Chapter 43 Crisis
I race back home after getting off the phone with Merrilee. I can’t believe she would go off chasing that lunatic. I’ve called and called her number, she must have turned the phone off. I call the police and tell them what I know. Of course, I get their standard response of “We’ll check it out”. I call the girls and tell them to make sure to stay in the house and lock all the doors.
Once I pull into the driveway, I see the police car already there. Merri comes rushing out, ” Mom has not come home, it’s been hours. The police have been searching the woods for her, but haven’t found anything yet. Dad, where is she?” “I’m not sure, Merri. We will find her though. Don’t worry.” I say. I head to the police chief and ask for any updates. He tells me they can’t “offically” call her a missing person, because it has only been a few hours, but with our history they went ahead and began searching for her. They point out the areas they have already searched and guide me to a crew of people who are getting ready to head out. We start the search.
We get into a heavily forested area and I keep looking down. I look for any disturbance of the leaves or dirt in the area. After several hours, I notice a small area that looks a little different. I reach down and under the leaves, I find Merrilee’s phone. I yell for the police in charge of our group and hold the phone out. “This is her phone! I found it right here under some leaves. We must be close! This is proof that he took her, she would not have dropped her phone. “, I say. The policeman radios in to the chief to report the finding. They decide to go ahead and make it official, Merrilee has been abducted.
I call Merri and Robin to let them know that we found her phone. “Dad, Lauren has locked herself in her room and she will not come out. She says that this is all her fault and if something happens to Mom, she will never forgive herself! I don’t know what to do. I can hear her crying, but she won’t let me in. Merri is taking care of Lance, so he is fine. What should I do?”, Robin says. I tell her to just give Lauren some time and if she doesn’t come out soon to call me back. I can really only handle one crisis at time and I really need to find Merrilee. We search until dark, then they say to head home and we will continue in the morning. I hate to leave but there is little I can do now. The woods are really dark and I can barely see anything. The police tell me they have also checked other spots where Moe may have gone. The underground bunker he kept us hostage in for so long and also the small cabin and caves he held Merri in. Both came up empty, they look like no one has been there since we all left.
I head home, my heart heavy and my mind full of fear of what Merrilee is going through again. I know she is a strong lady, she will stay alive, but I’m still scared out of my mind. I walk in the door and I’m met with Merri, Robin, and Lance. The girls are full of questions.
I find out Lauren is still in her room, refusing to come out. I knock on the door and get no response, “Open the door now, Lauren. I have a key and will come in anyway.” I still hear nothing. Merri says it’s been quiet for about 30 minutes, I assume she has fallen asleep, but I need to check on her. I go into the kitchen and get the keys from the drawer. I open the door and Lauren is laying on the floor, unconscious.
I run to her side and check her pulse, it’s beating, but slowly. I yell for Merri to call the paramedics. I see on the night stand the bottle of sleeping pills the doctor prescribed for her, only a few pills are left. I shake her shoulders and she tries to open her eyes, she mumbles something I can’t understand and then goes limp. The paramedics arrive extremely quick. I show them the bottle and tell them she probably took half the bottle. There were 30 pills in the bottle, and she had taken a few since she was given them, so maybe about 10 pills. They quickly start her IV and rush her to the hospital to start the processing of pumping her stomach.
They say she should be ok, since we found her so quickly. I follow behind the ambulance and run into the hospital. They do everything they can and finally she is out of danger. She will be sick and hungover tomorrow, they want to keep her for observation and keep the IV’s running. They tell me to go home, she will sleep the rest of the night and probably most of tomorrow. I walk slowly to the car and drive home. I let the girls know that she will be fine and they can go see her tomorrow.
In the morning, I go to the hospital to check on Lauren. I speak with the psychiatrist on call. He recommends that we admit Lauren to the psych floor for intensive therapy and observation. He thinks that she may try to kill herself again, especially if Merrilee isn’t found quickly. He tells me that she seems to be waking up some, so I walk into her room and sit next to her.
“I’m sorry, Daddy! It’s all my fault.”, she says quietly. “No, baby. This has nothing to do with you. We have had trouble with this man for a long time, way before you were even born. You just got caught in the mess. I’m sorry for not protecting you. Don’t think for one minute that any of this is your fault.” I tell her. I’m afraid to say his name, I don’t want to bring memories back that she isn’t ready for. “You can say it daddy, it’s Moe… or I knew him as Ray. I remember now Daddy. I was so happy for a little while, but it was all a trick. I just couldn’t deal with it. I loved him. Something must be wrong with me, that I could love someone like that. I can’t bear to think about what he did, about that poor little baby being brought into this mess of a life. I can’t do it.”, she cries. I just hold her and let her know that when she is ready to deal with things we will help her. She agrees to stay in the hospital for a while. She wants help dealing with this.
I leave the hospital to let Lauren rest and so I can help search for Merrilee. The police and I continue searching all day and into the night, once again we must stop at dark. I hope Merrilee knows that we will never give up and I’ll not stop until I find her.