Haunted Amusement Park – Part 4

“Mr. Wilcox, I can see you now.” Jakes’ father waved and smiled at the boys before entering the Principal’s office. The door closed with a snap.

“Hey guys!”

Jerry and Austin rounded on Jake. Austin poked Jake’s shoulder. “You’re okay! What happened? How did you escape?”

Jake’s brow furrowed. “What are you talking about?”

“Stop playing!” Jerry grabbed Jake by the shoulders shaking him. “How did you get away?”

“Hey! Let me go! I don’t know what you’re talking about!”

Jerry’s voice rose as he shook Jake harder. “I heard what happened! I saw it! Stop messing around!” Jake stared wide eyed at Jerry.

“Are you that mad I didn’t meet with you guys last night?”

Jerry’s face reddened. “YOU WERE THERE! DON’T LIE TO US!”

“Jerry! Lower your voice!” The secretary spoke firmly, eyeing them over her gold rimmed glasses.

“Jerry, calm down man.” Austin tugged on Jerry’s arm.

Jake’s face hardened. “Let go of me Jerry and stop being a jerk just because I didn’t go and you were probably too chicken to go in.”

A furious cry rose from Jerry as he wrapped his arms around Jake’s neck. Austin lunged forward prying at his arms to let Jake loose.

The secretary stood yanking the phone to her ear. “Jerry! Let him go or I am calling Principal Edgar out again!” Her threat was unheard as it was drowned out by Jerry’s shouts. His face turned bright red, his eyes bulged and his nose began to bleed again.

“Stop messing around! You’re a liar! You’re nothing but a wuss!” Principal Edgar and Mr. Wilcox emerged from the office rushing over to the struggling boys. They were finally able to push them apart. Jake sputtered and coughed as Mr. Wilcox placed a protective arm around his son. Principal Edgar attempted to calm Jerry but he and Austin struggled to keep Jerry from trying to attack Jake. Jake looked on with disgust. In a raspy voice he breathed “You coward.” Jerry roared in anger.

“Call the police!” Principal Edgar bellowed to the secretary.

Within 20 minutes the police arrived to detain Jerry. Austin could still hear him screaming inaudibly as they forced him into the squad car.

Austin collapsed into one of the chairs in the front office, his head buried in his hands. He replayed the night’s events over and over. He couldn’t make sense of what happened. Did he just dream it all up? Were he and Jerry going crazy? What really happened?

He jumped when he felt someone tap him on the shoulder. Principal Edgar’s face hovered above him. Through pursed lips he said “Austin your father is here. He is waiting outside.” Austin slung his backpack over his shoulder and slumped down the hall. He reached for the door when Jake appeared next to him, his face void of emotion.

Austin tried to read Jake’s facial expression but couldn’t figure out what he was thinking.

“Hey.”

“Hey.” Austin grumbled.

They stood staring at the ground shifting from foot to foot. Austin broke the silence.

“So…you okay?”

“Yea, just confused and freaked out. My dad’s pissed though. He’s taking me home.”

“Yea my dad’s here too.” Austin took a deep breath, leveling his eyes with Jake. “So…what happened to you last night?”

Jake chuckled, rubbing a hand behind his head. “Man it’s embarrassing. I just laid around studying and reading, then fell asleep watching TV around like, 9 pm.” His hand dropped limply to his side. “How lame is that right?”

Austin snorted. “So you knew we were meeting last night to go to Old Winterview’s and…you didn’t go?”

Jake nodded his head sheepishly. “Sorry man, I know I should’ve called instead of bailing on you guys like that. I just couldn’t take you guys giving me a hard time. I didn’t know Jerry would freak like that.” He glanced out the window as if Jerry would reappear.

“Right.” Austin smirked turning his back on Jake. “So when did your dad get a security job at the Old Winterview place? That’s a sweet gig.”

“Yea it is, he likes it a lot. We can actually buy food now while still keeping the lights on.” Jake’s broad smile was covered by his hand that he clapped over his mouth.

Austin spun around grinning. “I knew you were there!”

