Apprehended (Amber Alert Series Book 3) (9 page)

BOOK: Apprehended (Amber Alert Series Book 3)
2.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub









Chapter 16



The next few days I spent in silence. I only spoke when he talked to me directly, and that was to please him. From studying and working on cases like these over the years, I knew that sometimes it was better to play into the fantasy. While it could be dangerous, especially since I still didn’t know what he wanted from me, if I stepped out of line for a moment, it could also keep me alive longer to figure out a plan to get the girls out of this house. I would do just about anything to get them all out of here alive.

He had left them in the basement, without food or water, and soon they would start to die. There was variation for how long certain people could survive without those necessities, but here they were weak and vulnerable. The ones that had been here the longest would suffer quickly. The others would have a harder time surviving after watching their friends die a slow death, they would be susceptible to illness, and they would lose hope faster. The will to live would keep them alive, but if I didn't do something they wouldn't even have that for much longer.

For a few hours every day I noticed the man would leave the house and leave me alone. I didn't know where he went, what he did, or why he left, but I was thankful for it. Even though he hadn't tried to touch me, or talk to me much, I felt better to have him out of the house. I was able to think freely, and try to find other escapes routes. I had to find one fast, I needed to send the girls out of here or I’d lose them all.

The first time, I was shocked that he would leave me alone in the house. Wasn't he worried I would leave? I had tested the front door every day he left; he would lock it, but sometimes he wouldn't. I would be able to step outside, let the sun touch my face, and the wind to breeze over my skin. A few times escaping came to my mind, but what stopped me were the girls downstairs. Maybe that's why he felt comfortable leaving the door unlocked when he left; he knew I wouldn't leave without saving the girls.

Multiple times during cases I would risk my life, and later be berated for it, when it came to saving others. I felt like it was my duty, I had signed up for this, and that meant I had to it no matter what the risk. Those girls were taken because of this man's obsession with me, and now it was up to me to save them. If not me, who else?

It would take Callum and the team time to notice I was gone, and even then they may not know I was kidnapped. They may not make that connection for a while since I was supposed to on a flight heading back home right now. They wouldn't be looking for me for me until someone called wondering why I hadn’t gotten off the plane, and in this case the girls didn't have that kind of time to wait I had to find a way to help them survive until that time or until I could get them out.

I gathered a large pitcher of water, and the bread that he had provided for me to eat. He normally brought food back for me to cook for dinner, so I would be able to feed the girls the bread and water to keep them alive for a little bit longer.

I quickly made my way downstairs into the basement. I was careful to shut the door behind me in case he came home and noticed that it was open. He had left them down here to die, and by playing into his fantasy that meant I would too, or would I? He had been following my career, he knew me, hunted me down and found the one person that would bring me right into his town so he could take me, would he know I was faking and helping these girls?

Those thoughts fleeted from my mind as I flicked the lights on. The girls were in the corners of their cages, terrified that I was our tormentor. When they saw me, they raced to the cage doors, eager to talk. The fear and weakness overwhelmed some of them, and a few girls weren't able to move off of their beds. They had lost the will to fight; they must have been here a long time to be so drained of energy. If they didn't get out soon, they would die.

"You're here! Is he gone?" Tegan asked, pulling me out of my thoughts and allowing me to refocus on getting at least one of them out of here, and keeping the others alive long enough to make it out.

"He is, I brought you food and water," I stated as I passed each of them a slice of bread through the slits in the gate.

The girls took it hungrily and scarfed down the meager food, not taking the time to savor it. The bread was gone in a matter of seconds, and they quickly took the water as I passed them the only glass I had taken for them. I passed it to each of them one at a time, taking in their faces. Most were bruised and dirty, sullen and defeated, without a chance to get out they would welcome death rather than live here another day.

"What girl has been down here the shortest amount of time?" I asked before realizing time must be a foreign concept for them while trapped down here. So I rephrased, "Who was the last one taken?"

"That would be me," Casey stated as she held her hand out for the water cup. "Why do you ask?" she asked before chugging the water out if the cup.

"I need you to make a run for it." My request was blunt. There was no time to beat around the bush, to play nice and be careful with how I approached them.

This was life or death for these girls. They needed to know that and be ready to fight for it.

"Why me?"

"You have been here the shortest amount of time, your face will be freshest in people's minds, and you'll have the most strength to make a run for it." I glanced around for a key to unlock her cage, but when I didn't see one I took a rock to break it.

"Why can't you do it?" she asked, her voice breaking with fear. "You just got here! You're an FBI agent. You've had training. You could make it out easier than me."

"If I leave, he kills all of you, and then comes after me. I might make it, and I might not, either way that's five people dead. If you go, he may not notice until it's too late, and then that's the possibility of us all getting out of here alive," I stated as I continued to pound on the cage's lock. "I like the second option the best."

