning to buy a new motorhome and they plan on selling their house.

"When Todd called," Margret said, "We thought it would be nice to have you in your old room before we sell and Todd can have the guest room next door. Our kids have their own lives, now and we decided it would be better if we travel to see them, rather than the other way around."

When Amanda was placed in their care, her foster parent's youngest was already in college. Having a rather large house that sits mostly empty didn't seem to make sense. So Amanda wasn't surprised at this news.

It would be weird to be in her old room again.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Jet Lag

"Hey," Todd put his hand on Amanda's shoulder, "We're here."

Amanda was startled awake. It was a long flight. They had to stop halfway to refuel and there was a problem at that particular airport that grounded them for a few hours.

Exhausted, Amanda practically stumbled out of the plane. Todd reached out and steadied her.

"Are you alright?" Todd asked.

"I didn’t sleep well," Amanda said. "I could sleep a few more hours." She looked up to see a familiar car drive up. It was her former foster parents.

Todd, after he grabbed one of the bags out of the trunk paused long enough to whisper in her ear, "I thought you might want some support."

He walks past her as she watches their car come to a stop.

Amanda never got close to her foster parents. Their beliefs at the time had cut them off from the rest of the world, isolating them from even those who lived in the same house.

The last time she saw them, she saw a change for the positive in them that got her curious. This should be an interesting trip.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Eastward!


Todd opened the trunk of the Uber car to take out the luggage. A man, roughly the same size as Todd seemed to appear out of nowhere.

"Oh," Todd said a little surprised, "Hi there!"

"Sorry, I didn't realize I was sneaking up on you." The man said.

They both laughed. Amanda knew she wasn't in on the joke.

"Amanda," Todd said, "This is our pilot, Stanley Winkler."

They shook hands.

"Thanks for flying us," Amanda said, "You have no idea how much this means to me."

Stanley gave Todd a knowing glance. "It's the least I could do. Seriously, I owe Todd a lot." He said as he grabbed some of the bags and put them into the hatch.

Amanda still only had her two bags, but Todd, she noticed, had four large bags. She's seen Todd's apartment a few times, he was pretty efficient. She couldn't understand why he would pack so much for a few days.

They boarded the plane and waited for clearance for takeoff.

"So, how did you two meet?" Amanda asked.

Both of them scoffed a little.

"Well, I had a few roommates who were really into pot," Stanley began. "I tried changing dorms, because at the time, it wasn't even close to being legal. Paperwork was problematic."

Amanda nodded. Understanding bureaucracy was a perk of being a ward of the state for a few years.

"One of my roommates was stupid enough to get caught. He was one of those people who thought nothing was ever his fault and would try to blame someone else.  Never mind that he took out his joint in front of uniformed police officers, he thought that because I didn't smoke like he did, I must be against it."

Amanda scoffed. "Us vs. them."

"I know, right?" Todd responded. At that point, Stanley got the all clear and he took his plane to the sky.

When they leveled off, Stanley continued, "So when the guy got caught, he assumed that I turned him in. He ratted his roommates out and convinced them that I was the one who did it."

"At the time, I was doing a project with Todd and a few others. I had no clue what was going on. At that moment, my roommates were destroying the science buildings and tried to blame me for it. Unfortunately, the dean didn't believe me when I told him that I was with Todd. After all, the weed was in my room.

"I'm not exactly sure what happened next. I was too busy trying to convince my parents that I'm not on pot. Fortunately, they were forgiving. Forgiving and rich. If my parents didn't have the money, I bet I would have slept in a jail cell that night.

"Todd, in the meantime, I think convinced the two other roommates that I wasn't the one who ratted them out and it was in fact, the first roommate. They felt guilty enough to turn themselves in and explain everything. If it weren't for Todd, I think things would have turned out differently for me."

Amanda smiled and looked out the window. They had left late so the sun was setting.

Todd came to Stanley's rescue and now he's coming to mine, she thought.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Angry Blog Rant


2015/05/03 9:30 pm

I got a link to an onion site, but I was only able to see it once. Angry does not begin to describe how I feel right now. I work hard on something I believe in. I use my own imagination and dreams to make something work, only to find someone else takes those ideas and makes them their own.

