Sunday, January 29, 2017

From the Author: So far so good?

I happen to love writing. It's too bad I'm not the best at it. Fortunately, I did get some advice on Reddit and I plan on taking that advice.

So for the next week, I will be doing some rewrites on the previous posts and *drumroll* start the book that I've been wanting to write for quite some time.

Amanda's life's story will resume on Monday, February 5th of this year.

If you like the story, like "Elusive Retrospection on Facebook" and share!

Edit: New About page! If you want to share, this is a good start.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Shelved

Amanda washed her face in the bathroom. She felt like she was crying for hours. She still felt like she was losing something.

It was just a dream, she thought, and then look intently in the mirror at herself and said out loud, "It was just a dream."

She got dressed in a pair of jeans and a loose shirt. Then she decided to have her breakfast bar.

She knew Trisha wouldn't be back for a few days and Todd… Well, talking to Todd was out of the question. Amanda wasn't sure what his problem was.

She decided that maybe this would be a good time to check her book. Perhaps that will keep her busy for a little while.

She sat down in her recliner and skimmed the first chapter. Todd didn't mark this chapter.

Does it matter anymore? Amanda thought. She fanned the pages and sighed. For some reason, it no longer interested her anymore. Usually, she would read a few pages and then she would get more ideas and write them down.

Now it seemed as if someone else wrote them. The story was interesting, but she no longer felt connected to it. It seemed to be another person's work.

She set it on the built in shelf that was in her living room, thinking that she will get to it eventually. She grabbed her laptop, and sat back into her recliner to blog instead. After all, it was generating enough income to live off of for a little while.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Bright Light

Amanda dreamt of a small room. This time she knows she's dreaming so she took advantage of this knowledge and looked around.

All she could see was paneled walls and a few openings that were windows. She walked closer to the windows and realized that she could see the vastness of space on the other side.

She had strong feelings of sadness and loss. She got closer to get a better look and catches a glimpse of metal floating by.

She recognizes the piece and slumps to the floor crying.

No, she reminded herself, it's just a dream. She stands up and turns around. Instead of the panel wall that was behind her a moment ago, she sees the large, the pulsating ball of light again, brighter than the last time she saw it.  She could also see the outline of the box, bulging, trying to contain it.

At first, Amanda was mesmerized. Then she looked to her left and there was Todd, quietly watching.

Suddenly a sense of fear came over her. She looked at the ball of light which appeared to be trying to escape. She looked back at Todd.

"No, I'm sorry," she told Todd. "I can't let it go!" She turned back to the light and she started screaming,
"No! No! You can't come out yet!" She began pounding on the box. "I won't let you! I'm not ready! I'm not..."

Amanda woke up saying "ready." Her pillow was wet from her crying in her sleep.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Book Return

Amanda entered her apartment and set her bag onto the counter and looked at her paper coffee cup. She still was contemplating on what happened at the coffee shop.

The barista working was more than happy to put her coffee into a "to-go" cup and even offered to reheat it since it went cold. Amanda refused politely and decided to just drink it cold or reheat it at home. She didn't want to stay any longer.

Amanda knew that something could be seriously wrong. If she was now losing time over the hallucinations, it could mean that the last migraine may have caused brain damage or maybe whatever caused the migraine also caused brain damage. Amanda considered all the possibilities to discuss with her doctor as she dug her phone out of her laptop bag.

As she was scrolling through her contacts, there was a knock on the door.

It was Todd.

Amanda's heart skipped a beat but then sank when she saw the look on his face. It wasn't the usual cheerful look he had when he saw her. Instead it was solemn and distant.

He held out his book. "It's actually pretty good," he said, "There were a few errors, so I corrected them." You just need to reprint it with the corrections and I'll send them off."

"Okay," Amanda refused to show any emotion, "I'll just take a look at it and let you know when I'm done."

There was an awkward moment of silence. Amanda didn't know why she kept the door open.

"Look, I'm sorry," Todd started.

"You're right," Amanda said and she partially closed her door and leaned her shoulder on it.

"What?" Todd was startled.

"For someone to walk out like that and not say what-on-earth is going on definitely has issues."

"But…"

"Then again, I still have issues that need to be resolved," Amanda said thoughtfully, "so we all have issues. Everyone has issues! Perhaps it's best if the entire human race remained single!"

She closed the door before Todd could respond. It was bit childish and cynical, but it was the only way she could keep him from talking. She really didn't want to hear what he had to say. It still hurts just to hear his voice.

She also wasn't sure if she wanted him to find out about the hallucinations. What would he do if he found out he was dating a crazy person?

She couldn't help but laugh at herself.

I just acted like a crazy person! She thought. Well, that sealed the deal, I'm sure.

She looked at her phone. It took her a moment to remember what she was doing.

Doctor, Amanda thought to herself, I wanted to call the doctor for these hallucinations.

