"Julie!" Helen dashed into the kitchen closely followed by Barry. "Jules are you okay?" Helen panted as Barry kept his eyes wandering around the room. His fists were balled, ready to hit something... anything.
But no matter how hard he squinted into the dark he couldn't see anything there. They seemed to be alone.
"Julie?" Helen shook her friends arm before staring down on the floor where the brunette's gaze was locked. Something glimmered and with a light kneel she picked it up into her hands.
It was a male necklace.
Barry noticed that the girls had found something and lowered his hands. "No one's here." He almost seemed disappointed. In a way he was. If somebody had been there he'd gotten to do something. "What are you looking at?"
"A necklace." Helen shrugged at first but then crinkled her eyebrows in sudden understanding. "Is it Rays?"
Julie nodded ever so slightly. "Yes."
When a silence covered matched the darkness of the room, Barry sighed and put his hands on his sides. If they were getting sentimental over inaminate objects he was going back to sleep.
But before he had time to comment Julie wetted her dry lips and took the necklace into her hands. Her fingers were shaking.
"It wasn't here earlier. Somebody must've... somebody must've have put it there." With large doe-eyes she turned to her two friends. Barry snorted and shook his head.
"Impossible. We've been here for hours."
The meaning female eyes made him repeat his snort. "I think we would have woken up in case anybody snuck in here!"
"You didn't wake up when I passed the livingroom," Julie retorted feeling a surge of bravery in her veins. He had been here. In her apartment. Yet they were still alive. Chances for Ray seemed much better now.
"No," it was Helen who shook her head now, "that's different. I think. If the... killer... had been here..." she looked at Barry for support. "I mean – leaving a neckalce. It's kinda lame. Are you sure you didn't just forget that you put it there? Barry, did you find it on the floor or something and put it up on the counter?"
"No I didn't but I still don't believe somebody snuck in here."
Julie grunted with frustration. Why were they so thick headed? Was it so hard to believe that a psychopath wanted to torture them some more? She didn't think so.
"Well how did it get here? It's impossible that Ray or I would've left it here. That leaves you two and that seems just as impossible. So then there's one more option..."
The couple exchanged pained glances. It didn't seem as likely to them. Helen gathered her courage before putting her hand on Julie's arm. There was no easy way to say this.
"Julie, I don't mean to disrespect you or anything but... I mean before your... 'accident' that lead to the whole hospital visit..." she sighed. "I talked to Charlotte and she told me you'd been acting, y'know, not really like you. You might've put it in here and just... forgotten about it. It's not impossible."
Julie gaped. She stared between the two. "So I'm just insane? Tell me Helen – is this just a psychosis of mine? A very vivid imagination? In reality neither of you are really here. You're off living your perfect lives while I'm trapped in my sick imagination."
She stormed out into the livingroom with both of her friends on her heels.
"Stop it, Julie. We know what's going on. It's just not likely..."
"Oh shut up with that therapist bullshit Helen! You can't reason your way out of this! There are no cameras around anymore. It's not enough to look cute and then say cut. The only cutting the might be done is when a knife is slizing through your skin!"
Helen gasped and Barry took a protective step in front of her. "That's enough Julie. We're not the enemy here. I get that you're restless but this is not the way to go."
"Oh, cause you're so calm and collected in all of this. Admit it Barry. You'd run off and kick anybody's ass right now. Maybe even Helen's."
Barry clenched his jaw and had to keep himself from not grabbing Julie and hurting her in some manner. Helen's tiny hands wrapped themselves around his upper arm and held him back. "She doesn't mean that."
"Yes I do." Julie spat back.
Helen stared at her for a long couple of seconds. Then she shook her blonde head. Neither she nor Barry needed to take this. If Julie was gonna have a freak out that was fine but she could at least leave them out of it.
She took Barry's hand. "Come. I think we better leave for a while. I don't want to get really angry."
Julie snorted. She didn't care right now. It was almost better if they'd leave. At least then she could think without the distraction of their illogical reasoning. "Go ahead. Leave. I mean – I wouldn't wanna see you angry Helen. What a threat."
Barry was gonna say something but Helen tugged his arm and just nodded at the door. They'd gone to sleep in their day wear and didn't need to be bothered with something like changing their clothes.
Getting their shoes and jackets on, Helen crampishly held his hand and Barry, if to be honest, was quite glad they were going to get some alone time.
"Well be back Julie." Helen said over her shoulder and then added under her breath. "Don't take any pills." If Julie heard she didn't mention it or didn't have time to.
When Helen opened the door all of their brains froze for a split second. In front of her, in the hallway, stood the nurse. The same male nurse that had been on Julie's answering machine. It was way too late for a social call.
Barry pushed Helen out of the way and sent a flying right hook the guy's way. With a loud thud the nurse fell onto his back. He groand as Barry kneeled over him and gave him a second blow to the nose.
"What the... Julie..." the nurse managed a crooked smile, looking twisted as it mixed with the blood from his now sore nose and cracked lip. He was glancing over Barry's shoulder where Julie and Helen instinctivly huddled together.
Both of them cringed at his stare.
Barry growled slightly and two blows later the nurses head fell unconcious to the floor and Helen's hands were on Barry's shoulders, prying him away from the guy.
"Barry!" She scolded while Julie stood on her toes, a safe distance away, with a small smile on her lips. She felt safer.
Barry stood up and wiped his mouth. "There he is. We have the bastard." With a moment of thought he made a decision. "Grab his feet." He told Helen and his girl did as told while he himself walked around and grabbed the guys shoulders.
Together the couple carried the nurse into the apartment and threw him down on the couch. "We should tie him up." Helen thought and Barry nodded.
Julie started to take slow steps backwards.
"Julie, do you have any ducktape? Any kind of ropes? Like to your robe. Any kind will work?" Barry asked without paying her any real attention.
"Yeah sure," she smiled weakly, "it's in the cabinet in the kitchen. By the dishwasher."
Barry disappeared and Julie turned to Helen who was biting her lip, staring down at the guy on the couch.
"We might need a chair."
Helen frowned, then realized it was her Julie had spoken to and nodded. "You're right. Watch him." And then she too disappeared into the kitchen.
Quickly Julie turned around, grabbed her keys, jacket and shoes and slipped out of the apartment. She didn't care to put on her outer garments until the elevator door safely closed behind her.
She needed clarity and there was only one place she could get that.
"Is it tight enough?" Helen asked as Barry tied the nurse to a chair using the rope from a bathrobe and torn sheets.
"I think so." He stood up with critical eyes. The nurse was still out. His head was hanging and his mouth had been gagged with ducktape. Both ancles and wrists were tied to the chair and it sure looked like he wasn't going anywhere.
"Why don't you go get Julie. Tell her it's okay and that she doesn't need to hide out anymore."
Helen nodded. "Sure."
She felt confident as she headed for her friends room.
Finally they were getting somewhere. Finally she could see the end of the tunnel and finally she could see them all living through it.
It made her smile. Maybe things could go back to normal. If only the could find Ray alive and well...
She knocked on the door before opening it. "Julie, it's okay now. We've..." she paused herself. There was no one in the room. She glanced around and quickly crossed the room making her way to Julie's bathroom.
Turning on the lights another empty room came into view.
There was no reply and there was no one in the closet. There was no one under the bed.
"Barry!" She ran back into the livingroom with her breath caught inside her throat, almost making it burst. "Julie's gone!"
AN: Super thanks guys for the reviews. It makes it much more fun to write )
I'll try and update soon.