Jake’s blush deepened a dark red.

Austin’s smile faded. “Why did you play us like that? We-I was really worried. I thought something horrible happened to you.”

Jake shoved his hands in his jeans’ pockets. “You guys were making fun of me, calling my dad a loser because he was laid off.” He blurted.

“I didn’t make fun of you.”

Jake’s eyes levelled with Austin. “No but you sure didn’t stick up for me either. You’re supposed to be my friend and you let Jerry and Steve talk like that about my family and me. I was so mad I didn’t want to go to school anymore. I tried to get my parents to move. Then my dad finally got this job and I couldn’t even be happy for him. I knew once everyone found out they would make fun of me even more, or worse, they would go to his job to mess with me and get him fired. I had to teach Jerry a lesson.”

“And your dad helped you. That was him in the maintenance jumpsuit.”

Jake lowered his gaze. “Yea. He didn’t want me to get bullied anymore.”

Austin dropped his head. “I’m sorry man. I never wanted to make you feel bad.” He lifted his head to see Jake watching him carefully. “You’re my friend. I should have stood up for you. That’s my bad and I deserve everything that happened to me.”

Jake’s face broke into a big smile. “You didn’t let me go when my dad was pulling me back. That kinda made up for it. You are a good friend. I guess I can forgive you ‘cause of that. I didn’t think you’d do that.” He punched Austin in the arm. Austin shoved him back. The bell rang and a flood of students broke their comraderie.

“Awww, look at the lovers!” Steve called across the hall. Austin rolled his eyes. Steve swaggered up to Jake bumping into him roughly. “Where were you little Jakey? Did you get too scared to go to the haunted park last night? Or did you have to go cash in your piggy bank so your family could eat? I’m sure daddy appreciated it.” Steve howled in laughter.

Austin clenched his fists.

“Shut up Steve! I bet you wouldn’t set your ugly face in that place!”

Steve grinned maliciously, stepping up to Austin.

“You’re on pretty boy!”

“I hope you don’t go insane like Jerry did.” Jake replied smugly.

Steve’s grin broadened. “That wussy, his whole family’s crazy.” He walked backward pointing two fingers at Austin. “Bet’s on man. Be prepared to eat your words punk.” He spun around sauntering down the hall. Austin shook his head.

“Moron. Don’t let him get to you Jake. I gotta go, my dad’s going to kill me as it is. I better not keep him waiting.”

Jake caught Austin’s arm as he turned to leave.

“Hey. Want to help me get Steve, like I got Jerry?” His eyes gleamed.

Austin’s face broke into a wide grin.

“Tell me when and where and I’m there.”

Haunted Amusement Park – Part 3

The sun shone brightly the next day, warming the air and driving away the fog that lingered overnight.

Austin dragged his feet up the school steps. His whole body ached and his blood shot eyes burned. He texted Jerry several times but received no answers.

He trudged to his locker, opening it before he heard Steve, his classmate, guffawing across the hall.

“You’re such a liar Jerry! I bet you guys didn’t step a foot inside.”
Austin’s blood boiled as Jerry hotly replied “yea we did. I have the video to prove it moron.”
Austin spun around and stalked over to the crowd surrounding them. He shoved his way through until he reached Jerry and Steve in the center. Jerry showed the video from the night before, Austin’s vision blurred. Before he could stop himself he shoved Jerry into the lockers.

“What the hell man?”

“I see your phone is working just fine.”

“Oooh lover’s quarrel.” Steve snickered.

“Shut up Steve!” Austin’s eyes bore into Jerry’s. “You didn’t answer me back.”

“What for? I have nothing to say.”

“Dude, we can’t just ignore this! We need to tell someone about last night!”

“Awww…what did you do to make your girlfriend Austin so mad? Did he catch you with another girl last night?” Steve puckered his lips kissing the air.

Jerry gritted his teeth. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Yea you do but I don’t care anymore. I can’t just not say anything. I’m going to the principal. I can’t hold this in anymore.” Austin bumped into Steve as he made his way to the principal’s office. Jerry leaped onto his back tackling him to the ground.

