This was nice to be in a room

This story takes place in the late 1980s. 16 year old Henrietta Jones lost her mother in a fire when she was nine years old and was left with her abusive stepfather. She had been transferred into the foster system along with her 10 year old sister, Jenny. While in the system, they were offered a full ride to a nice private school in Boston. “Happy Birthday!” Jenny said, holding out a vanilla cupcake with a small blue candle. “Mrs. Kingston let me use the kitchen to make it for you. I hope you like it!” Mrs. Kingston was my dorm mother. Although, we’ve all become so close that she is like a mother to Jenny and I. “Thanks, sis” said Etta as she pulled her sister into a sideways hug. “Make a wish!” Jenny said excitedly. As she thought about it, Etta realized she had nothing to wish for. Everything she ever needed was sitting right here in this room. She had her sister, and they were safe. No more stepfather. No more fighting. At least for now. “I don’t have anything to wish for. I have you…” Etta said, “and that’s all I need.”                   ?Henrietta sat in the library with a neatly stacked pile of books in front of her. She had seven assignments due by the end of the year, and with it being the beginning of December, that really didn’t give her much time. It was nice to be in a room that was heated. For a girl used to the weather in Jacksonville, Florida, which was normally 50° in the middle of winter, 23° was especially cold. As she worked, she noticed a man wearing a suit with a black fedora standing in the far corner of the library staring at her. All he did was stare. He never moved. He watched for almost an hour. No one else was in that building, so it made her nervous. As she stood up to leave, she noticed a piece of paper lying on the floor wither her name on it. She opened the folded parchment and saw that there was a note inside that read:1:00 pm this Saturday, Little HillCome here alone, and I’ll let her goDon’t be late She didn’t know what it meant. Little Hill? Is that some sort of restaurant?  She thought, as she stared blankly at the handwritten note. It must have been someone from my class messing with me. It meant nothing. Etta stuffed the note in her pocket, disregarding any meaning it may have, and began to walk out of the library when she noticed that the man in the corner was gone. He just left. And at that moment, so did she.                   ? Henrietta unlocked the door to her dorm room and stepped inside. Everything was just as she left it; nothing out of the ordinary, except for one thing: her sister wasn’t there. Jenny was always back at the dorm at 16:00 and never later. It was midnight, and her sister was never out at midnight. Etta called Mrs. Kingston and all of Jenny’s friends and no one had seen her. She attempted to talk to the police, but they couldn’t write up a missing persons report until she was missing for 48 hours, and Etta knew that was far too long. She frantically searched for any sign of a note or message left by Jenny, but there was nothing. Suddenly, she thought of the mysterious note left for her in the library. She opened it up again and reread it what felt like a billion times until she realized… Little Hill. Back when Etta was little, before her father died, she had a friend at this daycare she attended in Jacksonville. His name was Nick. They had this secret code word that they used at the daycare center, and that code word was Little Hill. It suddenly occurred to her that whoever wrote this note knew personal information about her. This wasn’t some dumb joke, and whoever wrote this note may have taken her sister. The only way for her to know undeniably was to fly to Jacksonville tomorrow morning and get to her old Daycare Center by 13:00 in two days. If she could save the only person that mattered to her, then she would do anything, no matter the cost.                       ? Henrietta packed up what she needed, which consisted of the letter and a wad of cash. She wasn’t thinking clearly enough to consider anything else she needed. She left a note in her dorm room to Mrs. Kingston, explaining briefly what was going on, but didn’t tell her enough to allow her to track her down. Etta finally landed in Jacksonville. Luckily the airport was only a mile from the local Inn. She hated the idea of trying to sleep while her sister was in danger, but she knew if she didn’t rest, she wouldn’t have the strength to save Jenny. She arrived at the Inn and immediately tried to sleep. As the hours passed, all she could think about was Jenny, and her mind wouldn’t shut off. Etta was only able to get a few hours of interrupted sleep last night, but the bright side is that she slept, and she would undoubtedly use every second of that to her advantage.                       ? Henrietta was saddened but not surprised to discover that her old neighborhood had gone extremely downhill. It had never been that nice back when she lived there, but at least the houses were all filled with ordinary, working class families. Now, over half of them were vacant. Some seemed to be confidently for sale, and others were simply boarded up and abandoned. Her old house was one of the nicer homes on the block, which was surprising. When Etta was 9, there was a mysterious fire that burned down her house. To this day, she doesn’t know how it started. At some point after the fire, it must have been haphazardly rebuilt and painted a bright yellow. Someone had been parking a motorcycle on the front lawn, leaving an oily spot of dead grass behind the back wheel. Despite the differences, some things remained just as she remembered them. Her childhood didn’t exactly hold her brightest memories. Etta’s stepfather was very abusive towards her mother and her little sister. Although she gained the brunt of his anger most of the time, she was still content that it all didn’t go to Jenny. Etta could handle it, and she would do whatever she needed to keep her sister safe and unharmed. Not much has changed since then. While walking past her old house, she noticed the same man from the library across the street staring at her. She walked on cautiously, trying not to think too much into it. She was here for her sister, and nothing else. Etta finally walked up to her old daycare center. It was funny; Etta has an amazing memory. She remembers everything, but weirdly, she doesn’t remember much from her time here. All she remembered was the relief she had when her mother drove her up to the front of this rickety old building. It meant she