The girls around us encouraged her to do it. To try and save them all, and if nothing else, to save herself from what they had experienced. They reminded her of the beatings, the girls that didn't make it and what was to come for them if she didn't at least try. She nodded in agreement just as the lock broke, and fell to the floor with a clank.

Her eyes met mine, the fear in them made me feel bad for sending her back into the world. Would she survive after this was over? She had been taken, tainted, and would have a hard time assimilating back into her old life. Old friends and family would never treat her the same way, she would be extremely cautious, never trust men again, and would never be able to forget what he did to her here. I should know I lived that life every day.

But she had to do it. If she didn't, none of us would make it out of here.

"Come with me," I said as I pulled her out of the cage. She was unsteady on her feet, but would manage in escaping.

I pulled her out of the room quickly, unsure of when the man would come back. The other girls were left in their cages, with what little food and water I had brought them, and would have to wait. I sent them back into the darkness as we made our way up the stairs. There was nothing I could do for them, I couldn't get them all out. If I took them all out, he would be sure to see one of them on his return, even one person was a risk.

"Go through the woods," I instructed as I opened the door, and scanned for signs the man was returning. "Stay away from the streets for a while, he will come back in a few hours, and then it should be safe for you to head out of the woods and toward town. Find an officer, or anyone that will listen to you then send them back here. Can you do that?"

"I think I can." Her voice shook with fear. "What if I don't make it?"

She would die if she didn't make it. It was that simple, she would die and we would suffer here. The other girls would slowly die of either starvation or thirst, and I would be here alone. No one would know what happened to us, they would never find us and if they did, he would make sure that he looked respectable and perfect in their eyes. He would never seem like the one responsible.

"Don't think like that," I stated, brushing those thoughts away. "You'll make it, now go, and remember to wait a few hours until the man is surely off the streets."

She nodded and raced off. She stumbled toward the trees, but was soon hidden out of sight. I suddenly hoped that this was a good idea, and that I didn't just send that girl to her death. Not only would I have killed her, but myself and the other girls in the basement clinging to life.









Chapter 17



It had only been a few days since Casey was let out of the house, but I was starting to lose hope. She should have found someone by now. Someone should have come to the house to save us. Callum would have come the second he heard I was alive, whether he admitted it or not, he wanted to protect me. I hadn't seen it at first; I was too distracted by the case and my own selfish ploy to even notice it. We fought, kicked, and screamed our whole way through working together, but we wanted to protect the other one. 

He would have come if Casey had told him he could save me, but the rest of the team would have stopped him. They would need a plan, otherwise it could end as a murder suicide then we would all be dead, and they’d have no one to save.

On the brighter side, the man, who preferred me to call him Alec, didn't seem to know that Casey was missing. He never went in the basement since he had who he wanted, me. He had left those girls to die in horrific ways, but if I could help it, they would survive long enough for Casey to get someone here. 

Time was running out though, I wasn’t sure how much longer we could wait.

The girls are in bad shape, and getting worse as the days went on, even with the food and water that I smuggle to them; it’s not enough. They had been in the basement too long, were deprived of sunlight, proper diets, and medical attention. One girl, Morgan, looks like she could die at any moment. She hasn't moved from her bed the last few days, has no energy to eat, and is barely responsive. She was going to die soon, it seemed as if she had already given up, and if help didn’t come soon we would need a miracle.

We needed Casey to beat the odds, make it to town, and save us all.

I knew she would try her best, but if she succeeded I knew Alec would do anything to keep me with him at least. From the moment I met him, I knew that his infatuation was dangerous, and it was growing more intense by the day. I had played into it early to keep the girls alive, but at times I caught myself wishing I hadn't. Alec had wanted what Steve Bennett failed to obtain, an obedient wife, one that wouldn’t run away from who he was, and what he did. I had given in from the moment I met him, to save the girls, and now he knew how to control me.

If I didn't do what he wanted, he threatened to kill the girls. He used them against me every day. Whether it was something small like getting me to clean the dishes faster, or something larger like not moving when he leaned into kiss me. He would keep them alive as long as possible just so that I would be easy to control. I shuddered as I thought about how I had to behave around him, following his demands, and giving in so he wouldn’t kill them. He made it sound as if we were in love, that I was being a dutiful wife, and every time I thought about it I cringed. He would touch me, and I'd have to stand still and take it. He would kiss me, and I'd have to kiss back. He would make advances toward me, but luckily I had been able to find a way around them so far. 

Soon he wouldn't take no for an answer. I could tell he was getting angry with me for putting it off, but I couldn't give in to him for that. It didn't matter how well I played along, he would find out that I was just trying to survive. If he didn't already. It was painfully obvious in how I avoided his sexual advances, but I had to play coy because if I made him angry there would be consequences. I just couldn’t give that away to him. There were limits, even for staying alive, and I just had to play the game as best as I could without giving in anything that would be irreplaceable.