Just then, she felt what could only be described as movement in her head. Thinking it was going to be yet another migraine, she put her fingers to her temple and waited, mentally kicking herself for not getting more painkillers on her way home.

After a moment, the migraine never materialized. She looked at her phone and decided it was best to do it in the morning.

The office is probably closed now anyway, she thought.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Back On Track

Amanda tried to text Trisha again. She texted her once the day before, but Trisha didn't respond. Amanda figured that Trisha was busy with her show, but when she didn't get any response at all, she became concerned.

"You did make it there in one piece, right?" Amanda asked.

There was a few moments before she got a response.

"Yeah," Trisha texted back, "It was a late night. It'll probably be the same for the entire week."

"Okay," Amanda texted, "So you'll be gone for the rest of the week?"

"Yeah, I'll tell you all about it when I'm back."

"So, see you then."

Amanda stuck her phone into her laptop bag. She figured that she was inside sulking long enough and she planned on going back to the coffee shop. She was also done hiding from something that isn't likely to happen again.

She grabbed her bag and headed out the door.

When she ordered her coffee, the baristas were happy to see her and had her coffee ready almost immediately.

Didn't know that anyone noticed or cared, Amanda thought and she was glad she decided to come back. Mr. Businessman was probably still in jail, anyway, and it's unlikely she'll see him anytime soon.

Amanda stopped. She had forgotten his name. She always knew him as "Mr. Businessman" but she thought Trisha told her his name at the hotel.

No matter, she thought, he'll always be Mr. Businessman to me, Amanda thought. She can still picture him in his business attire, poking at the screen of his phone.

She took the booth in the far back, knowing that not too many can see her. However, the few people that can see her, she can also see. She no longer trusts anyone and she certainly was done observing people going out and about their day.

She put her laptop onto the table and opened it. It was on a website with a video that she was going to watch while she was there. A couple sits down at a table within her sight. She watches them as she puts her earbuds on. Satisfied that they didn't seem interested in her, she turns to her video.

She presses play and puts it into full screen mode. It started off as footage of a dashcam, driving on a straight and narrow road. Amanda then saw herself going down a long tube in a car on a track. She looks up and see the massive braces fly overhead. She looks to her right and sees a massive field of very tall flowers. These were the same flowers that were on her painting at home.

She looks forward again only to see the "replay" icon on her screen. She looked over to where the couple had been, but saw an employee wiping down their table instead.

Surprised that the time flew so fast, she checked the time. Thirty-six minutes had passed.

What just happened? Amanda thought.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Aftermath

Amanda didn't feel like blogging at the moment. She was a little depressed. She actually considered walking to the store to buy a pint of ice cream, but was too depressed to walk to the nearby convenience store.

So she spent time on news aggregator sites. Sure enough, there was a mention on a small earthquake the previous day. She was sure everyone felt that one.

Amanda chuckled. It seemed to coincide with her mood after Todd walked out.
 
Amanda scoffed. Perhaps, she thought, it was best this way. After all, if he was just going to walk out like that, maybe he wasn't worth pursuing.

She tried convincing herself that a few times that morning already.

Her thoughts turned to the possibility that someday he would change on his own. The question is, should she wait? It's not like she's interested in anyone else. It's also not like she was so well known and liked that she had men pounding at her door either.

The joys of being an extreme introvert, she thought. Maybe she could ask Trisha for advice.

"Busy right now?" Amanda texted Trisha.

"Yeah, someone really liked my art," Trisha texted back.

"Really?"

"The guy was going crazy over it and wanted me to bring my work south. Will be gone all day. Leaving now."

"Bah!" Amanda Texted back. "How am I going to find a substitute friend on such short notice!"

"Lol!  What happened?"

"Todd acted really weird." Amanda responded, "And I realized I need to get out more, but need some advice from an expert."

Trisha didn't respond right away. Amanda waited, then sighed. Trisha probably was driving now and couldn't respond.

Sure enough, a few moments after Amanda put her phone down it buzzed on the coffee table.

"Sorry, can't text. Driving!"

Maybe Amanda will go to the store for that pint of ice cream after all.
 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Walking out - Twice

Amanda wasn't sure what was going on and had a million questions going through her mind.

How could he just walk out?

What past?

Why won't he tell her?

Why wouldn't he let her help him work things out?

She stood up and looked towards her front door where Todd walked out. In a moment she saw Todd in front of her. He was wearing a black overcoat. His hair was trimmed and he had no scruff.

"Why?" Amanda asked.

"Because it's all dying. I can't stay here to see it happen." Todd was visibly upset about something.

"So you are just going to leave here? Leave me?" Amanda can feel her heart breaking.

"No, you can come with me. Just come with me and get away from all of this!"

"I can't leave!" Amanda now was really upset. "This is where I belong! Is it all over? Maybe, but what you are asking of me is similar to asking me to leave the side of a dying parent."

Todd looked at her sternly, "I'm sorry, I can't stay. Everything is put into motion. There's no stopping now."

