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from Desires of the Heart by Tiffany Doran

Copyright © 2017–2020 Tiffany S. Doran

Chapter 22
The Fear Within

Katie was growing cold. The fire had started to die down. She could tell the sun was beginning to go down because the shadows had begun to disappear. "I'm never going to be found, she thought. "No one even knows I'm here and the people that do, were sworn to secrecy." She was feeling so discouraged. Tate disappeared behind the wall and walked out with a worn blanket. "Here darlin', you look like you could use this." Tate said sweetly. She grabbed the blanket and wrapped herself up as tightly as she could. "The days are hot but this cave is always cold." She glared at him. "I still don't understand, Tate" Katie said sniffling. "Why are you doing this to me?" Tate sighed "All my life I was an outcast." Tate began. "I was picked on in school, I never had any friends, hell, my parents didn't even want me around. I never had a girlfriend either. But then there was a day that you walked into the store and smiled at me. You actually spoke to me. I came into work every day anticipating the time you would come in. I would watch you meticulously pick out beautiful flowers, flowers that paled against your beauty." Tate leaned in and rubbed her cheek. It sent a chill down her spine as he ran his rough fingers across her skin. "But then, you came in with him." he seethed. "You were no longer mine and I was tired of being cast to the side because of my looks or my job or whatever reason it is no one gives me a chance." He went on. "All I had then was your picture I had taken from Frank's office. I would sneak to watch you at your house, to be close to you. Even if it meant standing hidden in a bush until your light went out." He moved closer to her and sat down. The smell of musk and dirt drenched his clothes. "No one ever gave me a chance in my life or showed the least bit of courtesy except you. I mean, sure Frank did but he's my boss, he kind of has to." Tate said. She almost felt sorry for him. He had such a horrible life. "Is this where you live, Tate?" Tate sighed and looked around at the concave walls and ledges and leaned forward and stoked the fire."This place has been home to me for awhile." Tate said. "I have my parents place but who wants to go back to those memories. I get mail there, wash clothes and shower but mostly...I'm here. This is the place I feel safe." Tate said. Katie's heart broke for him. She began to feel more empathetic to what he has gone through. To never feel at home even somewhere that was supposed to be home. To never have the love from your parents; to be alone all your life, cast aside as a piece of trash. No human should feel that way or be treated that way. Does it give him the right or give him an excuse to kidnap someone...no. But now, she understood why he would do it. Katie leaned forward and laid her hand on his back. Tate jerked his head around in shock that she would actually touch him. He looked at her with sincerity and took a deep breath. "Tate, I'm sorry. I'm sorry that you had to go through your life feeling like you didn't matter. Feeling that your whole existence was a sham." Katie said in a soft tone. Tate didn't know what to say. He felt his nose and his eyes start to burn. He got up quickly to not let her see the tears that were beginning to form. "You getting hungry?" Tate asked, trying to change the topic. Katie hadn't even thought about eating. She had half of the blueberry muffin when she was at the store but that's it since her flight. "Maybe just a little." Katie answered as she rubbed her shoulders trying to get warm. "Just in case you're wondering, you won't sleep here tonight." Tate said as he put on his jacket to leave to go get some food. "I'll take you to my parents house. You deserve a bed with a pillow to lay your head on." Katie leaped with excitement in here mind. "He's going to leave and then I can get out of here!" she thought. But then she had a different idea. "If I leave now, he will just continue to stalk me and terrorize me, I have to stay. Maybe, his parent's place is closer to my house." Katie thought. "Maybe then I will be in familiar surroundings." As soon as Tate disappeared out of the cave, she jumped to her feet. The sun was almost completely set by now. She needed a flashlight. She couldn't stand it in the dark and the fire didn't really add extra light to see by. She went around the wall where Tate seemed to have everything stored. She found a flash light lying on a pile of firewood but when Katie turned it on, her face went pale. Her body felt limp and her mind raced. She saw a shovel leaning up against the cave wall, duct tape and rope. "I'm not going to get out of this alive," Katie said aloud as she started to sob quietly. "He's going to kill me!"

Randy sat out on the front porch looking out at the midnight sky and bright stars. The moon's light shone overhead and crickets chirped in the bushes by the wooden front porch. He was there physically but mentally, he was so far gone. Buck sat inside watching Randy rock slowly back and forth. Sleep won't be had, no doubt of that. Buck opened the front door and walked outside to sit with Randy. "Hey boss, you doing ok?" Buck asked as he sat down. Randy just looked at him. He seemed as if he were miles away. His soul and spirit were broke...

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