T W E N T Y - The 49ners

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"Take the bench, I'll check on her first."

Wyatt was about to ring the bell when he noticed the front door cracked open. He narrows his eyes in caution and proceeds into the house.

"Josslyn?" He calls her name and walks toward the living room. He sees her sitting on the hardwood floor, head pressed firmly against the expansive window. She wears nothing except a cotton thigh length nightshirt, her slender smooth leg curved in a mermaid position as she slumps toward the window. The remaining day's light cast off her entire body, creating a streak of shadow against the floor as her hair illuminates brighter than a mid-summer sunset.

She turns toward Wyatt, her eyes red and puffy from crying. Like her cheeks, they are sunken in, and her face has become pale thin with no sign of life. It's been two weeks since he's last seen her. How much weight has she lost?

As though caring less a trespasser had just entered her home, Josslyn silently leans her head against the window, returning into a statute-like trance.

Wyatt edges his way along the kitchen island and notices a rope laying beside a wooden stool. He glances up and notices a wooden beam hanging a foot from the ceiling. His face grows pale. Holy shit. She's suicidal. He uses his foot to nudge the rope away from the stool.

Making his way toward her, he sits on the wooden chair directly across from her, "Josslyn." He searches for her face, but she turns further toward the window, a passive sign for him to go away. Everything suddenly begins to make so much more sense.

He carries with him only one lifetime and life is already tough enough. But given Josslyn's childhood abuse, six additional lifetimes, depression, a most likely case of PTSD, throw in an invisible man and all this becomes a climatic collision to make anyone want to end it all. No amount of burning attics could right all these wrongs. She needs professional help.

"Where's Edwin, Josslyn?" Wyatt asks.

"Edwin left me." She says without emotion. Her voice is raspy, lifeless, and slightly bitter.

"What? W-when did he leave?"

"A week and a half ago." She presses her forehead harder against the window. "One day he just quietly left. I've looked everywhere in this house but I can't find him. He left because I don't deserve him. I've wronged him."

"Josslyn," Wyatt felt a stab of shame. "If anything, I - I pushed you into... sleeping with me. You never initiated it, I did. I mean, I would have never done that to you if I'd known you were married. I - I wish you hadn't lied about - "

"Edwin was using you to protect me. He knew you were interested in me and he exploited your affection for me. He wanted you to fight for me if need be. He wanted you as my bodyguard while he searched for Phillip." She glares at Wyatt, "what are you going to do now, Officer Johnson, arrest me and my husband?" Her voice slices thin air.

Wyatt fell into shock. How could he have been so blind? All this time he blamed her as the culprit of the plan when in reality, Edwin was controlling the reigns. He felt a jolt of anger but suppressed it, there's a time and place to have that conversation and now he had more important matters to attend to.

"You don't know where Edwin is?"

She shakes her head, "I head out into the mountains each day. Stand and wait in the meadow, our meeting spot, but he doesn't show. He's not here. He's gone. He left me." She buries her face in her hands.

Resisting the urge to cradle her, Wyatt sits on the floor across from her. "Josslyn, Edwin wouldn't leave you."

"How do you know?"

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