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Hidden in The Bush
By Mélanie Charbonneau
AuthorHouse LLCCopyright © 2014 Mélanie Charbonneau
All rights reserved.
Rob Hennessy was being very cautious. Although it was only four in the afternoon, it was already getting dark. It had been raining all day, but rain or shine, he was sticking to his plan. He'd been waiting for this day for far too long. A tornado wouldn't stop him right now. Although the weather was not the greatest for his mission, he was remaining focused on his target zone, ready to shoot if need be.
It started to pour. Great! Just what I need! thought Rob. In no time, raindrops were falling from his Oilers cap and his nose. He was getting cold from staying still for so long. He'd been sitting there, behind a garbage bin near Long Shots bar, waiting for Diego Sanchez and his cargo full of cocaine since two that afternoon. He should have been there by now. He was never late. Maybe something went wrong. He was just about to give up and call Sabrina when he saw two headlights coming slowly into the back alley. He looked in his scope to the right. In his range, he saw a homeless woman pushing a shopping cart. That was normal in Fort McMurray. She was innocent until proven guilty. He looked to the left. He saw a black man getting out of his black SUV with a black suitcase in hand. Rob smiled. Now we were talking. Perfect. Everything seemed to be going according to plan. He zoomed back to the delivery truck coming ahead of him. The truck stopped right in front of the SUV. A clean-cut, black-haired, middle-age man stepped out of the truck, followed by what seemed to be his bodyguard: a tall, bald man, who looked like a body builder. The black man didn't seem to be intimidated by him.
"You're late! I don't have time to lose. Open the back door!" said the black man.
"Not until you give me the money. You know the drill. Now give it to me and the load is all yours."
"I'll show you mine if and when you show me yours."
"You must be new here!" said Diego in an amazed tone. "Let me show you how it works, pal! You think you're tough, being black and all. You're just the delivery man. That's it, that's all. You're nobody! You don't dictate what I do. In fact, you have no say at all. You get that! Now you just pissed me off with your attitude. Well, today is your lucky day, pal. Let me show you who I am and how I work! You see that poor old lady?" He grabbed the homeless woman passing by and held her against his chest, with a gun to her temple. "You give me the fucking suitcase or the lady dies."
"Ah come on, man, there's no need for that! Drop the gun and let her go. I'll give you the damn money. Everything is cool, man!" He put the suitcase on the ground and gave it a push with his foot.
Out of the blue, someone dressed in black, almost ghostlike, ran from behind the truck, stole Diego's gun, threw it in the garbage bin, grabbed the suitcase, and ran away behind the truck, out of sight.
"What the fuck?" whispered Rob. But before he could do anything, he heard a gunshot. The bodyguard had tried to shoot at the runaway dude. But that ninja dude had somehow managed to escape before anybody had time to react. The shot had hit the black man. He was lying on the ground. There was already a puddle of blood around him. Diego and his bodyguard fled back to the delivery truck and disappeared, leaving the dead man on the ground.
"Fuuuuck! Bobby!" Sabrina knelt beside him, taking her wig off her head, for she had been dressed as the homeless lady. Rob ran toward them. She looked at Rob and nodded sadly. "It's too late, Rob ... he's gone." Rob paged the police station. "This is number 392. Officer down! Bobby is down! I need an ambulance on the scene now! And I need back up. Diego ran away. I'm going after him. I need a set of eyes ... I need a chopper now!" He ran to his car parked on the other side of the street and raced down to Franklin Avenue.
Sabrina, now carless, was not about to wait there uselessly for the ambulance to come. She could hear the sirens from afar. She took off running, hoping to find the mysterious person that ruined their plan and blew the whole operation. While running in the back alleys, she found a bike lying at the corner of a building and jumped on it. She knew the best place to hide was in the bush along the river. That was her best hope. While pedaling as fast as she could, she phoned for backup. She raced toward the river. She saw the black figure heading for the bushes. She could hear the sirens right behind her. Sabrina jumped off the bike and ran after the suspect. She entered the bush. It didn't take long before she lost him. Out of breath, she stopped, panting hard. She could hear the backup entering the bush. Then she heard a gunshot. She ran toward the sound. Rob was on the ground. He got hit on the shoulder.
"That son of a bitch grabbed my gun from behind and shot me. I'll be okay, guys. Go catch that guy. He went that way—and, guys, be careful. He's a professional. I didn't even see or hear him coming," he said, pointing left.
"We can't leave you like this," said Sabrina.
