Web Of Mistakes Episode 1

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Sleeping Jessica lay on the chair in her office, carelessly sleeping. The office desk was in a mess. Just a glance at her, one would know she was so exhausted. Dark circles under her eyes, unsteady breathing. Even in her sleep, she looked worried.

“Hello, Jess.” said Richmond coming into the room without knocking. Richmond, about 26 or 27, the only child of his parents, a young handsome man. With dark wide eyes, he shook Jessica, calling her name for the second time.

“Jessica, come on get up!”

Jessica opened her sleepy eyes, groaned and sighed. What she hated most was someone waking her up when she was fast asleep and tired. She shut her eyes again. Right now, she was dreaming, getting married to a rich, handsome guy. Her wedding dress, long as the whole of Chicago. She was about to kiss her groom.

“Jess, get up now!”  Not with a soft tone, but with a harsh tone and he said it loud enough as if to blow out her ear drums. Annoyed, Jessica forced herself to sit down on her swivel chair, resting her back on it. Frowning, she managed to say something.

“What’s your problem, Rich?” her voice sounded sleepy.

“I should be asking you that question.”

“Is that what you think?” she threw back at him, her voice back to normal.

“Come on Jess. You’ve been acting funny lately, always working. Girl you need a break.”

Jessica thought about what he just said.

“I guess so. I’ll take a 3 month leave and when I’m back, I’ll be good as new. Hope that attack doesn’t come again.” she concluded sadly.

“It won’t.” Richmond assured her.

He smiled. “Sounds great! I want us to have dinner today.”

“Don’t think I can.”

He insisted. “I have a friend I want you to meet. I’ll pick you up by 8. You can go home now.”

“I’m not going!”

Richmond had to be kidding, thought Jessica. She’d known him to be a stubborn man who did all he wanted and one who made people dance to his tunes. But he was one of a kind. His type of men was rare. Richmond seemed to care a lot about her recently and wouldn’t want any harm come to her. She tried to figure it out, but couldn’t. She gave up, thinking he was playing his usual nice guy for something in return. That she didn’t know and couldn’t guess.

**** **** **** ****

“Mum, I’m home” Jessica called out to her mother as she arrived home by 2 p.m.

“Oh, goodness gracious!” exclaimed Beauty Jack, “Jessica, is this really you?”

“Yes mum,” replied Jessica reaching out to her mum for an embrace. Not just a side hug or a brief hug, a tight and close hug.

Jessica was planning to make up for the days she hadn’t been around her mum. Both had missed each other a lot. She felt at home embracing her mum. She grinned.

“Good that you’re here. I was planning to drop by at the hospital to see you. I’m making your favorite.”

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“Thanks mum. I am going to be with you for today. I really missed you.”

“I missed you too. Oh my! Jessica, have you been eating lately?” Beauty questioned, scanning her daughter.

“Yes,” replied Jessica, softly scrutinizing herself, “I do eat mum, why asking?”

“You look pale darling. Go upstairs and freshen up, rest and come back for lunch.”

“Alright mum,” said Jessica placing a tender kiss on Mrs Beauty’s right cheek.

Sleeping Jessica lay on the chair in her office, carelessly sleeping. The office desk was in a mess. Just a glance at her, one would know she was so exhausted. Dark circles under her eyes, unsteady breathing. Even in her sleep, she looked worried.

On getting to the bedroom, Jessica threw her handbag and other things on the bed, stepped out of her working clothes, slipped into a white cotton towel and headed for the bathroom. She had missed this so badly, turning the shower and sinking herself into the bath tub made her come alive again. It was as if she had been dead before. Relaxing, Jessica took a breath and smiled to herself. She smiled ‘cuz she had done thongs she thought she would do.

Staying away from home, her mum and her brother for the past one week was something she had never dreamt of and now she had done it. She considered herself brave and bracing up to face other challenges. As she lay in the bath tub, thoughts of what happened the other night came flashing in her head as lightening flashes in the sky. She could see him, all dressed in back, his face covered. Blood streaked down his hands, it spread to his body and legs. His way of walking wasn’t steady, he was staggering moving towards her. Pointing the dagger at her b—–s, he opened his mouth and he revealed a set of teeth stained with blood, no trace of any white color, the normal color of one’s teeth.
Trembling, Jessica couldn’t do a thing. She tried screaming, wanting to shout for help, but she lost her voice. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out.
He moved closer, held her hand and stabbed her at the chest.

“Nooo!!!” she screamed .

