SEASON FINALE Part 2 ~ Now I Lay Me Down To Weep

By Jennifer Cannon

Prologue

Friday 8:30 PM

Amanda’s head hurt-more than hurt, actually-it felt as though someone had driven sharp knives through her skull. Cautiously she tried to open her eyes; only to close them again as the light caused the pain to sharpen in intensity.

What had happened? Amanda tried to think back. She had been ready to leave Station One and then-a jumble of memories and images rushed through her mind:

–”I love you, Lee-tell mother and the boys I’ll be home soon and give Emily a kiss from me.” -

–driving down a darkened road-

–the glow of headlights behind her-so bright that Amanda almost had to close her eyes to shield herself from the glare -the squeal of brakes-

–”I’ve been looking forward to this, Amanda.” -the man’s voice had been deep in tone; she recalled-the accent vaguely familiar-

Why had she left Station One alone? Amanda wondered. She and Lee had come there separately-but they could have left together-why would they have left separately? There must have been a reason, but for the moment, it eluded her.

Who had the voice belonged to?

What had happened on the road? Some sort of accident? Was she in the hospital?

But hospitals had hospital noises-a certain antiseptic smell in the air-somehow this didn’t feel like a hospital. Amanda tensed as she heard a slight creak, followed by the soft padding of footsteps.

“Lee?” she croaked, barely recognizing her own voice. The inside of her mouth felt like a piece of sandpaper. Amanda swallowed, tasting a strange, almost sickly sweetness as she did.

No one answered her, but some sixth sense told her that someone was there, watching. The boys used to do that when they were little, Amanda recalled-they would stand by her bed some mornings, not saying anything, just waiting for her to open her eyes.

‘Open your eyes, Amanda.’

And she did. The pain was still intense but more bearable this time-the light less of a piercing dagger and more of a soft golden glow. A figure stood silently over her, the features obscured and blurry.

“Lee?” Amanda repeated.

“Take it easy.” Not Lee at all, the voice was female. A hand gently smoothed Amanda’s hair. “It’s best if you just rest now-you’ve had a rough time.”

“But I don’t-I don’t remember what happened. Where am I?”

“You had an accident, Mrs. Stetson,” the woman replied. “We brought you here.”

“Where?” Amanda tried to sit up but something seemed to be holding her down. “Am I in a hospital? My husband and family-are they-”

“Shhh…” the woman’s voice soothed. “Rest first-everything will be explained in due time.”

“But I can’t rest now, I can’t-” Amanda cried out as she felt the sharp sting of a needle in her arm. Her last clear memory was of another figure joining the first-the two of them standing over her.

“You did an excellent job, my dear,” another voice said. A man’s voice this time. The figures almost seemed to blur together as the darkness took Amanda Stetson completely.

 

Act One

4247 Maplewood Drive

Friday 9:00 PM

Amanda.

Lee sat on the sofa in the family room, his head resting on his hands. He shouldn’t be here-he thought to himself-sitting on this sofa. He should be up doing something-making himself useful instead of sitting here feeling so damn helpless-Lee clenched his right hand, pounding his leg hard.

“Did that help?”

Lee looked up at the man who stood in front of him.

“Hello, Billy,” he said tonelessly.

Billy sat beside him. “Where’s Mrs. West?”

“Dotty’s upstairs with Emily,” Lee told him. “She seems to be holding it together- for now, anyway.”

“She’s one strong woman. And the boys?”

“Well they were planning on spending the weekend at a friend’s house, but they’re on the way back now. We haven’t told them anything yet. Is there any news?”

Billy sighed. “Nothing yet-at the moment we’re coordinating with the State Police and the FBI, calling all the hospitals-”

“The morgues?”

“Lee, come on-don’t think that way. Amanda’s only been missing a few hours.”

“A few hours!” Lee snapped. Rising from the sofa, he started to pace back and forth. “And we have no idea of where she could be-who might have her-there’s nothing. Station One is only an hour-and-a-half away from here.”

“You know it’s still possible this may be something simple. An accident-maybe even a breakdown.”

“You really believe that?” Lee looked at his friend. “This is Amanda-she would’ve found a way to get in touch-and if there had been accident the State Police would’ve contacted us by now. This is my fault-I should’ve never left her there to go home alone.”

“She was the ringer this time-you arrived in separate cars, correct?”

“Of course we did.” Lee clenched his fist. “That’s standard procedure. I just thought-I wanted us to leave at the same time.”

“Why?” Billy asked.

