[This story is the 6th part of a continuing tale. Click HERE to find the Parts 1 – 5 of this tale].
The last 6 years were spent in a trance, she knew not how she managed to survive them. The only positive outcome to those years of her life was Josh. The thought of her past sent a shiver down her spine. The memories of the nightmare that was her life came flooding back to her mind, the fear of the unknown, the bondage, the immeasurable pain, the whips cutting into her skin.
Stop, stop, just stop! Anna told herself. She could not even bear to think of those days.
She wondered if she was finally free from the power of his authority over her mind, body and soul, her very existence. It is a miracle that she survived long enough to escape; now she was going to give it her all to fight for her freedom to fight for her life and Josh’s too! She owed it to herself and to her baby.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your Captain speaking. We will be shortly landing at John F Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Please fasten your seat belts and keep it fastened until the seat belt sign is switched off upon landing. The temperature outside is a pleasant 72°Farenheit. The local time now is 10pm,” said the voice over the PA system. Anna listened to the announcement with an air of agitation. It was almost time! After 6 years and a 15-hour flight, she was coming back home. She felt a lump in her throat, her emotions were becoming too strong for her to control. She allowed a single tear to graze her cheeks before quickly wiping it off. She did not want to draw any attention to herself, the less people noticed her, the better.
As the plane glided to the gate, most passengers started lining up ignoring the crew’s demand to sit still until they open the exit door. Anna decided to wait for the mad rush to subside, she needed time to get Josh prepared before exiting. The air hostess thanked her as she reached the exit, Anna tried not to look at her. She kept her eyes down and made a quick exit. Anna found it difficult to make eye contact with anyone, lest they suspect her for doing something wrong. After all she was running away! She was running back home, nonetheless she was running!
Stepping out of the airport terminal at the arrivals, Anna did not know what she was feeling, exhaustion took over her body and mind clouding her emotions. She pushed past the crowd and continued on her way out. She did not know which way to head, or where to go. She cursed herself yet again for not planning this through and stood at the airport exit staring into oblivion for a while. It was night and she knew she needed rest so did Josh. She could not risk him falling sick. Anna decided to check into the nearest hotel and rest for the night. She would continue on her journey the next morning.
After checking into her room at the Holiday Inn, Anna got busy feeding Josh and putting him to bed. After Josh was sound asleep, she picked up the phone in her room and held the cradle in her hands for a while. Anna took a long breath while pondering over what to say, and then dialed the number that was etched into her memory.
Lizbeth Brown was falling in and out of a dreamless sleep when the phone by her bedside stand chimed. The sound of the phone ringing startled her. She woke up suddenly and switched on the bedside lamp. Liz wondered who was calling her at this hour. Phone calls so late into the hour usually meant bad news. Such a deep sleeper, she thought as she looked at her husband who was sound asleep!
It was an unknown number, from New York said the caller ID. With trembling hands, Liz picked up the call and said “Hello?”
“Mom…..Mom!” said a tired voice at the other end of the call.
“Ninie…baby? Is that you, sweetheart?” Liz could not believe her ears. Was this really her daughter Anna calling?
Ninie, her mother just called her Ninie, the name her mother called her from the day she was born. Anna started sobbing into the phone.
“Ninie, are you alright? Where are you? Why aren’t you coming home?” Liz could not stop herself from asking all the questions. After all she was listening to her daughter’s voice after all almost 5 years. A year or so after she moved to Dubai, she had stopped calling or returning her calls. Liz had been worried sick about her daughter for all these years.
“I am in New York, Mom. I want to come home,” she said in between sobs
“Yes, yes baby, please come home. Where are you now? We are coming to get you.”
“No, no don’t come here. I will come home; I am taking a flight home tomorrow morning. I will call you again after I book the flights. Do you think you can come to the airport to get me?”
“Oh honey, yes, of course we’ll be at the airport.”
When Liz turned to look at her husband, he was sitting up on his bed staring at Liz with eyes wide in shock.
“Was that…?” he started to ask but could not get himself to finish lest his hopes be dashed.
“Yes, yes, that was Ninie! She is coming home, honey! She is coming home!” Liz said with a wide grin on her lips and tears in her eyes.
John was ecstatic at the thought of having his daughter come back home. He stroked the tears off from his wife’s cheeks and hugged her.
What they both did not realize was the fact that there was a third person listening in on their conversation sitting in a minivan not too far from their home.