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A Chapter by E. Paris

Background information. Important for the rest of the book.



“Let me go,” the little girl screamed. She tried kicking free from the man but it was no use, the van doors were shut and the vehicle was already lurching forward. The man was stronger than she was, muscles rippled underneath the black shirt that he wore.  He had lured the girl to the van by offering her ice cream, leaving the boy behind. Gabrielle struggled to get free of the man again but it was hopeless, tears stung the backs of her eyes and she didn’t understand what was happening to her.


            The inside of the barren van was hard, cold metal, the floor cluttered with wrappers from fast food restaurants and other places the men had stayed, a stale cigar odor clung to the metal walls mixing with other odors that were unfamiliar to Gabby. She continued to try to wiggle away from the man, “Ouch,” she yelped, “you’re hurting me!”

            “Hold still you little brat,”

            “I’m not a brat,” Gabby looked down and aimed her foot for his and stomped, hard. The man whipped her around and squeezed her arms like soft lemons, holding on tightly. Gabby took one long look at the man’s face; it burned in the back of her memory. Not a very old face, she thought, knowing somehow that she had seen him before.

            “Listen here little girl, if you don’t settle down and be quiet, you’ll never see you parents or your little boy friend again, got it?” Gabby’s faced contorted as she took in the mans words, the tears welling in the back of her eyes sprung loose and streamed down her face, hard sobs followed as the man whipped her back around trying to hold her hands still, looking for the rope he would use to tie them together. Gabby fought harder now, if only she could get free. She struggled to pull one hand free but as she did the mans large calloused hand swept in front of her face with a handkerchief, soaked in chloroform and the little girl went limp. The man reached for the rope and tied Gabby’s hands behind her back and then tied her small ankles together. He double-checked to make sure that the bindings were tight enough that a small wrist couldn’t slip through them. He turned and barked orders to the driver to head north. He waited anxiously to reach his destination. Gabrielle, Gabby, as her parents and friends called her deserved what she got and so did her parents. They had no idea who they were messing with.


* * *


            Conner ran without stopping his lungs burning with every stride and tears running down his cheeks. Only a little longer he thought as he rounded a corner taking the next sidewalk that led to the two-story home. His mom had always told him not to run too much because his asthma would be bad, but the boy was desperate to get home. He burst through the screen door running directly in to the arms of his mom who was standing near the door.

            “Whoa buddy, slow down,” Betty said to her son. Reaching down to him she lifted his chin and looked at his face, the sobs still came and tears mixed with dirt that had collected on his tiny face. “Conner honey, what’s wrong?” Concern now flooded Betty’s heart.

            “They,” he paused for a breath, “took…Gabby” he managed to get out through the small amount of air that was in his lungs. He breathed in deep again and the sharp pain from the lack of oxygen made him double over grasping for his knees.

            “Who Conner?” she said, lines of worry creased her forehead, “who took Gabby?”

            “A man in black,” he managed to say still gasping for breath.

            “Where did he take her?”

            “A van…a white van”

            “Which direction Conner, do you remember?” She was concerned now; it wasn’t the kind of joke her eight-year-old son would play.

            “I don’t remember,” his sobs came again and he buried his face in his moms shoulder. “I…tried to,” sob, “help…but I couldn’t.” Conner began to wheeze.

            “Shhh sweetie, its okay, don’t talk anymore.” Betty picked up her son and carried him to the kitchen counter reaching for the faded tan phone on the wall. Pulling open a drawer she reached for Conner’s inhaler, “use it quick.” Her fingers shook as she dialed the numbers on the phone, “911, I’d like to report a kidnapping!”