“You can’t say anything! They’ll think we did something and blame us! I’m not going down for that punk Jake!”

Rage filled Austin. He pushed off the ground kicking back catching Jerry in the gut. Austin stood, hands clenched at his sides.

“You can’t stop me!”

Steve cupped his hands over his mouth. “Fight! Fight! Fight!” A crowd formed around them.

Jerry lunged forward slamming Austin into the lockers. Austin bounced off, planted his feet before he swung his fist around, plunging it into Jerry’s face. A satisfying crunch resounded. Red liquid poured from Jerry’s nose. He shouted in anger wrapping his arms around Austin’s waist. They fell to the floor, rolling around until adult voices yelled at them.

“Boys! This is a learning environment, not fight club!” It took several teachers to separate them and lead them down the hall to the principal’s office.

The boys slumped in orange plastic chairs on opposite sides of the office. Austin sat fuming with his arms crossed. Jerry glared at him holding an ice pack covered by a bloody rag to his nose. The principal’s door opened, a tall, thin balding man with square no-nonsense glasses poked his head out.

“Come in boys.” He disappeared back into his office as Jerry and Austin trudged in. Principal Edgar glared at the boys as they took their seats. He folded his hands in front of him before speaking.

“This kind of behavior is unacceptable in my school. Jerry, we have had several conversations about this and I usually expect this type of behavior from you.” He turned to confront Austin. “But Austin, this is very unlike you. From what I understand you guys are friends. What has caused this unacceptable behavior today?”

“Austin’s just mad because I called him a wuss. Right Austin?” Jerry locked eyes with Austin. His eyes were dark and malicious. Austin gulped, battling within himself.

“Is that all it was?” Principal Edgar’s thin eyebrows rose into his forehead. Austin’s face flushed. Austin cracked his knuckles, staring at the ground to avoid Jerry’s gaze.

“No sir. Something happened that I need to tell you.” Jerry threw his hands up tossing the bloody rag on the worn carpeted floor. Principal Edgar shushed him.

“Go ahead Austin.”

Austin took a deep breath and recounted everything from the night before. Principal Edgar didn’t interrupt but his eyebrows knitted together as he soaked in Austin’s story. When Austin was done, Principal Edgar leaned back in his chair clutching the arm rest.

“Is this true Jerry?”

Jerry slightly nodded his head and looked at his hands, refusing to answer directly.

Principal Edgar stood slowly.

“That’s an interesting story boys.”

“Are you gonna call the cops?” Jerry leaned forward anxiously.

“No.”

“Wha…but Principal Edgar, what about Jake?” Austin sat up straight.

“I don’t know what prank you boys are trying to pull but Jake is fine. His father called and said he would be late because he had a dentist appointment.”

Austin’s mouth dropped open. “But…but…I saw…I HEARD what happened! Are you sure?”

Principal Edgar shook his head. “Give it up Austin, it isn’t funny.” Austin looked to Jerry who sat back, his face screwed up in confusion. The intercom buzzed and a nasally women’s voice filled the room.

“Principal Edgar? Mr. Wilcox is here to see you.” Austin jumped. That was Jake’s dad.

“Thanks Linda, I’m just finishing up.” He turned to Austin and Jerry. “School policy for fighting is I have to suspend you both for 3 days. I will be calling both of your parents to come and pick you up. Go wait in the front office until they come.” He walked around his desk and opened the door, signaling the conversation was over and to exit. Austin ambled out with Jerry close behind.

When they entered the front waiting area they both froze. Jake stood in the center smiling at them.

 TO BE CONTINUED

Haunted Amusement Park – Part 2

Jake struggled against the hands that held him tightly.

“Shut up!” Hissed Jerry. “You’re going to get us caught and I’m not going to play hero again.” He looked to the entrance, wiping sweat from his forehead.

“Who do you think he is?” Austin wiped shaking hands down his jeans.

“I don’t know and I don’t care. I just want out of here.” Jerry’s eyes widened as the entrance to the funhouse appeared to suddenly be covered in a blanket of gloom and despair. Jerry pushed the boys further into the funhouse. “G-Go!”

