Kidnapped Read Count : 50
Category : Stories
Sub Category : Thriller
It began with a call that no parent ever wished they had to make, however it was now eleven forty three in the evening and Casper had still not arrived home from school. After recently turning thirteen the young boy who showed a maturity above his years was given the freedom to walk to and from school, which was just ten minutes down the road. What added to the worry was that Casper had managed the journey for almost a month without any real concerns and his mother was happy to allow it to continue. Worryingly now she sat shaking on the small arm chair in her living room, wit her mobile phone pressed to her ear as teams of Police Officers were on their way to the property.
The Nine, Nine, Nine Dispatch operator didn't even think of her reaction to the distressed Mother's plea for help, being a mother herself it only took eleven seconds for her to have an urgent response note on the system for officers to attend the address, within another seven seconds, three local units had radioed in that they would react and were on route. Doing her best to keep the distraught woman calm, the operator ran through a series of questions and as quickly as possible logged the details. By the time the first response team arrived the operator had all the details she needed, gave the mother a few heartfelt words of encouragement and then hung up to take another call. Her heart was racing at the thought of the mothers anguish and concern for the young boy.
Sat with the mother in the living room Police Constable Harker quickly jotted down notes from the questions he had to ask. Some of them not easy to answer for someone who faced the real possibility of not seeing their child again. That truth lingered in the back of his head, it had too, it kept him sharp and focused. He had noted the times the young boy left the house in the mornings for school, what time he normally left school. Details about the route home he would take, he had already radioed one of the other units to check along the route instead of coming to the house. He took names of friends, family and other people of interest in the area. While asking what he was wearing the mother broke down so he handed her a tissue from the box half empty on the table. Instinct told him the mother had nothing to do with this, her husband had died three years earlier so wasn't an avenue to investigate. No boyfriends during that time so no leads there, however there was the home help, a young woman by the name of Samantha, Miss Green, who has been working for the family for almost a year. A knot tightened in his stomach.
With its blue lights flashing one of the responding police units drove slowly along the main road from the school toward the family home. There was only one road, which didn't make things any easier. On one side of the road, there was the school, the playing field which backed onto a small woodland area then onto the local bypass. The other side of the road were houses, many with their lights off, some with the light from the television flickering constantly. Yet there was no sign of the boy, further along the road there were houses then on both sides, back lanes to the gardens on both sides of the road and then the park. The patrol car come to stop in front of another police car out side a small house in the street on the other side of the park. PC Harker and his colleague left the house and walked to the occupied vehicle.
Within minutes three teams of two officers had torch light searching the park, the low amber hue from the few scattered street lights were no help. One team search the area of the park on the right hand side of the road, the opposite side of the road to the family home. Beside a few empty beer bottles the park was clean and had no sign of the boy or his belongings. Over the foot bridge in the other half of the park David Harker, a father of three, with eleven years experience in the police caught a glimpse of something, he directed his torch to illuminate the area under the roundabout, his mouth went dry in an instant. What he found, was a shoe, a black, slip on school shoe. Rushing forward in a panic he felt like a lead weight, the officer with him ran to his side as soon as he noticed the sudden movement from her partner. Grabbing an evidence bag from his pocket, he always carried a few around with him out of habit, he picked the shoe up using the bag and examined it.
It wasn't Casper's shoe, first thing that told him that was the little flower pattern on the front, it was a girls shoe. Second it was three sizes too small and had a name written on the inside, it looked like Daisy, but the shoe had been chewed on and so had likely been thrown out at least a few days ago. That heavy feeling he felt subsided, it was a blessing, however it also meant there was still no sign of the boy. Sitting on the cold metal seat of the roundabout the Police Officer watched as the other park team crossed the bridge. Time was running out and it was too dark to consider searching the nearby woodland. Suddenly his radio crackled and he answered. Dispatched had informed him that the School Caretaker was on his way to open the school to allow them access to the school's CCTV. A request the officer had made almost as soon as he got to the house. There were no other cameras that covered that stretch of road, so they didn't have a lot to go on.
At the school gates the fifty something caretaker waved the car forward into the staff parking area at the side of the school. PC Harker exited the vehicle looking about not hiding the fact that he was. The school representative greeted the two officers and they followed him around the front of the building and into the school via the main doors. After a few quick questions it was clear that Casper had in fact been in school that day, the caretaker, Arnold Westline, had seen him a few times during the day. Described as a friendly and helpful child, the caretaker's account of the boy's actions in school didn't seem unreasonable. Casper had helped with the litter picking at first break, at dinner helped a few of the year sevens find their way around the school, passing the caretaker a few times doing so. Even at the end he had stopped to help empty the bins, leaving thirty minutes after school finished, which matched his mother's time frame.
After watching the external carpark camera for the sixth time David Harker was happy that young Casper had left the school and looked as though he was walking home. What happened now once he was out of view of the school camera was what needed piecing together. His radio crackled again and dispatched passed on a few new leads, one of which was a worker from the garage at the end of the road having spotted a young lad matching Casper's description in a vehicle at the garage about the same time as the boy left school. The Officers thanked the caretaker rushed to the car and drove down the road, passing the child's home and moments later pulling into the little four pump garage forecourt.
The garage manager was waiting for them, one of the other police teams was already there, part of the area search, they had called in the details and now Harker was striding into the building to find out for himself what information there was to collect. With haste the manage played a short clip from the forecourt CCTV, for a few seconds all that could be seen is vehicles rushing passed on the main road. Then a small car pulls in and stops at a pump. A Woman climbs from the drivers seat and begins to fill the vehicle with fuel. Then a small head appears in the back, the picture isn't very clear, but it could very well be the boy they are looking for. The child in the car had short curly blonde hair, a Redmoore High school blazer and looked a little distressed. The woman pays at the pump on a card then drives away.
