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Dreams In The Mist
By Demeter


"Inspector Boxer. I see you found yourself a new obsession."

"Agent Ashe. So nice to see you again." She lets the sarcasm drip from her voice, knowing he won't care. It seems like nothing has changed – and yet, everything has. He can be playing his usual games all he wants. All that Lindsay wants is a hint, anything that helps her understand what has happened to Cindy and where to find her.

It's a visceral need that drowns out everything else. She needs answers.

"So what can you tell me about Cindy's story? I know that she contacted you."

"That's true," he says. "I told her what I'm telling you now. A colleague of mine became intrigued by a missing woman. He thought she had vanished in an underground organization called the Dollhouse, where people can buy people for just about every service you can think of."

He answered her frown with a wry smile. "Yeah, that's what I've thought. There have been sightings of this woman under pretty strange circumstances though. I can give you what I gave Ms. Thomas, but don't get your hopes up too high."

"I want to talk to this Agent Ballard."

No one shall tell her about the state of her hope.

It's the only thing that keeps her going these days. Without it, there would be no reason to get up in the morning, let alone meet Ashe who is as obnoxious as she remembers him in a hotel room in L.A.

Her flight home is this evening.

She'll have to go home without Cindy.

"You can't. He's fallen off the face of the earth." Ashe shakes his head. "I saw his apartment once. Looked a bit like your attic."

"My attic's been cleared out for two years," she returns irritably. This is no good. For Cindy's sake, she'll keep her temper in check and not punch him at the next unnecessary line. It's not easy.

Harder even to swallow her pride. "I need your help." She hates to say it, but it can't be denied. "Don't you think it's suspicious that two people working on the same case disappear within a short window of time?"

He shrugs. "People disappear all the time. I'll see what I can find you, but don't-"

"-Hope for too much. Right. I know. Thanks a lot."

Standing out on the street alone, she's trying to get her bearings. Lindsay won't let herself be defeated by an enemy unknown; she's lived with one for five years and in the end, she survived.

She knows what she has to do.

Sitting in her rental, Lindsay picks up her cell phone and cancels her flight, then she calls Tom to beg for a few more days off. She won't give up. Whatever it takes. Before she drives back to her own hotel room, she opens the picture on her cell phone that Jill made a few months ago, before the big story was ever an option.

It shows her with Cindy, both of them smiling like loons. They had just started house-hunting, all excited about it.

Lindsay traces a finger over the tiny screen, an almost caress, then she flips the phone shut, trying not to break.

She can't afford it, yet.

The End

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