didn’t have to be home with her stepfather, and anything was better than that. Etta hastily crept up the porch stairs, instinctively avoiding that broken third step. She walked through the double doors, and saw a white hallway, almost like some kind of hospital. There were three doors down the hall. To her left was the first one, which led to a file room full of half empty file sorters. The lock on the door seemed to be broken in, which was odd. As she walked around the corner, she noticed a pile of dirty clothes that were all wet from some kind of spilled substance, and something else. Blood. She took a resistant step closer to what she has originally mistaken for a pile of dirty laundry and noticed there was a woman’s corpse lying on the wooden floor. Her skin appears pale and lifeless. Etta felt a rush of nausea as she took a step back, her hand flying up to cover her mouth. She always believed, naturally, that she would ultimately face dead bodies-both in the military and in her future career as an FBI special agent. She had always felt positive that she would be able to handle it with calm, reserved professionalism. Maybe all he had to do was think of it as “part of the job”. Etta wanted to be in the FBI for what feels like forever. She thinks of it has her “calling”; it has just always come naturally to her. She leaned down to the floor and looked at the women. Her throat had been cut, so the killer must have some sort of bladed weapon. Right at that moment she realized something… She was totally out of her league. She was an unarmed sixteen year old with no gun, no weapon, and no plan going up against a violent criminal. All she had were her wits and her powerful love for her sister. She was astute and level-headed and would do anything to save Jenny. That had to be enough. She walked out of the file room and walked up to the door across from her, but quickly realized it was locked, so that left only one option: the last door at the end of the hall. Suddenly, she was engulfed by the strangest sensation of timelines intertwining, of who she used to be, who she was in that very moment, and who she would be once she opened that door. She fought to slow her breathing and to clear her head. She needed to forget about the past and focus on now. She took a deep breath, and pushed open the door. Inside the room, backlit and silhouetted against the dusty window, stood a man with blonde hair and blue eyes. He appeared as if his whole body was previously burned. He had Jenny kneeling in front of him with duct tape over her mouth and tied around her wrists. The man was holding a sinister black blade to her throat, forcing her chin to tip up and back. “Jenny,” she cried, as she took a step toward her sister. “That’s close enough Miss Jones,” he said, pressing the blade harder against Jenny’s vulnerable throat. Etta took a slow step back and rose her hands up at eye level. “Look,” Etta said. “I did what you told me to do. I am here. Alone. Now you have to honor your agreement.” He stared at her for what felt like hours. “Alright Miss Jones. I guess we’ll have it your way then,” he conceded, and ripped the tape off of Jenny’s mouth, led her out of the room, and quietly shut the door behind her. He was weirdly calm, and that terrified her the most. “Now we’re alone. Isn’t this nice?” he murmured. She never responded. She wasn’t sure what to say. “Do you not remember me Miss Jones? Now that is just disappointing.” What the hell was he talking about? She gave him this dumbfounded look. She had never seen this man in her life. “Alright fine, let’s just get to the important part shall we?  Don’t worry, Miss Jones. If I wanted to hurt you, I would have done it a long time ago” he stated. “Please take a seat,” he ordered as he pointed to a chair in front of a metal desk. On top of the desk was some sort of light box. “You are very important Miss Jones. I know there is a part of you that understands that. So now I need you to tap into that potential and turn on the lights. If you can do that, then I’ll know that you are ready.” Turn on the lights? Just flip the switch? And what did he mean by “I’ll know that you are ready”. Ready for what? Etta picked up the box and looked for a light switch. “No Miss Jones. With your mind. Turn on the lights with your mind.” he ordered. “That’s impossible,” Etta proclaimed. “Nothing’s impossible. You can do it. I have one thing, Miss Jones, that you do not. I have faith in you.”  This man was psycho. He didn’t know what he was talking about. Just as she was thinking of a plan that didn’t involve telekinetic powers, a dozen policemen and FBI Agents broke through the door and held the man at gunpoint. Following behind them follows Mrs. Kingston. Why was she with them? How did she find her? “Etta please stay right where you are. We are here to help you,” Mrs. Kingston assured. Kingston looked at the man Henrietta was sitting at her desk, looking at a drawing that her niece Lauren had done. The girl drew a picture of herself, holding hands with Henrietta and Jenny. It would have been difficult to tell Henrietta apart from her sister if Lauren had not given Henrietta a gigantic badge that took up almost the caricatures full body. She smiled and, carefully pinned the drawing up on her wall. The colorful picture seemed completely out of place amid the crime scene photos, autopsy reports, and maps showing the locations of several murder victims that had been discovered. Her partner, Agent Haas puts down the phone and gazed over his shoulder from his desk. “Booth wants to see you,” he said. “Alright” Henrietta replied. “Let me just complete this paperwork. “No. Go now. Trust me. It was a pleasure working with you, kid.” Haas uttered with a smirk as he walked away. Confused, Olivia stood up from her desk and headed in the direction of Colonel Booth’s office. Lieutenant David Haas was radiating like a new father when Olivia walked in. “Great job on the Wyatt case,” Booth declaimed. “Thank you, sir” Henrietta replied. “I believe you’re ready to have your training wheels removed. I am officially promoting you to special agent and assigning you a new partner.” he stated. “Henrietta Jones, this is Agent Alex Foster” Henrietta turned to face her new partner. He had brown hair and was handsome, with a strong, square jaw and compelling green eyes. She smiled and took his hand, introducing herself. She held his hand and his gaze for a few seconds longer than she should have, while her smile shifted to an unspoken challenge. This was definitely going to be interesting.