The boys crawled along the dirty floor as metal scraped against the floor breaking the dusty silence.

“You boys ain’t supposed to be here.” A low voice drawled. “Tis tres-a-passin. Now I’m going ta have ta teach yousa lesson.”

Jake shivered, slinking away from the sound. Austin yanked on his hoodie, dragging him along to keep up with Jerry. Dust swirled around them. The broken mirrors sent odd distracting shadows as they crawled along searching for a way out. Footsteps creaked somewhere to their left. The boys froze holding their breath in the deafening silence. Austin jiggled the floorboards looking for a loose board. Sweat streaked their faces and their breathing shallow as they crept along.

The air became stuffier the further they went. Jerry’s body jolted as he kicked a piece of glass. He stuffed a fist in his mouth to keep from swearing aloud. The footsteps halted and the boys dared not move. The silence stretched on. Exhausted arms and legs twitched as the silent minutes dragged. After several minutes, Austin dared to move forward feeling the boards again.

Suddenly mirrors to their left came down with a tinkling crash sending clouds of dust into the air. The boys coughed and choked.

“To hell with this.” Jerry pushed himself onto his feet, running blindly into the darkness. Austin and Jake weren’t far behind. Austin veered to the right. They lost sight of him until he yelled out in surprise. Jerry and Jake paused, groping around unsure of what was going on.

“Guys! I found a way out!” Jerry and Jake followed Austin’s voice until they tripped over his crouched body.

“What the heck man?” Jerry grunted pushing Jake off his outstretched legs.

“Shut up! There’s a loose board that I tripped over. You can feel cool air from the opening. Hurry up and help me move the boards around it so we can squeeze out. Jerry get that side, I’ll get this side. Jake look out for that creepy guy.”

Austin and Jerry pried at the boards. Jake peered into the darkness straining every part of his body to search for the man who chased them but the only sounds in the funhouse were from the creaking and breaking wood.

Jake hugged himself. “Hurry up guys.”

“Almost done.” Austin coughed.

“There!” Jerry yanked the final piece away. “Let’s get out of here.”

Jerry wiggled into the open space with Austin following in his wake.

“He’s probably gone by now Jake. I think he was only trying to scare us off.” Jake lowered himself into the hole after Austin.

“I hope so.” He sighed in relief when his feet touched the grassy dirt below. He glanced back to see a face with a ventilation mask break out from the darkness.

“Found you.” The man growled snatching Jake by the arm and jerking him back up.

Jake shouted out. Austin and Jerry rushed forward, wrapping their hands around each leg pulling back with all their might. Their hold on Jake slipped as their sneakers skidded in the loose dirt.

“Don’t let go!” Jake pleaded as more of him disappeared into the fun house.

Jerry gritted his teeth. “We’re going to get dragged in with him if we keep holding on. We can’t do this on our own we need to go get help!”

Austin’s eyes widened. “We can’t leave him! We won’t get back here in time!”

Jake cried. “Please guys! Don’t leave me!”

Jerry’s face hardened. “I’m not being taken by some psycho.”

Jake sobbed as he begged “Don’t let go! Please help me! I don’t want to die here!”

Austin shut his eyes, willing himself to hold on. “I won’t let go, Jake!”

Jerry’s hold slackened. “I’m sorry. I can’t.” Jerry let go and the momentum made Austin lose his grip and fall to the ground slamming his head. He lost his grip on Jake’s other leg.
“You coward!” Jake screamed as his whole body disappeared into the hole.

Austin rolled over onto his stomach. “How could you do that? We had him!”

Jerry gaped at the hole. Jake continued to scream “you coward!” until a loud thud silenced him. Jerry crawled out from under the rickety building, dusting himself off. He shot Austin a dark look.

“I look out for myself. I’m not getting killed for him. I’m getting out of here.”

“But what about Jake?!”

“Not my problem!” Jerry’s face flushed red. “Jake was slow and weak! I’m not! I’m leaving with or without you but I’m not staying and getting killed by that psycho too.”

