Chapter 16: Nightmare
In the middle of the night, Dale hears a small ruskus beside him in the form of a couple tears and a little scream. He opens his eyes slowly as he sees tears streaming down Alyssa’s face as she lets another little scream.
“Alyssa, wake up,” he instructs as he rubs her shoulder. He watches her eyes open and glance his way, the tears getting heavier as they come down her cheeks. He brushes the tears away as they simply sit looking at each other without a word.
He knew without hesitation that she had been having a nightmare. He wasn’t sure of what exactly it pertained, but he knew it probably had something to do with what happened. It wasn’t her first nightmare since what had happened as this had been happening at least once a night. He had become used to it, hoping that it’d get better as they drifted further away from the events that happened.
“You’re okay….” He assures her as he pulls her close, wrapping both arms around her.
“Daddy,” she says amongst a couple tears that trail down her cheeks. A couple more tears fall as Dale continues to rub her back, trying to calm her down. He keeps her held close, knowing the comfort of simply being there for her right now was the best thing possible. “Daddy…”
“It’s okay Alyssa. I’ve got you.”
“No eave me.” She then looks up into his eyes. “No go way.” She then lays her head back on his chest as he continues to rub her back.
“Daddy won’t leave you; daddy promises to stay here right with you.” He feels less and less tears soaking his shirt as her breathing evens out and she calms down. Shortly after, she’s back to sleep as he lays back, letting out a sigh.
There was no secret that there were a lot of thoughts on his mind from his own perspective with what had happened. Any person going through the span of seven hours that he went through with finding out Marie was gone to the plane incident and Alyssa certainly would have a bunch of thoughts on their mind.
With Marie, it almost felt surreal. There was no way to describe the feelings or say that it was certain with what had happened. It felt as if it wasn’t real. Perhaps that was his way of trying to cope with it at this time, by not believing it. But he couldn’t bring himself to believe it. How can you believe that someone you truly love is gone without seeing their body?
He found himself pondering that very thought – the body. It was odd how they came to his hotel room – knowing where it was might he add – and told him the details. Didn’t they need someone to identify the body? How did they find him? It all felt strange and odd in his mind no matter how many times he tried to process the thoughts that morning. Though each time he thought of it, he brushed it off in thinking that once again, he was trying to believe that it wasn’t real.
The incident on the plane certainly bugged him even more, though. That was a moment in time that fresh in his mind that he couldn’t bare to let go of. He knew his daughter was on that plane, drugged and knocked out hidden. He knew what Mariela had instituted with her plan. He felt the aftershock of the bomb on the plane go off and he saw the flames that came with it. There was no chance of erasing those images from his mind, or the thought that he could’ve lost Alyssa that day.
Running a hand through her blond hair as she sleeps peacefully on him, he finds himself pondering Mariela’s actions. She simply told him that he was the unlucky one and it could’ve happened to anyone. If it was so unplanned in that moment, how was everything there to make it happen? How did she have the drugs at hand? How was she able to place the bomb where it needed to be? There were so many questions that he wanted to ask her himself as he tied to piece this mess together.
Chapter 17: Realization
After the conversation yesterday with Dale, Steve LeTarte knew that he had to make the phone call and figure out what was going on, simply due to his driver’s curiosity.
After checking with Dale, he got Marie’s mom’s phone number so he could call her and ask about what was going on.
“Hello?” Marie’s mom answers as Steve sits back on the couch downstairs.
“Hello Isabella,” Steve starts. “It’s Steve Letarte. You may or may not know me, but I’m Dale’s crew chief.” The pair hadn’t met in person at any races as Marie hadn’t brought her parents to a race. “To start off, I’m sorry about your daughter. Dale’s pretty sore after some things that happened so he asked me to call you. He wanted to know if how things are coming with regards to the funeral.”
“Oh Steve, you have to understand that it’s been tough for myself and my family. I have been sorting out details per our family tradition, as well as speaking with the officials in Europe. They haven’t been co-operative so I’ve ran into some snags. Tell Dale that I will let him know details soon. I can’t promise anything in the next short bit. Please understand.”
“Okay. Is that all?”
