Agnosiophobia. The fear of the unknown.

Tracey Jones' life changed drastically one night when her home was robbed and her family were abducted by a German circus.

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1. agnosiophobia

I heard a crash and woke with a start. I creeped out of my room and it appeared I was they only one awake, i walked downstairs in my state of semi-consciousness to investigate the sound, assuming it was my cat , Dog. I know what you're thinking, why on earth would she call her cat Dog? Or if you're the more optimistic or YOLO type as my generation like to say, you might think that's the best name a cat could ever have and that's exactly what I thought when I was ten. Naming Dog Dog was purely for my own amusement when anyone who didn't know that I got a cat came to the house i would show them 'my new dog'. When I got downstairs I saw Dog outside the window. I stopped outside the kitchen door I heard footsteps. I ran into the sitting room as quietly as I could and realised everything from the change on the coffee table to the crystal of the chandelier was gone, I scanned the room for a weapon of self defence I was hoping the intruders had left a shot gun or something lying around but the best I could find was a baseball bat. I opened the sitting room door, peeped into the hallway and saw there was no one there I took extra care when closing the door so as not to make a sound, then, the bat was swiped from my hand in one swift movement I ran back into the sitting room, trying to scream but not a sound came out. I felt a striking pain on the back of my head, i tried to keep running but the floor felt like quicksand. My vision blurred at the edges, then it was completely gone.

I woke up 44 days later, on May 6th in a hospital bed. Something started to beep and a nurse rushed in. She was a slim woman with blonde hair and freckles, about 5ft tall. She told me I had been asleep for just over 6 weeks due to a head injury. My doctor told me more about the injury which was mostly just confirming what I remembered, I asked about my family and he said a police officer would be in to talk to me later. I spent those two hours worrying, imagining the terrible things that could have happened to them, wondering what was so bad that the doctor couldn't have told me himself. The police officer came in that evening introduced herself as Margaret Butler asked me a few questions about what I remembered. I told her everything; it was the middle of the night, there was a man robbing our house, I didn't know him, none of my family appeared to be out of bed, I was hit in the head by the man robbing our house. I asked about my parents, although I wasn't sure if I really wanted to know the answer. Margaret said that the police weren't sure where my parents or sister were but my brother was with my aunt and said he ran there in the dead of night. I was relieved to hear my brother was safe, he is the youngest in my family, he turned 7 in February. Aside from my brother being safe I had pretty much guessed what had happened they were gone and no one knew where or even if they were alive.

That night I had the same re-occurring nightmare, i didn't honestly know what was going on but I did know it terrified me. When I woke up I thought about my dream while staring at the search bar of a dream meanings website, but I couldn't put it into words. After a few hours of pondering on words to describe my nightmare I decided it was no use. I turned off the ipad loaned to me by the hospital and watched tv, to take my mind off things more than anything. At 11am my aunt, Jennifer, came to see me, she's the aunt my brother, Thomas, is staying with. She brought me a few magazines, a phone with all my friends contacts on it, she had given it to my friend, Sarah, to install apps and add in contacts, and a bundle of cards from classmates and one from all the teachers in school. We talked for a while avoiding the subject of my family, apart from Thomas who was our main topic of the evening. He was picked for the school soccer team and they were through to the semi-final of their devision. She left to collect Thomas and said she'd bring him with her when she visits. For the rest of the evening I caught myself up on the latest Hunger Games news and and reminded my taste buds of the heavenly delight that is pizza.

Thomas came by the next day and almost stabbed me in the eye with a syringe he found on a nurse's cart which was left unattended, thank God I blinked or I would be blind at least until the anaesthetic wore off from my eye. Aside from that not much happened in the visit. The best thing was that for the first time in 47 days I laughed, after all the pain and tragedy it felt good to just relax and share a few jokes. When Jenn and Thomas left I started to cry the loss of my family that could last forever had finally hit my full blow, like a bus at full speed hitting a completely unaware deer. I hadn't yet cried for my family but now that I had started it seemed like a never ending, uncontrollable sob. I buried my face in my pillow to hide wipe the tears and mute the sound, by the time I had stopped my pillow was drenched. I looked up and my nurse, Jane was standing in the door way with an empathetic look on her face and a clean pillow in her hand. She approached my bed slowly, " I'll admit I never really know what to do when I see a patient crying from emotional pain, if it's physical I can just give them a pain killer but unfortunately they don't work in this kind of situation, all I really want to do is cry myself because no one, especially someone young like you shouldn't have to go through this. I brought you this" she said as she extended her arms, offering me the cushion then she gave me a packet of kleenex "I think you might need these, darling, I know I would". I wish I was able to talk then, and tell her that her that she was a lot better at comforting than she gave herself credit for and thank her for everything but who knows how many hours of crying that would have led to. She really was a terrific nurse and I missed her when I finally left that hospital, she always went that extra mile unlike some of the other nurses whom I had experienced in the past who would begrudge you for asking them for your dinner or a glass of water or anything at all that would require them to get up and move.

I was let out of the hospital a week later and went to live with my Jenn. She had one of the guest rooms decorated just for me which I thought was very sweet. I went back to school the following Monday and it felt good to get back into routine, although I wasn't too keane on waking up at 7am. I was called out of school in the middle of the day, I was told it was a family emergency by the secretary. Outside the school gate three police officers and Jenn were waiting for me, one policeman got out of the car and introduced himself "hey Tracey, I'm Colin. Sorry to take you out of school with such little notice, we'd like you to come down to the station with us." He then opened the back door of the squad car and I got in. It was a short drive to the station, when we got there we all went into a small room and sat around a table. Colin took out a file labelled 'The Jones Case'. He took a map of Seattle out of the file it had three red dots on it, he explained that one dot was where we are, the second where my family were when they found them, at this point I shouted "what?! you found them!", i was instructed to leave all questions until after he had explained and the third dot was where they expect them to be now. They told us they now have a tracker on a circus train that they were seen being forced onto, they said the good news is they're alive, the bad news is it will be hard to save them and they can't promise they will be able to. It's times like these I wish I was younger, Thomas doesn't have to have this keep him up at night, he's twelve he won't be able to handle it if it's too late when we get to the train, it's best if he doesn't find out the possibility, they said, the four years don't make much of a difference I don't think I can handle this, if it's too late when we get there I can't imagine what it will be like. I don't have many fears; I'm not scared of spiders, clowns, heights or boats, but I do have one fear, not knowing what comes next or what will happen, the words might and could scare me, I hate the uncertainty. I fear the unknown, or as it's uncommonly known agnosiophobia.

Two weeks or 13 nights with no sleep later we followed the circus train for two days until it stopped. My uncle Peter was minding Thomas while we were gone. The train finally pulled over and so did we the police apart from the driver ran out of the van and pursued the train. They got into the train and we waited impatiently in the van, suddenly we heard gun shots, I don't know why but i got out of the van and ran into the train. I entered the back carriage and saw my father, unshaven, unwashed being held at gunpoint with a gun aimed at... Me. The man holding my father started shouting in a foreign language... German! I speak German! I thought to myself. He was repeating the same phrase again and again, Do it, he was saying do it. My dad was crying, he was holding a gun aimed at my with another gun to his head. I realised I had not moved since I saw him, i looked beside me, Colin was dead on the ground and I was standing in his blood. "Dad, no" I cried. The man hit dad with his gun and shouted again. Dad looked at him then at me, he then said "goodbye Tracey", he turned the gun on himself and pulled the trigger. I ran forward, screaming as my eyes filled with tears. I heard the bang, I felt the pain but I never saw it coming, the German man shot me in the neck, I sank to the floor next to my father and my vision went.

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