Jerry bolted back to the fence. Austin crawled out and ran after him. He glanced back one last time, a rock forming at the pit of his stomach, before he pumped his legs harder, running all the way home.

 TO BE CONTINUED

Haunted Amusement Park – Part 1

The air was filled with the sounds of pounding feet on pavement. Heavy breathing penetrated the cool night air. Three figures raced across the parking lot, jumping the rusty chain link fence surrounding the abandoned amusement park.

Three boys doubled over panting. Despite the crisp air, a sheen of sweat covered each forehead.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this.” Jerry grinned from ear to ear. He loved the thrills life had to offer.

Jake shivered. “I don’t know about this.” He looked longingly at the parking lot.

Austin shoved him. “Come on. No one is here. We’ll just go in, take a quick video to prove we were here and post it. That’ll complete the dare and shut Steve up.”

Jake sighed. “Fine. Let’s just hurry up and get this over with.”

Jerry pulled out his phone turning on his camera. A red light blinked on the screen, notifying them that the video camera was recording. “We are here in the Old Winterview Amusement Park.” He swiveled the phone around shinning light for a moment on a dirty carousel about 50 feet away from them. The horses’ colors were dull and dingy and a few heads were missing. “Some people say this place is haunted!”

“Oooooo!” Austin cupped his mouth for effect. Jake shook his head. Jerry clicked off the camera.

“Come on fellas, let’s take a look around.” Jerry’s eyebrows wiggled up and down. He led the way with Austin close behind and Jake reluctantly taking up the rear.

Austin swiped his fingers at the cobwebs on the carousel. “This place must have been here for like a hundred years.”

“Ok guys, I think we can prove to Steve we were here. Let’s go.” Jake turned to peer into the darkness behind them.

Jerry jumped onto the carousel pretending to ride one of the horses while Austin doubled over in laughter. “You’re such a wuss!”

Jake huffed. “Whatever. I’m leaving. You two can get kidnapped by ghosts for all I care.” Jerry threw his head back laughing so hard he fell off the horse causing Austin to crumble to the floor holding his side. Jake shot them a disgusted look then turned on his heel walking back to the fence. Austin jumped up jogging after him.

He caught up and placed a hand on Jake’s shoulder. “Come on man, we’re just teasing. Right Jerry?”

Suddenly all the lights blinked on throughout the park. Jerry’s eyes widened as the carousel groaned and shook coming to life. It slowly moved, it’s off key music eerily echoing throughout the park. Jerry jumped off.

“Ok Jake, I think you’re right. Let’s go. Jake?” Jerry and Austin looked at Jake who stood still pointing at something in the dark.

“Did you see that?”

“See what?” Austin squinted into the darkness.

“I saw someone.”

“Stop messing around Jake, It’s just your imagination. Let’s just go so this scaredy cat stops crying.”

“I’m not messing around!”

Austin walked toward Jake to calm him down. “Hey we don’t think you’re messing around…right Jerry?” He shot Jerry a dark look. “It’s probably just a security guard or something trying to scare us off, but I don’t want to get arrested either, my dad will kill me. Let’s just go…”

Austin was interrupted by a loud metal scraping noise. All three boys froze.

“What was that?” Jake hissed.

Austin faced the carousel. “I don’t know but I think it came from over there.” He pointed to the other side of the carousel.

“Oh crap!” Jerry pointed to a lone figure, dressed in a maintenance jump suite, standing silently on the other side of the carousel watching them. As soon as they caught his eye he began to walk toward them in pace with the horses that slowly turned past him. In his gloved hands was a large shovel and a ventilation mask covered his face.

Austin turned to run and crashed into Jerry. Both boys tumbled in the yellowed grass. They scrambled up and ran further into the park.

“Wait up!” Jake bolted after them finally catching up with them inside an old fun house whose roof had collapsed in the back. He pushed aside the broken wooden door and peered into the darkness searching for his friends.

