Mary and Tim were getting dressed in their bedroom, preparing for a day at the shore. It was the Fourth of July, a great day to visit the boardwalk. The plan was simple, walk the boards, eat great-tasting-but-very-bad-for-you-boardwalk-food and at night enjoy the fireworks. Not only would this be a great day for Mary and Tim but it would also be a great day for their daughter Christina, or as they called her, Chrissy. After spending the last two months in a hospital dealing with a very difficult condition, it would be a huge treat for her.
“Honey,” Mary began asking her husband Tim, “Do you think it’s okay?”
“Look, I think Chrissy needs this. It’ll be a nice day, she’ll have a lot of fun and we’ll be with her the entire time,” implored Tim. “Besides, the medicine really seems to work well.”
“I know, but I’m still worried.”
Tim put his arm around his wife, “Look, Chrissy’s been through a lot. I really think she deserves this.”
“You promise you’ll keep an eye on her and make sure she’s okay?”
“Sure I do. Don’t worry. We’ll both keep a good eye on her. If it looks like she’s having problems, we’ll leave.”
Feeling a bit more reassured, Mary and Tim left their bedroom and began heading downstairs. The sounds of silly cartoons emanated from the living room and the sight of Little Chrissy sitting on the couch laughing at the antics of her animated entertainers filled Mary and Tim with a feeling of normalcy, a feeling of a life without doctors treating and medicating their daughter. For that moment, they were a normal family.
“I see you’re up and dressed already,” Mary stated.
Christina stood up displaying her pretty little outfit. She was wearing a pair of blue jeans, white sneakers and a red shirt with an American flag emblazoned across the front.
“I wore the flag mommy.”
“You certainly did Chrissy.”
Despite Chrissy’s unique condition, she still possessed the charm and innocence of an average eight year old girl.
Chrissy walked closely behind her parents on the crowded boardwalk. The fast paced ticking of game wheels filled the air, while the game operators taunted and provoked young men into trying their hands at a game of chance in hopes of winning a prize for the lovely girl at their side. But for the little kids, it was the big fluffy teddy bears and inflatable representations of cartoon characters hanging off the prize walls that tempted them.
The crowd was dressed in the patriotic red, white and blue colors one would expect on such a day. American flags draped all the buildings and were hung with care on the light posts that dotted the edge of the boardwalk, waiting to break the silence of darkness.
The crowd got bigger and the boardwalk became more and more crowded. Chrissy’s condition started to make her feel more and more unsettled. Her parents helped her to keep her mind off of her condition though, “Hey sweetie! Look they have a merry-go-round.” Tim took his little girl’s hand and walked over to the merry go round. Chrissy carefully took her time and selected the one unicorn on the ride. Her dad stood next to her for the duration. With every revolution she and her father posed making silly faces at mom while she tried her best to snap pictures of them. Chrissy felt better again.
As the day went on, Chrissy and her parents enjoyed all the things boardwalk life had to offer. Chrissy’s mom won her a stuffed animal by being the first person to pop a balloon by shooting water into the open mouth of clown’s head. Her and her father split a funnel cake and later on Chrissy even enjoyed a slice of crispy crust boardwalk pizza. Their day was a normal one.
Then reality set in. After Chrissy woofed down a whole cup of boardwalk fries, Mary took a small pill out of her pocket, “Here Chrissy. It’s time.”
Once again, feeling different, Chrissy put the pill in her mouth and swallowed it with a gulp of root beer. She opened her mouth toward her mother and started moving her tongue around so mom would know she took the pill. See, in the hospital, the nurses required all the patients do that. Not all of them were as cooperative as Chrissy.
“Chrissy, close your mouth. You don’t have to do that now,” Mom said with a twinge of embarrassment as she looked around to see if anyone noticed.
“Sorry mom,” Chrissy replied hanging her head down, knowing she embarrassed her mother.
Dad broke the awkward silence that ensued, “Hey, I think there’s an arcade right down the way. Let’s go check it out.”
Walking hand in hand in hand, Chrissy and her parents walked to the arcade. Behind them, only paces away, were two men -- two men with filled with ill-intentions.
