Tough Karma: A Race Against Time

Bryce was driving down the highway when he heard her panicked voice, “BRYCE,


heard it again two more times before it stopped. The tiny flicker of doubt he had about whether

or not he was doing the right thing was gone. He replied, hoping she could hear him, “Amber

baby, I’m on my way to get you. Hang in there; I WILL find you.” The desperation in her voice

was heart wrenching, and tears ran down his face while he flew down the highway, not caring if

he got pulled over for a speeding ticket. He no longer wanted Mike to end up in jail. He wanted

to be the one to put him in the ground and wished he had taken out a hit on him. He blamed

himself for not doing that, knowing she would be home safe and happy with him instead of being

at the mercy of a madman who would probably beat, rape, and kill her. He continued down the

road, fantasizing about the many different ways he would like to torture and kill Mike. He vowed

to make him pay.


She regained consciousness when they pulled into the driveway of his Georgia safe

house. It was pitch dark except for the porch light he always left on. She looked down at her

hands and saw she was handcuffed again. She attempted to move her feet and noticed he had

shackled her ankles.

“Welcome home, baby,” he said with an ominous smile. “How do you feel?”

“What do you think? I feel like total shit thanks to you!” she retorted hatefully.

He smacked her and replied, “Just for that you’re sleeping in the shed tonight and every

night until you learn to be nice.” She decided to hold her tongue because she didn’t want to get

hit again . . . Good. Put me in the shed. As long as you’re not there, I’ll enjoy it.

He put on a hat with a single headlamp. It was similar to something a coal miner would

wear and helped her out of the Jeep. They walked toward the shed, and she noticed its few

windows were boarded up.

“Just so you know, this shed locks from the outside only. You won’t be able to escape, so

don’t waste your energy trying,” he stated unlocking the door, and they stepped inside. She

cringed at the surroundings. A single light bulb was the only light fixture, the furniture was

broken and torn, and there was a toilet sitting out in the open with a small shower stall next to it.

Makeshift stairs led to a loft area supported by heavy wooden beams from below. A mattress on

the floor without box springs was the sole piece of furniture in this loft like area. The bed was

made with just a fitted sheet and a matching plain sheet to cover up with, no pillow, blanket or

bedspread. Even though they were in the south, the night was cool. The shed smelled old and

musty. She was tired and cold, shivering, and starting to feel nauseous.

“Goodnight, my dear. I hope you have a pleasant rest, and I’ll see you later this

morning,” he said without emotion.

“Are you going to leave me handcuffed and shackled all night?” she asked in disbelief.

His smile was sinister, and he replied, “Aw, poor baby. The pretty princess has to suffer a

little bit of discomfort.” He then glared at her and said, “Deal with it,” and turned and walked out 

the door. She listened to the sound of the lock latching into place and was glad he was gone, for

now at least. The nausea was rising, and she held it while she hobbled to the toilet and then

vomited something that smelled terrible and looked even worse, she promptly flushed it down . .

. At least the toilet works. This place is horrible . . . she thought and started crying.

She said out loud, “Bryce, please hurry. I know he’s going to kill me because I won’t

surrender. I love you so much.” She didn’t hear a reply from him like she did in her dream and

breathed a heavy sigh . . . Maybe his voice in my dream was just part of the dream and not real.

Maybe we can only communicate telepathically when we are both in altered states. She slowly

stumbled her way up the shoddy staircase trying her best to function with shackled legs and

handcuffs and collapsed on the mattress. Her head was spinning, her stomach was growling, and

she was thirsty. She imagined how delicious a cold glass of water would be and eventually

drifted off to sleep.


Bryce stopped for the night in a hotel. He was planning to drive straight through to

Georgia nonstop and changed his mind thinking he needed to visit the astral plane and look in on

her. It was difficult for him to fall asleep but he finally did around 3:30 a.m. He thought of her

and was at her side seconds later . . .

. . . He sees her in the shed asleep on top of the mattress and bristles at the

handcuffs and shackles binding her limbs. He sits on the mattress, takes her hands in

both of his even though he can’t actually hold and feel them from this dimension.

“Amber, sweetheart, I’m right here. I’m on my way so please hang in there; I love you,”

he said. He gets a sudden idea to send out a warm, golden light to surround her thinking

it might provide comfort and warmth in the chilly shed. He focuses intently, and it flows

out from him to her and soon fills the entire shed. A strange thing happened next. As he

continued looking at her face, he could see her dreaming of a beach and inserted his

astral body into it.

She is having a romantic dream where she and Bryce are drinking something cold

and fruity. They are sitting on a beach blanket looking out to sea. The sun feels warm on

their skin, and the water is clear and blue. She becomes lucid in this dream and reaches

over to kiss him. The dream is so real she can taste the fruity drink on his mouth when

they kiss. “I’m glad we decided to take our honeymoon here,” he said and kissed her


“We could have gone anywhere, and it would be perfect,” she said smiling and

looking in his eyes. Their sweet moment is interrupted by the sound of a blaring horn,

and he is jolted back into the hotel room . . .