“Of course. If there’s anything else, I’m sure he’ll phone you himself. Thanks for letting me know. Sorry or your loss once again. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye Steve.” Steve hangs up and sits back thinking things over.
It seemed odd that there’d be problems in sorting out details. Normally these things in relations to deaths abroad seemed to go smoothly. Also, if there were problems, why hadn’t Isabella called and let them know? It’d been officially five days since the news had broken.
Steve shakes his head as he goes to head up the stairs and let Dale know what she said. Perhaps his mind was playing tricks on him in thinking it was suspicious based on his thoughts surrounding Mariela.
Steve walks into the bedroom as he notices Dale sitting on the bed looking through the scrapbook once again while Alyssa colors a picture.
“Hi Uncle Stevie!” Alyssa says as Steve walks over.
“Hey Steve,” Dale states as he looks up from the scrapbook.
“Hey,” Steve replies. “I just got off the phone with Isabella.”
“Who is Issabelly?” Alyssa questions as Steve looks towards the little girl.
“Your mommy’s mommy.”
“Yes, Granny. Hey Alyssa, why don’t you go downstairs and show Tricia your picture?” Steve’s wife Tricia had come over with their two kids to say hello and check on how things were going. Steve knew that he and Dale would have a decent talk over Isabella’s words so he wanted to see if perhaps Alyssa would leave the room.
“I think that’s a good idea,” Dale comments as Alyssa looks back at him. He could tell what Steve was up to. “Perhaps you could play with Tyler and Ashlyn. I heard that Ashlyn misses playing with you.”
“That’s what she told me,” Steve adds. “She told me that she missed playing tea time.”
“Do you want to go play tea with Ashlyn?” Alyssa shakes her head no.
“Why not, Alyssa? She really badly wants you to play.”
“I stay wiff daddy,” Alyssa states as Steve lets out a sigh.
“How about you go play with Ashlyn for five minutes and I’ll take care of daddy for you?” Steve suggests.
“And if Steve doesn’t take care of daddy, you get to smack him,” Dale states, catching a look from Steve.
“Okay!” Alyssa states. She then hurries out of the room with her crayons and picture in hand as Steve texts Tricia a quick message.
“I didn’t want her to be here when I told you this,” Steve states after sending the text. “Isabella told me that there’s been some issues with setting everything up.”
“What do you mean ‘issues’?” Dale questions as he keeps his eyes on Steve.
“She says that Europe hasn’t been co-operative in releasing the body, and there’s been issues at her end in setting things up via her family traditions. I just said okay and told her that if you had any questions, you’d call yourself.”
“Figures that she’d give you some sort of excuse.” Steve then looks at Dale confused as Dale flips open the scrapbook. Dale pulls out the photo that he had shown Steve the day before and hands it to him.
“This photo…” Steve looks it over and begins to see similarities that don’t seem right in his mind. He remembered what Mariela looked like via the anger that he had about what had taken place. He notices the same color of eyes, hair and face shape in the photo that he holds in his hands. “Oh shit.”
“If you flip it over, you’ll notice that it is signed with the two ladies that are in the photo. It looks to be possibly Isabella’s hand-writing. Marie-Ann Belle Kastona Calantay is Marie’s birth name. She dropped the Ann part because she liked Marie better while Kastona is her mom’s last night and Calantay is her dad’s last name.”
“So in short, she kept it simple at Marie Calantay. What about the other girl in the photo?” Steve then flips it over before Dale can answer and reads the handwriting. “Mariela Dani Kastona Calantay. In other words, she
shortened her name to Mariela Katsona and chopped part of it off so you wouldn’t recognize.” Dale shakes his head yes as he takes the photo back from Steve.
“Hence where the ‘Officer Kats’ comes from.” Steve sits on the bed in disbelief as he can’t believe what he is hearing from Dale.
“Did you know that she had a sister?” Dale shakes his head no as Steve flops back on the bed, thinking and growing frustrated. Why hadn’t he acted on his own suspicions earlier? “I have a question – why would she not mention her sister at all?” Dale shrugs his shoulders. “Even bigger, why would Mariela be out to hurt you and her own niece? Now that brings me to this – they said that Marie died in an accident. Was it really an accident? Or di-”
“What if Marie isn’t dead?” Steve’s jaw drops as he rolls over and looks at Dale.