The newest and most modern video games lined the sides of the arcade and a double row of video games separated the room. The back wall was filled with a shore classic, skee-ball. Daddy, a big fan of the video games, jumped into the seat of a race car driving game. Two games over, Chrissy sat on a scaled down model of a jet ski in hopes of enjoying a great water simulation game. Chrissy’s mom, the more traditional one, went to the back to play skee-ball. After a few quick games Chrissy walked over to her dad and asked for another dollar so she could go to the change machine. Dad, trying hard to maintain his first place position on the track, reached into his pocket and handed a dollar over. Without even looking he said, “Here you go sweetie, have fun.”
Several minutes later mom returned with a handful of tickets she won at skee-ball, “Tim, where’s Chrissy? I wanna show her all the tickets I won.”
Again without breaking concentration from the game, Tim replied, “She’s two games down.”
“No she’s not!” Mary yelled.
Quickly, Tim sprang up from the game and began searching the arcade. Both of them frantically began looking around the arcade trying to find her.
Panic filled their hearts.
“Oh my God, where is she!!??” they began screaming. Quickly they both moved out of the arcade to the boards and began screaming for her.
First her father, “Chrissy!!”
Then her mother, “Chrissy!!”
Then in unison, “Chrissy!!”
Onlookers stepped back a bit and began looking at the parents awkwardly, as most people do when they see others scream.
“What’s wrong?” a bicycle cop rode up next to them.
“It’s our daughter,” Mary began nervously.
“We can’t find her,” Tim continued.
“Okay, usually kids just tend to wander off a little bit. Give me a description and I’ll put out word to the other police officers working the boards. I’m sure she just wandered off to a game or maybe one of the amusement piers.”
Mary and Tim gave a perfect description of their daughter to the officer, they even showed him a digital picture they all took right before they left the house.
As the officer began speaking into the shoulder mounted walkie-talkie unit, Chrissy’s parents began debating about what other information they should reveal.
“I think we should let him know about – you know,” Mary suggested.
“No!” Tim insisted, “We tell them nothing about her condition. It doesn’t affect the job they have to do in finding her.”
Mary, in an effort to calm her nerves took a sip of Chrissy’s root beer. She began to gag as something lodged in her throat. She coughed out Chrissy’s pill. The pill, although very powerful and strong was small and Chrissy must have blown the pill out through the straw quickly before she took a sip of soda.
“Tim, look at this. She never took her pill,” Mary held out her hand which held Chrissy’s minute pill.
Meanwhile, Chrissy was being driven away from the boards and away from the crowds. She was sitting in the back of a van. The side walls and floors were almost completely stripped clean of paint. This van was old; it was worked over – probably stolen. On the floor, where Chrissy was sitting, was an old dirty mattress. Coarse thick rope choked her wrists which were uncomfortably positioned behind her back; a dirty, smelly bandana was gagging her mouth.
“She’s cute,” said the bald man in the passenger’s seat.
“Yes she is,” replied the man in the driver’s seat. “I bet we can get a lot for her.”
“When’s the auction?” asked the passenger.
“I just got off the phone with the boss and he said he can get some guys in by midnight tonight.”
“How much do you think we’ll get out of this?”
“Well, our standard fifteen percent. So, I’m guessing around seventy-five hundred.”
Chrissy sat in the back gagged and heard every disgusting perverted word oozing out of the mouths of these scumbags. By listening in on their conversation she learned that the fat bald one was Lewis. For an adult, he didn’t seem too bright. The driver was Ronnie. Between the two, he would have to qualify as the brains of the operation but that wasn’t saying much. Apparently, they worked for another man whose name she didn’t catch. That guy steals little girls puts them on a video feed and then has an auction. Chrissy was getting angry and that was making her feel sick again.
My medicine is definitely wearing off, she thought.
Back at the boardwalk, Chrissy’s parents, the boardwalk police and some volunteers began looking for Mary and Tim’s little blonde angel. During the search, a detective in charge of missing persons arrived at the scene. “Folks, would you mind coming with me down to the station. I need some more detailed information so we can issue an Amber alert.”
Mom got choked up just at the sound of the phrase Amber Alert. Her mind filled with dark images of blood and death.
“Tim, what are we going to do?” she asked, her voice quivering.
“They’ll find her honey.”
When they arrived at the station Tim looked at his watch – Chrissy took her last dose of medicine six hours ago, if she didn’t spit that one out.