A pair of hands came out from the gloom; Jake yelled in terror. He tried to step back but another pair reached out and clamped over his mouth, dragging him behind a row of grimy, faded and cracked mirrors.

 TO BE CONTINUED

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 20

Jose’s jaw clenched as he stared down Nick.

“Really?”

Nick shrugged his shoulders. “No hard feelings. It’s just the cost of business.”

Jose flinched as Nick pressed the gun to his temple. His eyes darted to Elaine as she trembled on the floor. “Elaine, don’t give him anything. If you do he will kill you after he gets what he wants.”

Elaine shook her head, tears streaming down her face. “Jose, I don’t care I would give it to him if I knew but I really don’t. I don’t know what to do!”

Nick sighed. “You have ten seconds Ms. Ramos. TEN!”

“No wait!”

“NINE!”

Elaine began furiously typing anything she could think of. Still the computer showed “Incorrect password, access denied”. “I really don’t know what it is! Please don’t do this!”

“FIVE!”

“Elaine, don’t give it to him.”

“THREE!”

“Please don’t do this Nick! Mr. Durnstram didn’t tell me anything!”

“TWO! I will shoot him Ms. Ramos.”

“Elaine, it’s ok, I would gladly give my life for you.”

“ONE! Time’s up again Ms. Ramos.”

“WAIT! Jose what did you say?”

Jose looked at her closely. “I would gladly give my life for you.”

Nick’s gun clicked. “Say goodbye to your boyfriend Ms. Ramos.” But Elaine wasn’t listening. She leaned over typing each letter carefully. S-O-N-N-Y. Sonny. The dog that Tommy loved, that got her hired on this case but that saved them by giving up his life when he attacked his original owner Nick. A new pop up flashed “Access granted. What would you like to do with these files?”

“Sonny.” She whispered. She jumped up excitedly. “I got it!”

Jose groaned as Nick lowered the gun. “I knew you could help me. Now I really have no use for you.” Nick pointed the gun at Elaine.

“NO!” Jose leaped toward Nick knocking him over as a shot rang out through the warehouse. Elaine threw herself on the floor as she heard a yell from one of Nick’s henchmen who fell to the floor clutching his stomach, a pool of bright red blood formed on the cement floor around his body. The other henchman ran to his friend. Nick and Jose struggled on the floor, grunting and trying to take the gun from the other. Elaine jumped up and with all her might kicked the unaware henchmen in the head knocking him unconscious to the floor. She snatched the guns away from the two men and turned to the men still tumbling around on the ground.

Nick groaned in pain as Jose kneed him. He rolled over onto this side clutching his stomach. Jose stood and pointed the gun down at him. He looked at Elaine triumphantly. She was so relieved and opened her mouth to congratulate him when the door burst opened and a swarm of Federal Officers surrounded them.

One jogged over to her. “Ms. Ramos are you ok?”

“Yes, thank you.” She looked over to Jose as officers surrounded him, removing his gun and patting him down before they put cuffs on him. They led him over to a side area to question him. The man who jogged up to her gently held her elbow as he steered her in the opposite direction.

“Let’s check you over Ms. Ramos before we ask you some questions.” Elaine nodded as she allowed the medics to take over.

An hour and a half later Elaine sat in a roped off section of the warehouse being treated for dehydration and malnutrition. She gave her statement, denying anything she knew about Jose helping Nick. Jose was still cuffed on the other side of the warehouse talking to officers. The laptop and flash drive sat in evidence bags on a makeshift table in the center of the warehouse.

Elaine caught Jose looking at her as he was talking to the officer. The officer looked to her and nodded to Jose before leading him toward her. Elaine stood, taking her makeshift IV with her and met Jose next to the evidence table.

“Hey.” Elaine downcast her eyes. “Thank you for rescuing me.” When she looked up Jose smiled at her.

“It was my fault that you were captured to begin with. Plus I made you a promise, I would always keep you safe.”

“So, what’s going to happen to you now?” Elaine gestured to his handcuffs.

