Joy raised her cup of wine to her, tasting the red alcohol. Her other hand was fishing for her popcorns while she watched her favorite series. She was still in her nurse uniform, planning to swap it out for something more comfortable like a pair of sweatpants and a yoga shirt. A normal Friday night, everything was in place. Apart the fact that Michael has been missing for two days days and her daughter was on the news and it was only a Wednesday night and she was binge watching "Heroes" for the third time in her life.
Today was her last of job, officially. Technically, her last day of work was Monday where she left late at night and found a note left by Michael to "not call the police and don't answer the phone". She gave her own letter to her boss, announced she was leaving and planned to find another job after all of this. She took another sip, thinking about it. Maybe she shouldn't had quit. Perhaps a paid sick-leave would have been better.
It was for the best. She didn't have any tie in Arizona. When, or more like "if", her daughter came back, she'd take the car and somewhere far away. Maybe Ohio or Washington or Florida, somewhere away from this desert that took her family away.
Joy put her glass of wine down in the low table and picked up her cellphone. She opened and looked at the notifications. Her family asking if she was alright, friends proposing their help for anything, rats asking her about her daughter and what she was doing on the island. She didn't know how Facebook worked. She wasn't like her daughter that knew every nook and cranny about social media, it took her a year to put a picture on her Facebook profile so putting her profile on private eluded her.
She swiped opened her phone, pressed in her password then click the app. The first thing on her wall, or whatever they called it, was the candle thing for the missing. Joy would have went if her husband didn't leave as soon as their daughter disappeared.
She pressed on the messages section then scrolled away from the messages bombarding her with questions about Dorothy. She found her husband and opened up the tab with the conversation.
"Honey, where are you?"
"Where are you???"
"Sweetheart what are you doing?"
Three messages. All seen by Michael but no answers. It wasn't like he saw them automatically so his cellphone couldn't have been lost somewhere and left opened. He saw it in the morning, around 8 a.m. then didn't answer it. Heck, after writing the message, she often saw the three dots announcing that the other person was typing but it stopped.
She sent a message, clear and concise.
"If you don't answer me, I will call the cops and track your cellphone I swear to god Michael don't you dare go missing on me right now."
Joy was about to put her cellphone and grab her glass of red wine but she saw the dreadful three dots. She stared at it with a straight face, expecting him to write nothing. She looked away to press on the stop button on the remote.
She was wrong.
"Im so sorry for nothing answering you Ive been searching for her.
Was that a code word for code word for having an affair while their daughter was possible death? She bit her lips. Either way, it was shit. She wasn't quite sure which one was the worse.
"What do you mean?"
Joy started to breath in slowly an exhale even slower. She had an answer which mean she she had to keep her promise of not calling the cops. Stay calm, stay calm, st-
Joy yelled when she saw what he wrote.
"Ive been looking at the livestream(?) from the island and I'm searching for the location of the island."
It was Joy's turn not to answer. She told him not watch the videos, not to encourage the people who kidnapped their daughter. But he was probably watching them for a shitty excuse, probably just monitoring his daughter in another way than reading her diary or her blog. She shoved a handful of popcorn down her mouth, munching on them loudly. Joy would have preferred if he was having an affair than doing that.
"I know you are angry but I made some progress it's an island and the birds + the temperature makes it look like in the northern hemisphere plus its an abandoned asylum so Ive been searching on Google about known abandoned asylums on islands.
Plus the people left things on the island so I could like try to zoom in on them to check for names or something but the quality is shit so I think Ill ask for people on Internet to help me. Ive asked some friend to help me Im waitin for calls and all of that."
Michael wasn't wrong. There was a limited amount of islands in the world. Especially islands that had asylums on them that were abandoned.
Okay but so what? Knowing the location of the island is useless. There were many other and bigger problems surrounding it. That's like knowing you have a cancer but couldn't afford the medication. You know the problem but you can't fix it, so what's the point of even thinking about it?
"So you are going to sail to the island, say hi to dying kids and grab Dorothy then leave like nothing happened? You know the terrorists are probably armed and ready to kill people who try to stop them, especially people like you without weapons. And how are you going to buy a boat? Oh and the collars how do you removed them? You're not making any sense, tell me where are you I'm picking you up."
