I glanced back at the others against the wall. I would never – but I had to play along. My only chance of helping them was to first get out myself. I nodded.
“You’re right. I’ll be your Queen, and I want my kingdom to grow.”
“See you soon. Don’t come alone.”
And that was it. He let me climb right up the ladder and walk out the front door. Smug bastard, thinking he’s got me figured out. Although he’d be right, of course. I would be back, and I would be bringing someone with me.
This isn’t some movie. I’m not a macho action-star. And I’m not about to run in there guns blazing and save those people. (Guns? All I’ve got is a stapler which can hit someone in the face from six feet away. Don’t ask how I know that.)
I did what any sensible human being would do and went to the police. I’ve never actually stepped inside a police station before in my life. My only experience with the cops at all is a speeding ticket that the guy in front of me totally deserved, but somehow I got stuck with. Going in now, I felt almost guilty, like I was the one who had done something wrong. But there wasn’t time to be self-conscious.
“Can I help you?”
The sergeant on late night duty asked languidly. She was the kind of cop that made me want to try shoplifting just for fun. If I couldn’t outrun that 250 pound bag of marmalade, then I deserved to get caught. There was a little boy and a surly old lady waiting in line at the desk ahead of me, but I shoved past them. I don’t care what they lost, or whose neighbor has a dog that won’t stop barking. I’m willing to bet it doesn’t beat a Devil who tortures people.
“I need your help. I was kidnapped tonight.” She looked me up and down as though she were doing me a favor.
“It’s okay. Let her go ahead,” the little boy said. I didn’t take my eyes off the cop.
“Uh huh. Please tell me what happened,” she replied.
“It was after a date. I went home with this guy–”
“So you voluntarily left with him.” I know that face. That’s the ‘you’re-prettier-than-me-so-you-must-be-a-slut’ face.
“I did, but then he threw me into his basement. I might have broken something…” I was flustered. I didn’t know what I was supposed to say in this circumstance. Why did it feel like I was the one on trial? It was just now when I noticed the bruises were gone. My shirt was clean. The abrasions on my wrists from the handcuffs had vanished. There’s no way they could have healed that fast.
“And how did you escape?”
“Well he… let me go.” This isn’t right. This isn’t how this is supposed to go.
“So let me get this straight,” the cop replied, shifting her tremulous weight like she was apologizing to her chair. “You went home with a guy, and then you left. What exactly did he do wrong?”
“You don’t understand. He had three other people down there too. He’d been torturing them.” Torture. Now that’s a powerful word. I don’t know exactly what forces these guys to get out of their chair, but I’m pretty sure torture should do it. “There was a middle aged woman, a college girl, and this little boy…”
I finally had her attention. She sat upright and began taking notes. “What kind of torture?” “Brutal stuff. The lady’s eyes were out, and there was a nail through the girl’s hands. I didn’t get a good look at the boy–”
“How old was he? Compared to the boy behind you in line.”
I looked back, and my heart skipped a beat in my chest. I hadn’t noticed because of my rush, but the boy standing behind me was the same one who was hunched over in the Devil’s basement. Clean—well fed—unharmed. But it was the same damn kid. The boy smirked.
“Ma’am? Was the boy you saw about his age?”
“Come with me,” the boy said. “The two of us are going to have a little chat.”
What else could I do? The police weren’t going to take me seriously. Not with two of the “kidnapped” people standing in their station, just fine. I don’t know what kind of sick game I found myself in, but when the boy walked out the door, I followed.
I’m not going to lie. I was getting close to tears at this point. It felt like when you were a child, trying to convince your mother of the monster under your bed. And as much as she tried to play along, you could tell she didn’t believe you. She was just dying to get back to sleep and leave you alone with it. The helpless frustration of KNOWING something is out there, but being utterly helpless to do anything about it.
The only difference is that my Devil is real, and he was going to kill those people if I couldn’t stop him.
The only question is: why had he let the little boy go? Or me for that matter?
The boy was walking quickly. He kept looking over his shoulder at me to make sure I was following—looking at me with wide terrified eyes. Now he was running. I chased him out of the station and straight across the street. A pickup screeched to a halt and blared its horn, and I dashed in front too. Screw you too, dude. I wasn’t about to let my only explanation get away from me.