Freedom XX

The next two years were a blur for Aidan and Tasha. They grew especially closer in the anxious days of David Wilson’s disappearance. 

“That could have been us,” Aidan told Tasha one rainy night after a long day of searching. “Do you ever think about that?” 

“Yes, I do. Sometimes I’ve dreamed that it was us on the run, not him.” 

“I don’t want to waste any more time. We love each other, Tasha. Let’s give this another try. What do you say?” 

“I’d like that,” Tasha said. “I’m so sorry about everything that happened earlier.” 

“I am, too. I just want to be in your arms.” 

They were remarried in a quiet ceremony the week before David’s body was discovered in his Los Angeles apartment. 

From a heavenly beach, David smiled as he saw his favorite subordinate reunited in freedom with the woman he loved. 

The End

Notes on this experience will come tomorrow while I think of more series to begin after that! I hope you’ve enjoyed traveling this journey with me. Flash fiction has opened up a new world of creativity for me and I want to continue learning more about it. ~EC

Freedom XIX

David blinked in confusion as he took in his surroundings. He had been asleep? Around him, the busy headquarters was humming with the efficiency of any Tuesday morning. 

He glanced at the calendar. September 2013. Wait! He rubbed his eyes frantically. Wasn’t he tailing Aidan and Tasha in 2015? 

“Are you all right?” Aidan approached his boss with concern in his voice. 

“Yes,” he fought to keep from stammering his response as he looked up into the face of a very alive, healthy Aidan. Hadn’t he just discovered the bodies of Aidan and his former wife?

“Do you still want Tasha and I to check out that water plant? The poisoning case?”

“No!” David’s voice was sharp. “I mean, we’ve decided you’re more needed here. I’ll go there myself.” 

“All right,” Aidan said, perplexed. 

“Take Tasha to lunch. Somewhere nice. You two seem friendly again.” 

Freedom XVIII

Agent David Wilson was more moved by what he found in the guest room than he wanted to admit. He was rather embarrassed to find Aidan lying in Tasha’s arms, but he pressed past the awkwardness of stumbling upon them. At least they are dressed, he thought briefly before becoming greatly concerned about how still they were. 

He bent low, careful not to touch either of them upon seeing the familiar infection in Tasha’s fingers. Aidan’s wound was oozing from under the bandage, but the appearance of the rest of the skin that caught his attention, shocking him. Their lips and fingertips were blue. He saw no breath rising in their chests after close inspection. 

David slid a plastic glove onto his hand before checking them for pulses. Both Aidan and Tasha were dead. 

Then he awoke, gasping for air as he lifted his head from his desk at headquarters. 

Freedom XVII

In the FBI office in Portland, Agent Wilson looked at his text and flinched. It contained the news he’d been afraid to receive ever since Aidan had disappeared. 

He stood up from his desk, exchanged a few words with his supervisor and left the building in a hurry. 

The coastal highway felt endless to the agent as he drove south in search of a little town he’d only heard of from his missing subordinate. Heart in his throat, he at long last arrived outside a picturesque house near the outskirts of town. 

Everything was quiet. A jeep which he didn’t recognize was parked in the driveway, drawing minor alarm from Agent Wilson as he silently prepared his weapon and approached the front door. His knock received no response, so he knocked again, louder this time. 

“FBI! Open the door!”

Freedom XVI

In their dreams, Tasha and Aidan were free from the torment of poison running through their veins. 

“You know this isn’t real,” Aidan, forever sensible, noted as they stared at a moonlit beach next to an inkdrop blue ocean. 

“Of course, but I don’t care. Do you think we could have worked things out?” 

He nodded. Willing the slumping sensation to stay far from his chest was futile. 

She gave him a small smile as consolation. He wrapped his arm around her shoulder and they realized that they were finally warm down to their bare toes that lingered in the sand. 

“Don’t be sad here. Please.” 

“I’ll try. And my answer is yes.” 