The two men drove a considerable distance from the boardwalk but despite the distance and all the different turns, Chrissy wasn’t worried. She knew she could find her way back. She memorized a bunch of landmarks she saw through the front window. All she would have to do now was just follow those landmarks back to the boardwalk.
Finally, the van turned down a dirt driveway and headed to an old country farmhouse, far from the view of nosey neighbors and well out of range for one to hear the cries of help.
The van stopped, slid a bit on the loose dirt drive and then came to an abrupt halt. The man in the passenger seat exited the car and opened the sliding door. Chrissy looked at him and then focused her eyes downward at the gag as though she was asking for it to be removed.
The man gingerly took it out of her mouth.
“Where are we?” asked Chrissy.
“Your new home sweetie,” Lewis responded.
“This isn’t my new home. I think you should bring me back to my parents, now.”
The driver came around the side of the van and interjected, “Don’t talk to her! Just take her down to the basement and lock her in her new room. She ain’t going anywhere.”
The two men walked Chrissy to an old slanted wooden door along side of the house. On the door was a padlock, Ronnie took a key out of his pocket and unlocked it. Chrissy looked down the rickety wooden steps and was nudged from behind to move forward. Into the darkness she went. Ronnie and Lewis followed.
After arriving at the station, Detective Blaire began asking the parents more questions, “Is your daughter on any medication for like epilepsy or diabetes or anything like that?”
Both parents paused and looked at each other, “No.”
“I feel like I struck a chord here. Are you sure there isn’t anything you want to tell me. Sometimes kidnappers will release a child that is on medicine, especially if they don’t want a murder charge placed on them. When we go to the press we can let them know that.”
The father looked down at his watch again nervously, “Just find her…soon.” The basement was actually nice, newly remodeled. As Chrissy progressed down the stairs she saw clean white walls, a carpeted floor, a giant TV and several plush couches. Against one wall was a bar stocked with bottles labeled with words like gin, whiskey, tequila, and vodka. On the bar were fresh cut limes and lemons, probably to garnish drinks, next to them, a knife. This was not the room Chrissy would be staying in though. Off to the side of this elegant room was a door. It looked thick, solid, not like the hollow doors hanging in most homes. It was designed to keep a little person in and some very big men out.
The bald man opened the big door to the back room and walked Chrissy in. The room was bright, with white walls, a mattress on the floor and some toys that other little girls involuntarily left behind. In the top left corner of the wall, Chrissy saw the camera that these dirty old men would be watching her through.
“Now listen little girl. I’m gonna put you in that room over there. If you start screaming, I put the gag back in. Do you understand?”
Chrissy nodded her head, slowly. Just as Lewis was about to close the door Chrissy revealed something to him, “I’m not afraid of you.”
“Well, I have some good news,” the detective stated as he came back to his desk. “We got some video footage of the guys we believe took your daughter.”
Tim and Mary walked with the detective to a conference room. The video began playing, “Okay if you look here, you’ll see you and your daughter walking toward the arcade. A few steps behind you – these two guys.”
Mary and Tim looked carefully at the two guys following them.
“Do you recognize them?” Blaire asked.
“No. We don’t.”
The detective fast-forwarded the tape several minutes. “Okay, here’s your daughter walking out of the arcade alone. The two guys are following her.”
Chrissy’s parents continued to watch as these guys continued to follow her.
“Now, this is where we got confused when we reviewed the tape the first time.” As the parents continued to watch they were horrified to see their little girl stop, turn, and face the two men following her. It seemed as though some words were exchanged and then Chrissy willingly went with them.
“We reviewed other tapes and we saw them bring her to a white van and drive off. We already put out an APB for the van and the two guys. We contacted state troopers and we have checkpoints throughout the state looking for her. We will find her.”
“I’m not afraid of you,” Chrissy repeated. “You can’t hurt me. You have people coming tonight. If you hit me, you’ll bruise me and then those men won’t want to pay as much for me, so I’m not afraid of you.”
“Look little girl, there are other ways I can make things miserable for you other than hitting you. I can keep the lights off, not give you any food, and not give you anything to drink.”
“What time is it?”
“Because, I haven’t taken my medicine for about seven hours now. And that’s not good for you.”
He turned and walked out of the room. Behind him, he closed and locked it.
