Greggory stomped on the gas as he tossed the phone into the passenger seat beside him. Mumbling to himself he gripped the steering wheel when he rounded a corner on two wheels. “Shit,” he screamed once his pulse slowed enough to think, to realize what had happened. He knew he should slow down. Call the cops but he didn’t want to waste the time. He had to get to his little girl. She was in trouble and he was the only person who could help her. It was an unreasonable assumption but as long as he was going in the right direction, still on the road he felt like he was doing something.
He threw the car into park as soon as he drove into their yard. Car jerking from the abrupt stop he stumbled from the car running headlong for the door. The door was wide open and the interior was empty, silent. Heart racing Greg called out to Miranda. Blinking to keep the tears at bay he forced himself to check out the rest of the house. With shaking trembling hands he opened the door to the bedroom.
“Oh no….” he muttered in shock upon seeing the blood congealing on the floor. “Miranda,” he cried taking a step inside the room before staggering to his knees retching on the floor. Where was Miranda? Did Naomi take her to the hospital? His head jerked listening for an almost indiscernible sound. Greg staggered to his feet frantic to find the source of the weak cry he heard. In his haste he almost missed it hidden beneath the discarded blanket on the floor next to the foot of the bed. Reaching a shaking hand he lifted the blanket to find a pale green barely breathing listless baby boy. An in audible cry emerged from deep within him as he stooped to pick up the limp infant into his arms. Shaking as he stumbled from the room and into the kitchen. He found a towel and wrapped the baby in it. He forced himself to calm down enough to notify the police. His daughter would never leave her newborn son alone on the floor of her bedroom. With the amount of blood on the floor there was no way she went anywhere under her own volition.
Feeling ill he called the police, then an ambulance for the unresponsive infant he was cradling in his arms. Who took Miranda? What happened here? Where was Robbie? What had Naomi done?
Laying weakly on the backseat Miranda felt the tears drying on her cheeks. Tasted the salt from her tears on her lips. She couldn’t believe, didn’t want to believe her mother had done this to her. Her mother had forced herself into her room. Breaking the lock, smashed her phone before Miranda could call for help. She should have called 911 not daddy. What had she been thinking? What did she think he could do all the way in Bridgeport?
She felt the tears building as she placed a hand upon her stomach. Her baby, her precious baby born and gone before she could even see or hold it. She didn’t even know if it was a boy or a girl. “I want my baby,” she cried out in a plaintive tone.
“You’ll keep on wanting the brat. It’s dead and gone” Naomi spat from the front seat “the sooner you except that the better.” She looked into the rear view mirror frowning at the unkempt sight of her daughter. She used to be so pretty, so beautiful. Ruined now of course by the defilement of that unholy creature and the abomination she birthed. Naomi consoled herself knowing they were both gone now. One slowly suffocating and the other neglected and forgotten. Was she sorry for what she had done? Of course not. She’d do anything to protect her daughter. Miranda needed help now she was going to get it.
Robbie twisted around in the tight confines seeking a way to undue his bonds. Anything sharp. Something protruding from the surfaces around him. He exerted himself to explore the darkness around him. He lost a bit of skin but nothing he did loosened the ties around his wrists and ankels. If he was in a trunk like he suspected he should be able to bust out a taillight like they suggest you do if your’ve been kidnapped. Not that easy when you’re tied hand and foot in the dark, growing tired from the lack of oxygen.
He felt his eye lids closing, growing heavy impossible to hold open. Shaking his head commanding himself to stay awake. His time was fast running out he knew that. He had little to no options left. Miranda’s face came to him and he cried out in frustration. Had she tried to call him at the hotel? Did she know how much he loved her? Would their baby know how much he or she was wanted?
His eyelids grew heavy and closed and stayed shut. Robbie’s mind drifted in time and space. Vaguely he was aware of children playing nearby. Weakly he tried to call out to them but his voice was hoarse and his throat was dry. Weak and oxygen deprived he let his mind wander and his last conscious thought was for Miranda murmuring “I love you” before he slipped into unconsciousness.
Greggory rode in the ambulance with his infant grandson. He watched helpless as the baby’s condition weakened. He was certain the baby wouldn’t survive. Hanging his head he let the tears flow no longer able to maintain the strong in control exterior. His grandson was dying. His daughter was god knows where and in what condition. His son-in-law was missing. Where was he? Did he even know what happened? Was he involved?
He knew the police would be looking into all angels. Looking for suspects. For motives. Please, please let his daughter be alright.
“Sir do you know how premature the baby is?” one of the paramedics asked him interrupting his thoughts.
“Huh what?” he asked looking up not comprehending the question.
“When was the baby due?” the other paramedic asked.
“I uh I….” he closed his eyes trying to think 2…3 weeks? Which was it? “Um I think three weeks.” Looking a the still form on the stretcher “will he make it?”
