Karolina Delorn Chapter One

Karolina’s bedroom lights flickered and she felt the static electricity in the air. Hairs prickled up on her arms and the back of her neck as if saluting a drill sergeant.  She didn’t have to look up from her laptop to know that her spirit girl was close by. She couldn’t call her a spirit guide, that just sounded wonky to her, so she just called her LadyLove, her spirit girl.
“It’s never a good sign when you show up.” It was just over six years to the month when Karolina first met LadyLove. The spirit just appeared out of nowhere, touched her temple, and showed her a vision. That day, Karolina saved over forty people from a church fire. They’d been comrades ever since.
Karolina continued browsing the internet looking forward to booking her flight.  “I’m finally going on vacation. Don’t spoil this for me.”
LadyLove shrugged solemnly.
Never having understood the boundaries which prevented the spirit from talking to her, or even writing for that matter, she’d learned how to communicate with the spirit through endless games of charades. It infuriated Karolina at times. She couldn’t even play Does it rhyme with…because LadyLove was unable to even nod yes or no.
She was long overdue for a holiday. Her private practice was doing great and still, somehow she’d managed to find a way to schedule all her clients around  her dream vacation to Australia. She was all but ready to hit the ticket purchase button when her doorbell rang.
Karolina sat on the edge of her bed, laptop in her lap, and sighed. “It’s moments like this I wish you could talk to me.” It was almost 8 p.m. and she could feel the fatigue. Her eyes did that weird twitch thing, her body moved slower, and her brain had all but practically shut down.  “If I ignore you, will you go away? At least for the next two weeks?”
Ladylove’s smile did not reach her eyes.
The doorbell rang again.
The room dimmed and a dreamy far-off feeling exploded into Karolina’s being. The best way she could describe having a vision was as if you were looking at a picture. The picture was all fuzzy around the edges and the small center point was a few shades darker. Her visions came whenever and always at the most inopportune time, or at least that’s how if felt to her. This one was no different.
She allowed the vision to play out. It wasn’t at the back of her mind’s eye. It wasn’t even right before her. It was just a part of her line of sight, but sort of broken, and yet a part of everything she was able to take in. She could see her bedroom still, though it was behind the vision. But not behind it either. Yeah, it was hard for anyone to understand what she meant but it no longer bothered her, trying to explain it.
She sensed LadyLove’s presence move closer towards her. She knew that any moment, she’d feel a small poke on her temple. This was LadyLove’s gift to her. She helped clear everything for Karolina. She brought the visions into focus. And there it was. The tender touch, right on the side of her face. Karolina sucked in a rush of deep air into her lungs and all time stood still while the vision came full force.
The young girl with her back to Karolina. Long blonde hair waved back and forth as the girl ran. Karolina could see woods all around the girl. Baby breaths fell from the girl’s hair here and there as she began running. Karolina blinked and no longer saw the running girl. Now she saw an alter. Pretty painted toenails. Skinned knees. White panties. Soft pink bra covering tiny, perky breasts. No head.
Karolina was shoved back and the vision was over. Her breath was fast and short, and she brought her hand to her chest as she tried to take a deep, slow breath. “What the hell was that?” She looked up at LadyLove who now had wet tears on her cheeks.
The doorbell rang again. Twice.
Karolina took a quick moment to regain her composure and then walked towards the front door. She was surprised to see Leah, her best friend, standing in front of her. An unfamiliar woman stood to the left and back a little.
“Karry, I’m sorry to bother you. I probably should have called.” Leah glanced to the woman without moving her head. “Can we come in?”
Karolina opened the door wider and let them pass. The women entered and she closed the door. “How about some tea?” She led them into the kitchen and put a kettle to boil.
Leah spoke up as they sat at the counter. “This is Mrs. Gaylore. I told her a little bit about you…” Her words stumbled, slowed, and then stopped.
“You mean how I have visions.” Karolina smiled. She understood that it was an awkward thing for most, her gift and all. She knew it would be even more weird if they knew she had a spirit girl standing beside her at the moment. Karolina didn’t bother to mention that to most people.
“Leah says you can help find people.” Tears burst and Mrs. Gaylore clenched her fists together. “My daughter, Evie, she’s been gone for two days. And the police just aren’t doing much. They say they are investigating it, but I know the truth. I see it in their eyes. They think she’s gone off with some boy or hopped a bus with a ticket to the farthest big city she can afford.” Mrs. Gaylore cried some more, her palms cupping her face. “It’s just not the truth.”
Karolina dreaded asking. “Do you have a picture of Evie, Mrs. Gaylore?”
The tearful woman dug a small picture out of her purse. “This was taken earlier this year. It’s her senior picture.”
The image was of a young, smiling brunette. Karolina glanced towards LadyLove, who offered another shrug before dissolving, leaving the three breathing, living women to themselves.
“I’m sorry, Mrs. Gaylore. I am actually leaving the country tomorrow morning for two weeks.” Before anything more could be said from her two guests, Karolina added, “I would be happy to have a word with a very close friend at the police department. He’s a detective and he’s very good at his job.”
Mrs. Gaylore shook her head. “I…I understand. Of course, any help would be very much appreciated.
Both women stood up to leave. Mrs. Gaylore turned back around. “Here. This is my phone number and address. Please do whatever you can. Talk to your police detective. I’ll take any help you can offer.” She raised her head, smiled politely, and walked to the front door.
Leah watched the woman go and then turned back to Karolina. “I’m sorry. I know you’re leaving for vacation but I told her I’d speak with you just the same. She insisted she come along.” Leah stood up and put her arms around Karolina. “I hope you have a good trip. Remember, I collect anything and everything, but I adore those little shot glasses.” She winked at Karolina and left.
“You can come out now.” Karolina spoke into the room.
 LadyLove did not reappear.
Karolina turned the stove off and put the kettle on the back burner. She looked around, thought of the vision, and decided to put that on the back burner as well. She had an early flight and needed the rest. Her head ached and she considered taking a shower, but decided against it. She’d take one in the morning. That is, if she could manage not to oversleep.
As she settled into bed, she recalled Mrs. Gaylore calling Erik her police detective. Karolina only wished she could call Erik hers. They had been working together for a few years now. She often consulted with the police on missing person cases. It took him a while to come around and even though he didn’t truly believe in psychic abilities, he’d accepted that she was skilled enough somehow to assist them. These days, they called each other good friends. It was more than that though, and they both knew it.
He was another reason she needed to get away for a while. She couldn’t help but grow irritated with the man. She understood his position, however. It didn’t mean she liked it any. She shook her head mentally and told her enough was enough. She had to get away. Away from him, away from her clients, and everything else. This vacation was severely needed. Maybe seeing some Koalas would make things better, even if temporarily.

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