The story begins…

For the eighth time, Kelly checked the maps. Those would be essential. If nothing else, Kelly was sure of that.

The message last night had been vague. "I miss you. Are you coming back?" It had taken Kelly a sleepless night of tossing and turning to come up with the answer.

"Yes," Kelly thought. "Yes, I'm going back. Hang on."

The old green backpack couldn't hold much more and still be manageable. It even included some water and a little food. And Kelly had the maps, of course.

"Will we even recognize each other when I get there?" thought Kelly. "It's been three years."

"Pep-talk time," Kelly whispered. "You can do this. You're ready." Kelly frowned, not believing the whisper for an instant.

Leaving a quick note next to the oven – "I can't say where I've gone and I don't know when I'll be back" – Kelly headed to the door and paused. There was one more thing. Doctor Van Holt. Kelly could make a quick visit, just to get it over with, or skip it.

"Which is scarier, I wonder," thought Kelly. "Hearing what Doctor Van Holt has to say, or worrying that I'll find out later?"

When she knocked on the door, it swung open, exposing Van Holt, sitting on the floor playing with toy army vehicles. He looked a bit surprised, pushed his toys to the side and greeted Kelly, "yes, yes, I'm glad you could keep your appointment, Kelly. Sorry about the toys, I sometimes play army to relieve stress."

Meanwhile, Perry adjusted the video camera to look at the visitor. He was curious as it was the first time he had seen anyone in Dr. Van Holt's office, other than Van Holt himself.

"As I was telling you earlier, Perry wanted to meet you before his travels. I can see he is watching us now as the video camera light is on. Knowing you are his travel agent, he wants to ask you about his journey. I think he is a bit nervous as it will be the first time he has ever left the building. Do you think you could answer a few questions for him?"

"Answer a few questions for him?" Kelly shakes her head abruptly. "No. I was a fool to come here. Should have known better."

"Kelly! You're making a mistake you know you need-"

"No!" Kelly screamed, wrenching open the door. "I don't need anymore of your damned pills, Holt!"

"Kelly! You can't leave without-"

The girl slammed the door shut behind her, & sprinted down the hallway. It wasn't right, that man couldn't control her, or force her to take any more medication. Who said she needed it? What was the worst that could happen without it.

Kelly left Van Holt's office without looking back, & got into her car. Next stop was the bay, to find a quick boat. The girl threw her purse onto the passenger seat, & it tipped, spilling its contents over the leather seat. Among them was a large pill bottle, still full.

Kelly tightened her lips together as she noticed the pills, and wondered how badly she'd need them on her journey.

Kelly turned her eyes back to the road, but found that she was sneaking glances back at the pills. A semi blew a long blast on its horn as Kelly veered halfway into its lane, and Kelly's hands shook as she jerked the car back into her own lane.

That panic again. She could feel her whole body vibrating, as if she were plugged into an electrical outlet. As if she had leaned too far back in her chair and wasn't sure if she would tip over.

Without looking, Kelly reached for the pills, opened the bottle with a practiced one-handed twist, grabbed one and popped it in her mouth. She swallowed.

The pill worked quickly. Within a minute, the first wave of calm had washed over her. Within another minute, a wave of euphoria. Kelly wondered once again if these pills were stronger than they needed to be. Why did Van Holt insist on giving her medication this strong? It was as if she were one of his damned army toys and he was moving her around on the carpet. She didn't need...

Then the second, stronger wave of euphoria arrived, and Kelly was sure that Van Holt was right. This is what she needed. This is how she was supposed to feel. This was...

Kelly's eyes opened. It was dusk. Her car was on the side of the highway, key still in the ignition. She grimaced, stretched her neck, and tried the key. Nothing. The battery was dead. How could she let something like this happen again? She needed to get to the bay!

She carefully replaced the pills in her bag, opened the door of her car, and stepped out. The air was cold, and she shivered.

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