“We’re doing everything we can,” the paramedic assured him “he’s a little fighter. We’re going to give him all the help we can.”
The corners of his mouth lifted a bit at the thought. It was amazing that a three week early baby had survived this long without medical care. He must have arrived within minutes of Miranda giving birth. Whoever had her had only a few minutes head start. Greg’s thoughts went back to his last conversation with his daughter. She had said her mom was there. Surely Naomi wouldn’t have done this. Even she wouldn’t be so callous as to leave a helpless infant alone to smother to death under the heavy blanket he had found him under. Running his hands through his hair he couldn’t believe that of her. Didn’t want to believe that of her.
He had loved her passionately once. When had that changed? Rubbing his eyes he knew when their marriage had started to fall apart. It was the day Miranda had won her first pageant. Won the title of Most Beautiful Baby. It had become Naomi’s obsession or sickness he didn’t know which. Greg knew he should have put his foot down. Should have let Miranda have a normal childhood. Instead of being forced into a strenuous exercise regime, fancy dietary restrictions, dance classes she hated, hair extensions that made her look ridiculous. He remembered how she would complain how they made her head hurt. His little girl never had a chance to be anything but her mother’s doll. To dress up and parade around. A living breathing Barbie doll. Once Miranda became a teenager and had taken to pageants with as much enthusiasm as her mother Greg had figuratively thrown his hands up in the air. He started working later and longer hours anything to keep from being sucked into their world.
Everything Miranda talked about as a teenager revolved around beauty and how she despised anyone who didn’t fit the self imposed guidelines of what beauty was. Greg was even more surprised then his wife to find she had fallen in love with a green skinned alien hybrid. He thought her interest would die out sparked by the novelty of it more than any real feelings. As Naomi’s complaints grew Greggory knew his little girl had finally grown up. Had started to see the world through different eyes. He had never been prouder of her then the day she stood up to her mother. Declared her love for the alien boy. He had wanted to stand up and cheer her on.
Pulling into the parking lot Naomi waited several minutes tapping the steering wheel while she waited. “Finally,” she muttered as she climbed out of the car “I’ve been waiting for almost an hour.”
“Your early,” the man said.
“It was easier than I thought it would be to rescue my daughter,” Naomi told him “you’ll take her as arranged.”
Nodding the man frowned upon looking at Miranda “I thought you said she was pregnant.”
Shrugging Naomi looked at her nails “she was. She had the abomination before we could get away.”
The man pressed his lips together refraining from asking what she had done with the infant. His professional opinion was she belonged in this asylum not her daughter. He waved two orderlies over to help him with Miranda. She looked dazed and in shock which wasn’t surprising considering what she had been through. He put a comforting hand on her shoulder “you’ll be alright.” If he didn’t need the money to pay off his loans he wouldn’t be doing this at all. He looked up a the older woman who obviously thought she was coming inside too. “You stay here,” he ordered “I can’t have you upsetting her.”
“She’s my daughter,” she protested.
“You should have thought of that before you did this to her,” he retorted. He would protect the girl while she was under his care. It was a secure building and only patients and staff were allowed inside except on visitors day and they were restricted to the visitors lounge.
“That’s not what we agreed upon,” she snapped.
“It is,” he insisted “I agreed to take her in as a patient. As a patient she will receive the same care as everyone else.”
Pacing the emergency room floor Greggory looked up as the paramedics rushed in with a man on a stretcher. There was something familiar about him. Stepping closer he stared down at the prone man. “That’s … that’s my son-in-law” he stammered. He watched as the emergency doors swung open and shut and Robbie disappeared through them. A hand on his shoulder caused him to jump.
“Excuse me sir” a man’s voice said behind him “did I hear you correctly? You know that man?”
“Err yes,” he nodded feeling as if he had been emotionally battered. “What happened?” he asked dragging his eyes from the emergency room door.
Motioning for the older man to follow him the officer replied “some young boys were playing in an open field on an exploration expedition,” he smiled fondly “they found an old car and started to play around. You know how kids are. They were hitting and turning knobs and buttons. One of them popped the trunk.” He frowned “one of the boys got out to check what was in the trunk. You can imagine his surprise when he found body inside.” He stopped before asking “do you have any idea who would have done this to your son-in-law?”
Feeling sick Greg leaned over putting his head into his hands “oh god I had no idea her obsession had gotten this bad. They had a restraining order. She wasn’t supposed to be here.”
“Who is that sir?” the officer asked.
“My wife Naomi Diamond,” Greg replied his tone bleak devoid of hope. The police officer confirmed his worst nightmare. His wife was a crazy woman headed for jail as soon as they found her. As the officer spoke Greg kept a mental list of felonies that were building against her. Child endangerment, neglect, kidnapping, attempted manslaughter. He closed his eyes moaning he pleaded please let his family be alright. They had be to alright…