Something Is Wrong


cedric_icon.gif hesser_icon.gif

Scene Title Something is Wrong
Synopsis Have you ever woken up screaming from a sound sleep?
Date April 16, 2021

The sound of a high-pitched scream pierces the night.

Cedric Hesser sits up with a startle in his bed, he feels his wife Carol moving beside him, rolling to turn on the bedside lamp. She looks as alarmed as would be expected, staring in half-waking confusion. When the screaming starts up again they're both sure it wasn't their imagination.

"Leah!" Cedric hisses, throwing his legs out of the bed. Carol is already putting on her glasses and grabbing her phone, dialing their security company. Cedric bounds out of the bed and bursts into the hall and the scream rises again. "Leah, baby!" Instinct twists Cedric as he thunders down the hall past the bathroom and practically bursts through Leah's bedroom door. There's no immediate sign of danger, her window is closed, but her blankets are tousled and she's nowhere to be found. "Leah? Honey?" Cedric asks, creeping into the room. He gets down on all fours, checking under the bed. No one.

As he stands up, Cedric sees his wife in the doorway. "I don't know," she says to someone on the other end of the phone, "can you send up a car? My husband can't find her." She mouths where is she? And Cedric throws his hands frustratedly out to the side.

"Leah?!" Cedric yells, followed immediately by another high-pitched scream. "Downstairs!" He shouts to Carol, pushing past her.

"Your gun!" Carol yelps after him, and Cedric rushes past the stairs and back into his bedroom. He quickly draws a handgun from his night stand and then a magazine of ammunition from his wife's. Loading the gun, Cedric hurries out of the bedroom as another high-pitched scream fills the air. Cedric bounds down the curving staircase, running into the kitchen.

"Leah, honey? Where are you? Call for daddy!" Cedric shouts, panic overwhelming his better senses. He leads with his gun around a corner, weaving into the kitchen and turning on lights as he goes. Another sharp scream reverberates down the hall ahead of him and he calls back up to Carol. "Garage! Garage!" He can hear her shouting information to the security contractors on the phone as he hurries down the hall. When he sees the hallway door to the garage open a crack his heart climbs up into his throat.

Bursting through the door into the garage, Cedric misses a step, trips, and falls straight into the side of the SUV parked inside the garage. His bare feet prickle with cold against the concrete floor. Leah screams again and this time he can hear her nearby. Circling around the front of the SUV, he finds her curled up in a tiny ball on the ground, blood covering her face from nose to chin.

"Oh my God," Cedric gasps, "Oh my God she's hurt!" He calls back to his wife who erupts into the garage, frantically searching for where he found her.

"Baby, baby, show me where you got hurt?" Cedric panics, setting his gun down on the hood of the SUV as he scoops Leah's tiny frame up into his arms. He searches her head and neck for injuries, for more blood. But all of it is staining the front of her shirt. That it's a nosebleed only confuses him more. "Baby what's wrong? Who did this?" Leah's eyes roll back into her head and Cedric curses under his breath. He turns to face Carol. "I'm taking her to the fucking hospital, get in."

Carol breezes past Cedric, grabbing his gun off the hood, phone still in her other hand. "I don't know," she says to the security team on the other end of the phone, "she's bleeding. She's—there's blood on the floor I don't know. No the alarms aren't going off. I don't know." She looks at Cedric who is busy stuffing Carol in the back seat of the SUV. "We're going to take her to the hospital where the fuck is the security team?"

Cedric circles past Carol, brushing a hand on her side. "Get in the car," he says, taking the phone from her as he circles around the back to get to the driver's side. "Hello? Is this Valiant security services?" He barks into the phone, barely waiting for a response. "Where the fuck is our security detail?!" He yells, throwing the driver's side door open and climbing into the SUV barefoot in his pajamas. Carol had the good sense to grab a jacket on her way out to the garage. "I don't care if—"

Leah screams again, clutching her head and dragging her fingers down the side of her face. Cedric ends the call and throws the phone into the center console, twisting around to look at Leah. "Baby, baby what's wrong?" He asks, touching her knee as she writhes on the seat. "Baby—"

"Just fucking drive!" Carol shouts, slapping the garage door opener. The mechanical whirring of the garage door hums inside the SUV as Cedric turns and presses the ignition. The electric car whirrs to life and Cedric watches the garage doors open in the rear-view mirror.

