Chapter 3

Does anyone else remember those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books? Well, that’s what I’ve decided to mimic here. This is the third chapter of a serialized story, and you will help me with the plot. Just leave your comments about anything (what you want to happen next, who the characters will be, etc.) and I will pick one to work into the story. If you haven’t yet, make sure to read Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 before continuing.  

"Frankly, I am amazed you two made it out alive, ma'am," the police officer told her, as she lay in the hospital bed.  Her husband lay next to her, still with his oxygen mask covering his face.  But she saw his eys, and they mirrored the fear she felt. 

"You have to understand.  This wasn't an accident.  There's someone out there, he's after us, he's after," her voice cracked with the depth of her emotion.  "He's after our daughter," she finally managed.  Her eyes were filled with tears, and she felt helpless. 

"Yes, so you've said.  We have made some preliminary inquiries, but you're daughter cannot be assumed a missing person until at least 24 hours have passed with no word of her.  And you said yourself that you saw her this morning."

"But that was before the fire!"  She was yelling at him now, trying to convey her fear, trying to make him understand it was a matter of life and death.  And yet, how much could she tell him without putting more lives in danger? 

"I realize that, but there is no evidence that the fire was due to arson.  At this point, it appears to have started as a simple kitchen fire."

"But we were upstairs, unpacking from our vacation!  Why would we have put any of the appliances on just after getting home?"

"You're upset.  Nurse!" he called to the station outside their door.  "This woman needs a sedative."  He turned back to look at her.  "I will get back to you as soon as I have more details.  In the meantime, get some rest.  You have some pretty nasty burns there.  Don't do anything that will inhibit your body's healing processes."

She would have followed, despite the burns and the pain in her chest.  She needed him to understand that Chloe was in danger.  And she knew why.  That doctor of Chloe's had been too interested in their family's history, too interested for his own good.  And now, because of Chloe's own interest in the history, as well as her knowledge of speleology, would make her a prime target.  She would have followed, but her legs had not worked for years.

It had only been a week since she'd shared the whole story with her husband.  She had been afraid of the greed she had seen in his eyes.  But he needed to know, especially after that man came poking around.  And now he understood the gravity of the situation.  She looked at him and was shocked to see him out of bed, dressed.

"I'm going to look for her.  We know where she is and I'm the only one who can help her." 

She saw the intensity in his eyes, and for a brief moment, she wondered if it was for fear of his daughter, or something else.  As she grew sleepy, she saw Chloe, shrouded in darkness.  And she knew if anyone was going to have to help her daughter, it would have to be Chloe herself.