With that, he turned to leave out the door, but instead of seeing the back of the well-groomed version of Todd wearing black overcoat leaving the room, she saw back the scruffy-looking Todd in jeans and his red short jacket, leaving her apartment.

Amanda sunk to the floor sobbing. It was nearly uncontrollable. The more she sobbed, the more she felt a familiar energy well up. She looked up in time to feel a rumble and see the lights flicker.

Instinctively she forced herself to stop crying and took a few deep breaths. Then she went into the bathroom and washed her face.

What is going on with me? Amanda thought. What is wrong with me?

She realized that she was exhausted. Perhaps after a night's sleep she'll be able to think more clearly. Amanda knew that emotions can cloud her judgement, and emotions ride high when she was overtired.

Tomorrow, she thought, I may realize that I'm reading too much into this.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Hiding Something

Amanda and Todd are sitting on the couch on the coffee table. They were laughing at some YouTube videos that were on his laptop. This particular one was on animals behaving badly.

When it was finished, Todd Leaned forward to pick another video, "This is another one, but it isn't as mind numbing." He looked at her and winked as beautiful footage of the stars from NASA's telescopes played on his screen. Todd looked at the stars longingly.

Amanda wasn't watching the video. She was watching Todd. He seemed to be distant and depressed.

"You haven't cut your hair in a while," Amanda finally said, perhaps to get his mind off whatever he was thinking about.

It seemed to have worked. Todd snapped out of it and brushed his longer bangs out of his eyes.

"What, You don't like it?" Todd asked, "The shag look is in. At least that's what all of the man magazines say."

Amanda giggled and reached out and tousled his hair. "No, I like it. I do!"

Todd chuckled and grabbed Amanda's wrist and took her hand off his head. In doing so, they got close. For a moment, Amanda can feel his breath on her lips. The held that position for what seemed to be a long moment, then Todd backed off, put his hands on her shoulders, and looked into Amanda's eyes.

"I'm sorry Amanda, there are still some issues…" he started.

"I know and I've decided to move past them," Amanda interrupted, bringing her hand down to his shoulder, "I may not ever remember who I am, but I do know that…" She stopped. Todd was now looking down. It wasn't what he meant.

"No, I have my own issues," Todd almost whispered it. He then cupped Amanda's face in his hands and put his forehead onto hers. "I have a past that I'm not ready to reveal yet. You may not understand now, but you will someday."

He kissed her on the forehead and gathered his things. Amanda was too confused and stunned to say anything. All she could do is just watch him walk out the door.
 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

We-Tube

Amanda opened the door. It was Todd. He had his laptop bag slung over his shoulder and he held Chinese take-out in his hand.

"Thought we would eat take-out and watch useless mind-drivel on YouTube, together," Todd said.

"Oh, really?" Amanda asked as she stepped back, "And what mind-drivel did you have in mind?"

"Well, you know, " Todd said as he walked towards the kitchen, "stupid driver accidents, cats and people being jerks to each other, that sort of thing."

"Oh, perhaps we could watch some politics," Amanda said.

"What?! Politics!" Todd exclaimed, sounding indignant. "You know, I never would have thought that you would be into that sort of thing."

"Well, you did suggest we'd watch people being jerks to each other, " Amanda said with feigned innocence, "We could read the comments."

They both laughed.

"I thought you were being serious!"

"No, you were right, I'm not into Politics." Amanda said with disdain. "Ordinary people with good speaking skills pretending to be something more than they are to impress people who don't really care as long as you are on their side, to the chagrin and dismay of the intelligent." Amanda sighed. "It's more like a team sport. It doesn't matter who you are, as long as you are on the 'right' team. The 'right' team depends on who you talk to."

Todd didn't say anything for a moment as he set the food onto the table. "You know, I think you need to see more kitten videos."

Friday, January 20, 2017

Who's There?

Amanda wiped down her laptop. She just finished posting to her blog and was amazed on how much dust collected on the screen.

She packed her laptop into her bag and took it to her bedroom. Just then, she felt a migraine coming on. She closed her eyes for a moment and rubs her right temple as she stepped into her room.

When she looks back up, she sees Trisha, wearing her hair in a braided bun and wearing formal wear. She stood upright and looked past Amanda with an expressionless face.

Amanda turned around to see what Trisha was looking at, but she only saw her door. When she looked back to where Trisha was standing, she was gone and so was the sign of a migraine.

Amanda sat on her bed, confused.  She did remember Trisha wearing a bun a few days ago. Perhaps that is what triggered it? Maybe, Amanda was going crazy. Maybe if the hallucinations don't stop, she'll have to see her doctor.

A breeze flowed through the room and Amanda looked at the window. It was closed. She got up and walked slowly towards her balcony door. It too was closed. Amanda suddenly felt as if she was being watched.

For a moment, everything seemed off. The colors weren't right, the light wasn't right… it was as if she was not in her apartment anymore. All of her senses heightened. She could hear fridge running and every creak from the old house.