“Are you serious?”
“When someone dies, you need someone to confirm the body. Why wasn’t I asked to confirm?”
“Mariela perhaps did that.”
“Fair. Second question – how did they know what hotel I was staying at to deliver the news?”
“She had it written down somewhere. Perhaps it was on the key.” Dale shakes his head no.
“The key was just a blank card and there was no record written anywhere as I have her belongings that were with her at the time. Steve, there are so many questions and so many answers that we don’t have. I think I should give the police a call and see what they know. Plus, as Isabella told you there’s been some problems so maybe I can help.” Dale then sets the scrapbook aside as he reaches for his Ipad, in search of a phone number.
The whole deal right now was based on false hope and suspicions. Dale hated to have them and knew in his heart that they probably still led to the most heartbreaking news that he’d ever heard – that indeed, Marie was truly gone. However, he knew that he needed for the news to be confirmed and at that point, he also needed answers for his own and Alyssa’s sake.
Chapter 18: Phone Call
Dale found the number and dialed it as Steve patiently sat waiting for the results of the phone call. Steve wasn’t sure whether the phone call would lead to any answers or not, but he hoped that it would as he knew they were both surrounded by many questions now.
“Hello?” An officer speaks at the other end.
“Hello,” Dale starts. “This is Dale Earnhardt Jr. calling. I’m calling in reference to my girlfriend’s death a couple days ago. An officer came to my house and notified me of the death, and I just have some questions.”
“Do you know the name of the officer who spoke to you that day?” Dale laid back and thought it over, trying to get his mind back to that moment in trying to determine whether a name was spoken. In every thought, he couldn’t find any sort of name to mind.
“I’m sorry but no I don’t.”
“Okay. That is not a problem. Details can be missed in time of grief. I cannot help you without knowing which officer. May I ask for your girlfriend’s name?”
“She went by the name Marie Calantay. However, her full name is Marie-Ann Belle Kastona Calantay.” He waits patiently as he hears the officer type the name into the computer system, presumably.
“Sir, I tried both names and nothing is coming up in the system. Is there a possible other name that she may be under? Can you give me some more details to work with? With nothing referenced in the system, I’m sorry to say but perhaps you were fooled. Would you like to file a report?” Dale and Steve immediately locks eyes as they know their intuition was hitting on the nose of something.
“We thought that there may be foul play involved and that’s why we called. How do we go about filing a report?”
“Considering that you’re back in the America, I know it’d be hard for you to come see one of the officers here. I can do this over the phone, or I can give you my e-mail and you can send me all the details. Send me a recent photo of Marie and anything that may be useful in investigation in finding her, presuming she’s kidnapped. Send me anybody that has had a hatred towards you or her in the last recent couple of years. Also, beyond that, anything that you remember about the sequence of events and names would be swell.”
“Okay. I can do that in a bit without a problem. Thank you for your help.”
“You’re welcome sir.” Dale then listened as the officer gave his e-mail and noted it down. As he did, the name of the officer who came to see him entered his mind.
“Sir, can I ask you one question? I remember the officer who came to see me. He was an older gentleman. Sargent Carter Williams, I believe.” He hears typing at the other end.
“I’m sorry but the name doesn’t come up in the system. Obviously, you had an impersonator it seems like. By my thoughts, your girlfriend was kidnapped and then you were told that she was dead. As stated, send me the details as soon as possible. I will see what I can do.”
“Okay. Thank you. I’ll send them right away.”
“Okay. That’ll be great. Have a nice day. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.” Dale hangs up and looks over at Steve. “Looks like we got a lot of work to do buddy.”
The pair then sat for the next few hours typing up the e-mail with every detail that Dale could remember, and anything that crossed Steve’s mind. Dale recalled that morning. He recalled getting on the plane and meeting Mariela. He recalled the whole flight – amongst some tears – and the series of events that took place. He spoke of the photo, scanning it and attaching it in the e-mail. Anything that he thought would be useful was included.
As he sent it off, many questions lingered in his mind. Why did Mariela do what she did on the plane beyond her excuse? Did she kidnap Marie? Did Isabella kidnap Marie? How was this all connected? What was everybody’s motives?