They didn’t hear the pounding at the door of the house in the woods. If they had, it might have alarmed them. But they slept on. 

Freedom XV

“Tasha? You all right?” Aidan’s voice echoed with anxiety as he unlocked the front door and came inside. 

“Yes,” she replied shakily. “I heard something and thought… I don’t know what I thought.” Sleep had tried to claim her as she recalled their past but the noise had made any trace of restfulness disappear. 

“It was just the postal carrier,” Aidan said, wincing as he sat down on the bed. He stared into the air above Tasha’s head. There was very little for either of them to say. During the investigation, they’d seen enough poisoning cases to know that their fate was sealed. In a weird way, the absence of questions and what-ifs was a comfort. No false hope could crush them.

“Will you sit with me till I fall asleep?” 

He smiled tenderly. “Of course I will.” Once he did so, he drifted off as well. 

Freedom XIV

Tasha felt restless while Aidan was gone. As much as the house and its reminders of the man she had once loved and grew to love again comforted her, she was still aware of the dangers that lurked beyond its confines. 

She wasn’t strong enough to latch a deadbolt or look out the window, so she distracted herself with memories of how happy they had been when together again on their secret project. 

The first time their eyes met since the separation was full of tension but familiarity. It really hadn’t been a shock to find each other on the same task force. When Aidan’s boss had announced that Aidan and Tasha were to work together, an irrational hope had risen in her heart. Could they rekindle their past love, this time without jealousy? 

A noise outside the window started Tasha from her reverie. Had they found her? 

Freedom XIII

Tasha began to stir on the guest room bed as Aidan was caught unguarded, tears streaming down his face as he recalled their failed marriage, and how they’d wasted time on petty arguments and insecurities. 

She tried to push herself upright but he stopped her.  

.Not a good idea,” he murmured. “You collapsed outside, I brought you here.” 

Tasha blinked hazily. “This is your house?” She examined the minimalist decor, typical of the young, single man he was when he’d lived there. “I like it.” She let her head drop back onto the pillow. 

“It is. I wish I’d brought you here sooner,” he said gently. 

“How’s your arm?” 

“Not bad.”

“You’re lying,” she said, nearly slurring with exhaustion. 

“Yeah, maybe. Get some rest, ok? I have to go get some groceries.” 

“I’ll be here,” she sighed before falling back into a fevered sleep.

Freedom XII

Aidan carried Tasha into the house as her body went limp from the pain. He stifled a flinch as his arm prosted at shifting her as he reached down for the key. 

In the early days of their marriage, everything had felt so right. Tasha finished medical school as Aidan completed his training with the FBI. Their lives stretched before them with promise like the seemingly endless coastal highway upon which they drove to California for their honeymoon. Upon their return to Portland, the trouble had started. Aidan quickly grew jealous of Tasha’s relationship with her mentor at university hospital and she resented his frequent classified trips. 

Within eighteen months, they had stopped talking during the infrequent meals they managed to share. It was only after their separation that the hospital began seeing cases of poisoned water patients, alerting the FBI because of suspected terrorism. 

Aidan and Tasha were suddenly back in each other’s lives, not as lovers but colleagues. Until colleagues became lovers again. 

Freedom XI

“We’re almost there,” Aiden said as Tasha guided the car through the small town he’d once called home. 

“It’s beautiful,” Tasha remarked as she gazed at the profusion of pine trees and blue sky. 

“Turn here. The house on the left.” 

Tears sprang to Tasha’s eyes at the sight of the two story Victorian house. Her heart beat wildly as she could think only one thing: this could have been our home if we hadn’t gotten into this mess. 

“Tasha? You ok?” 

“I’m fine,” she pasted on a fake smile. “Just thinking about the old days.” 

“The key is under the welcome mat. Want to go in? I’ve kept it in my name all these years.” 

“Sure.” She closed the car door and noticed the earth begin to sway under her feet. 

Aiden was instantly at her side, helping her stand. 

“It’s starting,” she groaned, helpless in his strong arms.