Joy rolled her eyes and threw her cellphone on the couch, letting in fall in between two pillows and a blanket. She pressed play on the remote, grabbed her glass of wine and laid back. She was obviously not getting any answers tonight.
Joy fell asleep while binge watching her favorite show. Her bowl of popcorn was on the floor and its content had been spilled. She blinked several, letting her eyes adjust to the sunlight.
Her eyes scanned the room. She found a clock and she saw the time: 10:37 a.m.. She closed her eyes again, giving her eyeballs a rest. She didn't really know why her eyes were tired by just staying opened but they were hurting and it felt like tiny needles were poking them.
Michael was searching for their daughter. He thought he was doing something important, a mission that would rescue a bunch of kids from the hands of the terrorists and be the hero that he wanted to be in Dorothy's eyes.
There was a problem. He was a lone man, watching video. He was nothing else than that. A man who was searching for his daughter in vain. She remembered her argument from last night, knowing the location of the island was only one point. The lack of weapons and a boat were nothing compared to a flaw she didn't think about.
It's been two weeks. Two weeks that Dorothy had been missing and the footage of the island was just getting released. This could be meaning two things: they kept Dorothy as their hostage for awhile then dumped on the island or the footage was delayed. He was either look at dead kids all along or looking at kids that were potentially tortured so they lost any moral boundaries.
Joy yawned. Her feet touched the floor and walked to the kitchen. She came back with a broom and started sweeping the spilled popcorns in a container. She had been cleaning a lot. It let her forget that her daughter was either dying or suffering. She grabbed the container and dumped it in the trash then she took the bowl and her glass of wine and put them in the dishwasher.
She headed back to the couch and laid down on it. She didn't understand why she was feeling so tired despite having slept for a long time. Her batteries should have been recharged but instead it felt like they were drained. She searched for her cellphone in the couch, shoving her hand in the cracks of the couch. Her fingers recognized the familiar cold of her phone and fished it out.
6% of battery left and a ton of new messages. She swiped opened her phone and entered her password. The red number beside the Facebook application was in the three digits. She pressed on it and went to check her conversation with her husband. He didn't answer.
"Hey sorry for yesterday."
A fake apology.
"I don't want you to feel bad but they are missing for about 3 weeks and the diffusion of the broadcast started this week. This means that you are probably watching a bunch of dead kids. Come back home, please."
The message was seen then instantly replied.
Joy wasn't sure if that was really happening. He just confirmed that he was doing it for no reasons. He didn't even try to deny it.
"Then why are you doing it?"
"Do you know Kimberly Nguyen?"
Answered a question with another question. Typical of her husband, Joy rolled her eyes. Kimberly won a version and wrote a letter about not supporting the people who kidnapped her class. Which Joy had read and decided to go along it, ignoring the broadcast.
"A winner from a past version who said not to watch the broadcast aka what you are doing right now."
"True but did you know she made a documentary about the experience? With BBC and all of that?"
"Basically, Im thinking about doing that but in a more personal kind of way. When its over and the winner is back home, I want to head on the island."
Joy didn't reply.
"I figured there would be corpses and all of that so I'm thinking of waiting until their corpse get retrieved and I would go on the island and walk through Dorothys steps."
Joy wasn't feeling it. Even if he proved it was safe, there was a bunch of issues. First and for most, getting on the island, recording what was happening, getting the budget, and getting the insurances to cover it. They weren't rich especially now that Joy quit her job and that Michael wasn't showing up at his.
"It's a big project you know what you are getting into?"
"Yeah. I dont even think its going to reach the ears of a producer or even getting funded. But its the only thing I can think to do now."
If Michael was in front of her, she would have slapped him.
"Or you could be home? With me? With our friends?"
Michael didn't answer instantly. Joy assumed he didn't think of that but he answered her question clearly and a cleanly.
"Too many memories of her. I cant focus on my work there."
"So instead you are watching our daughter in her worst moments in a cruddy motel somewhere?"
These words were made to hurt. To pierce someone's heart and to hurt Michael. To make him regret that he left her and didn't answer her text messages.
"Im going to talk to you later i see you are not in the mood."
Not in the mood obviously since her cellphone was now down to 1%. She angrily plugged her cellphone in her laptop as it died in her hands.
She got up, walked to the kitchen, grabbed a bunch of unwashed dishes and started to throw them at the wall.