And so everyone left him there to chase this unknown Robin Hood. They were three cops against one villain. They decided to split up. Sabrina couldn't believe how things went from bad to worse today. She was determined to catch this guy and end this. From the corner of her right eye, she thought she saw a shadow. She went in that direction. She saw a deer. She was just about to bring her gun down when she saw him behind the deer. She paged the other cops and started chasing him again. He was agile and fast, like an animal. She couldn't even hear his footsteps. In no time, he was out of range, out of sight. It didn't take long before the two cops caught up to Sabrina. Although they didn't know where they were going, they kept on running. On a hunch, Sabrina turned to the right without warning. Branches kept slapping her face while she was running. She could hear the other two swearing behind her. Through the branches, she saw a big hill. She slowed down. She had no energy left to climb that hill. She was just about ready to give up when she saw him starting to climb the hill.
"Police! Freeze! Hands behind your head, now!"
To Sabrina's surprise, he stopped and put his hands behind his head. They ran toward him to cuff him. He didn't try to escape this time. When they turned him around, they were shocked. They couldn't believe their eyes when they saw it was a woman. After arresting her for assaulting a police officer and steeling a large sum of money, they brought her to the police station for an interview.CHAPTER 2
The woman didn't cooperate the first twenty-four hours. She refused to talk. When they read her rights to remain silent or to speak to an attorney, she just looked at them with a blank expression. She showed no emotion, no remorse. She didn't phone anyone. She didn't look confused; she just looked ... nonexistent, dead. They didn't know who she was or what her name was. They tried many strategies to make her talk. Drastic measurements were used on her. Violence didn't seem to bother her. They pushed her around, hit her, embarrassed her, and threatened her, without any results.
After thirty-six hours, Sabrina and her partner, Rob, were assigned to the case. Sabrina took things into her own hands and changed tactics. After permitting her to take a shower, to sleep, and to finally eat a good meal, the woman started to pace the room. She looked nervous, even troubled. When Rob entered the room with a bandage on his shoulder, she looked at him in the eyes with a defiant look, as if she was expecting a licking. She started to get undressed. She ignored Sabrina and said to Rob: "What would you like?"
"What are you doing? Put your clothes back on! Geez! What's wrong with you?"
The lady looked at him blankly while getting dressed. Sabrina was annoyed and speechless.
"I'm going to get a coffee, and when I come back, I'm going to pretend this never happened," said Rob.
He stepped out of the room and came back two minutes later.
"Hi, my name is Rob. I'm the cop you shot at in the bush two days ago. As you can see, I'm still alive. The doctors ordered me to stay in bed for two to three weeks, until I recover from my injury. I could have let my colleagues deal with you, but I wanted to come see your face in person. I want to understand what happened. Because, quite frankly, this whole thing baffles me. I was just about to do the biggest drug bust in Fort McMurray until you came along out of the blue and ruined everything. I spent two years searching for this guy. He was right at my fingertips. You blew the whole thing. And on top of this, you shot me. Shooting at an officer is a serious crime. Right now, because you refuse to talk, we can only make assumptions, and right now, unless you prove otherwise, you are going in for a very long time ... So I suggest you start talking before you make things worse. Enough of your bullshit! This is your last chance, you hear me!"
The woman nodded. Sabrina jumped off her chair and started to record the conversation.
"Okay. Let's start with the basics. What's your name? Where do you come from?"
"I can't say anything. He'll kill me. I'm not supposed to talk to anybody. He'll kill me."
"Who will kill you?"
"I can't say anything."
"Look, as long as you're here, you're safe. Nobody can come and see you. Besides, nobody knows where you are."
"You don't know him. He'll find me and kill me, slowly ..."
"Look, if need be, we can put you in witness protection, but until you start talking, I can't protect you. I need information before I decide if you're entitled to witness protection or not. The more you stall, the more time he has to find you."
"People call me Foxy. I come from House #2, East Riverside."
"In case you haven't notice, I don't have time for this bullshit. Let's cut to the chase. What's your goddamn full real name?"
Rob stood up, ready to hit her in the face. Sabrina cut in, putting her hand up at Rob, asking him to calm down.
"Okay, Foxy Lady. You say you come from House #2, East Riverside. I never heard of that. Can you tell me in what city, country, and where about it is?"
"In Fort McMurray, Canada, near the river, in the bush."
"You live in the bush?" asked Rob in a sarcastic tone.
"Since when? You don't look like a homeless woman to me."
"Since I was a kid."
Sabrina and Rob were both speechless for a moment.
"Your family lived in the bush? You grew up in the bush?" asked Rob.
"No and yes."
"What do you mean?"
"No, my family didn't live in the bush. Yes, I grew up in the bush."
"Well, Foxy, enough with the lies. You don't even make sense. You're contradicting yourself. Sabrina, we're wasting our time, and she's either delusional or she's playing with us."
Foxy looked at him with a confused expression. Sabrina had a hunch that she was telling the truth ... or that at least part of it was true.
"Foxy, I don't understand. If you grew up in the bush, but your family didn't live in the bush, where was your family? How come you grew up in the bush but not with your family?"
"My family lived in Toronto. One day after playschool, they took me and brought me here, in the bush."
"Who brought you? Your parents?"