Chapter 19: Phone Call Returned
Dale lets out a sigh, tossing the remote for the television aside. He had tried to find something to watch to take his mind off of what happened on the plane and Marie, however nothing seemed to work. His mind was taken up with the thoughts as he gives Alyssa a small smile as she plays with her blocks by his bed.
She wasn’t too keen on leaving his side for long. They thought possibly letting her stay with Karsyn and Kennedy for a bit, or even heading over to Steve’s house – however neither panned out as they thought. She wanted to stay close to her daddy under all costs.
As he lays there thinking, he hears the phone go off, instantly grabbing it as he notices the phone number.
“Hello?” He says, hoping the call will lead to answers.
“Hello,” he hears at the other end. “Is this Mr. Dale Earnhardt Jr.?”
“Yes this is. How may I help you?”
“My name is Darryl Scottman. I am handling your case as it was forwarded to me for investigation. I have some information that I think you should know based on what I could find so far.” Dale takes a deep breath as curiosity fills him immediately.
“You spoke in your report about a Sargent Carter Williams, who told you the news. I read over your description of the individual as the name couldn’t be found in the police database. Without a doubt, the man that you described does not work for my police department. The clothes that he found were in a second hand shop possibly. I couldn’t trace the shop, however.” Dale lets out a sigh as this wasn’t helping him at all.
“So what does this mean? That doesn’t sounds like anything new based on what the officer told me a couple days ago. I thought by now you would’ve had some information. I don’t think you realize that she’s been gone for an entire six days now. I talked to you people two days ago!”
“I understand your frustration, but please be patient. We are doing all that we can with the information that you have sent to us. The reason I am calling is the description led me to another individual that I want to speak to you about. Your description matched that of Cartrier Bonswour. This man has been wanting by our department for robberies and crimes throughout the city.” Dale lays back as he processes the thought.
“Okay. So what does this mean? Does this Cartrier have my girlfriend? Have you found him? Was this planned out with Mariela?”
“You sir are very good with your theories.”
“Well, thank you. Perhaps it comes from the fact that I‘m worried sick right now. Perhaps it comes from the fact that I want my girlfriend back in my arms. So what theory is the best one?”
“We have not found him yet as we continue to search the country for his location. I can assure you, though, that he did not kidnap your girlfriend per a close friend of his. His friend gave us full account and proof of what went down with a lady that met up with Cartrier.” Dale takes a deep breath. Certainly the lady had to be either Isabella or Mariela at this point.
“And what is that discussion? Are we looking at Isabella is the kidnapped? Or Mariela? If it’s Mariela, then where the hell is my girlfriend since Mariela is in a New Jersey prison? Wait – have you even questioned her? Give me answers!”
“The person told Cartrier to go see you and state that Marie was dead. In exchange, Cartrier was paid a fair share of money by the individual. We had the individual describe the female in question and that description matches Isabella. It looks as though Isabella has kidnapped her daughter – whether with Mariela’s help or not. Now, you said that Isabella was in the United States?”
“Yes. She is at her home in Ohio.”
“Well perhaps it may be best to get the American police to pay her a visit.”
“Okay. Now what if she isn’t in America with Isabella?”
“We are continuing to search and try and find more information for you. This is all I have to tell you.”
“Well, thank you. have a nice day.”
“You as well. Goodbye.”
“Goodbye.” Dale hangs up the phone as he sits up in the bed. He could do as requested and send the police, or he could make sure Isabella understood how angry he was at this point. The lather sounded better considering he didn’t want to trust anyone.
Slowly getting out of the bed, he stands up and smiles as Alyssa looks up at him.
“Daddy…” she states as she points to the small castle that she had made.
“Great job,” he compliments her. “Do you want to come downstairs with Daddy and see Uncle Stevie?” The little girl shakes her head yes as she stands up. They make their way down the stairs, slowly before walking into the living room.
“I know the officer was on the phone as I listened in at the other end,” Steve states as he hears Dale enter the room. “You don’t need to say the details.”