“DAMN IT! What’s going on?” he states angrily, throws off the covers and gets out of

bed. Looking out the window, he sees that someone’s car alarm is going off. The car’s headlights

are flashing, and the sound is deafening. He continues looking out the window at the car and sees

a man running out of the building in a robe and slippers to stop the noise . . . Peace at last . . . he

thought. I need to get back and continue my visit. I hope she remembers our encounter when she

wakes up. I should go visit Mike and torment him in his sleep. I don’t think I can kill him from

the astral plane, and I’d rather save that for our face-to-face confrontation. I can torment him,

though. Yeah, I think I’ll do that . . . he gets back into bed and focuses once more on slipping out

to the astral plane. It doesn’t take as long this time because he was calmed from seeing Amber

and enjoying that precious moment on the beach with her . . .

. . . He is standing over Mike’s bed and decides to send him an arctic blast. Using

the same technique for manifesting the healing light, he focuses on creating a cold block

of ice and gradually builds it, so it surrounds Mike’s sleeping body. He holds the ice

block in place with his thoughts. He conjures up an astral ice dagger and plunges it

through Mike’s stomach. Mike wakes up clutching his stomach and shivering.

“Why is it so fucking cold?” he complains and continues to shiver. “Shit, my

stomach hurts! Get out, demons, LEAVE!” He jumps out of bed holding his stomach,

runs to the bathroom, turns on the water, takes off his clothes and steps into the warm

shower. The problem is, he can’t seem to warm up. Bryce continues to torment him with

the astral ice and despite the warm shower, he remains cold. He can’t get warm, so he

turns off the shower, dries off and puts on a heavy robe. He gets back into bed and pulls

up the covers, trying desperately to get warm.

Bryce enjoys watching Mike’s discomfort and decides to do one more thing before

going to check on Amber. He creates a pair of brass knuckles, slips his fingers through

them and punches Mike’s face as hard as he can, even though his fist goes right through

his cheek.

“OUCH!” he yells and touches his face with his ice cold hand. Bryce smiles,

leaving Mike to his misery.

He appears at Amber’s bedside, and she’s no longer sleeping on her back. She

has curled into a semi-fetal position. He studies her handcuffs and shackles and creates

an astral saw. “It’s a long shot I’ve got to try,” he says attempting to saw through the

chain on her handcuffs. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. The saw slips right through the

chain without cutting it. “I can affect people on a psychic level with the things I create

here but not physical objects,” he realizes as he lies down behind her and wraps his

astral body around her. “Amber, I hope on some level you can hear me, sweetheart. I

love you so much,” he says telepathically.

She starts to move and slowly rolls over to face him. He looks into her eyes and

sees that she is in a sleepwalking state. “Please get me out of here! I know he’s going to

kill me, it’s just a matter of time,” she replies via telepathy in a frightened voice. “I’m sorry about this. I should have stayed with Jenny while she talked to Theresa instead of

wandering off.”

“I understand. I wish I had told Jenny about Mike stalking you before you went

shopping together. In this dimension, I can’t affect physical objects, or I would have

gotten rid of your cuffs and shackles and opened the door for you to run,” he replied.

“I love you, sexy guy. I know you’ll get here, please be careful,” she replied. He

continued looking into her emotionless eyes, astonished at what was going on behind her

stare and thinking their situation was incredibly bizarre. “I think it’s really weird too,”

she said telepathically, reading his thoughts.

He smiled and replied, “You’re the other half of my soul. I can’t imagine living

without you.”

“Same here. You put it so nicely. Maybe you should write poetry,” she said.

“If I do, all the poems will be about you,” he replied.

“That rhymes. You’re off to a great start,” she remarked. “Will you stay with me

until one of us wakes up?”

“If you wake up first I’m going to stay, even though you won’t remember any of

this and won’t know I’m here. Like I said before, I love being around you whether you’re

happy, sad, mad, or somewhere in between.”

“You make everything better,” she stated. “I wish I could kiss you right now. If

we get out of this alive, I want to spend an entire day in bed doing nothing but making

love with you.”

“Let’s plan on an entire week,” he replied and then took all of the love he felt in

his heart and sent it to her.

“Oh . . . Bryce . . . That feels magical,” she whispered, delighting in the warm,

ecstatic feeling of complete and total joy. A few seconds later she woke up . . .

As she became fully conscious, she had a feeling she wasn’t alone. She didn’t remember

the telepathic conversation she had with him, just a portion of a beautiful beach dream which

didn’t last long enough and ended with a loud, blaring sound. Even though she was in a terrible

place, she felt calm and rested and knew he was there in his astral form. She said out loud,

“Bryce, I want you to know that I love you beyond anything that makes sense. I have a feeling

it’s because of you that I feel better. You’ve given me strength to face my captor. Please be

safe. I want you to get here in one piece so you can beat the hell out of him or kill him. Either

one is fine with me. I want to watch. If I have an opportunity to escape, I’m going to take it and

borrow someone’s phone to call you.”