Just then she was startled by  a knock at the door. Amanda looked around. Everything was back to normal.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Book Release

Amanda stared at her messenger bag that held her transcript. She had used it when she went to high school up to the time when she decided to homeschool. Then it was "lost" until she unpacked the last box when she moved into her apartment.

Todd told her to print out her first draft because the publishing company that he was going to send it to would rather have a hard copy. She didn't have much furniture to put things on so she decided to put it into the messenger bag.

She picked up the bag and set it on the counter. She gripped either side of the bag and took a deep breath. Todd didn't seem to think of her as crazy when she told him about the blue lady. Perhaps she didn't give him enough credit. Maybe he'll actually like her book.

She opened her bag and took out the manila envelope. Then she walked out the door to find Todd. She knocked at his apartment. No answer. She decided, on a hunch, to check the mailboxes. It was about time to check the mail, anyway.

She got into the elevator thinking, I'll have to text him if he isn't there.

Part of her didn't want him to be there. She was still apprehensive about giving him the first draft of a book inspired by her dreams.

Todd was there. He had some mail in each hand and some in his mouth.

"Is it time for lunch already?" Amanda teased. "You know, a craving for paper is a sign that you may be low on some minerals."

"Mmph," Todd said as he quickly put the two sets of mail together and takes the third out of his mouth.

"Amanda!"   Todd said, "What a pleasant surprise!"

"Well, I got another surprise for you," Amanda said and she held the manila envelope. "Got room for one more?"

Todd chuckled and took it. "Well, it's about time," he said. "I'll get right on it and I will talk to you about it later."

He smiled and winked at her. For a moment, it reminded her of Mr. Carter winking at Trisha.

What's with all the winking? she thought when she got back to her apartment. We don't have a dust problem, I think.

She could hear Todd laugh at some joke on his way to his apartment.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Trinkets

"It's kind of like a jewelry and trinkets show," Trisha explained as Amanda locked her apartment door behind her. "It's not something I do, but I thought we could show some support to some fellow artists."

Amanda nodded and they walked out the apartment.

"It's also where I get my accessories," Trisha said, "I honestly think they're much better than the junk costume jewelry at the discount store. The jeweler's nearby is a bit rich for my blood."

Amanda chuckled. She doesn't wear jewelry except for her pendant. But she does like seeing other's work.

They walked into the studio and were greeted by the host of the show.

The room reminded her of the boutiques that she has visited in Vermont. Except for price tags below each object, there were cards that it described the piece, named the artist and had the price.

Amanda looked up from one of the pieces at Trisha who already had a few on and was chatting away with someone else.

"Well, I didn't expect you here!" a voice boomed behind her.

Amanda spun around and came face to chest with Mr. Carter. She looked up to see him in an unusually good mood.

"You seem to be in an unusually good mood," Amanda said out loud, then she blushed. She realized that she implied that he was normally grumpy.

"Well," Mr. Carter didn't seem to notice, "I've had some good news from home." He winked at Trisha who giggled as if it were some inside joke.

Amanda was about to ask what was funny but changed her mind. Later that evening, the moment would come back to the forefront of her mind.

Trisha was there much longer than Amanda. She was also an extrovert, able to turn anyone into a close friend within minutes. It's likely her and Mr. Carter shared a past secret that Amanda didn't know about.

Amanda checked the clock. It was early but she felt she could go to sleep right now.

It's about time, she thought. She wasn't able to sleep much the past few days since her last sleep marathon. She had nothing important to do, so she got ready for bed. By the time she reached her bed, she could barely crawl into it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Coffee Date

Todd walked up to Amanda while she was getting her mail.

"Are you busy right now?" Todd asked.

"No," Amanda said and held up her stack of mail. "Just checking to see how many times I won a contest or sweepstakes I never entered."

"Good," Todd chuckled, "Let's get some coffee."

Amanda hesitated. She had been avoiding the coffee shop since she got back. Until Todd mentioned it, she hadn't really thought of it. Now she realizes that she was a little nervous going back, especially since "Mr. Businessman" was stalking her there.

"I don't know if I want to go back to the coffee shop just yet, " Amanda said finally.

Todd nodded, "I figured, so I thought we can try the new café in the opposite direction. It's nearing lunchtime so maybe we can get a bite to eat?"

"Okay, Sure!" Amanda said. Todd had been busy trying to deal with all of the problems with the apartments that had been festering for years. She thought it will be nice to talk with him again. "I'll set this mail in my apartment and then we can go."

Todd followed her to her apartment and stood at the doorway while she set her mail down and grabbed her small handbag. She glanced at the messenger bag that contained her first draft for her book. She hadn't touched it in quite some time. Maybe she should grab it to give it to Todd.

She decided against it and went out the door.