But it wasn't even for fame. No, they didn't have the courage to use a regular blog site like the one I'm on now. It's not financially motivated as they could have easily used a blogging site like this one, or the many free set-it-and-forget-it sites. It wasn't even to show off any form of skill, unless you call making a webpage that looks like the 90s vomited up what's left of the 80s all over the screen a skill. Too bad I didn't think to get the screenshot, you could have joined me in making fun of it.

Instead, it seemed to be someone's sick fantasy to garner some followers to harass me and my friends over something that doesn't exist.

I honestly don't know what else to say. It took more effort for the people to tear apart my apartment because they were stupid enough to fall for this sicko's lies. Anyone who falls for this is an idiot. I usually don't insult people for their lack of intelligence, so that is telling.

There is no key.  There IS no key. THERE IS NO KEY!

How many times do I have to say it for the lowlifes of the world believe me? It's likely it doesn't matter. There are some people who are indeed that stupid.

In California, it's too difficult to own a firearm, so I've signed on to a Mixed Martial Art (MMA) class. I have a feeling, I'm going to need all the help I can get.

Posted by Amanda. Don't forget to Leave a comment and share

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Staying Behind


Amanda and Trisha were at the coffee shop talking excitedly about their upcoming events. Trisha talked about her booth at the Strawberry festival.

"This is the last one," Trisha sighed, "I'll probably stick to prints and swag with what I have, then if I travel, it's because I want to."

"So a semi-retirement of sorts?" Amanda asked, "But you like to paint."

"I may pick it back up eventually," Trisha said, "but what made me realize that I should be backing off is the fact that I won't be able to travel with you two when you go to Vermont. You know, to keep an eye on both of you?"

Amanda felt herself blush. "It's still a plutonic relationship at the moment. He still has some things to work out, but to be honest, so do I."

"The whole memory thing is still bothering you?"

"Well, if it weren't for this 'key' that people keep talking about, I would be happy to be blissfully unaware of my past, but this really needs to be put to rest before someone gets seriously injured."

Trisha nodded. They both silently sipped their flavored coffee for a few minutes.

"With you and Todd gone, I have to take over," Trisha said as if it were a matter of fact.

Amanda gave her an odd look.

"I'm kidding!" Trisha said, "It's not like I know anything about managing a building."

Amanda chuckled a little, but it seemed that Trisha's sudden statement made sense.
Amanda and Trisha go out to the coffee shop. Amanda tells Trisha about her trip and she hopes that all goes well with Trisha's art show. Says that she's actually is going to take over for Todd - then laughs and says she's joking.

At that moment, everything got loud. It was as if everyone started talking at once. Trisha asks Amanda if she was okay, and it stops.

 

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Newbies


After Todd left and she got over the shock of Todd kissing her on the cheek, she decided to go and get her mail.

All the way down to the mail boxes, she thought of what just happened. Was Todd finally over the issues he had to work out? Was she over her issues enough to start a relationship?

She opened her mailbox and started to rifle through her mail. Halfway through, she realized that it seemed to be very busy. She looked up to see a few people talking to Mr. Carter. These people were as tall and bulky as he was.

She looked down the hall and she noticed a few more new faces. As she looked at some people, they turned away quickly as if they were caught staring at her.

Some of the people she saw occasionally, mostly to yell at Todd that something wasn't done to their satisfaction, and then to yell at him again because he didn't jump fast enough, were no longer there.

In the process of taking in the scene, she thought she saw the woman she had saw while getting ice cream with Trisha at the end of the hall, but when Amanda blinked, she was gone.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Good News, Finally


Amanda was still looking at Todd. Finally, he turned towards Amanda. "It's the second time I told them to wait." He sighed "It's like they don't speak English or something."

Amanda chuckled. "I've heard rumors on how government agents can be persistent."

"Anyway," Todd said, changing the subject, "I came here to tell you some good news."

"Please tell me that you finally convinced people that there is no key!" Amanda said. She was half joking. She was already formulating a rant post for her blog in her head.

