Excerpt from Book
“A broken heart is the worst. It’s like having a broken rib. No one can see it, but it hurts every time you breathe.”
Two weeks passed with no word from Bruce. Last she had heard from her husband he had gone back to Vegas to help Dane search for Meirah.
Even when on tour, not a day passed when Bruce didn’t call her. She had phoned the police in Vegas weeks ago. They’d told her a Dane Bainbridge had reported his wife missing around the same time. Not new news. She loved Dane and Meirah like family, but she wished they had not included Bruce in their adventure, even though he told her it was his idea to go along.
Caitlyn had to assume they had found their way into whatever dimension they suspected Meirah had been taken into… the only reason Bruce would not call.
And so, she had been keeping busy caring for their son, fans of the band, and even the media who had heard the news of the band’s possible break-up. That alone made her want to shut off the phone, but she needed to keep the line open in case Bruce called.
So, when the phone rang late that evening, she sighed, assuming another reporter had gotten their private number. She answered anyway.
“Mrs. Beaufort?” said a male voice on the other end.
“This is Captain Smith, of the Charleston Police Department. Can you open the gate please, we need to speak to you.”
Caitlyn’s heart jumped a beat. “Why? What is it?”
“We are just outside. Please, open the gate and we will come to you.”
Unsure if this was a reporter trying to find a way in, she moved to the window and slid open the shade. Down on the street, she could see a police car waiting outside the gate… and a cop holding a cell phone standing outside it.
She almost dropped her phone. “D-Did you…did you find my husband?” she didn’t want to hear the answer. If the police were there, it was bad news.
“We’re not sure. Please. Go to the door so we can talk.”
“O-Ok…” She hung up the phone and went downstairs. Her legs wanted to give out, but she just kept telling herself nothing was wrong. Bruce was with Dane in some other dimension in time… a place the police, or anyone else in the “real” world, would never believe or understand.
She pressed the gate button and moved to the front door. She opened it just as two officers exited the car and approached her. For some reason she didn’t understand, her legs went numb.
Why was he asking her name again? “Yes.” Was it her imagination or did her voice sound shaky?
“We need you to come with us.”
Was she under arrest? “Why?”
“A body was found that fits the description of your husband. You need to make a positive identification.”
“A b-body?” That meant dead. No, it certainly wasn’t Bruce. He was in some weird space in time, she reminded herself.
“Yes, ma’am. Please…”
“I-I um… I have a son… I need to…”
“Do what you need to find care for him, we’ll wait.”
From there, her motions were on auto pilot. Her mind continued to convince her it couldn’t be Bruce, yet her body had gone numb all over, as if her subconscious was trying to prepare her for the worst. She called the nanny, promising extra pay, and then dressed in a light pink blouse that was Bruce’s favorite, and a skirt. She slipped her feet into flat pumps and told Lisa, the nanny, who arrived within several minutes, that she would be right back.
She knew Lisa asked a bunch of questions but if she answered she couldn’t remember. Nothing from there on out was held to memory; not the drive to the hospital, nor the doctor or the long walk down to the morgue. All of it happened, but to someone else. A movie she fell asleep watching, or a book she’d read. But not to her.
Even as she was led into a cold room lined with steel drawers did it not feel real. Nor as the Coroner opened one of those drawers and she could see the covered body within. She didn’t even realize she had been fisting the material of her skirt so hard that she tore a seam.
When the sheet was pulled back, she was sure the man that lay there could not be Bruce. The beard was too long, he had been stripped of his clothing and the long dark hair was dirty and matted. Could be some homeless man, she told herself, but deep within she knew.
“Is this your husband?” asked the police officer.
She wanted to shake her head no, but found herself nodding. When she opened her mouth no words escaped.
A hand touched her arm, and she wasn’t sure why until she realized her knees were buckling. And she was crying. No, this was not Bruce, it couldn’t be! But it was. She saw the distinctive mole on his upper right breast. The one she always circled with her finger when they were lying in bed talking or after they made love. Though the hand still held onto her arm, she briefly saw the floor before everything went black.