When they were at the café, She ordered a salad and a coffee. She wasn't really that hungry. The bars seem to do a good job at keeping her mind off food and lately, it seems to be the only thing she craved.

They talked about the trip and Amanda told him about the blog and how well it was doing.

Finally, Amanda decided to tell him about the dream of the blue lady in her living room.

"When did this happen?" Todd asked. He seemed a little excited.

"Soon after your brought over the new stove." Amanda responded.

"Did she say anything?" Todd asked.

"No, my alarm went off before anything could happen, but it wasn't the first time I've seen her," Amanda said.

Now Todd was really interested. "Really?"

"The foreign guy wanted to know where the key was." She started to explain. When she saw the confusion on his face, she added, "Yeah, I was confused too. As a matter of fact, I asked that in the dream I had afterwards." She laughed. It sounded a bit silly.

Todd didn't laugh. "So what happened?" He asked.

"She said, 'You have it.'" Amanda said.

"That's it?"

"Yeah, that's it." Amanda decided not to tell him about the rest of that particular dream, but she did have a thought, "I think she was talking about something else."

Amanda was quite surprised that Todd was this understanding. He didn’t seem to think of her as insane or weird.

Perhaps she will give her first draft to Todd as soon as she sees him again.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Idiosyncratic Art

Amanda finished up on her blog and then an Idea came to her. In her last post, she had to look for a creative commons image again. What if she could make a deal with Trisha?

She closed up her laptop and headed towards Trisha's apartment.

She knocked on Trisha's door. She heard some rummaging for a few moments until finally, the door opened.

Trisha saw Amanda and smiled. Amanda noticed that Trisha had her hair pulled back tight into a bun. Seeing her best friend like this gave her a déjà vu moment.

"Oh, hi," Trisha said and stepped aside. "Come right in!"

Amanda stepped and was greeted with the smell of fresh acrylic paint. "I see you were painting today. I didn't mean to intrude."

"Oh, no problem," Trisha said. I was actually finishing up." Trisha gestured towards one that looked like the lake they recently visited.

Amanda walked over and looked at it. Trisha stood off to her left by some paintings that were covered by fabric.

"Wow, Trisha," Amanda said, "This is really nice."

"Well there are some details that I need to add, but it's almost done." Trisha responded, "It's my first non-fantasy painting."

Amanda was barely listening. She was busy thinking of how explain her idea.

"I was wondering if I can take a picture of it," Amanda asked finally, "Then can use it for my blog. Of course I'll give you credit."

"Sure!" Trisha said after thinking about it, "Then you can make a page with all of my art info."

Amanda stopped and looked at Trisha. "Wait, you don't have a website?"

Trisha shrugged. "Maybe I should have one?"

Amanda looked back at the painting. She did notice something a little odd about the covered paintings behind Trisha. She looked back at Trisha again and that oddity was no longer there.

Amanda sighed, but not out of frustration. It seems that she's been seeing strange things a lot lately.

"When you are done, come over and I'll set one up for you. Better yet, we'll use one of those art sites. You are more likely to be noticed, especially if you interact with the community. You'll have to install the app for the site so you can chat on your phone." Amanda said, "As it turns out that you were right, my blog is getting a lot of hits, so if I use your artwork, I can link to your art page, you may get a lot of hits, too."

"Okay, now that would be awesome!" Trisha said.

"I'll go back to my apartment," Amanda said, "and do a little more research on the site. Show up when you are ready." With that she headed out the door.

When Amanda reached her apartment door, she stopped to think about the covered art that looked odd at first. One of the paintings were not covered but then when Amanda looked back, it was.

What was so familiar about the painting? she wondered to herself. She turned the key and opened the door, then stopped.

The painting was the face of the creature that she thought she saw in the corner of her room the day before.

Amanda brushed it off. It looked like the creature, but she didn't really get a good look at it. Her brain had been playing tricks on her a lot lately, after all.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Income

Amanda grabbed one of the bars that Todd gave her and set her laptop on the table. After grabbing a coffee and sitting down at her laptop, she decided to check her blog and make a new post.

First she checked the stats. She couldn't believe it. She had over one hundred thousand hits. She reloaded the page. It was no glitch, her post went viral.

She decided to check her donation button account. Sure enough, some people have donated. It wasn't much, but it did help with her budget. The royalties from her PHP book were starting to go down, and it got low enough that Amanda had to cut back on some expenses. The combination of the blog and her PHP royalties should keep her afloat for a while. Maybe even keep her afloat long enough for her to publish her novel.

After Amanda posted to her blog, she decided to check the details of her statistics. It seemed that most of the hits came from one place. The link went to a very familiar forum site. Out of curiosity she clicked on it.

She skimmed it. Most of the comments were quite supportive. Some had their own conspiracy theories, including that she was a defected Russian spy, or worse, a sleeper agent.

"No wonder she can't remember anything, her mind had been wiped until they need her later," one commenter wrote.