"I wish," Todd said, "Then we could put this behind us. Actually, I wanted to let you know to start getting ready for the trip to Vermont. I have a lull in jobs coming up, and I thought you might want to go."

"Well that is good news!" Amanda said. With all that has been going on, she had a new resolve for getting her memories back.

"So, are you going to tell Trisha, or am I?" Amanda said.

"Oh you two are best friends," Todd said, "You can tell her, but I think she has a few local tours to go to so she won't be able to go."

Amanda nodded. Lately, Trisha had been extremely busy with her art shows.

"So a definite date?" Amanda asked.

"Oh yes, 5 days from now," Todd said, "Don't worry about anything, this time. I got it all covered."

"I got to go," Todd said, glancing at the clock "I do have jobs right up until we leave. I'll call you a couple of days before so you can pack."

Amanda walked Todd out the door. Then he turned around, took her hands into his and looked at her.

"You are sure you want to do this again?"

"For the possibility of closure, Yes."

Todd leaned over and kissed her cheek and left.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Men in Black Suits


Amanda was using her laptop to try to see if the conspiracy site to load. She would watch a few YouTube videos and then switch back to the website and reload it. No such luck.

Then there was a knock on her door. Amanda thought about not answering it and focused on her laptop.

The knock happened again. "Miss Conway? Amanda Conway?" a voice said from the other side.

Amanda didn't recognize the voice. She figured that it may be important, so she got up to open the door.

She swung the door open, and saw that there were two men wearing black suits and matching ties. The dark haired man was holding his sunglasses. The other man, with thinning blonde hair, was a holding a briefcase, and his sunglasses were in his shirt pocket.

"Can you be any more stereotypical," Amanda said sarcastically, "I mean gee, I would never have guessed that you worked for some government agency."

Neither smiled, but she could tell that the blonde did find it amusing.

"I'm Randall Gibson and this is my partner Paul Cohen." Said the dark haired man, "We work with the FBI and have reason to believe that the problems you've had might be related to-"

"We just need to ask you a few questions," Cohen interrupted. He looked almost exactly like the Russian president. "It has to do with your recent break-in."

Amanda nodded. "You can come in, but um," she stepped aside to let the men walk by, "I don't have any place to sit. Unfortunately, when they ransacked my apartment, they tore apart everything that had some form of stuffing.

"That's okay," Gibson said, "It will be just a minute."

"Help yourself to some coffee," Amanda said as she gestured to her Keurig.

"So, I guess I have to prove that I'm not some Russian spy?" Amanda said.

"We know you aren't a Russian spy," Cohen said, almost cutting her off.

Gibson was studying his glasses. "We wanted to know more about this mythical key that keeps popping up."

Amanda groaned and then leaned onto the counter with her head in her hands and said with exasperation, "There. Is. No. Key."

"Well we know that it's probably not a real key, " Cohen said, "Sometimes some conspiracies are based in some truth and we are trying to put the pieces together."

Amanda stood back up and scoffed, "I don't know, perhaps they have the wrong person?"

"What is going on here?" Todd had walked in. Amanda was happy to see him.

"We were just asking Miss Conway some questions," Gibson said. His demeanor changed from solemn and stern to quiet and nervous.

"And she will answer when she is ready!" Todd said. He had stressed "ready" as if he was trying to hint at something.

"It is a matter of national security," Cohen said. He wasn't as nervous. "We have reason to believe that the ones responsible…" He stopped. Todd was looking at him sternly. After a moment, Cohen nodded, "Okay, another day, then."

"If we come up with anything at all," Todd said, "we will let you know."

"What just happened?" Amanda said. Todd didn't answer. He was looking at the direction of the door.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Disappearing Act


"I can't believe someone would do this!" Amanda was angry. Todd was there, quietly listening to her ranting. "I worked hard putting that book together and for what? For someone to live out their sick fantasy that they supposedly know something? To lay claim to ideas that that aren't their own?"

Amanda stopped for a moment to take her laptop out of its bag. She set it on the counter and opened it up.

"It's just as bad as having my apartment broken into. Except this…" She pointed to her laptop that was still loading. She had shut it down the night before. "This is takes no effort. Only a lazy idiot with no real creativity will do this. Even his website screams 'I'm too lazy to actually Google web design principles. Look at me! Look how stupid I am!' "

Todd chuckled. It didn't bother Amanda, who would also make an attempt at some humor to calm herself down.

