Silverback ~ Chapter 13 – Identity Crisis

Book Blurb and Story So Far:

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.

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.

Molly wakes up in a very strange place with no memory of the past few days and quickly realizes something is very wrong. She has not been arrested for stealing baby Jace, but placed in a government psychiatric facility for V.I.P.’s, hundreds of miles from her home. She is taken to a different room and locked inside, where she finds her mother crumpled on the floor. She tries to help her mother, but quickly realizes her mother is suffering from delusions, whether from the treatments or her mental illness, Molly is not sure.

Characters mentioned or appearing in this chapter.

Seth Fountain – Resident psychiatrist at the facility where Molly and her mother are being held.
Sebastian Fountain – Molly’s old psychologist whom Pet forbade her to see.
Molly – our 16 year old heroine.
Pet – her mother
Ryker and Ryan – her twin brothers
Charlie – her youngest brother.
Mrs. Lyon – Molly’s friend, André’s mother who took Jace for her when Molly was being pursued by the law.
Jace – the baby gorilla Molly rescued/stole from the Animal Park in Florida

Now read on…

SILVERBACK ~ Chapter 13 – Identity Crisis

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow men. True nobility lies in being superior to your former self.
Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961)

“You bastard,” Molly spat out.

“Molly,” Pet exclaimed, rushing forward to put herself between Molly and the scowling doctor. She stretched out her hand as if to hold Molly back as she addressed the man. “My daughter’s been through a terrible ordeal, and she isn’t thinking straight.” She turned a pleading gaze on Molly. “You know who this is, right? It’s Dr. Fountain. He’s here to help us.”

“The hell he is.” A pit opened up in Molly’s stomach, threatening to swallow her. If Dr. Fountain was in on this, then she and André had been wrong. Which meant André’s mother, Dr. Lyon, had delivered Jace right into his enemies’ hands. She fought the waves of nausea billowing up and threatening to engulf her. God help you now, Jace. I’m so sorry, she thought, as tears pricked the corners of her eyes.

“Excuse me, Miss?” Dr. Fountain said. 

Molly’s eyes widened in shock.  

The doctor stared at her from across the room with no recognition — not one iota. 

Molly chewed the inside of her lip, contemplating her next move. Was it possible he honestly didn’t remember who she was?

The doctor moved into the room, scribbling a few notes in a small notebook he carried. He looked at Molly, who still stared at him, a mixture of anger and uncertainty clouding her face.  

“I’m not here to see you, young lady. I’m your mother’s doctor.”  His upper lip curved into a sneer. “I do suggest you seek professional help for your anger issues.” 

Molly’s jaw clenched as she fought to control herself. There would be nothing gained by pissing this man off any more than she already had. What could she say? You’re an asshole, and what did you do to Jace? An overwhelming sense of grief flooded through her. How could she have been so easily fooled? She’d often prided herself at being a good judge of character, yet, she couldn’t have been more wrong about this man. 

 Dr. Sebastian Fountain was either an exceptional actor or a split personality. She gave an involuntary shudder, as she recalled sitting in his office, joking with him about looking like Santa Claus. His eyes had sparkled then, but now, though the same pale blue, with bushy white eyebrows sprouting in every direction above them, they were cold and soulless.

The doctor tapped a black pen against his lip. “Tell me, young lady.  What do you recall about the other night? The accident?”

“Nothing,” Molly hoped he wouldn’t catch the false note in her voice. “Except for my dad. I did C. P. R. until the ambulance arrived.”

The doctor’s eyes narrowed. “Is that right? Nothing else? No other memories?”

Molly gave a sharp laugh. “You’re a good one to talk about memory.” 

The doctor’s expression darkened. “Excuse me?”

“Never mind,” Molly said. She pointed to her mother. “Why doesn’t she remember my brothers?” Perhaps a change of subject would distract him from his apparent disbelief of her statement.

“Your brothers?” the man said, his brow furrowing. He looked at Pet. “What is she referring to?”

