Sunday, August 19, 2018

Mom's Taxi #2

Lindsay, Brooklyn, Georgia, and Maddie stared at the blue feathered dinosaur that was also staring at them. Karmen was watching from inside the van.

“They did have feathers,” Maddie breathed.

“Where are we?” Lindsay asked no one. “What do we do?”

Andrew, Christine, her husband John, and Michelle, Maddie’s mom, were standing with a couple of police officers. “Lindsay is tall, about 5’11”, brown hair usually pulled into a ponytail. Wide hazel eyes. Here. I have a picture of Lindsay and the girls on my phone,” Andrew got out his phone and showed the officer the picture.

“Here,” the officer pulled a card of his shirt pocket. “Email me that picture. What car was she driving?”

“A forest green hatchback,” Andrew said. He gave the make, model, and year of Lindsay’s car. “I think I have an old insurance card in my car with the license number on it.”

“Okay. Can you get that?” the officer turned to Christine. “You dropped your daughter off at Ms. Baird’s at about 8:15?”

“Yes, I had an errand to run before the game and was going to be a few minutes late.”

“What were you doing? We need to verify that you were there without Georgia.”

Christine hesitated. She could still feel Michael on top of her and inside of her. She looked at John. They’d been having marital troubles over the last year. She had started talking to Michael after they met at the discount grocery store. Christine had done terribly at keeping their two flings secret. Their first time, her oldest daughter, Audrey, had walked in on them and now this. Maybe this was fate giving her a sign. “I was at CostCo getting a giant case of those small Sunny D bottles,” she lied.

The officer wrote that down. “Okay. And Maddie spent the night at the Bairds?”

“Yes,” Michelle answered. “Maddie had been over at Lindsay’s all day Friday and she--Maddie--called from Lindsay’s cell asking to spend the night. See?” Michelle held up her phone showing a recent call from Lindsay at 5:17 in the evening that lasted less than five minutes.

The officer made a note. Andrew was back with the old insurance card. “Mr. Baird, do you know, was Lindsay depressed or angry?”

“We went through a pretty messy divorce but it was mostly amicable. She seemed okay. The girls never mentioned anything about their mom acting differently,” Andrew explained.

“Do any of you know which route she might have taken to the soccer field?”

“She would probably take Atwood,” Michelle said.

“Which is closed at 32nd,” Christine reminded.

“So we don’t know which way she was going,” Andrew said.

“We’ll put out an APB for the vehicle and question people along James and Alexandria Streets to see if she took one of those after reaching the detour,” the officer said. “Mr. Baird, Mr. and Mrs. Hetrick, and Ms. Kubrick, can you come with me so we can get pictures of your kids and Lindsay?”

They all nodded. They separated to their own vehicles and followed the one officer back to the police station. Only Michelle wasn’t thinking the worst.

Brooklyn walked up to the dinosaur and reached out her hand to pet it. “Brooklyn, don’t touch it. You could get...oh, what’s that disease you can get from birds?” Lindsay said.

“It’s not a bird, Mom,” Brooklyn scoffed.

“It’s feathered and an ancestor of birds. Don’t touch it.”

“Shouldn’t we be finding some shelter and some food?” Maddie asked.

“Well, we have the car for shelter. There looks to be plenty of food-like stuffs in the plants but I don’t know if they are safe to eat,” Lindsay looked at the odd fruits on the fern-like plant near her.

The dinosaur made a cooing purr sound. “Aw, he loves us,” Brooklyn said.

“He probably thinks we’re food,” Karmen said. She had gotten out of the car but was still somewhat cowering behind it.

“We should find a cave,” Georgia said. “Be cave people.”

The trees rustled again. “What’s that?” Brooklyn asked. “Some of your friends?”

Another dinosaur popped out, angrier with darker colored feathers. Brown with a fringe of purple. It hissed and the blue dinosaur ran away. “Girls, get in the car.”

The girls and Lindsay slowly got in the car and locked the doors. The dinosaur came up to the driver’s window and hissed again. Lindsay started the car. “Can we go home?” Karmen cried.

“We’ll try, sweetie,” Lindsay threw the car into reverse and backed up to head back the way that they had come. The car raced--bouncing and flailing--down the narrow clay ruts. She couldn’t drive too fast so the dinosaur was able to keep up. Suddenly, the dinosaur paused then darted back into the trees.

“He stopped chasing us,” Maddie said.

“He went back into the trees,” Karmen said.

Lindsay slowed down and then came to a stop. She was breathing heavily. “Can someone reach back and grab me a bottle of water?”

Georgia reached back into the hatchback and began opening the case of bottled water she brought. “Why did he stop chasing us?” Brooklyn asked.

“I don’t know,” Lindsay said taking a bottle from Georgia. “I’m just glad it stopped.” She took a huge drink and then put the bottle in a cup holder. The water slightly vibrated and rippled as it sat there.

When Christine and John returned home, their oldest daughter, Audrey, was at the kitchen table seemingly waiting for them. “Mom, can I talk to you real quick?”

“Can it wait? We have to get pictures of Georgia to the police?” Christine sighed.

“Why? What happened?” Audrey asked.

“Should we tell her?” John asked.

“I guess we should. Audrey, Georgia has gone missing. I dropped her off at Ms. Baird’s and they never made it to the soccer game,” Christine said.

“What happened? Did Ms. Baird take her?”

“We don’t know. She also had Brooklyn, Karmen, and Maddie. We don’t know what happened. She just disappeared.”

Audrey nodded and looked down at her fingers between her legs.

“We’ll find her. It’ll be okay,” Christine teared up and rubbed Audrey’s arm. “What do you have to tell me?”

“Nothing. It can wait,” Audrey stood up and went to her bedroom.

“How’d she take the news?” Audrey’s friend, Amber, asked.

“I didn’t tell her. Georgia’s missing.”

“Really? What happened?”

“She was with Ms. Baird, driving to the soccer field. They never got there.”

“Do you think she killed her?” Amber asked.

“I don’t think so.”

“Well, you should tell your parents soon because if Georgia is found dead, there’ll never be a good time to tell them you’re pregnant.”

The vibrations in the water grew bigger. Pounding could be heard in the distance and smaller dinosaurs and flying dinosaurs were quickly abandoning the forest. “I feel like we’re in some Jurassic Park situation,” Lindsay said quietly. “Let’s find a place to go.”

She started the car and began driving away from the forest, following the animals. The girls in back, Maddie, Karmen, and Georgia, turned around and saw a tyrannosaurus rex standing a couple feet over the trees of the forest. It roared which both scared and thrilled the girls.