When her computer finished booting, Amanda loaded up Tor onto her laptop and typed in the site again. However, in place of the website, there was a 'Site not found' error.

"It was there," Amanda said, sounding defeated. All that complaining and nothing to validate her claims.

"I believe you," Todd responded as he looked over her shoulder, "Sometimes sites like this are run off a private computer, rather than a server. These sites only run when their computer is on, so if the computer is off, then the site is gone too."

Amanda nodded. "I guess I'll have to keep trying.. I'll save it to Evernote next time. I really wish I had at least taken a screen shot. I didn't even think of it then" She sighed. "Sometimes, I really wish I could go back in time."

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Conspiracy

Amanda rarely used Tor. It wasn't that she didn't like it, she just didn't see a use for it. Tor is a browser that allows people to browse anonymously. Very few people use Tor for the sake of just being anonymous, unless they believe that they have a reason to be anonymous. People who are the extreme conspiracy theorist who really have nothing to worry about, want to sell illegal goods, looking for illegal good, or are genuinely trying to escape or overthrow an oppressive government.

The majority of them were not trying to overthrow their oppressive government.

It's called the dark web. Most of the sites that Amanda visited were not much different than the conspiracy sites she has seen on the normal web. Wall of text with multi-color and multi-sized font reminiscent of the 90s proclaiming the Illuminati's involvement in the government. The blinking titles gave her a headache.

Then there were the other sites. One was a 'hire a hit man site', although Amanda thought that it was more likely a sting site to catch people trying to kill off someone over a perceived slight. There was also drug sites that sold both cheap prescription knockoffs and the illegal variety. Then there were the really disturbing, or pornography site links, which Amanda, had the misfortune on clicking. Unlike the sites in the normal web, there was no NSFW label.

It wasn't long before she uninstalled Tor.

So now she had Tor loaded onto her laptop yet again, and was concerned that she was being trolled. She looked at the piece of paper in her hand and wished that she copied/pasted it, but she still wrote things down sometimes out of habit from when she lived in her foster home.

She typed in the link and the page took a long time to load. Soon, though, it was evident that the first page wasn't that disturbing but still had that "CONSPIRACY THEORY RIGHT HERE!" feel. It talked about how the world's governments were in collusion with some alien race, and how some of our tech actually comes from this alien race who happened to be stuck here.

There was a mention of one of the aliens who had a key to some very powerful weapon. One that could theoretically vaporize the planet.

Amanda scoffed. She wondered how popular this page was, as there were no visible stats to see. She began to wonder if there was some version of Alexa for .onion sites.

Amanda continued reading and found that there were some details that were eerily similar to the book she wrote. It wouldn't have been a problem, except that her book wasn't published yet.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Allium Cepa


Amanda stayed in her apartment all day. She didn't feel like going out, even after she had stayed inside all day sorting her notes.

Todd replaced her door with an old one that was in the basement until he could order some more for the whole apartment.

Trisha had to be somewhere, but she didn't tell her where, and Amanda was too depressed to ask. She figured that Trisha had another art show or she was going to another art show.

Her makeshift table was destroyed and she no longer had a place to sit. So, she laid across her bed with her laptop using a cutting board to keep her laptop from being suffocated by the blankets.

After watching countless of YouTube videos and a Netflix documentary about the Egyptians, she decided to check the stats on her blog.

It went viral again. Tragedy and drama has a tendency to do that.

Again, Amanda sorted through all of the spam first, then the comments. Most were supportive, but she did get a few haters. Quite a few of them were the these-criminals-should-burn-at-the-stake variety.

After an hour of this, she resorted her comments so that the new were first. One comment just had a link, but it wasn't an ordinary link.
 
Amanda knew this link type of link. She quickly wrote the link down and after double checking, she deleted the comment.

She looked at her piece of paper. It had an .onion extension. She was going to need to download a different browser.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

On Key

2015/04/27 8:00 am

What is the problem?!