Jose shrugged. “I don’t know yet. I need to talk to my superiors. Don’t worry about me, Elaine, I can take care of myself.” He flashed his dimple as he smiled and leaned over kissing her gently next to her mouth. “Take care of yourself Elaine. Maybe we will meet again someday.” He whispered in her ear. Elaine touched the area of her face where he kissed her. He was quickly led away and placed in a car. She followed it to the door and watched it drive off into the falling snowy night.

Sadness overwhelmed her as she walked back to the medic area. Suddenly the officers’ radios began to buzz. They all sprang into action, yelling and jumping into nearby cars, wheels squealing. She grabbed an officer running past. “What’s going on? Is everything ok?”

“One of the arrested men has escaped.”

Elaine gasped. “Nick?”

“No, Jose Sanchez.”

A swirl of emotions overcame her. She felt guilty for feeling elated. Then a thought struck her and she ran to the evidence table. The evidence bag with the flash drive was missing. Her cheeks flushed as she realized Jose had used her again for his own agenda. He had stolen the flash drive. She shoved her hands in her coat pocket to keep them from shaking when she felt a piece of paper touch her fingers. She pulled it out and stared at the sprawled words written on it. “Come find me. I would enjoy sipping a drink on the beach instead of hot cocoa in the cold.”

Elaine smirked. Challenge accepted, she thought to herself.

Conclusion of Detective Ramos Archives – Nicholas Platnokiv.
Documentation for Case #3 to be uploaded soon.

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 19

“No!” Elaine backed further into the walk in fridge that had been her cell. The henchmen flexed their arms as they approached her. She ran toward the men maneuvering side to side attempting to avoid their outstretched hands. One of the men swung his hand and knocked Elaine down to the dirty floor. She rolled onto her hands and knees crawling under them to try to get away. She was almost to the door when she felt someone grab her ankle and tug her back. She screamed as she was lifted into the air and held tight. She struggled against the strong arms that held her but to no avail as she was carried through the door and into an open warehouse.

The air was cool and she could smell a hint of salt. They must be in one of Nick’s warehouses along the ocean. Nick stood in the center of a large open space in the warehouse. An assistant stood next to him holding a laptop. Jose stood on Nick’s other side, hands in his jacket, looking to the ground. Elaine was ready to get this over with.

“Just get this over with I’m done being your prisoner!”

Nick smirked. “Believe me I wanted to get rid of you a long time ago. Your boyfriend here convinced me to keep you around a little longer. I’m glad he did.” He and Jose exchanged a look. “It appears, Elaine, we still need you.”

Elaine laughed hollowly. “I have nothing else to give you and even if I did I would rather die then give it to you.” She spat on the floor between them.

Nick’s face flushed in anger. He strode to Elaine and slapped her with a swift swing of his arm. He leaned in close and whispered into her ear. “I would be careful what you do; death is the least of your worries.” Nick stepped back.

Silence stretched between them until curiosity go the best of her. “What do you need?”

Nick held up the flash drive. “It appears your friend Mr. Durnstram placed a password on the files on this flash drive. None of my men can seem to figure it out. I believe you know the answer in order to access the files.” Nick motioned to his assistant. She rushed forward, facing the laptop toward Elaine. The screen was blue except for a single box stating “A password is needed to access the requested files”. A cursor blinked below the phrase waiting expectantly. Elaine was confused.

“I don’t know what the password could be?”

Nick’s nose flared. “I don’t believe you. Now to get you to cooperate I have your little friend Tommy in the back and if you don’t help me I will kill him!”

Elaine mouth opened. How did he get Tommy? “P-Please don’t hurt him! I’m telling you I really don’t know! Did you try his name? What about the charity’s name?”

“We tried anything that had to do with the Durnstram’s but the flash drive was given to you so you must know the answer to open it. You have 5 minutes Elaine.”

The henchmen dropped Elaine to the ground. She faltered then walked to the laptop, taking it and sitting on the floor cradling it in her lap. She had no idea what the code could be. She entered her name, then her birth date. She tried the city was she was born, even her favorite color and food but each time she would get a pop up “Incorrect password; access denied”.

