Facing Fears: Part Two

GalileeGeneralHospital

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

1:00 AM

"I still don't understand," Lee said. "Psuedoparalysis? Why would this
be happening to her?"

"Well at this point I don't really know for certain," Dr. Pfaff said.
"But if I had to guess I'd say that her mind is trying to protect her
from something."

"By paralyzing her?" Amanda asked.

"Look at it this way-not being able to move means that she doesn't
have to face or think about what's bothering her." Dr. Pfaff said.
"I'm going to need some more information. All I've heard is that she
was involved in some kind of hostage situation?"

"Yes," Lee said. "She and Amanda were both held. They'd been planning
to take Jenna alone, but when we showed up they changed their plans."

"I see," Dr. Pfaff said. "And did she experience any flashbacks or
panic episodes?"

"There was one," Lee told him. "But I helped her through it."

"Are you sure there weren't any more episodes?" Dr. Pfaff said.

Amanda spoke up. "She was very quiet when we were being held in the
house-she seemed a little out of it but I thought she was just
frightened."

"It could've been fear, yes." Dr. Pfaff said. "Then again she could've
been dissociating all along." He looked down at his papers. "The
initial physical examination only turned up some bruising on her face,
arm, and shoulder area. Do you know if she was hurt or touched in any
other way?"

"Not while she was with us she wasn't," Lee said.

"And when she wasn't with you?" Dr. Pfaff said. "Was there any period
when she was alone with the kidnappers?"

Lee thought back to when he'd seen Jenna crouching on the floor of her bedroom, her hands covering her head.

"I don't know," He ran a hand through his hair." I thought that he'd only hit her
but I guess he could have-everything just happened so fast." Thinking
about that man touching Jenna, hurting her in that way made Lee feel
cold and helpless inside. He felt Amanda's fingers wrap tightly around his
own. "Do you think she was-- that's what might have happened to her?"

"I don't know," Dr. Pfaff said. "I really wouldn't jump to conclusions
before we know all the facts. Is there anything else I should know?"

"Yes. We told her the truth," Amanda said. "About us and our jobs."

"While you were being held hostage?" Dr. Pfaff asked.

"We thought she deserved to know what was going on," Lee said.

Dr. Pfaff nodded. "I see. Not exactly the time I would've chosen, but
it was probably for the best. Jenna's a bright girl-I think she's
known that something's been going on for a while now."

"Well now that you've asked all these questions are you going to tell
us what we can do to fix this?" Lee said.

"There aren't any easy answers," Dr. Pfaff said. "But I think that
once we get to the bottom of what's bothering Jenna the
pseudoparalysis will clear itself up."

"And if it doesn't?" Lee said. "What then?"

"I doubt that will happen, Scarecrow, but we'll cross that bridge when
we come to it," Dr. Pfaff said. "Hypnotherapy has had some success in
these cases-I'd like to try that before we move to something more
drastic."

Lee wanted to ask what the `something more drastic' might entail, but
part of him was afraid to find out.

Dr. Pfaff looked down at his watch. "Right now I think Jenna needs
her rest," he said. "I'll be back in the morning. Take care and try to
get some rest yourselves."

SMK SMK SMK SMK

"Get some rest ourselves," Lee muttered as they walked into Jenna's
hospital room. "Like that's going to happen anytime soon."

"After this is all over I think I might sleep for a week," Amanda
said, walking over to Jenna's bed. The only noise in the room was the
steady beep and hum of the IV machine and the monitors. "At least
Jenna's resting."

"Only because she's wiped out after all those tests. I'm
getting pretty sick of seeing her in hospital beds, Amanda. She seems
to have a knack for finding trouble."

"Like someone else you know, right?" Amanda teased. Lee smiled
faintly. "Lee whatever's going on; we'll get her through this."

"Even if she was-" Lee couldn't quite bring himself to say the word.

"Even then," Amanda said. Lee wrapped his arms around her and Amanda
leaned her head against his chest. "Remember what you said to me even
before Jenna was born? We're in this together."

"I remember," Lee said.

"And as long as we're together we can handle anything," Amanda's dark
eyes looked into his. "Just remember that, okay?"

"I'll remember, Mrs. Stetson," Lee bent his head down as
their lips met in a brief kiss. .

There was a faint whimpering noise. Looking over at Jenna, Lee could
see that her fists were clenched, her eyes squeezed shut. She was
crying in her sleep-he realized-tears running slowly down her cheeks.