Lee sank back down onto the sofa. I’m not exactly sure. A feeling, maybe-I don’t know how else to explain it.” As Lee spoke, his mind returned to the events of that afternoon:

“Amanda, are you sure you’ll be all right?”

 

Amanda rose from the desk and walked over to him. “Lee, I’ll be just fine-I just have this paperwork to finish up-there’s no reason for you to stay behind and wait.”

 

“I don’t mind waiting.”

 

Her arms wrapped around him. “It’s okay, Stetson-I’ll be home before you know it.”

 

Lee was silent for a moment-holding her body tightly against his own. Suddenly Amanda pulled out of the embrace, her dark eyes searching his.

 

“What is it?” she asked. “Something’s bothering you.”

 

Lee didn’t know how to tell Amanda-how to express the cold feeling that had crept over him. What was the expression-as if someone had walked over his grave? Involuntarily he shivered.

 

“Lee?”

 

“I’m fine,” he told her. “Really. Just promise me something.”

 

“Anything.”

 

“Promise me you’ll be careful? I love you-I don’t want anything to happen to you.”

 

Amanda smiled-her soft lips pressed gently against his own. “I love you too, Mr. Stetson. Nothing’s going to happen to me.”

But something had happened.

Billy’s voice broke into Lee’s reverie. “You can’t blame yourself.”

Lee laughed shortly, running a hand through his hair. “Can’t I?”

“I have to ask this, Lee.” Billy hesitated for a moment. “Do you have any idea who might be responsible?”

Lee shook his head. “No.”

“Have either you or Amanda received any threatening notes, messages, gifts-strange phone calls?” Billy prodded. “Even something small might be a clue.”

“Haven’t you been listening to me?” Lee rose from the sofa, pacing the length of the room as he spoke. “There hasn’t been anything-no threats, no warnings-nothing. Maybe if there had been I would’ve been able to do something.”

“We’re also looking into your past cases,” Billy informed him. “People who might’ve had a grudge against you or Amanda, people who’ve escaped or been released from prison-the best thing you can do now is wait.”

“No-no-you can’t ask me to wait-not while Amanda is-”

“At least until we know something more,” he said. “Right now you have a young daughter and a family who needs you. Please?”

Lee sank back down onto the sofa. “All right-I’ll wait-for now, anyway. You’ll call me the moment you have any news?”

“As soon as I know something I’ll call you. We’ll find her, Scarecrow-I promise you that.”

After Billy had gone. Lee’s head dropped into his hands once more, his eyes closing tightly as he fought to keep control.

‘Where are you, Amanda?’ he thought to himself. ‘What’s happened to you?’

SMK SMK SMK SMK

 

11:30 PM

 

The man stood silently over the woman’s bed, watching her as she slept.

Not one detail escaped his attention-the way her dark lashes stood out in sharp contrast to her pale complexion-how her chest rose and fell with her slow and even breaths. ‘So beautiful.’ He had thought of her so often throughout his confinement-her face, her smile-playing out this moment so many times in his head that it was hard to believe it was actually happening. But it was. The man bent down and leaned close, inhaling her scent. His hand brushed her cheek lightly.

“Soon, liebling,” he whispered. “Very soon.”

 

SMK SMK SMK SMK

4247 Maplewood Drive

 

Saturday 2:30 AM

 

“No,” Lee moaned. His head tossed restlessly on the pillow. “No please-Amanda!”

His wife’s name came out in a shout. Lee sat straight up in bed, his heart racing wildly, his undershirt soaked with sweat. For a moment, he just stared at the familiar objects in the dimly lit bedroom, his breath slowing as he tried to reorient himself. In his mind, he could still see his wife, held in the grip of some faceless monster. Amanda’s face had been stained with tears, dark eyes silently pleading with Lee to save her-rescue her. And Lee had been frozen, unable to move as the monster had grabbed her and-

‘Stop it,’ Lee told himself. ‘It was only a dream-that’s all.’ But that wasn’t all- and it wasn’t a dream. Amanda was gone, and he had no idea who took her, why they took her-nothing at all. In reality, Lee was no closer to helping his wife than he’d been in his nightmare. His gaze fell on the pillow beside him, still marred with a faint indentation of where Amanda’s head rested every night.

He couldn’t just stay here-he had to get up. As if on cue, a loud thin wail came from the baby monitor, filling the room. Emily. Slowly Lee rose from the bed, padding down the hallway towards the nursery.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

By the time Lee reached the nursery Emily was already in full swing-her face was bright red and her little hands were curled into fists, her body shaking with the force of her cries.