I had to wait for him to leave, and be there to say goodbye then hello when he returned. If I wasn't, there was sure to be trouble. For now, I was able to stay in a separate room from him, but I knew from living with Steve that wouldn't last long. Hopefully Casey would find help and get us out soon, because I wasn't sure how much longer I could hold out.

When Alec left for the morning, I went down to see the girls. I brought them down the bread and water, hoping to sustain them a little bit longer, but I wasn't sure if that was going to be possible, and now the girls were losing hope.

"Maybe she's dead," Tegan stated. "Send another girl!"

"If she’s dead then why would I send another one of you?" I questioned as the water was passed from my hands to the other girls. I could see their bones; they were malnourished and losing weight. I was doing all I could, but I couldn't send another girl out. What if Alec found her? 

"So another one can try to get us all out."

"It was risky to send just one girl," I said as glanced to Morgan. Her skin was sinking around her face, and her eyes had lost almost all life from them. She had been here longer than the others, and it showed. She needed help or she wouldn't make it. "What if Alec finds you? He'll kill you, and us. We got lucky the first time."

"How do you know? We don't even know what happened to her! She could be dead, laying in the woods were no one can find her."

"I'm watching the news," I replied lightly, turning to give Tegan the water pitcher. Our eyes met for a moment, there was still fight in her eyes. She hadn't given up, but she couldn't take much more. Waiting to die must be painful to know that there is no way out of this, and all there is to look forward to is death. I think I'd rather take the torture. "Nothing has come up about Casey. Not a body, not an anonymous tip, just nothing."

"That's because they haven't found the body yet," Tegan replied with a pessimistic smirk.

"We can't think like that, Tegan."

"Why not? It's the truth!" she cried, hitting the cage causing it to shake violently for a few seconds. "We are locked down here, even if we did get out, we don't have a chance at escaping. We are too weak, he would find us and hunt us down like animals then drag us back here to kill us because we weren't what he wanted. I've seen it done."

"Seen what done?"

"He comes down here, terrifies us all, and chooses the girl that he feels isn't the one for him. The one that isn't like you!" A shiver raced down my spine as her eyes became darker, and her voice grew deeper and more disturbed. "We can hear her scream. We can hear her crying, begging for him to stop, and saying she will do anything to make him stop. Then we hear nothing. There's blood on him when he comes back, but he says nothing to us as he leaves us alone again. He kills them for us to hear, so we know what happens if we don't behave. You don't know what it's like here."

I felt the anger flare through me at her words. I tried to control the fury, but I couldn't. She thought that it was easy for me to live up there with him. She had no idea what I had been through or what I was trying to do for her. "I don't know what you go through?" She shook her head. She didn't know that while she lay down here fighting for her life, I had the chance to leave. I could have left by now. I could have tried to escape and left them down here to riot, but he knew that I wouldn't. I wasn't going to leave and let these girls die because he had fixated on me. 

"You have no idea what we've been through down here," she started, but I cut her off before she could finish her thought.

"And you don't know what I go through up there!" I shouted, shocking her and me. "You know what happens when he comes down stairs, but you're down here. You don't live with him. You don't even see him anymore, he’s leaving you down here to die, and while what has happened to you is awful, you don't know what it's like up there. Having to please him, follow the same rules Anna Cowles had to, and be with him all the time." I shuddered before recollecting myself. "I could leave at any time I please while he's gone." A shocked gasp raced through the ranks of girls, cutting me off momentarily.

"Why are you still here?" A girl asked from behind me. I think her name was Devon, but I didn't turn around to check.

"Because if I leave then his fantasy is shattered," I stated, staring straight into Tegan's eyes. "Then he comes looking for me, notices that you are all still alive and kills you. Then he hunts me down to drag me back here to kill me. Now, maybe, I could get lucky and make it to town while he kills you off one by one," I paused momentarily to let that thought sink in. "Then again, I might not and we would all be dead.

He knew me, he knew that I wouldn't leave you behind just to save myself. He knew me better than the leader of our team did, and better than I did."

"He leaves the door open for you and you don't leave, for us?" the girl's voice questioned.

"That's right, and I won't leave until I know I can get you all out safely," I said as the front door opened upstairs, sending a cold shiver down my spine. 

"He's home," Tegan whispered urgently. "You have to get back upstairs before he comes down here looking for you! Run!" 

I followed her order without a second thought. I shut off the lights, plunging them back into darkness, and quietly made my way up the stairs. I had to make sure he didn't know I was coming down here, or he may punish me. How? I wasn't sure, but from hearing Tegan's story, I didn't want to know how he'd torture me. It was too gruesome to think about.

BOOK: Apprehended (Amber Alert Series Book 3)
2.01Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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