"Then who did? Who are they?"
"Godzilla's clan," replied Foxy in a calm, convincing voice.
"Sabrina, can't you see she's talking nonsense! Let's bring in a psychiatrist for an evaluation. Come on, just drop it. We're going nowhere," said Rob before he left the room.
"Foxy, what's the Godzilla's clan?"
"It's the name of our clan ... Godzilla is our god ... He who shall not get mad ... the devil."
"What happens when he gets mad?"
"He chooses a victim and kills it."
"How does he kill them?"
"He normally cuts their head off."
"Really? With what?"
"He uses an ax—a big, sharp ax."
Discouraged, Sabrina had no more questions. She pressed stop on the recorder and left Foxy alone in the interview room. She agreed. She needed to see a psychiatrist as soon as possible. She looked at the contacts on her cell phone and found the person she was looking for.CHAPTER 3
After spending six hours with Foxy, Helen Page, an experienced psychiatrist, approached Sabrina and Rob the next day for the summary of her results.
"So, Doc, what's your diagnosis?" asked Rob.
"Possibly a post-traumatic stress disorder."
"What do you mean possibly? Either she has it or she doesn't."
"Well her case is very uncommon. She's very hard to read. She's showing no symptoms of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. You can cross that out. Although she has no education whatsoever, and by that I mean she can't read or write—"
"Yes. But even though she can't read or write, she still scored high scores in all categories. Her IQ is higher than normal. She's very intelligent. Just because she can't read or write doesn't mean she's incapable of doing so. It's simply because she never went to school."
"Oh my God!" said Sabrina.
"She seemed to have a pretty rough life. She's showing some signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD."
"Can you quickly brief us of the symptoms please?" asked Rob.
"Certainly. Commonly, a person has powerful, recurrent memories of the event, or recurrent nightmares or flashbacks in which they relive their distressing experience. Foxy told me she has many nightmares. Avoidance and emotional numbing are the second category of symptoms. Foxy is certainly showing that. Emotional numbing generally begins soon after the event. In rare cases, a person may enter dissociative states, lasting anywhere from a few minutes to several days, during which they believe they are reliving the episode, and they behave as if it's happening all over again. Because I don't know her past or her story, and Foxy was reticent to talk about it, I can't confirm it's PTSD."
"What about all the bullshit stories she tells us? Does that sound believable to you?" asked Rob sarcastically.
"Honestly, I think you have some more digging to do about her past. If she truly grew up in the bush and never went to school, like she claims to, of course her behavior would be uncommon, and so would her ideas. This is a wild lady that didn't grow up in society—and without her family. Now that she's exposed to it and put in a cage, her state of mind is probably confused. This is all I can say about her for the moment. Now if you would excuse me, I have another meeting to attend."
"Thank you, Helen. We owe you one," replied Sabrina. On that, Helen left the room.
"Well, Rob, we have a lot of work to do. You better take a pill for your nerves, because we're going back to question her first thing tomorrow. Now it's late; you need to rest, and so does she. Goodnight, Rob. Time to go home."
"Goodnight, Mom!" said Rob in a sarcastic tone.
* * *
"Foxy, do you remember the day the Godzilla's clan came to bring you to the bushes in Fort McMurray? How old were you?" asked Sabrina.
"I was five years old. I was in playschool. My older sister Alicia was sick that day, so I had to walk back home alone. It was maybe two or three blocks away. A big, white van stopped in front of me. A man told me my family had been in a terrible accident and that everybody died. They came to pick me up and bring me to my new home. My mom had always told me to never talk to strangers, so I didn't move, I didn't talk. I think I was in shock or something. I just stared at him. Someone opened the back door from the inside, grabbed me, and put me in the back of the van. We drove for many days, nonstop. There was no window in the back. It was dark, and I couldn't see anything. When we finally arrived in Fort McMurray, they had put a black bag on my head, and they carried me in the bush. I stayed in the bush until I was twelve. Then I was allowed to get out of the bush. It was the first time I saw the city."
"Can you tell me what year it was when they took you?" asked Rob.
"I don't know."
"Do you know how old you are?"
"I'm not sure. I think around thirty-two years old. My birthday was in the winter. I counted all the winters. Winters tells me I'm thirty-two years old."
"Thirty-two years old. Then you were born in 1981. Five years old would bring you to 1986. Correct me if I'm wrong."
Foxy just looked at him with a blank look. She obviously had no clue what he was talking about.
"Foxy, do you remember your real name back then?" asked Sabrina.
"My name was Jessica Ryans."
Sabrina turned white.
"Say that again?"
"That can't be! Oh my God! And your sister was Alicia Ryans, correct?
"And you lived in Toronto?"
"What's going on, Sabrina?" asked Rob.
Excerpted from Hidden in The Bush by Mélanie Charbonneau. Copyright © 2014 Mélanie Charbonneau. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse LLC.
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