Leah screams again and this time Carol is the one to turn around and reach back, trying to grab her daughter's hand. "Honey—sweetie—it's be alright we're going to the hospital. Hold on to mommy," she says, trying to thread her fingers between her daughter's smaller ones.

Leah screams again and Cedric throws the SUV into reverse and pulls out of the garage the moment the door is open enough. It's still low enough to scrape across the roof. He rolls backwards down the driveway, throws the car into drive and turns around on the front lawn before roaring out onto the street as Leah kicks and screams in the back, blood spotting the seat where her face presses against it. One of her eyes goes bloodshot and Carol crawls between the seats to get in the back with her daughter.

As Cedric drives he keeps looking into the rear view mirror. "I don't—I don't know what's wrong with her." He says, helplessly.

When Leah screams again Carol takes her daughter's hand and squeezes it tightly. "I'm here baby," Carol says with tears in her eyes. "I'm here. Mommy's here. We're all here."

"It's wrong." Leah whispers through the pain, blood dripping off her chin. Carol's eyes widen and she looks up to meet Cedric's eyes in the rear view.

"What—what's wrong baby?" Carol asks, misinterpreting the vague statement. "What hurts honey is it your head?"

"It's all wrong," Leah whimpers, clutching her head. "Mom." She says in a strained whine. "Mom."

Carol cradles Leah's head to her chest, looking helplessly at Cedric. "What's wrong baby, you can tell me," she says with creaking tightness in her voice.

"Something is wrong," Leah whines, trembling against her mother. "Something is wrong," she repeats over and over again.

Carol runs her fingers through Leah's hair, meeting her husband's eyes in the rear view again. Neither of them know what this is, or what it could possibly mean.

"Something is wrong."


An Instant and Forever Yet…


The muffled voice barely brings Leah Hesser back to consciousness. Finding herself seated on the metal floor makes the sensation of vertigo even worse. The blurry shape looming over her lowers into a crouch. She feels hands on her shoulders and squirms against them.

"Hesser, are you alright?"

Groaning, Leah brushes the hands off of her shoulders, but grabs ahold of the blurry figure's arm to pull herself to stand. It's then that she sees droplets of blood on the floor, then wipes the back of her hand across her mouth and it comes back red. Her vision focuses, and she sees the man leaning worriedly over her more clearly now.


"You look like shit, what happened?" Harper asks, reaching into his jacket and producing a handkerchief. Because of course he has one. Leah doesn't say anything but takes the handkerchief none the less and wipes at her nose and mouth with it. She looks up at him and he squints at her, worriedly.

"I don't know," Hesser finally says under her breath, then looks at the door she collapsed near. "Something's wrong, I need to tell Richard."

"He just sat down," Harper says with a hand hovering near her shoulder. "He's clearly been through a lot. You shouldn't—" Hesser pushes past Harper, throwing his handkerchief back at him in a wadded up ball. The sound of his disappointment masks the slight disgust at the blood he gets on his hands. Hesser knocks on the door to Richard's office, then braces against the wall when the hallway jostles. She looks back at Harper, wondering if he felt that too.

"Turbulence." Harper confirms, and Hesser grabs the handle to Cardinal's office. "Hesser don't—"

"Sir? I'm sorry for barging in, but I need to—" Leah cut herself off in mid-sentence. There's a song playing on a battered old radio on his desk, chair slowly swiveling as if Richard had just been sitting in it.

Child, when all else is taken away

Harper stands behind Hesser, looking into the empty office that should hold their leader. Hesser steps in, then turns around and looks back at Harper, one of her eyes bloodshot red.

Remember me and I will show you the way home

"Something is wrong."


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