* * *

Gabby’s still limp body was slung over the mans shoulder as he kicked in the door to the old root cellar and descended the few wooden plank stairs to her dungeon, which was pretty much what it was. The root cellar built into the side of small hill resembled a dungeon of old. The floor was nothing more than dirt and decomposing straw. Wooden shelves lined the walls of the dark room frequented by aging jars of canned fruit. He slid the limp body off his shoulders and laid her in the corner of the dark room. A damp feeling settled in the air, and the smell of mold and dirt permeated his nose as he breathed in a deep sigh of accomplishment. The small ten by ten room held no light at all except for the setting sun streaming through the open door way, but when it was shut, the lights were out. He looked around the room once more to make sure that he was satisfied and noticed the pink ribbon lying loosely next to her head and a silver cross necklace draped across her neck. He didn’t have time to nicely remove either item so he ripped off the necklace and grabbed the pink ribbon; this caused Gabby to flutter her eyelids open. She fought only a little when she realized she couldn’t move and that a handkerchief now gagged her mouth. All the fight was gone from her now as the chloroform still held her in its effects.

            “Nighty Night,” the evil man snickered before backing out of the room and slamming shut the door behind him. Gabby listened closely and heard the faint sound of metal being tinkered with and then silence. Hot tears came quickly as she realized she was all alone, with that she cried herself to sleep.


* * *

            Conner watched the cop cars pull up and the police mingle around the house from his perch on the gurney in the back of an ambulance. The back doors were open allowing police to enter and talk to him. The oxygen mask he wore made hissing noises as he breathed in the cool refreshing air.

            “How do your lungs feel bud?” Luke the cool EMT asked him.


            “Alright,” Luke said, he pulled the oxygen mask up off the boy’s face, “Can you say, I like my dog better than your dog.” Conner repeated the phrase pausing between dog and better. It signaled Luke that he still needed more oxygen. Conner looked around the small space in the ambulance and pointed to the orange board behind Luke.

            “What’s that?”

            “That is called a back board. We use it when some one gets in a car accident and hurts their back. It keeps them from hurting it more.”

            “Oh,” Conner said. “But doesn’t it hurt?”

            “Yeah I guess it does after you’ve laid on it for a while it can be uncomfortable.” Luke smiled and looked down at Conner’s tear stained face. Streaks of dirt ran down his cheeks from the tears. Luke turned around and grabbed a wipe from beside him. He began cleaning the boys face. “How you doing bud?” he asked, concerned with more than just his asthma. Conner looked away and then back out the window toward the policemen, and investigators that now roamed around.

            “Do you think they’ll find her?” The question took Luke by surprise. He sighed, reaching down a firm hand and brushing back stray hairs that crept across Conner’s forehead.

            “They’ll do their best buddy…they’ll do their best.” Luke watched now as a red Sudan pulled in the driveway of the house next door. Two obviously frantic parents leapt from the car as soon as it stopped and ran to meet the many investigators that now littered the drive like ants on a cheerio. Luke broke his concentration when he heard the sniffles from Conner who was now curled up in the fetal position crying into the pillow. Luke rested his hand on the boy’s back, “why don’t we close those doors for a little while.” Luke ducked his head and stepped over the gurney to reach the back doors, he shut each one, not wanting to reveal his anger. He loved his job, but when it came to things like this it angered him that someone would do something so wicked. “Come here,” he said to Conner picking him and placing him on his lap. It was all he could do to comfort him. Conner soon fell asleep in Luke’s arms.


* * *


            “I don’t understand why would someone take my baby girl?” Her red jacket rustled in the breeze. Rachel and Brian Barnes held onto each other as they stood before a pleasantly plump, graying and balding cop.

            “Ma’am I can assure you we are doing everything we can do right now.” He said with haste.

            “How do you know, are you looking for her?” Rachel watched the man as his jaw worked, the oversized mustache wriggled like a hairy caterpillar yellowed from too many cigarettes.

            “There’s a tactical team inside your home setting up a tracking system on your phone right now,” he paused, “for the moment we’d like to take you inside and ask you a few questions.” Rachel placed her hand over her mouth; the reality of everything hit her all at once. Brian wrapped a reassuring arm around her shaking shoulders and planted a light kiss on her forehead. Rachel turned around and sank into the strong arms of her husband. She sobbed, she couldn’t hold herself together, her little girl was missing.         

            “Rachel,” Brian ran his fingers through his wife’s hair. “It’ll be okay.”

            “But Brian,” she pushed herself away and started to say something more but Brian reached up and placed his finger over her lips to silence her. Once again he wrapped his strong arms around her slender figure.