Ronnie was standing behind the bar pouring himself a shot when Lewis asked, “Don’t you think it’s weird that she came with us willingly?”
“Look, all I know is that it made things a lot easier. Cheers.”
As Chrissy’s parents sat nervously waiting to hear something they continued discussing her condition. “I think we should let them know and soon.”
“Fine,” the father agreed.
“Detective, have you heard anything yet?” Tim asked.
“No, we haven’t, but we don’t think they left the state. The amber alert went out. Every law enforcement agency has been notified. Once this happens, we usually wrap things up pretty quickly.”
“We’re afraid that something terrible might happen if you don’t find Chrissy -- soon.”
“Believe me sir; we’re doing everything we can to make sure nothing happens to your little girl.”
The detective started to walk away when Chrissy’s mom spoke up, “That’s not what he means.”
Puzzled the detective turned around and approached the parents. “What do you mean then?”
“Hey, when I was in there, the girl said she needed medicine. If it’s like for asthma or diabetes or something, we could be looking at one dead kid. The boss will be pissed,” Lewis noted.
“Well, go back in there and find out what the meds are.”
The man turned and entered the room again. Chrissy sat there with an eerie calm.
“Look, what kind of medicine do you need to take, what’s it for?”
“I don’t know the name of my medicine. It’s a really long word and the doctors told me it was a new medicine.”
“What’s it for?”
“What’s wrong with your head?”
“It comes up with bad ideas.”
“What kind of hurting ideas?”
“Take a look at my arm, its okay,” Chrissy displayed her right arm to the man showing him a scar she received from a dog bite. “The neighbor’s dog bit me. Then I had a hurting idea.”
“What did you do?”
“I came outside the next day with a nice big piece of meat,” Chrissy’s voice started to change. It sounded creepy and evil. “Then I called the doggy over. When he walked over to me, I shoved an ice pick in his eye. I twisted it around and jumped on his back. He bucked like a horse but then I shoved the ice pick into his chest a whole bunch of times. The blood went everywhere,” Chrissy smiled. “Then I cut the doggy open and pulled out his guts and used them to tie a bow around his neck. It was a cute bow. Then I put the puppy on the neighbor’s porch. You should have seen the look on their faces when they opened the door and saw their Rottweiler all wrapped up in his own guts.”
There was a silent pause as Lewis suddenly became frightened of an eight year old girl. Then Chrissy continued, "So when I tell you that I’m not afraid of you. I mean it!”
After telling the detective the entire story, a look of horror swept over his face. “We have to find her.”
Back at the little farm house, Lewis began explaining his fears to Ronnie.
“Are you kidding me? You really fell for that story? Just keep the door locked! The clients will be here at nine am. I’ve gotta go out and pick up a few things. Do you think you can handle the little girl all by yourself?”
Lewis nodded his head feeling embarrassed about letting a small child intimidate him. He sat on the couch and turned on the large flat screen TV that was mounted to the wall. Forgetting about the little girl, he began channel surfing looking for something interesting to watch. During his flipping he stumbled across the channel linked to the camera in the little girl’s room. He stared at her. She was just lounging around in the room, with not a care in the world. Then she looked at the camera, smiled, pulled her index finger across her throat and pointed right at the camera.
Minutes turned to hours and Detective Blaire pointed to a back room where Tim and Mary could lay down and maybe get some rest. While they were sleeping, the Detective tried to digest all the information given to him about this little girl, the killing of animals and the beating of classmates; she was only eight. Sure the medicine may have been helping but now that she skipped a dose or maybe even more, those kidnappers didn’t stand a chance.
It was around half-past midnight when 911 contacted Blaire. An anonymous tip came through. Someone saw the white van drive up to an old country farmhouse out near some cranberry bogs.
Blaire went into the back room Mary and Tim were resting in, “Wake up! I think we found Chrissy,” the detective noted as he began strapping a bullet proof vest around his torso.
“We’re coming!” Mary shouted.
“No! We got an anonymous tip and the person said there were at least six or seven men in the house. Several of them armed. We’re going to get your girl back. I have a SWAT team in place.”
“How can you be so sure this right?” asked Tim.
“The caller gave very specific details,” Blaire stated frantically as he continued to suit up.