I get into my apartment to find it torn apart. Apparently, someone really thought that I had something that they wanted. It wasn't my laptop. It wasn't my silverware. As a matter of fact, nothing was taken because whatever it was they wanted doesn't exist!

When I was attacked in Vermont, one of my attackers yelled to give him a key. What key? You want my apartment key, because that's all I have. Well, I also have the old key. You can have that because my old door was replaced after someone destroyed it. I don't even have a car key.

What is your problem? You are an idiot if you believe everything you see on the internet. Worse if you destroy someone's life because you believe the garbage that's out there and want whatever mystical object that someone describes in a blog or website.

I don't know how to explain this to you anymore. I don't think I can convince any ignorant moron that I don't have what they believe in their fantasy world that I have.

I did some research online. It's why I didn't post immediately after the incident. By the time I finished searching for an explanation, it was late and I just went to bed. I couldn't find anything, so I'm going to ask my readers: where can I find the rumor that I have something that would cause them to completely destroy my furniture.

Oh, and I'm not a Russian spy. That rumor is on the internet and it's also not true. I don't understand some people. It's times like these that I wish I could meet these people in person, and read their minds. 

Posted by Amanda. Don't forget to Leave a comment and share

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Talking Dogs


Amanda lay in her new bed. It was morning, but the mattress was so comfortable she didn't really want to get up. She was in the stage where she was aware of her surroundings, but not fully awake. She thought she could hear two men talking. It didn't seem to be English, but she could understand everything they said.

"I don't understand it," One of the voices said, "My partner is a very calm person, but my daughter cannot seem to be still." He sighed, "It doesn't help that she barely registers as a level one."

"You daughter is very creative, " the other voice said. This voice was oddly familiar. "We hadn't had an artist in a long time."

"Says the one whose daughter is still unleveled," the first voice said bitterly.

"Perhaps if my daughter would spend more time with yours, she might help your daughter to level a little more."

"Maybe. I just hope they don't find out about…"

"Hush," the second voice said, "someone's listening. "

"But, but, buh, bark BARK!"

Amanda sat up in bed, thinking she could hear the conversation better. Instead, the voices seemed to turn into the dogs barking outside.

Amanda walked out into her balcony and sure enough, there were two cars parked with their owners talking to each other. Each car contained a dog who took turns barking at each other.

Amanda rubbed the bridge of her nose. These 'waking dreams' were happening more often and it was starting to get to her. At least they weren't happening in the middle of the day.

She checked the clock. 8:00 am. She considered calling the psychologist but thought against it.

They were just dreams, after all, not the same as hallucinations, Amanda thought, just dreams.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Clean Up


After giving Amanda his card, in case she had any questions or she finds something is missing, Detective Gabaldon and his partner left.

Todd poked at the wood where the striker plate used to be.

"I think I will get these doors replaced," Todd said. He spots the striker plate on the floor and picks it up. Studying the piece of metal, he continued, "Ones that are a little more secured."

Amanda stood there for a moment, looking around her apartment. Then she stares sadly at the mound of fluff that used to be her love seat.

"They trashed everything," Amanda said. She didn't have much, but she did like what she had.

"You know, I bet I can find some replacement furniture," Todd said helpfully, "I mean, I know it's not the same, but it's definitely more than nothing."

Amanda nodded and sighed.

"Well, I guess it's time to clean this mess up."

Amanda started to pick up the magazines that were thrown to the floor and Todd left to get some garbage bags.

It took them a few hours sorting and putting things back to where they belong. Her mattress also suffered the same fate as the seating and Todd had to call for a dumpster to dispose of them.

Trisha convinced Amanda to go shopping to replace her sheets that were torn to shreds, and perhaps go out for some real treat. They took a cab and when they got back, there was a new mattress waiting for her.

"Where did this come from?" Amanda asked.

"Mr. Carter thought he could help out a little. While you were gone, he had me order one from the local furniture store," Todd explained.

"And Trisha knew," Amanda said with a smile towards her friend. "Thank you!"

"Well, you know, what are friends for?" Trisha said and they hugged.

Trisha and Amanda cleaned up her bedroom. Todd thought it would be best if he finished the living room and let the women sort through Amanda's potentially private items.