Pet raised her hands in a helpless gesture. “Molly always wanted a little brother,” she began.

“Mom, seriously?” Molly stared in disbelief at her mother before turning on the doctor. “What the hell did you do to her? You know damn well she has three other children.” 

Pet and Dr. Fountain exchanged a look.  

“Your daughter’s going to need some serious help, Pet,” Dr. Fountain said.

“Don’t you dare call her by her first name, you, you creep,” she said, moving over to her mother’s side. 

“Are you alright, darling?” Pet said, reaching out to take Molly’s hand.

“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” Molly admitted, as cold beads of sweat formed on her forehead. “Mom, listen to me. You don’t need to listen to this man. We can get you to help somewhere else.”

“I’m so confused,” Pet said. “Seth, do you think you can you help her?”

The doctor smiled for the first time. “Of course. She’s a minor, but with your permission, I can treat Molly for her delusions. I’m sure it’s just the after-effects of inhaling all that gas. It’s not uncommon for people to be confused and a little delusional after that kind of exposure.”

“Mom, no,” Molly said, gripping her mother’s hand. “No. You’re not in any fit state to give him consent to treat me. There’s nothing wrong with me. And his name isn’t Seth. It’s Seb-” She broke off when Dr. Fountain gave her mother a knowing glance. 

“See what I mean, Pet?” he said. “She thinks I’m someone else.” 

“He’s right,” Pet said. “You need help, Molly. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, you know.” She sighed, as if resigning herself to the inevitable. “Can I go back to my room now? My husband said he would call this afternoon when I recovered from my treatment.”

“Dad’s alive?” Molly said as hope surged through her. Her father would know what to do. She would explain everything to him, and he would listen and believe her. He had to believe her, and get her out of here.

Pet looked confused. “Why, of course, he’s alive.” She smiled at Molly, and warmth filled her eyes. “You saved his life, you brave girl.”

Dr. Fountain looked at Molly and gave a curt shake of his head, drawing a finger across his throat in a dramatic gesture.

 Molly’s heart throbbed with pain.

The door buzzed, and two stout male orderlies stepped into the room. “We’re here to take these patients back to their rooms, Doctor Fountain, if you’re ready.” The orderly who spoke stood six feet tall, with bulging muscles beneath his tan uniform sleeves. He leered at Molly.

Thin, with a pockmarked face, the other orderly looked almost sickly beside his arrogant counterpart, but Molly noticed he carried a black taser swinging on his belt.

“Yes, go ahead. I’ve completed my evaluation.” Dr. Fountain scribbled a few more notes and snapped his notebook shut.

“Wait.” Molly reached for her mother’s arm. “Couldn’t we stay in the same room?”

Doctor Fountain shook his head. “Your mother didn’t react well to the first treatment.”

Pet’s face flushed and she sighed. “It’s true. I kind of got a little crazy.”

Molly watched as the big orderly escorted her mother from the room. What was true? Was her father dead or alive? She didn’t know. But she knew she had three brothers. They’d lied about that too. Doubt slithered across her mind, speaking in an insidious whisper. Do you? Do you have little brothers? Or do you only think you do? She clenched her teeth. Ryker, Ryan, and Charlie are real, and no matter what you do to me, you can’t take the truth away from me. 

“Come along, now,” the pock-faced orderly said. “And in case you’re thinking of trying anything stupid, you should know, I carry this.” He slapped the taser. 

Molly rolled her eyes and followed him into the corridor. Her mother and the other nurse were almost to the end of the long hallway.

Pet turned and waved. “See you soon, darling.”

“Be brave, Mom,” Molly called out, not daring to wave back, in case her escort interpreted the sudden movement as a threat and whipped out his stupid taser. She had no desire to find out what it felt like to be zapped with one of those things.

Back in her room, she sat on the bed and stared up at the window. No bars on this one, but it was too high and too narrow, even for a girl of her petite size to squeeze through. They probably had the whole place rigged with alarms, she decided. The nurse was gone. I guess I didn’t need around-the-clock supervision anymore, she mused.