"No," Jenna whispered, "Please-" and suddenly Lee's chest felt tight,
like he couldn't breathe. Amanda bent Jenna's bed, her hand smoothing
the side of Jenna's face.

"Sweetheart, it's okay," she soothed. "It's just a bad dream. You're
safe now." Amanda kept repeating those words over and over like a
mantra. Lee watched as Jenna's body gradually relaxed and her
breathing became slow and even once more.

9:30 AM

"Jenna's doing pretty well this morning, Mother," Amanda said. "She
just had some breakfast and she's watching some TV- There was one
episode last night but it wasn't too bad-yes I'll give her your love.
I'll talk to you later." Amanda hung up the phone just as Lee came
around the corner.

"Pfaff's here," Lee said. "He wants us in the room when he talks to
Jenna-just in case."

"You ready for this?" Amanda asked him.

"I am if you are."

Hand in hand they walked towards Jenna's
room.

SMK SMK SMK SMK

"I don't understand," Jenna said. "What do you mean I'm not really
paralyzed?"

"We've run all the tests," Dr. Kelford said. "There's no physical
reason that you can't move your legs."

Jenna felt tears stinging her eyes. "I'm not faking it," she choked
out. "I really can't feel my legs. I wouldn't lie. I can't believe
that you think I would."

"Sweetheart we know you're not doing this on purpose," Mom said. "But
your mind might be kind of playing tricks on you."

"So I'm crazy?" Jenna said.

"No one's saying that either," Dad said, but Jenna ignored him.

"That's why Dr. Pfaff's here." Jenna knew she was probably acting
like a baby but at this point she didn't care. "You all knew this and
you didn't tell me and now you think I'm crazy-"

"You aren't crazy, Jenna," Dr. Pfaff said. "And no one here is
accusing you of faking it. You've been through a lot for someone your
age-more than most adults will ever go through. This is just your
body's reaction to the trauma."

"My body's doing this without me knowing it?" Jenna said. Everyone
nodded. "Can we make it stop?"

"If we find out what's causing it," Dr. Pfaff told her. "With your
permission I'd like to try hypnosis. It's very safe and it might help
us get to the bottom of this."

"I don't know," Jenna looked over at Dad. "You'll stay here
the whole time?"

"Your Mom and I aren't going anywhere," Dad grabbed her hand.
"But you're the only one who can make this decision, munchkin. What do
you want to do?"

Jenna took a deep breath before speaking. "I want to do it.

10:00 AM

"How do you feel?" Dr. Pfaff said.

"Okay," Jenna said. Lee could see that her eyes were open-they looked
a little watery but Dr. Pfaff had said that was normal. He was still
holding her hand-he could feel her fingers twitching slightly in his
grasp. Amanda was on the other side, holding Jenna's other hand.

"I don't really feel different, Dr. Pfaff." Jenna said. "Just kind of
relaxed."

"That's the way you're supposed to feel," Dr Pfaff said. "Hypnosis is
a natural state. Just remember you're here and you're very safe."

"I do feel a little bit cold, though" Jenna said.

"Well that's normal too," Dr. Pfaff said. "Now let's go back to Monday
morning." he paused, and Lee could see Jenna's eyelids flutter. "Your
mom's just left to go to the Laundromat. What are you doing?"

"I'm downstairs," Jenna said. "Watching a game show on TV-it's silly.
There's a noise, coming from upstairs. I'm going upstairs to see what
it is-think it might be Oscar."

"Her cat," Amanda said in a low voice. Dr. Pfaff nodded.

"What happens next, Jenna?" he asked.

"I'm calling Oscar's name," Jenna said. "I'm worried that he's broken
something. Then a-a-" her voice started to shake as her breathing
quickened.

"Jenna," Dr. Pfaff raised his voice. "You're not back there-you're
just remembering. It can't hurt you now. You're safe."

"Safe," Jenna repeated. Her breathing began to slow again. "I'm safe."

"That's right," Dr. Pfaff said. "Now tell me what happens next."

"A hand grabs me," Jenna said. "From behind. I try to fight but it
doesn't-doesn't do any good. He's too big and I get lifted off the
ground-he calls me little girl-asks me if I'm ready to play."

Lee's hand tightened around Jenna's reflexively-part of him wanting to
go down to the jail, find Rudolpho and beat him to a bloody pulp.

