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A Messy Heap (Caitlin’s Story Continued, 6)

Randi Turkin 1 month ago

“It was urgent that we leave quickly, and here was Caitlin in a messy heap on the ground, probably unable to hike the fifteen minutes into the greenbelt where I’d planned to pitch a tent.”

Editor’s note: Caitlin’s journal ended abruptly on the evening of Sunday, May 24, the night before George Floyd was murdered. Now it’s over two months later, almost the middle of August, and obviously a lot of things have happened in the time that’s elapsed since we started posting Caitlin’s journal entries. It was an editorial decision on our part to let the journal run to completion before jumping in to say what had happened to Caitlin. You can start at “Caitlin’s Story Continued, 1” to catch up.

***

Nicole and I rushed to Caitlin who lay in a messy heap on the ground. We weren’t sure what had caused her fainting spell, but luckily she’d been standing at the edge of my front porch and her body had landed on lush St. Augustine grass rather than concrete.

Nicole immediately began tapping her cheeks to revive her, while I called loudly, “Wake up Caitlin! Wake up!” She opened her eyes a moment later but appeared very confused. “Please give me some water,” she whispered, trying to sit up. I quickly ran to my backpack, which was lying by the car, and grabbed a bottle of cold water. Then I went back in my house for some towels.

When I returned, Caitlin’s eyes appeared more focused than they had been before. It didn’t look as if she’d hit her head, thank god. I placed a cool towel on the back of her neck and she gave a soft moan. Nicole had filled her in on the moments before her collapse while I was in the house, and now Caitlin looked up at me and said: “So V knows where I am? Where I’ll be staying?”

I wracked my brain trying to remember exactly what I’d told V on the phone. I was pretty sure I’d said Caitlin would be camping out in a tent behind my house, not in the greenbelt near the train track. But it had been one of the most stressful days of my life — I was exhausted — and I couldn’t be certain of my exact words.

“Listen, Caitlin, don’t worry about that right now. You just fainted for no reason and I think you need to go to the –”

“No!” interrupted Caitlin. “I can’t go to the hospital. Don’t you understand?!”

Nicole began to explain our concerns, but Caitlin stopped her before she could finish.

“These people, whoever they are, found my husband in the middle-of-nowhere, Texas, and took him! He’s probably dead already. You take me to a hospital and they’ll kill me, too!”

She had a point. I still didn’t understand why we couldn’t go to the police (I’d learn her reasons later, after I’d read her journal). But the most pressing thing right now was to grab the key fob and journal from the ground next to my backpack, where they lay in plain sight. For sure, I didn’t want these things in my house or anywhere near me — particularly the key fob, which held vital info about a possible Covid vaccine, and which is what Caitlin’s assailants were after. It was urgent that we leave quickly, and here was Caitlin on the ground, probably unable to hike the fifteen minutes into the greenbelt where I’d planned to pitch a tent.

But she surprised us. With the swiftness of a jungle cat, she jumped up off the ground. “Which way are we headed?”

Nicole and I looked at each other uneasily. We knew Caitlin had lupus and should have been on her way to a doctor. At the same time, we wanted to get her in hiding ASAP, so I stuffed the journal and key fob into the top of my backpack, while Nicole put her arm around Caitlin’s waist, gently guiding her down the driveway toward the street. So much for social distancing, I thought.

***

We are publishing this story on Mondays and Wednesdays until it’s told in its entirety. We highly recommend starting at the beginning with our series of videos, when we first announced that Caitlin was missing til when we finally found her and met in person for the first time. If you’d like to start in the middle with her journal entries, click here

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