“Hey there, sweetheart.” Lee bent over the crib. “What’s the matter, huh? What’s wrong?” He checked his daughter’s diaper; he was very relieved to find that it wasn’t wet or messy. Lee carefully lifted Emily into his arms and walked with her around the nursery, gently rocking her as he hummed. Some nights this worked just fine, but tonight Emily refused to be satisfied. Checking the clock, he saw that it was time for her bottle. Lee carried her downstairs into the kitchen-still holding her as he warmed the bottle from the fridge under the faucet, testing a few drops on the inside of his wrist to make sure it wasn’t too warm. Emily wailed the whole time, her face damp with tears.

“Don’t worry, Emily,” Lee soothed. “Daddy’s going to feed you right now, okay?” He carried her upstairs, down the hallway to the nursery, and sat down in the rocking chair, putting a spit-up cloth over one shoulder. The moon shone through the window while Lee rocked back and forth, looking down at Emily’s face as she drank her bottle. Her eyes were so much like Amanda’s-Lee closed his own eyes briefly, fighting for control. He couldn’t lose it-not now.

“I had a feeling I’d find you in here.”

Lee opened his eyes to see Dotty, standing in the doorway. “I couldn’t sleep,” he told her. “And Emily needed feeding, so-”

“Believe me, I understand,” Dotty entered the nursery, sinking down onto the window-seat. “I couldn’t sleep either.”

“How are the boys?” Lee asked.

Dotty sighed. “Asleep for now-Lord only knows how long that will last-they’re both worried sick.”

“I know.” In his mind Lee could still see the boys’ faces-as he’d told them the news, Phillip’s face pale, his eyes wide with shock; Jamie’s eyes brimming with tears-they had lost their father a couple of months ago. If they lost their mother as well-Lee tried to push those thoughts to the back of his mind.

Emily pushed the bottle away-Lee noticed it was empty. He put the bottle on the nearby table and held Emily against his shoulder, gently bouncing her and patting her back until she finally burped.

“Where could Amanda be?” The questions came out of Dotty in a rush. “Where is my baby? I know that a lot of what you do is need-to-know, but do you have any idea what might have happened?”

“Dotty believe me-if I knew, I’d be out there looking for her myself. Right now, there’s nothing. We’re investigating, but-” Lee’s throat choked up suddenly. Dotty reached over, covering her hand with his.

“Listen to me,” she said. “I have faith in you, Lee Stetson-and if anyone can find Amanda you can. Right now that’s all that’s keeping me going. Just promise me you won’t give up.”

Lee swallowed hard. “I won’t give up. We’ll find her-I know we will.”

He only wished that he could feel as confident as he sounded.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

 

9:30 AM

 

It was damp here-very damp and cold. Amanda shivered as it penetrated her skin, little drops of moisture clinging to her as she moved, her feet making no sound.

 

“Lee?” Amanda strained to make out the figure enshrouded in the mist; moving rapidly towards her. “Where are you?” Her voice sounded very small to her own ears-wrapped up in the thick fog that surrounded her.

 

“I’m coming Amanda-wait for me-please don’t give up.” The figure was close to her now. Amanda reached out one hand to touch her husband, but the only thing that her fingers encountered was a cold dampness. Slowly the figure began to move away.

 

“Wait!” Amanda called. “Please don’t go Lee-come back!” She let out her breath in a hiss of frustration as the figure vanished into the distance.

 

“Please don’t go, Lee,” a voice whispered mockingly. The speaker was invisible-the voice seemed to come from the air itself.

 

“Who are you?” Amanda called out.

 

The soft laughter sent a chill through her spine.

 

“I told you- didn’t I, Amanda? I never forget-and I never forgive. Never.”

 

With a gasp, Amanda managed to pull herself out of the dream. She opened her eyes. Everything seemed to be a blur at first-the colors and shapes all melding together.

 

“I wondered when you’d be awake.”

It was a woman’s voice-the same one she remembered from before. There was no pain this time, but the bad taste still flooded her mouth. Amanda’s vision was starting to clear-allowing her to focus on the girl who stood in the doorway. The girl looked young-sixteen, maybe-eighteen at the most. Her hair was white-blond in color, cut into a short pixie style that feathered and framed her face. A Bedside Bluebell? Then Amanda took in the girl’s tight blue jeans, oversized pink sweater, and matching fuzzy slippers.

Definitely not a Bedside Bluebell.

“I thought you might like some breakfast, Mrs. Stetson.” The slippers made a hissing sound as the girl moved across the floor to the bed, and placed a tray on the bedside table. “You were