Elaine buried her face in her hands. She couldn’t think of anything.

“Time’s up Elaine.” She looked up helplessly at Nick.

“I don’t know I’ve tried everything I could think of.” Nick stared into her eyes then motioned to his henchmen. Elaine jumped up. “No please don’t! I really don’t know but I’ll keep trying.”

Elaine began furiously typing anything into the box, tears streaking her face. The men walked around her and surrounded Jose who looked questioningly at Nick. Nick put a gun to his head.

Realization dawned on Elaine. “You don’t have Tommy do you?”

“No, his father hid them very well so they were inaccessible but I have someone else who will do instead. Give me the password or your boyfriend dies.”

To Be Continued…

Detective Ramos Archives #2 – Part 18

Elaine struggled against Nick’s henchmen trying to get free. Jose limped down the hall clutching his stomach in pain.

“Jose, nice of you to join us!” Nick shoved the flash drive inside the front pocket of his grey suit jacket. He shot Jose an irritated look. “You were one of my best men Jose. You let your feelings for this girl get in the way of your job.” His eyes settled on Jose’s stricken face. “You’ve failed me.”

Jose grimaced. “I had everything under control.”

Nick’s face flushed a deep crimson red. “Control?! You call letting this girl get away from you 3 times in a week control? You’ve never had control from the moment you set eyes on her!”

Jose grunted and turned his face from the group watching the snow fall heavily outside the front door window.

Nick shook his head and turned back to Elaine. “Now to take care of you my dear; once and for all.” Elaine kicked and screamed but the henchmen were too strong. Jose looked at Elaine with a pained look. He whispered “I’m sorry” before a dark cloth bag was placed over her head turning the world black. She felt a hand cover her nose and mouth and the last thing she remembered was telling herself to stay calm so she wouldn’t suffocate.

Elaine awoke feeling groggy and confused. She took in her surroundings. She was locked in some type of walk in freezer, that hadn’t been used in years from the filthy look of the cement floor and dusty shelves around her. A single light shone above her, with no other light source around her. She felt something crawl on her arm causing her to jump and smack at it. She shivered then walked to the door, checking the handle to see if there was a slim chance it was open. It wasn’t. She paced the small space for several minutes before finally settling in the middle of the floor. Hundreds of thoughts raced through her head. She couldn’t figure out how to get out.

Elaine rubbed her face with her hands and sneezed from the grime and dust. After a few hours she curled into a ball and began to cry, causing streaks in the dirt on her face. She pulled her wool jacket tightly around her and fell asleep.

When she woke she found a small plate of food, water and an empty pot. Time passed slowly. Food was delivered twice a day along with another empty pot replacing the old one and water was given to her 4 times a day, usually while she was asleep or preoccupied. She paced the floor, stretching and doing small exercises to keep her blood flowing so her muscles wouldn’t tighten up.

She made escape plans in her mind to keep herself from going crazy but mostly she thought of Jose. She wondered what he was doing and whether he really did care for her. Would he come and rescue her? He had betrayed her but she couldn’t shake her instinct that he was trying to still help her. She thought of when they were back in the office and when he almost kissed her. She held herself, regretting hurting him and wishing he had kissed her. She shook her head vigorously pushing the thought from her mind, angry with herself for falling for him.

Elaine didn’t know how much time had passed but she knew it must have been several days. The space was getting to her and she began to jog in place to keep herself occupied but she couldn’t help but think to herself why was Nick keeping her around? Why didn’t he just get rid of her? He had the flash drive he didn’t need her anymore. As she got on the ground to do push ups she heard the door click and creak open slowly. She quickly stood and waited expectantly. Jose’s face appeared and Elaine sighed in relief. He was here to rescue her! He really did want to protect her.

He took a step in, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans.

She reached out to him. “Hey, I’m…”

“Nick wants to see you.” He blurted and pushed open the heavy metal door to reveal Nick’s henchmen, arms crossed.

Dread blossomed in her stomach. She looked to Jose in disbelief but he was gone. This was finally the end.

To Be Continued…