It was followed with "I've seen her and I would definitely 'sleeper'." Another poster linked to a picture with an angry looking cat with the caption: "Your post was bad and you should feel bad!"

Amanda couldn't help but roll her eyes. That is what this site was famous for.

She finally closed that tab and looked back at her blog to check the comments. She deleted 12 comments that tried to sell a new way to weight loss. Another 16 that had some aunt's mother in law's sister's husband's step niece quit her job and was still able to buy some expensive classy car.

After responding to some legitimate comments to clarify some misunderstandings, she finally typed up a new post. This time it was about the day she was found. This one was harder to write. She didn't know how much information was too much. Then again, it was the internet.

However, the comment about the mind wipe bothered her. Was it possible?

From <https://draft.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=6881150422060040656#pageelements>

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wake-up Call

Amanda woke up in her recliner and saw a small creature curled up in the corner of the room. She couldn't make out what it was, except that maybe, it was a small dog.

Amanda decided to sit up to get a closer look. However, as soon as she sat up the creature faded into the darkness.

She realized that she had been sleeping a long time, but she wasn't sure for how long. Her laptop was on the coffee table. Trisha must have moved it for her so she wouldn't accidently knock it off onto the floor.

She got up and stretched. She felt really stiff.

She walked over to the kitchen and got a drink of water. The microwave clock glowed "6:15"

She looked around her somewhat dark apartment and wondered if it was a.m. or p.m. It certainly didn't feel like just a couple of hours.

She grabbed her phone off the counter and unplugged it. It said, 6:15 p.m. on Wednesday. A full day and four hours since she fell asleep.

Now Amanda was fully awake. How did she sleep so much?

There was a knock on the door. Amanda answered it and it was Trisha. Instead of just coming in like she usually did, she handed her a paper bag.

"Hey, how are you doing? Todd told me that he wanted you to have this," Trisha said.

Amanda took the bag and peered inside. It was the bars that Todd had been giving her. She hadn't had any in a few days because she was out.

"Thanks," Amanda said, "and I'm fine, at least I'm not sleepy anymore." She tried to make it sound like she was joking, but Trisha hadn't noticed.

"Oh, good," Trisha said, seemingly relieved. "I would stay, but I have a few things I need to do tonight."

Amanda nodded, still in a fog.

After Trisha left, Amanda set the bag on the counter. She didn't realize how hungry she was until now and those bars are looking really good.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Writer's Block

Trisha was curled up on the Love seat and Amanda was on her recliner with her laptop on her lap.

Amanda had set up her blog account and now was working on the layout. On a whim, she did some research and opted to put a donation button on her site, for now.

Now that everything was set, she had to make a first post, but what to post?

"First post, and I already have writer's block," Amanda sighed.

"Just do an introduction post and be honest," Trisha said without looking up from her phone.

Amanda sighed again and put her hand on the keyboard.

It took her a little while to figure it out, but she finally did make a post. It was an introduction, and a summary of their trip with the promise of more elaborate details later.

She wasn't sure how well it will go over, but she set an alarm on her phone to remind her to make a nightly post.

Amanda leaned back on her chair and yawned. "I'm so tired," she said, "I think I'll nap here. Remember to lock up when you go out."

Trisha stopped what she was doing and looked up, somewhat in disbelief.

"You're really that tired?" Trisha asked.

"Yeah," Amanda said. "I mean before I just wanted to zone out, but now I'm suddenly sleepy."

"Then you better sleep." Trisha said, sounding a little concerned. "I'll finish up in just a few minutes."

But Amanda didn't hear her, she was already asleep.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Blogging Idea

Amanda, Trisha, and Todd made it home safely and each went to their own apartments.

Amanda was ready to just zone out on the internet with her favorite image site, but it wasn't long before Trisha was knocking on her door.

"Awww," Amanda said as she opened the door, "I was just getting to the funny and cute kitten memes."

"I had an awesome idea," Trisha said as she pushed through. By now, Amanda was used to this and had already stepped aside when she opened the door.

"Go on," Amanda said and she closed the door behind her.

"Start a blog!" Trisha said, "You are still all over the news. People are really curious about your side of the story..."

Amanda was a bit startled. This was a bit out of the blue but then again, it was Trisha.

Trisha saw the look on her face and decide to elaborate. "Remember when we were getting train tickets and you mentioned that your book's revenues have slowed down and that's why you wanted to get coach?"

"Uh, yeah, well," Amanda stammered a little. She was tired and as a result she was having a hard time trying to keep up with Trisha's speed.

"Anyway, it would probably make you some extra cash,  and I did some research and found that it may even help with your memories, or at the very least be therapeutic."

"Well, " Amanda said hesitantly. She knew that blogging would be a commitment and right now, she was trying to work on her novel. "I don-"

"No, think about it!" Trisha interrupted, "People are really curious about your side of the story! You would get a lot of hits, but you have to start now!"

"I will set up a blog, but I'm not sure what to post," Amanda said finally.

