My eyes pop open. Here it comes again. I dread it. The nausea swells up like a wave but my body has nothing left. It doesn't matter. It comes anyway, in violent dry heaves that make my broken body cramp and lurch against the restraints. Shaking and locking down on my injuries and on all the other unknown processes that are taking place inside my body, my abdomen seizes and thrusts and spasms as I retch again and again, producing nothing. Please, God, make it stop, I say inside my head. Please, God, make it stop. Finally, it does, and I drift away.
"Lord," he prayed, "if you can't keep her safe, then keep her with you."
Finally, Tom gathered himself and sucked in a deep breath. He wiped his face and stared into space. Maybe the detective has news, he thought. He wanted to check in. He steeled himself and then dialed.
The detective asked if Tanya knew anyone in Yakima.
"No," Tom said, feeling a faint flash of hope. "Why?" In that instant, thought he heard Tanya's voice calling him. Was it wishful thinking? Maybe Tanya heard her phone ringing? He realized that his tired mind was playing tricks on him. Her phone was dead.
"We had a tip on a car like hers," the detective offered. "In the parking lot of the Yakima Fred Meyers."
Tom felt hopeful. It hurt a lot less to think that, maybe, she had just left. Then, she'd be happy, at least. That was all he'd ever wanted for her—just to be happy. The news sparked a bit of energy in Tom as he worked on his chores. Still, he couldn't shake that nagging feeling—the screaming dread. It wouldn't go away, no matter what logic came his way. The despair tugged at his reasoning and barraged his mind with images of horror and the possibility of Tanya's death.
Tom thought about the detective's information for a while, and then he called her back. He asked her why she thought it was Tanya's vehicle. The detective explained that, in the morning, one of the Riders' credit cards was used there to buy gas.
Tom's heart sank. He had purchased the gas that day.
Why was the detective monitoring the wrong account? Tom wondered, confused. Tanya didn't have that card so he asked the detective why they were bothering to monitor it. The detective claimed that Tom had said that he didn't have access to that joint checking account. Tom felt weak, sinking. Where did she ever get the idea that he didn't have access to their joint checking account? he thought. Sarcasm riddled his voice as he apologized for whatever he might have said that had confused the detective. Again, he said, the only card Tanya had with her was her Nordstrom Visa. All of the other cards were at home. Nonetheless, the detective blamed the confusion on Tom.
The last thing he wanted to do was to slow down the cops, so Tom pent up his feelings about the detective. He knew well that, if he behaved badly, it would have slowed the effort to locate Tanya.
The detective asked him to print out his bank statements and, again, he explained that he had not yet set up his password. He feared that the police weren't really listening to him—or paying attention to Tanya's case at all.