When Amanda and Trisha finally finished, they walked out into a very clean apartment. Todd had a bunch of the index cards in his hand.

"I think these are your notes," he said, "I'm not sure what order they're supposed to be in so I just stacked them onto your counter." He gestured towards the rest of her index cards.

"That's okay, I'll sort them tonight," Amanda said. "Or maybe tomorrow. I need to post to my blog and see if I can find out more about this rumor about some key." Amanda walked to where her notes where and put her hand on them. "Or whatever rumor that happens to be flying around the internet these days."

"That is probably a good idea," Todd said and he walked over to her and hugged her. "I'm going to call my friend and we are going to Vermont as soon as possible."

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Cops


A few minutes after Trisha put her phone away, the elevator dinged. Todd walked out.

"What happened?" He practically ran past Amanda and stepped inside her apartment. Amanda grabbed his arm to stop him from going in further, but he had already stopped and turned towards Amanda.

"What's going on? Are you alright?" Todd asked her.

"I'm," Amanda paused, still trying to process what happened. "I'm not physically injured, anyway."

Todd hugged Amanda.

A few moments later,  Amanda, who had her head buried in Todd's shoulder, heard the elevator ding and then police radio chatter. She looked up to see two police officers walk in. One was dressed in professional attire with his badge on the outside of his sport coat. The other was in uniform, his radio quietly chattering about other calls.

"So, what do we have here?" One of them asked. Amanda recognized the voice. It sounded like the officer that was questioning everyone about Joey's death. His eyes fell on Amanda. He looked confused at first.

"My name is Detective Matthew J. Gabaldon," he said as he held out his hand towards Amanda, "I suspect it was your apartment that was ransacked?"

Amanda took his hand and shook it. "Yeah, I haven't been in yet, I thought it would be best to wait until you were here."

"And you thought right," the detective said and he stepped into the apartment and looked around. "You are the girl from Vermont, right? The one that was attacked recently?"

"Yes," Amanda said. "That's right."

"You said that one of them said something about a key?" He asked.

"Yeah. I guess he thought I had some key and he wanted me to give it to him. I guess it was supposedly some rumor on the internet, she sighted, "I haven't found it anywhere, though." Amanda explained.

The detective nodded. Amanda followed him into the apartment. She was relieved to see that her laptop was seemingly untouched on the table.

"Well, that wasn't taken, whoever was in here was here for something specific." The detective said. He pointed at what used to be her love seat and recliner.

Amanda sighed. "I liked those seats."

The detective finished going through her apartment. In her room, her drawers and its contents were strewn all over her bedroom.

"How long were you out?" The detective asked before leaving.

"Not more than an hour, but I don't have much stuff for anyone to go through, so it probably only took a few minutes."

"Alright, then," the detective said, "if you notice something is missing, let me know. I doubt it, though, I think they are looking for whatever the rumor says you had."

Amanda knew that she will have to find some way to stop this. She looked at her laptop. It was time for another post… after she cleaned up the mess.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Ransacked


While Todd and Amanda were still at the café, the power went out. Todd groaned.

"What?" Amanda asked, "It's a scheduled power outage. They're supposed to be upgrading the transformers on our street, it'll be back on in an hour or so."

Todd sighed. "Just wait and see."

Amanda and Todd walked into the apartment complex. A woman with a child on her hip walks up to Todd and starts yelling at him.

"My power is out! I have to feed my kids!"

"It's a scheduled outage, the entire street is out."

The woman began cursing. "Are you deaf or an idiot? I need my power turned back on!"

"The entire street is out," Amanda repeated slowly, "I know it sucks, but you need to call the power company, they'll tell you the same thing."

The woman gave Amanda a dirty look. Amanda gave no expression back.

Finally the woman gave up and walked away mumbling about incompetence and that she needed the power to watch her show.

Todd waited until the woman was out of an earshot and said under his breath to Amanda, "She's not the only one like that here."

Then he said in a normal voice, "Well, I do have a lot more work to do and it looks like I'll be on this floor for a while."

Amanda hit the button on the elevator. She could hear someone else cursing down the hall. "Why isn't my microwave working?! And my TV? Why's the TV off?!"

