Read part one, here.
Adam hurriedly removed the gag. “My god, what’s happened to you?”
The young woman coughed. “That woman… the nurse,” she rasped.
“Martina? Miss Dietrich’s caregiver?”
“I suppose, yes. She’s keeping me prisoner.”
“I don’t know. I came here a few weeks ago…” she paused, coughed again. “My mother…” tears filled her eyes. “She… could be dead by now…”
Adam frowned. “I don’t understand.”
“My mother, she’s very ill. She sent me… to find her own mother.”
“Then your mother is…?”
“Her name is Evangeline Caldwell,” she said. “And she just found out she was adopted.”
“Alright, you can tell me the whole story later. We have to get you out of here before Martina comes home. Tell me your name.”
“Elise. Elise Caldwell,” she replied.
“Ok, Elise, I’ll be right back.”
Adam hurried back to the second floor and his apartment. He grabbed a kitchen knife and his phone and began dialing 911 as he rushed back up the stairs. After reaching the emergency operator, he gave her what little facts he had, the address of the house and the name of the caretaker who had yet to return from her shopping excursion.
Adam cut the through the rope binding Elise to the old wrought iron bed. She rubbed her wrists together and got shakily to her feet.
“Can you walk?” Adam asked.
“I … I think so.”
Adam put an arm around her shoulders and brought her to his apartment. The sound of sirens wailing rapidly got closer. He settled Elise on the sofa, got her a glass of water, then hurried to the front door to admit the officers when they pulled up in front. Miss Dietrich poked her head out the door of her ground floor residence.
“My gracious, Adam! What on earth is going on?” she asked.
“No time, Miss Dietrich. Stay inside and I’ll explain later.”
The police officers followed Adam to his second floor apartment where Elise sat huddled in the corner of the sofa. One of the officers introduced herself as Detective Banks, then sat on the accompanying chair and leaned in. Gently she asked her to start at the beginning and tell her what had happened.
“A few months ago, April I guess, my mom fell ill. She found out she has a very aggressive cancer. One of the only treatment options she had available to her was to have bone marrow transplants. Of course, the first people they test to find a match are your family members. I wasn’t a match, neither was my brother. They asked if she had other relatives… that’s when my grandmother told her… she was adopted. So besides my brother and myself, there was no one else to test, unless…”
“Unless you found the birth parents.”
Elise nodded. “And possibly other siblings. My gran knew about Miss Dietrich. She had contacted gran years ago, hoping that maybe she’d get to meet the daughter she gave away. Gran was reluctant and never acted on the offer. She said that Miss Dietrich never pushed. But now…”
“It might be the difference between life and death for my mom.”
“So then what happened?” Detective Banks asked.
Elise took a deep breath and continued, “Gran gave me the address she had for Miss Dietrich and I wrote a letter explaining who I was. I gave her my lawyer’s name and phone number so she could make sure I was who I said. My lawyer said he’d been contacted and he’d verified my identity. After that everything went quiet. Mom got progressively worse. I got desperate. I wrote again but heard nothing back. Miss Dietrich’s phone number is unlisted so I couldn’t call. So… I decided to try in person.”
“And that was what? Two weeks ago?”
Elise nodded. “I think so. June 3rd. But I’ve lost track of the days.”
Adam said, “That is the same weekend I moved in upstairs.”
“When I arrived at the house, Martina, the nurse answered the door.”
“And her last name…?”
“She introduced herself as Martina, no last name.”
The detective turned to Adam. “Do you know her full name?”
He shook his head. “Sorry, no. You’ll have to ask Miss Dietrich.”
“Alright, Ms. Caldwell, continue.”
“I explained who I was and asked if it would be possible to speak to Miss Dietrich. It was mid morning but she said Miss Dietrich was still in bed. But she said I was welcome to wait and invited me in. She was very friendly. I had no idea… ” She stopped, had a sip of water before going on. “She asked me all sorts of questions. Where did I live, was I married, did I have brothers and sisters, what did I do for work and so forth. Nothing that aroused my suspicion. After a bit, she asked if I’d like tea or coffee while I waited and I said, sure, coffee would be nice. She went off to the kitchen to get it and then we continued talking while I sipped and I started getting sleepy… and when I woke up, I was in that awful room, tied up to the bed.”
“And you have no idea why she was keeping you prisoner? Did she tell you anything?” the detective asked.
Elise shook her head as fresh tears spilled over. “No, she didn’t talk to me at all except to give me orders. She came up a few times a day to let me use the bathroom and to bring me a little food and water. In the evenings, she’d let me shower, but she never left me alone.”
“Is that when you’d sing?” Adam asked.
Elise looked at him, surprised. “You heard me?”
“Every night,” he confirmed. “At the same time I smelled the overpowering scent of roses.”
She grimaced. “The horrid bath soap I had to use. I even had to wash my hair with it.” She swallowed hard. “I didn’t figure anyone would hear… and I’m not sure why, but I think the nurse got some kind of perverse pleasure from hearing me sing.”
“Why the same song over and over?” he asked.
She gave him a sad smile. “It’s the only song I know all the words by heart. My mom used to sing it to my brother and me when we were little.”
“Miss Dietrich told me she used to sing it to Evangeline… I mean your mother, when she was a baby.”
“Alright,” interrupted Detective Banks. “Did she hurt you, threaten you, lead you to believe your life was in danger?”
Elise shivered. “She has a small handgun. She brought it with her every time she came up to the room. I had no chance to scream or make a break for it. I don’t know if she would have used it or not.”
“I think maybe I better go have a word with the lady of the house. Wait here and I’ll be right back.”
The detective gestured for her partner to follow, leaving Elise in the care of the paramedics who had also been summoned to the scene. Adam stepped out of the way while they checked her vitals signs and performed some neurological tests. There was a shout and some commotion on the ground level which drew Adam to the window. The detectives had run out the front door and begun shouting orders to the other police officers waiting at the front of the home, after which they scattered in all directions.
Soon a breathless Detective Banks returned to the apartment. “You’re sure Miss Dietrich was home alone? That Martina hadn’t somehow managed to get past you before we arrived?”
“I… I don’t think so…” he said uncertainly. “Why?”
“Miss Dietrich is missing.”
To be continued.
Header image thanks to Max Pixel.