While I Lay Sleeping

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He was the only person to leave the movie theatre crying.  It was an action film.  Nobody cries at action films.  But Liam Neeson’s daughter had been taken.  And he had a particular set of skills.  He had the connections to track down the criminals who had imprisoned his daughter.  He had the nerve to kill them.  Robin had none of these.

And Robin’s daughter had been taken…in real life.  It was seventeen years ago.  He thought he had managed to put the thought of her behind him; placed the memory of Shana in a pocket in the back of his brain so that he could choose when and where he would think of her. 

But then one night, a few days earlier, he got an anonymous text.  It said only “Help me Daddy”.

The air arround him seemed to drop twenty degrees and hairs on his arms bristled as if a ghost had entered his bedroom.

Was it some kind of joke?  Was it sent to him by accident?  If it was from Shana, why had she not given him something to go on?  Had she been interrupted?  Why had she not contacted him sooner?  And if it was her…what was he supposed to do about it?

He wasn’t a former member of the CIA.  He was a former member of Army counter-intelligence.  It sounded like an exciting title…but he had merely tapped telephones.  He couldn’t leap off of bridges.  He couldn’t fling his limbs about with the precision of a martial artist.  He could interpret the English language for tells and he could type and monitor radio and telephone traffic like nobody’s business…at one time.  He could break into buildings and tap telephones, sure…but whose?  And didn't everyone use cell phones these days.  You can't tap a cell phone...can you?  

But hadn’t he made the same promise to Shana that Liam Neeson had made in ‘Taken’?  Hadn’t he promised her that he would never let her down; protect her from the evil in this world?  Or was his just a father’s attempt to sooth a child's imaginary fear with no actual ability to follow through?

In any event he did nothing.  Without any further information to go on he assumed that it was an errant text from a child in need of a ride, or rescue from an ambitious lover.  Who knew?  The phone number was blocked.

He would have taken it to the police if he thought for a minute that it actually meant something.  But here he was walking from the theatre, his face reddened from wiping away tears with his raw hands, as though he had just watched 'The Notebook'.  "How pathetic", he thought.  

But then how pathetic was it to go to a movie alone?  

Alone he was, and had been for most of the years since Shana had gone missing.  His marriage had ended in divorce.  His wife Peggy blamed him, and in return he had blamed her.  But they had both consented for their daughter to go on spring break with her classmates.  She was almost eighteen at the time.  "Everyone else's parents are letting them go!" she pleaded. 

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