"You can start by telling of our trip," Trisha said matter-of-factly.

"I guess," Amanda said thoughtfully. Trisha might be on to something.

"Make sure you put ads!" Trisha said.

"Right," Amanda said cynically, "I'll be sure to put those adblockers to work."

Trisha gave Amanda a look. She was about to say something but Amanda stopped her.

"Let me get it started first. Perhaps I'll find a way to fund it later."

Trisha nodded. "Just don't wait too long," She said as she grabbed a bag of tortilla chips from Amanda's snack cabinet. "If you wait until the dust settles, People will lose interest."

Amanda sighed and went to the fridge to grab the salsa. She realized that Trisha probably used up her data and wanted to use Amanda's internet connection.

"I'll think about it." Amanda said and set the salsa by the chips on the coffee table.

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Going Back


Amanda was up early. It was mostly because she couldn't sleep. She felt that she needed to go back to the lake and she knew there was only a small window of opportunity to go.

She quietly got out of her room and made her way to Todd's. She knocked on the door. To her surprise, the door opened rather quickly and Todd looked as if he was already ready for the day.

"What is it? Are you okay?" He asked, genuinely concerned. He stepped aside to let her in.

"No, I'm fine," Amanda responded. "I'm just not tired anymore." She stepped in. He had his laptop open but it was signed out.

"So what is it?" Todd said.

"I want to go back to the lake," Amanda said. When Todd balked, she said, "I know I've triggered something. I need to go back to see if I can actually make sense of it."

"Do you know what time it is?"

"The sun will be up in an hour,  we don't have to leave for 4 hours to catch our plane."

"People are looking for you…"

"I know," Amanda interrupted, "That's why we need to leave now. No one knows that we are here except the police that are watching."

"Even after your doozy of a migraine?" Todd asked.

Amanda hesitated. What if it happens as before? What if she passes out again?

"Why don't I go with you in a few months when the dust settles. I'll call the detective ahead of time and he can keep an eye on things while we check the area out. If you think you will get new information, it's likely he'll be very interested in what you have discovered."

Amanda sighed. He was right. The news did call out the place where she was attacked. It's likely that some people are there, checking the place out.  What's more, Amanda could not shake the feeling that she may be putting Todd's life in danger if they went.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Restless


Amanda had a restless night at the Inn. First, she had trouble sleeping. She couldn't stop thinking about what happened. She remembered Trisha's demeanor when the men came out of the car.

Trisha at one time freaked when she saw a tiny, harmless, house spider. She easily panicked when she had forgotten her pencils, once. She was hesitant to speak with receptionist at the hotel and she had Amanda order the train tickets, just in case she would actually have to make a phone call to check prices.

 Amanda never saw her with that kind of confidence, until that day.

The men were after a key or some weapon. While it's true that that there were crazies out there, usually it has to do with some psychopath's undying love or hatred. They thought she did have something.

Then there were the images that flashed through her mind. Actually it was more like scenes from another person's life. It first started with the rock that flew by her head. She saw it come at her and almost ducked, but then she realized that it was just in her mind. All of the scenes were that realistic. She had a difficult time trying to keep a grip on reality. None of them made any sense.

She finally fell asleep. Her dreams, however,  were just as troubling. She dreamed of when she was found. She dreamed of the disembodied voice, again, telling her to take off her clothes.

Then she dreamed of overlooking the lake.  She naked, except for her pendant, holding a box that looked like a larger version of Todd's test material.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Suspects

"Okay, now that I'm officially stir-crazy," Amanda said in between mouthfuls, "Is anyone going to tell me what happened before I ended up in the hospital?"

Their dinner from a local sandwich shop had just arrived. There was No Wi-Fi, no cell service, and the news was only a reiteration of what the trio already knew and heard. Amanda had an offline game on her phone, but that got boring pretty fast and at this point, she was suffering from writer's block.

Trisha and Todd looked at each other.

"We've only been here a few hours," Trisha said finally, "and you never asked until now, so I'll tell you."

Amanda put aside her sandwich. She didn't want to miss anything.

Trisha took a deep breath. "The foreign guy is named Ammar Hadi Handal. Not sure what he wanted with you, but apparently he thought you had something important. I couldn't get what exactly was so important from the detective, but I guess there's some rumor that you have some important secret to some weapon."

If Amanda had taken a drink at that moment, she would have done a spit-take. "What?!"

"Yeah, I know, right?" Trisha responded. "You'll definitely have to check the conspiracy sites on that one. I think this rumor started in the deep web somewhere. I saw a few sites while you were in the hospital and texted you some links."

Amanda rolled her eyes and instinctively checked her phone.

Oh right. No service, she thought.

"Anyway, he's the one I tasered. The other guy was so freaked. I don't think he was expecting weapons to be involved. He was apologizing profusely. His name was Brian Lane. I guess he was paid to track you, but I think he got in way over his head." Then Trisha chuckled, "He let me use his phone to call the cops."