He was still there, lying next to her. He knew she wouldn’t be able to hear him, but he

responded anyway, “If you can escape, go for it and keep running. I will find you.” The sound of

a banging door and loud voices in the hotel hallway brought him back to his physical body, and

he decided it was time to take a shower and hit the road. He would soon discover the reason

behind the angry voices down the hall.


She got up an hour later after lying on the bed thinking of her plight and creating escape

scenarios in her head. She walked slowly down the stairs, cursing her shackles and cuffs. Her

head was clear and she looked around the dark and dingy shed wanting to kill Mike. She was

terribly thirsty and shuffled to the grimy, dirty sink hoping that the water would come out clear

and drinkable. She turned the knob, and the water looked clear. She leaned down taking a sip

from the running spigot. It tasted good, and she continued swallowing it. Her heart sank when

she heard the door unlatch, and Mike walked in. He was carrying several plastic bags.

“Good morning!” he said cheerfully setting the bags down on the torn vinyl sofa. She

thought for a brief second that he seemed like the old Mike and didn’t respond, just looked at

him with revulsion.

“Did you sleep okay?” he asked.


“Are you hungry?”

I am, but he might poison me . . . “No,” she stated coldly.

“Aw, come on. You have to eat something,” he said kindly. “I brought some fresh clothes

for you. They belonged to Donna, my bitchy ex-wife who left me. You’re about the same size;

I’m sure something in here will fit. The shower works, I think you should take one,” he said.

“There are no soap or towels,” she said . . . I wonder how many dead women have worn

Donna’s clothes.

“They’re in here,” he said pointing to one of the plastic bags.

“I can’t shower in cuffs and shackles!” she said hatefully.

His expression became sullen. He reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a gun and

pointed it at her, “You WILL take a shower. I’ll stay here and watch.” He tossed her the keys to

her handcuffs and shackles, and they landed on the floor in front of her. He was still pointing the

gun at her. “Unlock your chains, take off your clothes and get in the shower!”

Shit . . . he’s going to see me naked! With trembling hands, she freed herself from the

cuffs and shackles. “I’d appreciate it if you would turn around while I undress,” she said politely,

hoping the old Mike would return for a few moments.

He let out a wicked laugh and replied, “No. I want to see the goods. I want a preview of

what I’ll be enjoying later today. STRIP!”

She took off her clothes as he leered suggestively. “You’re lookin’ good. I’m going to

enjoy every inch of you, slowly. Now, walk over here and get your soap and towel.” He was

standing next to the bag containing those items and grabbed her bare bottom as she picked them

up. “Feels so good,” he said.

She winced and moved away quickly, shooting him a look of hate . . . I feel like vomiting

on you . . . “Can I get in the shower now?”

“Go,” he ordered waving the gun.

She turned on the water and took a shower, hastily washing her hair and body. She tried

to pretend he wasn’t watching her through the clear shower curtain and holding a gun. The water

began to get cold midway through and she finished quickly, leaving soap and shampoo residue

on her body. He stared hard at her while she dried off.

“I enjoyed that. There’s a comb and a hairdryer in this bag and toothpaste and a

toothbrush. Get dressed and I’ll be back shortly,” he ordered walking backward to the door, not

wanting to take his eyes off of her for a minute. He left when he reached the door and made sure

to lock it.

She breathed a sigh of relief and dried her hair. She didn’t want to wear Donna’s clothes

and decided to wear her own again, although she did rummage through the bag and choose a

clean pair of underwear. It felt great to be free of the handcuffs and shackles, and she was hoping

she’d be able to run when he came back. Twenty minutes later she heard the door unlock, and

her heart started racing . . . I’ve got to get out of here.

He entered the shed pointing his gun at her, “Why are you wearing yesterday’s clothes?”

“Because I want to,” she replied defiantly.

He was annoyed at her tone of voice and said, “Gather all these things and come on,

you’ll fix me breakfast in the house.” She picked up the items he brought earlier including the

toiletries and placed everything back into the plastic bags. She figured she wouldn’t be seeing

the shed again, and that filled her with dread.

They walked across the yard to his house, and she took a good look at her surroundings.

Just like the bad dream she had about him, she was in the middle of nowhere. He kept a tight grip

on her arm, and she knew that if she tried to run he would shoot her. They entered the house, and

he locked the door behind him.

“The kitchen’s to your left,” he stated, and they walked through the living room and into

the kitchen. “Now, take off all your clothes and cook me breakfast. I want scrambled eggs and

toast,” he laughed. “DO IT!”

I hope I live to watch you die . . . she thought and reluctantly took off her clothes and

placed them on a chair.

“That’s better, now fix me breakfast. Four eggs, scrambled,” he ordered, sitting at the

kitchen table holding his gun and watching her get the eggs out of the refrigerator and crack

them into the frying pan.