The Davenport home sat in a cul-de-sac of an older neighborhood. The roads were free of potholes and there were green and white street signs at the corner of each street. The Davenport yard was green and freshly cut even though the trees had begun shedding their red and gold leaves. An American flag was posted in the yard. Liza liked the home as soon as she saw it.
The bricked mailbox at the end of the drive sported the same address that was on Trina’s driver’s license. She’d never been there, she was sure, but Liza felt strangely at ease standing on the front porch.
“Put that back dammit!” A shrill voice yelled from the other side of the front door. However, when she pressed the glowing doorbell no one came.
Liza waited a few seconds before ringing the doorbell again adding a knock just in case the doorbell was busted.
Was that Trina on the other side of the door screaming? Liza knew how she’d deal if it was. There was no turning back now. She needed answers- fast. She’d made the trek to the Davenport home after she looked up Ophelia Davenport in the yellow pages and saw she shared the same address as Trina. Liza was desperate. Whoever was inside, was her best hope of keeping her alive.
Liza’s face burned from the cold. Her body felt stiff, but it felt good to be up and moving, She wasn’t used to staying still for long, injured or not. She wasn’t a fool either. She knew better than to try to move too quick before she got her energy back. However, she didn’t have much choice either. Liza had to fulfill her mission and right now that meant being Trina. Until Central came for her she had no choice.
Liza reached for the doorbell again but the door flew open before she could press it. A woman glared at Liza for several seconds. The woman was dark skinned, about Liza’s height, but rounder. She had to be in her mid-thirties Liza guessed but her clear smooth skin made her look younger. Was this Ophelia?
“Well la-de-fucking-da! Look what the cat done drug in,” the woman said sucking her teeth, “Well what do we owe the pleasure, Ms. Hollywood?”
Liza wanted to wipe the smug look off the woman’s face instantly. She couldn’t- at least not yet, but the thought was there. Liza was surprised just how visceral her reaction was. She did not know this woman, but something about her stomped all over the one nerve she had left. However, getting answers was more important so she kept her face impassive. Mad or not, she needed to get inside.
“You waiting for an invitation or something,” the woman said pursing her pink colored lips as she folded her arms in front of her.
Liza hesitated, but a gust of cold air slid beneath her jacket. Liza reached for the door handle and pulled. It was locked.
The woman’s plastic smile remained as she slowly raised her hand to click the lock open on the door with one chipped fingernail then turned and walked away. Liza really disliked the infuriating woman, but she hated the cold more.
Stepping inside the Davenport living room gave Liza the same deja vu feeling she had yesterday in the bookstore walking through the aisles. She hoped it meant she was getting closer to the truth. That the rest of her mission would come back and quickly.
“What’s wrong with you,” the young woman yelled over her shoulder as she walked further into the dark house.
“You done got hit in the head or something,” the young woman said stopping in the foyer to look Liza up and down.
Liza paused. An all too familiar calm returned. It was the feeling she got before she had to fight her way out of a brothel in Las Vegas. It was there when she had to fight back an angry mob in Kuwait. It was there when she escaped for the second time from that jail in Paris. It was there yesterday before she blacked out. She’d learned to use that feeling to her advantage. Central had taught her to do that. The calm grounded her and made her unstoppable.
She didn’t want to hurt the woman- not yet at least. Not until she got what she needed. There was obviously no love lost between the woman and Trina. For all she knew the woman could be the one who tried to kill Trina, but still Liza knew better than to make any assumptions just yet.
Liza followed the woman down the hallway. Her eyes checking for something to spark a memory, but her attention was focused on the woman in front of her. The first room off the hallway was a bedroom painted in blue. The rumpled bed sheets told her someone had used that room recently.
To her right there were two more closed doors which Liza assumed were bedrooms. She could hear music coming from one of them.
The hallway opened into a spacious kitchen. It was a chef’s kitchen, state of the art with all the latest stainless-steel appliances. Pots and pans hung from a rack above the butcher block table in front of the sink. There was a small den like area with a couch and chair directly opposite the kitchen and a television hung on the wall above the fireplace. Two large windows faced the back yard, and on the sills were rows of black figurines. They looked like antiques. If they were, Liza was sure all of the knick-knacks were worth a small fortune from the sheer number of them alone.
The home looked like what she always thought a grandmother’s house would look like, if she’d had a grandmother. However, the woman in front of her didn’t seem old enough to be someone’s grandmother. She also looked nothing like Trina.
The woman hadn’t asked anything about where Trina had been all night. She showed no concern for the woman’s absence at all. Liza said nothing.
The young woman didn’t stop she continued to walk through the kitchen to the back of the house.
“Excuse you, crazy,” the woman said before stopping at another closed door. The woman frowned as she opened the door behind her then backed into the small white tiled bathroom slamming the door closed.
Apparently, she’d passed. Exhaling, Trina felt the calm dissipate. She was in the Davenport’s house. She looked around quickly for anything that might give her a clue of who Trina was.
She was certain there would be no help coming from the angry woman behind the closed door.
Liza walked the rest of the hallway looking in each of the remaining two rooms briefly. Both were bedrooms one in pink and one in burgundy.
She wondered if one was Trina’s, but she didn’t have time to investigate just yet. She still didn’t know how many others were in the house? The house was much larger than it looked from the street as she walked around the spacious kitchen.
Liza turned in a full circle middle of the kitchen trying to figure out the familiar feeling she felt when she walked up the driveway but kept drawing a blank. There wasn’t any one thing that stood out, but something was starting to feel familiar.
Liza walked back to the front of the house to the open bedroom she passed earlier, and looked in quickly. She tried the doorknob of the closed door but it was locked so she moved on. Walking back into the dark living room she found the light switch and turned it on.
As soon as the light went on, she gasped.
The walls were full of brown and black faces staring back at Liza from shiny picture frames. Most of the faces looked similar to each other, except one- hers, or Trina’s.
There were several pictures of Trina hanging from the wallpapered walls. Liza didn’t recognize any of the people in them other than Trina. Liza felt an odd feeling growing in the pit of her stomach.
The resemblance was eerie. It was her face but Liza knew it wasn’t. It was Trina Davenport. Liza had no family. Yet the pictures of Trina were like looking at herself in a hazy mirror. Almost the same, but not quite. Liza’s head spun as she tried to wrap her brain around how this could be.
Liza followed the life of Trina Davenport in pictures. Her baby pictures, her awkward adolescent photos, her graduation pictures.
It was strange, because there were so many. It was like looking at the life she never had. Liza had no pictures of her childhood. Her childhood had been cut short by a mother unwilling and unable to parent and then followed by Central which had consumed the rest of her life. There were no pictures of her life before or after Central- until now.
Who was this woman? Who was Trina? Where was she?
Liza eyes took it all in only stopping in front of the wall opposite the picture window.
A large family portrait hung above a plush green velvet couch. The picture showed an older woman and man sitting on what looked like the green velvet couch. Standing behind the man was a woman that looked like a younger version of the angry woman that had let Liza into the house earlier. Behind the woman sitting on the couch was a very young Trina. None of them were smiling.
Liza heard heavy footsteps coming- fast. Seconds later she was tackled head on by a child. No more than ten the girl wrapped her chubby arms tight around Liza’s waist as sobs exploded from her in loud bursts. She buried her face in Liza’s abdomen.
When the the girl finally looked up, Liza’s heart stopped. The girl stared back at her with golden brown eyes- just like hers.
“Are you back for good this time, Mama,” the little girl said before pressing her tearstained face into Liza’s belly again.