Thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone who has been following and reviewing ‘Silverback – Evolution is Coming.’ Your wonderful support makes writing this story a joy.
Molly’s twin sister’s death four years ago hasn’t been the only hardship her family has endured. It’s been one hard knock after another.
Now she has not one, but three little brothers to deal with, and it doesn’t help that two of the boys are disabled. Her mom wants to try again for another girl – a replacement for her dead twin, Madeline – the shining star everyone idolized. Molly’s mother has no time for her these days, and Molly has begun to resent her dead sister’s ‘perfect’ memory.
When her family vacations in Florida, animal lover Molly is thrilled to spend her time at the animal park. It’s a chance to cast off her life-sucks attitude for a while.
When she receives an S.O.S. message from a gorilla behind the glass at the park, nobody believes her. Molly has no idea why or what she can do to help the Silverback, but she’s determined to figure it out.
It quickly becomes apparent doing so will change her family forever. What she doesn’t realize yet is, it might just change the world.
Previous Chapters: Molly has rescued the baby gorilla, Jace, from the animal park. Capable of speech, Jace is in danger of being turned over for scientific experimentation. Against all odds, and with the help of her friend, Andre, Molly manages to get Jace home without incident, but when her father suffers a heart attack, her mother sees the baby gorilla, Jace moving around and talking. Molly is forced to choose between betraying her mother and allowing Jace to be discovered. Her mother is taken for a psychiatric evaluation, giving Molly a short window to breathe and figure out what to do with Jace. The police arrange for a family member to come care for the children. But when Andre arrives with the bad news that Molly has been identified on television as the person who has the missing baby gorilla, Andre, Jace and Molly flee her home, with the police, D.H.S. and other authorities in hot pursuit. Now, Molly must figure out how to make Jace ‘disappear’ before it is too late. She finds an unexpected ally in Andre’s mother. When it becomes obvious that the authorities have identified Molly, and are only minutes away from finding her, they come up with a plan Andre’s mother takes Jace, giving Molly a chance to lead her pursuers on a false trail. Now Molly has woken up in a very strange place with no memory of the past few days.
NOW, on with the story …
Silverback Chapter 11 – Chemical Trip
“Happy are those who dare courageously to defend what they love.”
The odd beeping sound woke Molly from a dead sleep, but the fuzziness in her brain seemed determined to keep her prisoner. Opening one eye, she squeezed it shut, when bright light sent stabbing pains through her eyeball. Her mind fired off questions. Where am I? What happened? What is this place? Why is my head so messed up?
She reached into the depths of her memories of the past twenty-four hours, trying in vain to remember something, anything at all.
“What the-” Molly muttered, attempting to lift a hand to brush the bangs from her face without success. She looked down at the padded leather straps wrapped around her wrists, and the attached chain locked to the steel bed frame.
“Help me,” she shouted, thrashing against the mattress. Her heart fluttered like a frightened bird. “Help,” she repeated, her tone frantic.
Across the room, the door opened, and a woman wearing a white uniform hurried in. Reaching over Molly’s head, she pushed a green button on an intercom.
“Yes?” came a static-filled voice.
“She’s awake. Would you please inform the doctor? They want to question her, but he insisted on seeing her before they do.”
“Who?” Molly gasped. She swallowed past the lump in her throat, running her tongue over the cracked and peeling skin on her lips.
“There now, just relax,” the woman said. “Doctor will be in shortly, and he will explain everything.”
Molly jerked her arm, pulling the restraint tight on her left wrist. “Why am I tied down like this? I’m not a rabid dog?”
A sarcastic smile flickered over the woman’s lips and her eyebrows raised. “We won’t know that until the tests come back.”
Molly blinked. “Tests?”
“That’s right,” the woman replied. Detaching a clipboard from the end of the bed, she studied the attached charts before she spoke again. “You were exposed to several highly infectious diseases when you stole that monkey.”
“Monkey?” Molly said, shaking her head to disperse the persistent fogginess in her brain.
Molly tried opening her eyes again, turning her head sideways to avoid the light.
The room appeared to be empty except for a steel table, the bed she was lying on and the nurse.
“What did you give me? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Where am I, anyway?”
The door swung open, and a balding man with a grey goatee stepped into the room. “Ah, the young lady is awake at last,” he said, in a jovial tone. He frowned. “Nurse Jacobs. Please release the restraints. I’m sure Molly isn’t going to try and escape while we are both standing here.”
Escape? Molly forced herself to lay still while the nurse unlocked the restraints. She sat up slowly, rubbing her wrists, and eased her legs over the side of the bed, smoothing out the white gown she wore. When had they undressed her? She didn’t remember any of it.
Taking a deep breath, she stared at the doctor, wrapping her arms around her chest self-consciously. “Would one of you please tell me what I’m doing here?”
“You don’t remember?” the doctor asked, his expression guarded.
Molly’s eyes narrowed. Something was very, very wrong.