She opened her eyes, felt her chest, no blood, no injuries, no cut, nothing. It was then she realized that she dozed while taking her bath. She turned off the shower, immediately went to the room, wore a silk night dress and ran to her mum. Coincidentally, Mrs Beauty was on her way to Jessica’s room to know what was wrong when she heard her scream.

“Mum, mum. I’m scared” she said

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Giving her a puzzled look, Mrs Beauty replied, “Come with me. You’ll sit, while you let me get you a cup of coffee to calm yourself down. Then we can talk about it.”

“Ok, mum.”

Mrs Beauty helped Jessica into the living room, sat her down and went to get two cups of coffee. She handed one to Jessica, sat beside her and patted her gently.

“Jess, what’s wrong, why do you look like you’ve seen a ghost?” asked Mrs Beauty, so concerned.

“I had–” Jessica was about to speak, to narrate her scary dream to her mum, but she knew how badly it would affect her mum. She would also suggest things Jessica didn’t like, such as staying away from the hospital and if possible report the last incident to the police. Jessica would buy none of the ideas. She quickly changed her mind and lied to her mum. “I was dreaming, getting married, having kids but one of my children had died and I screamed and I fell down and hit my back hard on the floor. That’s all.” Jessica wasn’t a good liar.

“Jessica, you are not telling me everything. I want the whole truth.” Mrs Beauty demanded.

“Mum, I’ve told you the truth, that’s all.”

Mrs Beauty wasn’t satisfied.

“Jessica, look into my eyes and say what you just said.”

Jessica was caught between crossroads. She couldn’t look her mum in the eye and lie to her, yet she was determined not to let her mum know anything. She got up from the sofa, gave her mum a brief hug and said to her, “I’ll be fine, I’ll take care of myself. I love you.”
She hurriedly walked to her room, dialed Shirley’s number.

“Shirley, we need to talk.” she said impatiently.

“Jess, calm down. Where do we meet?”

“I’m home. Come straight to my room.”

“I’ll be there.”

**** **** **** ****

Taking a deep breath, Shirley collapsed into her chair. Staring at her chamber and the pile of files on her table, she sighed again. Being a counselor was not an easy job at all. Visiting clients, listening to their reports, talking about money, preparing cases and going to court almost everyday was tiring and something difficult for just one person to handle. Thanks to her colleagues who helped her out and they stood for one another. At least she could find time for her family and friends. Without wasting much time, she abandoned the files at her desk, grabbed her car keys and dashed off to see Jessica. The files can wait. Jessica was more important. She was her best friend. A friend rare to find and so precious. Yes, she was important.

**** **** ****

“Hi, Mrs Beauty,” Shirley smiled, in a warm tone, greeting Jess’s mum.

“Hello, how are you?” replied Mrs Beauty while giving Shirley a side hug and placed kisses on her cheeks.

“I’m doing good, as you can see.”

“Your friend isn’t doing good.” her mood changed. “Hope you’re not over working yourself.” She suddenly brightened up.

Great! Jessica’s mum had started again. She was a sweet, caring and compassionate person who loved to take care of everyone who was nice to her. She hate seeing young girls overwork themselves. She always wanted to help them out in a way or two. Shirley knew what would come next. Mrs Jack would lecture her up to an hour, telling her things she didn’t want to hear and what she’d heard over and over again. She could even complete Mrs Jack’s statements. Realizing she was taking much time and Jessica was waiting-she knew it was something important and something had to be done, she hurriedly ended the conversation with Mrs Jack.

“I’m not over working, ma’am. I really have to see Jess, take care.” She ran off.

Getting to Jessica’s door, she knocked lightly and whispered her name. She waited for some seconds which rolled into minutes and she had no reply. She tapped the door again, the same thing. Without waiting any longer, she flung the door wide open, revealing Jessica on the foam, a white silk bed spread which was rumpled and damp with her tears.
Jessica’s head buried to a pillow and also buried in her thoughts. She’d been thinking about her life, her present life. Things had changed so much. She wanted to get back to her old life, being carefree, partying, having fun. That was only a mere wish and she knew that. What if she dies? What if he comes again and attack her? Would she be able to save herself again? Her mother, brother, friends-Shirley and Richmond, and cousin-Dominic. They were her only family. How would they cope without her? What if . . .

“Jessica, you alright?” asked Shirley, a frown on her face showing deep concern for Jessica.

“What!” screamed Jessica. She regained her balance and relaxed though her hands were still trembling.

“You startled me. Why didn’t you knock?”

“I did knock, Jess. I was out there for about 20 minutes, you didn’t reply. I couldn’t wait and I came in, I’ve been watching you since, you didn’t even twitch. I thought you were unconscious.”

Realizing that she was at fault, she quickly apologized.

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……to be continued.