            “Shhh, it’s okay. Let’s go inside,” he said solemnly. His arm locked around her back, as the walked inside their two-story home.


* * *


            Gabby opened her eyes the tears she had cried earlier caused a crust to form over her eyelashes. She couldn’t wipe at it with her hands so she used each shoulder to try to wipe away the crust. With her eyes finally cleared she looked around but it was pitch black, she couldn’t see a thing. A mouse came out of nowhere and climbed over her. Gabby squealed past the gag and began to cry again, wondering if the kidnapper would come back, how long she had been there and if they would ever find her. She used her shoulder to try to move the gag away from her drying mouth, but it wouldn’t budge.

She whimpered wriggling her hands to get free of the bindings but it was no good, the ropes burned her skin and were extremely tight. She was on her side and tried lifting herself up to a sitting position. But she couldn’t so she remained on her side.


* * *


            “Have you seen anyone suspicious around Gabby recently?” Daniel Hill, the officer with the mustache asked.”

            “No, we’ve been away on a conference; Betty and John Manning from down the street were taking care of her and her little sister for the weekend while we were gone.” Brian said.

            “I know this isn’t something you want to hear, but you will need to provide us with proof of where you were at the time of the kidnapping so that you are not a suspect in the kidnapping.” The officer said. Brian inhaled deeply he had a feeling that was coming, but he did have an alibi and he would prove it. “Now I need you to give me a list of people that you think may have abducted your daughter, did she have any enemies, anyone that may want to hurt her?”

            “She’s seven; seven year olds don’t have enemies.” Rachel said through the sobs.

            “I know ma’am but we need to develop a suspect list so we can figure out what happened to your daughter and who may have taken her. Do you have any enemies that may have taken your daughter?” Brian racked his brain thinking of customers that he’d had and men that had worked for him. Rick Owens’ name was on the top of his list, but he figured that he was long gone. He also didn’t want to risk explaining to the police why he fired the man. “I…uh…guess I can try to come up with a list of employees or customers that might have something against me. But to be honest I can’t think of anyone that would stoop so low as to kidnap my daughter.”

            “Well that’s a start; get that list to us as soon as you can.”

            “I can do that right now,” Brian told Daniel Hill the police chief and Jack Kranz the lead investigator on the case. By the time he’d finished it, it was nearing midnight. It had been a long day; they had filled out missing person’s paperwork, and had given the investigators some of Gabby’s clothing for scent dogs to use to try to track her.

“Excuse me, Chief,” the officer paused he held a white envelope in a trembling hand. “You might want to see this.” He handed over the envelope. “We found it in the mail when we searched through it.” Daniel took the envelope. He pulled on a pair of gloves and lifted the flap carefully removing the white paper inside: inside was a short note, neatly typed with a typewriter:




Daniel read the note to the parents, watching the myriad of emotions that crossed their faces, sorrow, desperation, and sadness. But there still remained a ray of hope in both of their eyes. He could tell that the two still thought that their daughter was still alive somewhere. But the emotional stress had already taken its toll on the mom. Rachel sat gripping a small teddy bear that belonged to their daughter; mascara stained her face from tears, her eyes bloodshot. Daniel gave them time to take in the evidence of the note, watching their reaction to see if he saw anything that would indicate that they already knew what it said but he saw nothing.

            “As an officer I should probably advise you that paying the ransom isn’t always the best thing to do. You don’t really have an idea of who you are working with and the ransom could be a con. Not all kidnappers who send a ransom note have the intention of actually following through. For all we know he could be bluffing, he could be out of the area by now, and your daughter could already…”He paused knowing that Rachel and Brian didn’t want to hear that their daughter could already be dead.

            “Please,” Rachel said fighting back the never ending tears, “don’t tell me that my daughter is dead.” She said with exasperation. A slender finger was now pointed in his direction. Daniel resumed his watching; Brian looked away fighting tears of his own. Both were physically and emotionally worn out from all that had happened with in the last few hours.