“No, I don’t.” She took the time to turn her gaze to the nurse and then back to the doctor. Whatever it was, her gut was screaming at her not to trust these people.
“Ah, well, there you go. What’s the last thing you do remember?”
Molly frowned. The question puzzled her. Memories began filtering in like streams of light breaking through storm clouds dispersing after heavy rain.
Um, I’m not sure.” She fought the fog, rubbing her brow. “We went on vacation, and when we came home, uh…”
“On a vacation to California, correct?”
“Yeah,” Molly muttered, even as her brain protested. Was that right? She didn’t remember, but the answer felt wrong. “I think so.”
“Yes, that’s right. California. And when you got home, you and your family were overcome by fumes from a faulty gas pipe. You’re lucky to be alive.”
Molly nearly fell as she lurched to her feet. “Where are my brothers? My dad? Mom?”
The doctor held out both hands in a placating gesture. “Relax, your mom and your brothers are fine.” He scowled at the nurse. “Nurse Jacobs, would you please grab that walker for Miss Molly?”
Molly shook her head as the nurse retrieved a metal walker from beneath the bed and unfolded it. “I don’t need that. I’ll be fine as soon as–” She paused. Was she fine? Had the gas caused permanent damage? Her legs wobbled like jelly as she stared down at her feet. “What’s wrong with me?” she asked, with less confidence in her voice.
“We ran scans. The effects are temporary. You should make a full recovery with a day or two.”
Molly’s doggy brain processed the doctor’s words, and she gasped. “My dad?”
The doctor’s shoulder’s slumped. “I’m sorry, dear. Your father didn’t make it.”
Molly heard the distant sound of someone screaming as she fought for breath. It took her a few more precious seconds to realize the screaming came from her.
Hands grabbed her arms, and seconds later, she found herself prone on the bed once more. She thrashed against them as the restraints attached to her wrists and ankles once more. “No,” she protested. “No, please, don’t tie me down again.” She gasped at a sharp stinging sensation by her elbow. “Wait, what are you doing?” she said, turning her head in time to see the nurse withdrawing a thin needle and syringe from her arm.
When she spoke again, her voice sounded faint even to her own ears.
“What happened to my dad, I mean, the monkey?” Molly continued fighting the fog in her brain. “I mean…” She stopped speaking. What did she mean? She wasn’t sure. What had the doctor said about her father? She struggled to reach the memory, but it floated just beneath the surface of her conscious mind.
“What monkey?” the nurse said.
Molly stared up at the nurse. “You said something about, I don’t remember.” She turned her head in slow motion from side to side. “I didn’t steal anything.”
“Of course not,” the doctor said, his voice patronizing. He glanced over at the nurse who shrugged her shoulders as he stepped over to the bed. “You’re still suffering the after-effects of the gas you inhaled. I ordered something to help calm you down.”
“Mmmm,” Molly mumbled.
Someone cleared their throat.
Molly opened her eyes to see her father standing there, his arms open wide.
“Come here, darling,” he said, his smile broad.
Molly tried to reach for him. “Daddy,” she whispered.
He leaned over and kissed her forehead.
Molly giggled. “The silly doctor gave me a shot, Daddy. You know how much I hate shots.”
Her father smiled and brushed a wisp of hair from her face. “Of course I do, Madeline.”
“No, Daddy, I’m not Madeline. I’m Molly.”
Her eyes filled with tears as she searched her father’s face for some sign of recognition.
He laughed. “No, you’re not. You’re Madeline, you silly girl. Molly died four years ago.”
“No,” Molly screamed. “No!”
The doctor and nurse watched impassively as Molly’s body heaved and thrashed against the restraints holding her down. With one final heave, her body went limp, and her head drooped to one side.
The nurse’s lips were drawn into a tight line as she watched Molly. She shook her head. “How much did you give her?”
The doctor shrugged. “Enough to cause a hardened drug addict to trip for a long time.” He rubbed his bearded chin. “No recollections when you asked the question about the monkey?”
“Nada,” the nurse snapped. “This is a little cruel, don’t you think? Especially the bit about having rabies? A little far-fetched.”
The doctor’s tone sent a chill through the nurse when he answered. “You’re being paid six times your regular wage to do as you’re told and not ask questions.”
She sighed and walked to the edge of the bed. “Can I at least undo the restraints in case I need to turn her quickly? I’m assuming you don’t want her dead. If she reacts poorly to that drug, she could aspirate.”
“Do as you wish,” he replied. “But it’s your head if she gets away.” Turning abruptly, he walked from the room.
The nurse undid the restraints holding Molly down, and gazed down at her unconscious body. “I don’t know what on earth you did to gain the attention of this government agency, but I pity you,” she said, her voice barely above a whisper. She rolled Molly onto her side and propped a pillow behind her back.
With a disgusted shake of her head, she moved to the other side of the room, sat down and waited for her shift to end.