“So then there’s one question – are you up for a trip to Ohio?” Dale questions as Steve looks back surprised as Alyssa gives him a hug. She then gets down and goes to see Tricia and Steve’s kids. “I think it’s time that we paid Isabella a visit. She needs to know what we both think of her. Maybe we’ll find Marie there, or maybe we won’t. But either way, I want her to know just how pissed off I am for her lies. So, are you coming with me? Or am I doing this alone?” Steve then smiles.
“You know without even asking that I’m coming with you.” Steve then glances towards the kitchen. “The only thing – Alyssa won’t let you out of her sight. What are you going to do about that? We can’t let her come with us.” Dale takes a deep breath as he sits on the couch beside Steve. “You know that she won’t let you just leave.”
“You got to think of something.” Dale thinks it over for a couple minutes as an idea comes to his mind.
“I’ve got this. Give me 15 to 20 minutes with her and she’ll be set to stay with Kelley for a day. Kelley won’t mind when she hears what we’re up to. And Steve, thank you. I don’t think I could do this alone.”
“Nobody can do something like this or go through something like this alone.”
Chapter 20: Alyssa
“Alyssa, can you come see daddy?” Dale asks as Alyssa looks up. She immediately runs off from Steve’s kids and heads over to where Dale was sitting on the couch. “Listen, daddy has something important to tell you.” she then looks at him concerned.
“Daddy?” She questions as she keeps her eye on him.
“Daddy needs to go out and see someone for a day as he needs to talk to her.” Dale then lifts Alyssa up and sits her on his lap. “This person is really important and special. However, I can’t let you come.” Tears begin to form in Alyssa’s eyes immediately. “No no, don’t cry sweetie. I have a special plan for you.”
“Plan?” Dale shakes his head yes. “I go with Stevie?” Dale shakes his head no. “I no know daddy.” Steve chuckles a little.
“Karsyn and Kennedy both have wanted you to come spend time with them and Wyatt. They wanted you to meet Kennedy’s pony and the doggies and the kitties. Can you be a big girl for daddy and spend a day with Anut Kelley, Karsyn, Kennedy and Wyatt?” Alyssa thinks it over as Dale crosses his fingers that it works.
“Really?” Alyssa shakes her head yes. “That’s a good big brave girl.”
“I likey Auntie Kelley. Kelley chase away bad.” Steve and Dale both shake their heads yes as they had told her that Kelley had chased away Mariela so she couldn’t bring anymore ‘ucky uice’. “Stevie chase away bad? Uncle Stevie ‘ay with daddy?” Steve shakes his head yes as he wraps an arm around Dale.
“I’m going with daddy so I make sure he comes home to you as instructed, okay?” Steve questions and Alyssa shakes her head yes.
“And if I don’t come home, Uncle Stevie gonna kick my bum,” Dale adds as Alyssa grins. “I love you. I’ll call Anutie Kelley so you can talk to me, okay?” She shakes her head yes.
“We talk and I see you?” Dale shakes his head yes, knowing that she likes the facetime feature on the Iphone. When Dale would go away on appearances, Marie always used that so Alyssa and Dale could see each other. “Yay! I luv you.”
“I love you too.” Dale then kisses her cheek as he winks at Steve. “Want to go pack your bag?” Alyssa shakes her head yes as she shops off the couch excited.
“How’d you know that she’d say yes?” Steve wonders as Dale smiles.
“She’s my daughter,” Dale starts. “I know her completely back and forth and know exactly how to persuade her. She loves her aunt and she’s a sucker for all animals. She had been bugging Marie and I to ride the pony. I knew that it was worth a shot.”
“You’re good, dangerously good.” Dale then laughs as he heads up the stairs to help her pack a couple things that she wanted.
“Are you ready?” Steve asks as he looks over at Dale and Dale shakes his head yes as they sit in the jet together. “Are you sure? No nerves?”
“A little but I know it’ll work out,” Dale answers as he sits back in the seat. “I know that I’m flying with people that I trust without a doubt this time.”
“That’s a bonus.” Steve then motions to the pilots that they’re both ready to take off. “Ready for Ohio?”
“I’m defiantly ready. I want answers to what is going on. I don’t get how or why Isabella would do anything to hurt her own daughter. It doesn’t make sense, Steve. It hasn’t made sense since that morning.” Steve then thinks those words over and knows that Dale is right.
“Well hopefully Isabella gives you what you need to know.”