            “All I’m implying is that it’s possible and I don’t advise paying the ransom.” He fiddled with a pen in his hand; the stainless steel pen was standard on the job because of its ability to resist bacteria. He was as nervous as them. He flicked his wrist and glanced at the silver wrist watch. It was late; he decided that stationing police officers at the house for the rest of the night would suffice, everyone had been through enough and they had already done all that they could.

            “I think I will let you go for tonight. Get some rest, I don’t think that were done yet.” The four stood, Brian and Rachel walked the two through the maze of furniture to the oak door. “There will be police officers stationed inside your house and around the perimeter. There will be police down at the Manning’s too.”

            “We’re doing the best we can ma’am,” The chief extended a plump hand to each of them and shook hands, “we have search teams out there with dogs and people in the air. If she’s out there, we’ll find her.”

            “Thanks,” Brian said, the sick feeling he had in his stomach all day settled deeper, he knew that sleep wouldn’t come easy tonight.




* * *


Three Days Later


            Gabby looked toward the tiny flecks of light that filtered through cracks in the door, she was too tired to sit up anymore. Her stomach ached for food and her head hurt. Her lips and mouth were parched. After hours of struggling she was able to slip the gag out of her mouth and around her neck. But her mouth still didn’t get the water that it longed for. She had cried all the tears she had and she was so dehydrated that she couldn’t cry any more. The room, the dungeon was cold and Gabby shivered constantly. Both her feet and hands ached from the ropes cutting into her skin. Her eyes fluttered open and shut, she fought the fatigue that overcame her. She watched the door again, wondering if her captor would return. She observed the small streams of light, a shadow passed by them quickly. She listened carefully; voices sounded outside the door along with the distant barking of a dog.

            “Help,” she said hoarsely. Her voice barely a whisper, she began to cry again but it was only a mere whimper.


* * *


            “Yeah it was right around here,” The older man pointed at a map, “guy walked in there with something. It was too dark to see what it was but I knew he wasn’t a good looking character.” The old man wore faded blue overalls and a flannel shirt. His John Deere hat was pulled over his aged and wrinkled forehead.

            “Why didn’t you go in and check it out?” The investigator asked, hoping this was the break they needed.

            “Can’t, the door’s got a dead bolt on it. I may be a farmer but I don’t have the tools to break through it. It’s pretty new, doesn’t have much rust on it. Figured that meant something. That’s why I came to you.” Pete the older man sat across from the police chief and the investigator. A map of the area showed an abandoned farmland, “I know which cellar it is, if you want me to take you there. It’s ‘bout an hour up the road.” After exchanging glances the investigator and chief packed up essential items, rounded up the necessary police officers and headed out. Daniel Hill hoped that this was the lead they were looking for; he took each step with caution. The day before they faked the ransom drop but the man who took the bag got away, he searched the bag and when he realized that it wasn’t real he tossed it.

            The cruisers headed out of town with Pete in the lead vehicle pointing them in the direction of the farm land and the root cellar.


* * *


Gabby stirred again at the sound of metal clanking out side the door and the sound of voices. She heard a snap and the door flung open. Though she was barely conscious she realized they were there to help her not hurt her.  A handful of men worked their way around the small room before they holstered their guns and ushered in the emergency workers which included Luke the EMT that attended to Conner. And investigator came in with gloves to carefully remove here bindings for evidence. Then they milled around her like busy bees. Gabby was unaware of most of it other than the assuring calm voice of Luke the EMT and then feeling relieved on the way to the hospital. She was still scared but she knew deep down that she was safe. .She closed her eyes and rested as they made their way to the hospital. 

© 2010 E. Paris

Author's Note

E. Paris
Let me know your suggestions for improvement and grammatical issues, but please don't tear it apart since it is a very rough draft. Oh, and I'd love feedback on what do you think the motive for kidnapping was, that kind of thing.

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Added on May 20, 2010
Last Updated on May 20, 2010


E. Paris
E. Paris

Lancaster , PA

I love writing but haven't had much time to do so in the last few years. But now that I'm done with college, I hope to get back into it and maybe finish a novel. I think that God has gifted me with th.. more..

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