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Escaping Reality

Escaping Reality

Titel: Escaping Reality
Autoren: Lisa Renee Jones
Chapter One

    My name is all that is written on the plain white envelope taped to
    the mirror.
    I step out of the stall inside the bathroom of Manhattan’s
    Metropolitan Museum, and the laughter and joy of the evening’s charity
    event I’ve been enjoying fades away. Fear and dread slam into me, shooting
    adrenaline through my body. No. No. No. This cannot be happening and yet
    it is. It is, and I know what it means. Suddenly, the room begins to shift and
    everything goes gray. I fight the flashback I haven’t had in years, but I am
    already right there in it, in the middle of a nightmare. The scent of smoke
    burns my nose. The sound of blistering screams shreds my nerves. There is
    pain and heartache, and the loss of all I once had and will never know
    Fighting a certain meltdown, I swallow hard and shove away the
    gut-wrenching memories. I can’t let this happen. Not here, not in a public
    place. Not when I’m quite certain danger is knocking on my door.
    On wobbly knees and four-inch black strappy heels that had made
    me feel sexy only minutes before and clumsy now, I step forward and press
    my palms to the counter. I can’t seem to make myself reach for the
    envelope and my gaze goes to my image in the mirror, to my long
    white-blond hair I’ve worn draped around my shoulders tonight rather than
    tied at my nape, and done so as a proud reflection of the heritage of my
    Swedish mother I’m tired of denying. Gone too are the dark-rimmed glasses
    I’ve often used to hide the pale blue eyes both of my parents had shared,
    making it too easy for me to see the empty shell of a person I’ve become. If
    this is what I am at twenty-four years old, what I will be like at thirty-four?
    Voices sound outside the doorway and I yank the envelope from the
    mirror and rush into the stall, sealing myself inside. Still chatting, two
    females enter the bathroom, and I tune out their gossip about some man
    they’d admired at the party. I suddenly need to confirm my fate. Leaning
    against the wall, I open the sealed envelope to remove a plain white note
    card and a key drops to the floor that looks like it goes to a locker. Cursing
    my shaking hand, I bend down and scoop it up. For a moment, I can’t seem
    to stand up. I want to be strong. I shove to my feet and blink away the
    burning sensation in my eyes to read the few short sentences typed on the
    I’ve found you and so can they. Go to JFK Airport directly. Do not go
    home. Do not linger. Locker 111 will have everything you need.
    My heart thunders in my chest as I take in the signature that is
    nothing more than a triangle with some writing inside of it. It’s the tattoo
    that had been worn on the arm of the stranger who I’d met only once
    before. He’d saved my life and helped me restart a new one, and he’d
    made sure I knew that symbol meant that I am in danger and I have to run.
    I squeeze my eyes shut, fighting a wave of emotions. Once again, my
    life is about to be turned upside down. Once again I will lose everything,
    and while everything is so much less than before, it’s all I have. I crumble
    the note in my hand, desperate to make it, and this hell that is my reality,
    go away. After six years of hiding, I’d dared to believe I could find “normal”,
    but that was a mistake. Deep down, I’ve known that since two months ago
    when I’d left my job at the central library as a research assistant, to work at
    the museum. Being here is treading water too close to the bridge.
    Straightening, I listen as the women’s voices fade before the room
    goes silent. Anger erupts inside me at the idea that my life is about to be
    stolen from me again and I tear the note in tiny pieces, flush them down
    the toilet and shove the envelope into the trash. I want to throw away the
    key too, but some part of me won’t let that happen. Probably the smart,
    unemotional part of me that I hate right now.
    Unzipping the small black purse I have strapped across my chest and
    over my pale blue blazer, that despite my tight budget, I’d splurged on for
    this new job; I drop the key inside, sealing it away. I’m going to finish my
    party. Maybe I’m going to finish my life right here in New York City. The
    note didn’t say I’d been found. It only warned me that I could be found. I
    don’t want to run again. I don’t. I need time to think, to process, and that is
    going to have to wait until after the party.
    Decision made, I exit the stall,

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