Her stomach growled, and she wondered if they intended to feed her? She got up and paced the floor. Shoving her hands deep in her pockets, she felt something thin beneath her fingers. She stopped, her heart beating wildly. Moving back to the bed, she slipped in and pulled the covers, before removing the small square of paper from the pocket. Enough light shone through the paper-thin sheet for her to see the image clearly and she smiled, even as her eyes filled with tears.

The photograph clearly showed three smiling faces, strapped into a rollercoaster seat shaped like a jungle expedition jeep. She and her dad sat on either side of a grinning little red-haired boy who looked as if he might burst with excitement at any moment. The wallet size image sported the words, “Gorilla Falls ~ Ride the Jungle,” in scrolling letters around the photo-shopped souvenir pic. Ryker had begged them to take him on the ride the first day they’d arrived at the animal park. In Florida, not California, she thought, relief flooding her mind. She kissed the image of her little brother’s smiling face and shoved the photo deep into her pocket once more.

Molly’s head whirled. She still didn’t know if her father was alive or dead. The doctors were lying about everything. They could be allowing her mother to think he was alive, but why? Why would they tell her she didn’t have any brothers? Fear pricked her heart, and she fought it. “No, I won’t let you win, you stupid thoughts. You’re not my reality,” she said, under her breath.
She rolled over, wondering if the room was bugged, and cursed them all for making her feel paranoid. The malevolent thoughts returned, suggesting she was as crazy and delusional as her mother.

Her mother to whom she was now an only child. A mother who appeared to adore her, and called her sweetheart and darling. A mother who wanted her. Her, not her sister. Wasn’t that the mother she’d wished would come back ever since Madeline had died?

No. Not at this price. Burying her head in the pillow, she willed herself to fall asleep, hoping when she woke, this nightmare would be over, and she’d be back in her own bed, listening to her brothers fighting in the next room.

She didn’t hear the whirring or the click beneath the bed, as the recording device uploaded its latest files to the mainframe computer, where several men sat studying the surveillance video of her room.

“Anything?” the bearded doctor said?

A man in a blue suit shook his head. “Not a damn thing. She paced the room for a while and went to bed. Typical lazy kid.”

The doctor grunted his approval. “It’s going to take a few more sessions for the mother, but the girl doesn’t seem to recall much. She asked about her brothers, but she didn’t say a word about the gorilla.”

The blue-suited man scowled. “You moron. Isn’t there a way to find out what she did with it? We want her to remember the damn gorilla. I have four teams out searching for it, and they’ve found nothing.”

Another man across the room spoke up. “It probably bit her or something, before it ran off.”

“She’s too scared of being arrested for stealing it,” Dr. Fountain interjected. “She’s not going to say anything.”

Mr. BlueSuit snorted. “No teenager is going to forget a talking gorilla.”

Seth Fountain smirked. “She will by the time I’m finished with her.” He held his hands up, extending his forefingers and touching them together. “Zzzzit,” he drawled, imitating an electrical current.

The other men laughed, and Seth Fountain smiled. He allowed himself one more wisecrack. “You know she used to be a twin, like me, only she has three brothers. Now she thinks she’s a freaking only child. You should have seen her face when her mother told her she didn’t have any brothers. Dumb broad.”

“You have a twin?” one of the men asked. “God help him.”

Seth shook his head. “Sebastian’s a loser. The jerk didn’t even finish medical school. Settled for becoming a psychologist.” He shrugged. “Guess there were only enough brains for one of us to succeed.”

“So, how famous is your brother then?” the man in the blue suit quipped.

“Shut up, Dick,” Fountain replied, immediately shoving the image of his smiling brother from his thoughts. “Just shut the fuck-up.”

Their laughter followed him from the room, unfortunately for his next patient, who received an extra dose of electrical current, so that he could imagine it was the blue-suited government agent convulsing on the table.

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