"So, that's it?" Amanda asked. Why does it always seem that she's not getting the whole story?

"Just before I came up here, " Todd said, "I heard the detective yelling about the CIA and jurisdiction."

Amanda could hear Trisha gasp a little.

"Looks like the detective won't been questioning them tonight, after all," Todd said grimly

Amanda could see the concern on Trisha's face. Something was amiss, but she had a feeling that if she asked, she still wouldn't get a straight answer.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Detective

Amanda and the others made it safely to a small inn. Detective Snyder met them in the lobby.

"We made arrangements for you to stay here instead," Snyder said. "We have reason to believe the two men who assaulted you were not the only ones looking for you."

Amanda was a little shocked, "Looking for me? Why would anyone be looking for me?"

Snyder glanced up at Todd then looked back at Amanda, "There are a lot crazies out there," he responded. "You are somewhat a legend around here."

Amanda sighed. "Yeah, that's kind of why I left. I guess I didn't like the attention."

"Well, we'll get to the bottom of this. Both suspects are in custody and we'll question them. In the meantime, you'll have to stay low. You may have to go back to California for a while until things have settled."

Amanda nodded, but her mind was on the men. When Snyder didn't elaborate on the suspects, she decided not to ask. The detective seemed to be busy with making arrangements. She didn't want to bother him.

The women were shown the room, Amanda set up her laptop and Trisha turned on the TV.

Amanda let out an audible sigh.

"What?" Trisha asked. "You would have been more prepared if you just watched the news the night before."

"I was too dizzy to pay attention," Amanda said matter-of-factly, "So I just went to sleep."

"Oh," Trisha said understandingly, "Right… Sorry. But you still should still watch it tonight."

Amanda was about to respond when there was a knock on the door. Trisha tumbled out of her chair and went to open it.

"Maybe we should consider going shopping later. There's a bunch of interesting stores in town," Amanda called out after her.

"I'm afraid that's not possible," Todd said as he walked in. "The detective said that we need to stay inside for our own protection. We'll be getting take-out tonight."

Amanda sighed, "I'm feeling really good right now and I'm still stuck to a room. The one of the few times I rather go out than stay in."

"Then you can watch the news," Trisha said and she turned up the volume.

Instead of the news, however, it was soccer. Trisha slapped her hand onto her face. "It's too early for the news, isn't it?"

"Ha!" Amanda said and turned to her laptop. No Wi-fi. She then laid back into her bed. At least she had her phone. She took it out to find that she couldn't get a good signal either.

"Oh, wow," Amanda groaned, "Talk about bad luck."

"Just let yourself be entertained by drama of the soccer players trying to fake their injuries," Trisha said.

Amanda sighed, and looked back at her laptop. She figured that she could use this time to write her book.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mobbed

Amanda was packing her laptop bag as Todd walked in to the room. In his hands, he held a hoodie and a pair of sunglasses.

"What are those for?" Amanda asked.

"There's a mob of news-people waiting for you," Todd said. "It would be wise if we avoid them. So we are going through the back entrance." He kept glancing at the door as if he were expecting someone.

As if on cue, Detective Snyder walks in.

"The back is covered, too," he said. "But there is less there than the front entrance. The chief let me have a few officers to help you out and there's a vehicle waiting for you."

Amanda noticed the detective didn't seem as suspicious of them as he did in the interview.

Amanda put on the hoodie and the sunglasses.

"Alright, this way," Detective Snyder said and led them down the hall, in the opposite direction of the front entrance.

When they stepped out they were bombarded with a barrage of questions.

"What happened?"

"Why did you come back?"

"Will you recover okay?"

"Do you think these were the men who assaulted you the last time?"

"Is it true that you are a defected Russian spy?"

Amanda stopped and looked at the reporter as if she was crazy. Where did that come from?
she wondered. Before she would say anything, she felt a strong grip on both shoulders.

"Don't say anything and keep moving," Todd said and he guided her into the large SUV.

Trisha was already in the car. Amanda looked at her and they both cracked up laughing. "Did you hear that?!" Amanda said, "A Russian spy? Really?"

Trisha nodded, but couldn't say anything.

Todd wasn't laughing, but he did look amused.

After Amanda calmed down she sighed. "Ugh, I thought people were blowing things out of proportion when they complained about the 'media elite' trying to blame Russia for everything."

"Perhaps you should watch the news more often," Todd said.

Amanda rolled her eyes, "I'd like to stay in my own fantasy bubble that the human race isn't that stupid."

Todd coughed as if to stifle a laugh. Trisha giggled. "Just think the 'media elite' as a very low percentage of the population and that the intelligent are no longer bothering to participate in the charades."

"Heh, good idea," Amanda responded and sat back in her seat. She then noticed that she had to lean forward to hear Todd's quiet voice over the hum of the car. However, in the noisy reporter mob,  she could hear Todd clear as glass.