"And then what happens?" Dr. Pfaff asked.

"He pulls out a needle," Jenna said, her words coming out in a rush.
"He's going to stick it in my arm but I can't let him. I throw my head
back and hit his nose-he yells and drops me on the floor-I try to
crawl away but he grabs my ankle and pulls me back. That's when he
hits me on the cheek-he's yelling-saying I should know better than to
fight him. He grabs my arm and pulls me up, it hurts so bad- he still
has the needle and he tells me I won't be any trouble at all." Jenna
paused. "No matter what I did I couldn't fight him."

Lee had the feeling that they'd come to the root problem-from the
look on Dr. Pfaff's face it was clear he thought the same thing.

"You tried to fight," Dr. Pfaff said. "That's more than most
people would've done."

"Trying isn't doing," Jenna said. "I couldn't fight-that's why I can't
go back home."

"Because you can't fight?" Dr. Pfaff said.

"Because it's not safe," Jenna said. "Gary took me when I was
outside-everything bad always happened outside. I thought the house
was a safe place but it's not-not anymore. When dad rescued my mom and
me I'd knew we'd have to go back to the house-and I couldn't. There's
just too much danger there now."

"Is it safer when your parents are home?" Dr. Pfaff said.

"I guess so," Jenna said. "I mean, they are spies. We still got taken,
but I think that was mostly my fault."

"Sweetheart what happened was not your fault," Amanda said.

"Would you feel safer if someone was home with you-if you weren't
left alone?" Dr. Pfaff said.

"Yes," Jenna said.

"And what if they installed alarms on all the windows?" Dr. Pfaff
said. "That way they would go off if anyone tried to open them."

"That sounds good." Jenna said, her body visibly relaxing.

"Would those things make your house feel safer?" Dr. Pfaff said.

"Yes," Jenna said. "A lot safer."

"Okay," Dr. Pfaff said. "Now on the count of five you're going to wake
up. You'll feel refreshed and relaxed, just like you had a good long
nap. One…two….three…four….five." On the count of five he snapped his
fingers.

"Is that all?" Lee said.

Dr. Pfaff shook his head. "No," he said. "But it's a good start."

Epilogue

4247 Maplewood Dr

Friday, August 16, 2002

10:00 PM

Lee poked his head into Jenna's room. Jenna was wearing a nightshirt
and curled up on her side, reading a book. "Everything okay in here?"
he asked.

"I'm fine," Jenna said, sitting up "Just reading before I go to bed-glad to be
out of the hospital."

"I'm glad you're out too," Lee looked down at the book. "Does reading something
help with the bad dreams?" Lee said.

"A little," Jenna admitted, her face clouding slightly. "As long as
it's not something scary. What's up?"

"Not much," Lee said. Jenna's Scarecrow doll was beside him on the
bed. Without thinking he picked it up. "I just wanted to see how you
were doing."

"I'm fine," Jenna looked down at the doll and then back up at Lee. "So
you're Scarecrow-is that like your nickname or something?"

"It's my code name," Lee said. "Someone gave it to me a long time ago."

"Does mom have a code name too?"

"No," Lee said. "But she never really needed one-your mother is one of
a kind."

Jenna was silent for a minute. "Those funny words," she said suddenly.
"Were they codenames? Remember when you'd take me to work when I was
little and let me stay in the lobby with Mrs. Marston? Everyone that
walked by would have to say a word before she let them in, like
whiplash or microwave or something."

Lee shook his head. "I'm amazed you still remember that," he said.
"Those weren't codenames- but it was a code word so they could get
into the building."

"That makes sense," Jenna said.

"Jenna I know you have a lot of questions," Lee said, taking her
hands. "Some of them I'll be able to answer but some of the
information will be classified so I can't tell you everything. And you
won't be able to tell anyone else about this-not your friends or
anyone. Understand?"

"I understand, dad, really. I just wish you'd told me sooner. I'm not
a little kid anymore-I can keep a secret."

"I know that and I should have told you-we would've avoided a lot of
problems," Lee said. "Do you have any other questions for me?"

Jenna shook her head. "Not now-I'm just sleepy."

"Okay," Lee kissed her on the forehead and stood. "Want me to keep
the light on?"

"Yes," Jenna said, crawling under the covers, the Scarecrow doll in
her arms. "Good night dad."

"Good night, Munchkin."

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