“Like what?” Mary asked hesitantly.
“Look, the guy that called sounded nervous and he said that the little girl told him the medicine all wore off. And…he called from the house we believe Chrissy is being held in.”
Tim and Mary’s hearts dropped when they heard this. ‘Relapse’ is all they thought. Years more of hospital stays. Chrissy’s chance at a normal life, ruined.
The police arrived at the farm house at quarter to one, forty five minutes after the bidding was to begin. “Alright men,” Detective Blaire was taking the lead on this one. “Assume these men are armed and keep in mind there may be more than one child down there. On my mark…go!”
Quickly, the team, armed with small tactical machine guns and riot shot guns took their positions all over the house. A group of men on the porch at the front door. Two officers at the back door, one poised to kick the door open and the other ready to enter. At the old wooden basement door four officers, two to pull the doors open and two to lead in down the stairs. Blaire was not taking a chance. Before his team got in place the vehicles in the driveway were disabled. One way or another, this was ending here and now.
Each officer’s ear piece was purely silent, not a sound, just an anticipation of sound. The anticipation of the word… “GO!” Blaire called out.
In unison, each team burst through the doors sweeping across rooms ready to fire on any hostiles. “Clear!” called out the team that entered the front door. “Clear!” called out the back door team. No sign of anyone yet. Just the basement team left.
“Oh my God!”
“What?” called Blaire. “All teams proceed to basement now!”
Blaire left his position outside the house and proceeded down the basement stairs. Immediately, he realized the worst nightmares Chrissy’s parents had came true . There was blood; there was death. The teams were stunned. Guns hanging down by their sides, mouths opened in shock. On the floor the bodies of seven men. On the walls, blood, probably arterial spray and cast off from the multiple stabbings. As Blaire approached the bodies he saw signs of violent, erratic stabbings and slashing. This was rage. These men were killed with pure rage. Throats were brutally slit open. Based on his initial exam, there must have been hundreds of stab wounds on these men. The carpet floor was soaked with the warm crimson fluid, a squishing sound could be heard as Blaire walked through looking for signs of Chrissy.
“Get it together people!” he called out. “We still have a little girl to find. Check that back room.” Blaire pointed to a dark room with a door swung wide open. Quickly snapping out of it, one of the officers checked the room only to find white walls, a mattress on the floor and some toys that little girls involuntarily left behind. Mounted on the wall, a camera. When he closed the door to the room he found something. “Sir, look at this,” Blaire’s attention was immediately drawn to a DVD in a small plastic bag that was stabbed into the door with a knife drenched in blood. Probably the murder weapon, Blaire thought. A note attached to the bag stated: PLEASE WATCH.
Blaire took out a pair of rubber gloves and placed them on his hands. He carefully ripped open the plastic bag without disturbing the knife, that was for the forensic guys to deal with but he had to watch that DVD. He went out to his car and put the disc in his laptop. First, he saw little Chrissy on video screaming at the camera, the time stamp in the lower corner indicated 12:35 am. Then he heard someone unlock and open Chrissy’s door. The last thing he saw was Chrissy charge for the door. In the background, he could hear screaming, fighting, cursing. Chrissy’s voice changed; it deepened. She howled in an almost animalistic way. “Shoot her,” one guy called out. A shot was never fired. Furniture was being pushed around. Grown men screamed in fear. “You’re not going anywhere!” Chrissy screamed. Presumably someone tried to leave. “How are you so strong?!!” cried out one man. “Die!” Chrissy screamed as the sound of one man choking on his own blood was heard in the background. “Get OVER HERE!” screamed Chrissy in a guttural voice. “Here, you tell the police where I am. Tell them or I’ll kill you…slow. Then the detective shuddered as he heard the very same 911 call he listened to just moments ago at the station. The last man to die was the anonymous tip. Chrissy wanted us to find this, he thought. Blaire continued to watch as Chrissy came back to the camera, she went on for several minutes explaining what these guys had been doing. It seems the last man she killed was the man in charge of this sick little auction and the rest of the guys were potential buyers.
“The man in charge had a briefcase with him. In it I found the names of other clients, ones that already purchased little girls. I’m going after them. One by one, they will all die. Don’t let my parents watch this. It will make them sad. Just tell them I love them and that I’ll be okay.”