Amanda quickly stepped onto the open elevator. She turned to see Todd with "Put me out of my misery now?" look on his face as the elevator doors closed.

As soon at the elevator doors opened up, she knew something was wrong. She could see her apartment door and it looked off.

As she approached her apartment she saw that her door was slightly opened. The striker was missing and the wood where it used to be was damaged. Her paced quickened and she opened the door to see her apartment a mess.

She heard the elevator dinged and she turned to see Trisha, on her phone, step out. She puts her phone in her pocket and looks up and smiles when she sees Amanda.

"Hey Aman…" Trisha says and stops. She sees the shocked look on her face. "What's wrong?"

Trisha walked over to where Amanda was standing and they both looked inside her apartment. She then immediately took her phone out and started dialing.

Amanda started to walk inside to assess the damage, then realized that maybe she should wait until the cops showed up.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Grilled

"Get ready, we are going to breakfast at the café."

Amanda was taken aback by the tone. Todd stood in the hallway and Amanda, still in her pajamas and her robe held the door open.

"Um, okay?" Amanda said.

She let Todd in and he sat at the table. She slipped into the bedroom to get dressed.

After a few moments, she came out in her usual: not so casual jeans and a basic v-neck t-shirt.

"Okay, I'm ready to go," Amanda said and they headed out.

They walked mostly in silence. Todd was lost in his thoughts. When they were waiting to cross the street, Amanda finally spoke up.

"Is there something wrong?" She asked.

"There's a lot of stress with my job with the apartment complex. I really need to talk to someone, but not about work," Todd responded. He turned to her and smiled. She was enamored with his smile wasn't paying attention to the walk signal. He nudged her and she snapped back to reality. She was a little relieved, because she thought she did something and didn't feel like dealing with an angry Todd again.

When they got to the café, it was very busy, so it took a while for a table to be cleared for them.
They finally sat down with their food, "Your book is a little open ended." Todd said.

"Oh yeah, it was intentional," Amanda responded, "I have more planned."

Todd nodded, "Well, the publishers have it now, but I would still work on the second book."

"I am," Amanda trailed off. "But, it seems that I've encountered a writer's block."

"Really?" Todd said, "What, you've stopped dreaming?"

Amanda was a little surprised that Todd wasn't mocking her, but was asking out of concern.

"Not exactly. Most of my recent dreams are more abstract. Like cities, some sort of transportation system, and outer space. There's no plot to them. No dialogue." She didn't tell him about the vault or Brian Lane being in the dream.

"Transportation system?" Todd ask.

"Yeah," Amanda chuckled. "It actually looked pretty awesome in my dream. It was in a tube and I think it was pressurized or it used magnets. I couldn't hear the track, so I know the car was hovering. The last time I tried to see the car the dream changed."

Todd became really silent for a moment, most likely lost in thought again. They both finished their meals.

Finally Todd spoke up, "When you have these dreams, how do you feel?"

Amanda thought for a moment. "I don't remember. They're just dreams really. Kind of like mind movies, I guess."

Todd stared at her. Amanda started to feel uncomfortable and Todd apologized, looking away.

"I'm going to talk to my friend," Todd said, "We'll leave for Vermont, if all goes well, by the end of the week."

Monday, March 13, 2017

City


It was a beautiful city. The large support beams flew overhead rather quickly as Amanda travelled down the glass tube. It took a few moments, but eventually in riding this tube, Amanda realized she was dreaming. She took advantage of this knowledge and looked around.

She can see the city to her right. Large buildings towered over the domed buildings. She thought that the city looked deserted.

She looked forward in time to see the glass tube stop on the side of the mountain. She steps off onto a platform and turns to see what she came out of. Instead of some car or train, she sees a long hallway. After looking around, she realized that she wasn't in the same area any more.

The hallway seemed endless, but finally Amanda reaches a large vault that was sealed. She stared at it feeling fear and dread. She was supposed to do something, but she couldn't remember what it was. It was something important.

Amanda woke up and sat up, putting her feet onto the floor. What was it that was so important? She wondered. Why was I so afraid?