Logging the number plate of the vehicle they discover the vehicle had been reported stolen during the early hours of the morning from a town almost two hundred miles south of the little town. It took a few minutes to find the payment, twenty nine pounds and ninety seven pence of unleaded petrol on a card registered to a Clive Sackville, and as expected the card came back as stolen. Mrs Peters rushed into the office with a female officer behind her. The panic and hope in her voice was raw, painful and she tried to hold back the tears. After being shown the video she collapsed to the floor in tears as she sobbed hoarsely screaming that it was her son in the back of the car. That gut wrenching knot tightened as Harker processed the obvious, this was a totally random kidnapping, no motive, no ransom, no logic. The clock was now ticking so much faster, he feared the worse and it almost made him sick.
As sounds go, the wailing of a mother who has just been told almost the worst news possible is heart shattering, and even out on the garage forecourt Harker could hear the soul destroying cry as he spoke to dispatch to discover where other local cameras were situated and to issue a track on the vehicle. When he was finished he looked along the road with a heavy heart, three forty two was the time the vehicle left the garage, it was now twenty seven minutes passed midnight, nine hours, nine hours head start the child abductor had. In that time on fair travelling conditions, someone could drive coast to coast almost three times, or be at the furthest points north or south in the country. The chances now of finding the boy was devastatingly slim, he had to tell the boy's mother that truth, he didn't want to, but there was little point in hiding it. The officers eyes began to tear up.
His radio crackled and the voice on the other end was in a fluster, the audio wasn't clear so he asked for the details to be repeated, as he listened closely the other officers and the boy's mother rushed from the garage. The car had been sighted two hours north, a local unit had been dispatched and would wait at the vehicle for Harker to arrive. On the road north Harker and his companion done all they could to reassure Mrs Peters that everything was being done to secure the vehicle and search the area safely. The sighting came in from a camera at a local travel lodging carpark. It showed the woman leaving the vehicle with the child and heading for the hotel. The hope was they were still inside.
Even with the blues flashing the journey took an hour and forty, however to Mrs Peters it felt so much longer. If it wasn't for a ferry bridge being in use they could have arrived twenty minutes sooner, but there was nothing they could do about that. When they pulled into the car park they could see four other police vehicles, two patrol cars, a riot van and a first response. The local police had prioritised this situation and dispatched half of their active force to the scene. Harker met with the local officer in charge, Dorian Billingham, a man Harker knew by reputation. With a quick debrief the team was organised to sweep the hotel. With a Photo of the woman in hand Harker and Billingham approached the clerk who was no help, he was sure he had seen her and the boy. Demanding that he check the guest log for a Sackville, the clerk frantically checked the system. However there was no Sackville staying at the hotel.
Checking the time of the footage to guest sign ins the clerk firmly informed the officers that a Miss Sunny Day had signed in to room One hundred and fifty six. The police rushed up the stairs and kicked open the room door. To their dismay the room was unoccupied. However it wasn't empty or clean, on the bed was a child's uniform, the Burgundy blazer was enough to confirm it was Casper's Redmoore High uniform. There was also a lot of blonde hair all over the floor, as well as a box of brown hair dye. Whoever this woman was, she seemed to know what she was doing. This scared Harker as he also spotted some blood in the sink. Forensics were called and would be there within twenty minutes. This new complication opened up more worries, and he now had to break the news to Mrs Peters.
It felt like time stood still as the already exhausted mother broke down again. The Clerk at the hotel had sorted hot drinks out for everyone as a team watched hours of video footage from various cameras in the carpark. When they finally found what they wanted their hearts sank. The woman was no longer alone with the boy, a man had joined them. The three of them walked away from the hotel and out of camera sight. This goose chase was getting beyond crazy. Feeling the frustration from this new information boil up Harker smashed his empty cup against the office wall. Then he stormed out to his car, grabbed the radio and talked heatedly with dispatch, he felt useless, his one lead had hit a brick wall. Unless they managed to find something they would have to call of the effort. No Vehicle description, the Woman seemed to know what she was doing, so using their descriptions would be useless as she had already changed what she could of the boy, who was to say that since fleeing, this woman and her unknown assistant hadn't changed how they look. Looking at the time on his phone Harker yawned with good reason, it was thirty three minutes passed six in the morning. He knew time was up, he looked across the carpark at the boy's mother, her eyes red raw from the tears she had lost, her heart must have broken a dozen times already. Now he had to break it again.
As he walked across the carpark toward Mrs Peters, Dorian intercepted his attention with a brown file. After a quick flick through the various documents within Harker understood the magnitude of the information in his hands. There was suddenly a pattern, not just any pattern, but a predictable one. Who ever this woman was, probably thought she had been careful, that all her previous successes had faded to a dusty shelf in the back of an unsolved cases draw, and she was almost right. It was easy to miss, simple to over look, a growing pattern of ink. The Tattoo, the only distinguishable mark on her, stars along her exposed chest, the earliest picture of her, the first child, she had no stars. Then with each new case, a new star. Counting the stars again he totalled eleven, but there were only ten cases of unsolved child abductions. Was Casper the eleventh or her dozen.
Back in the office a map had been brought in to show where each of the boys had been taken from and where the bodies were later found. Even in this there was a pattern, thirteen days between each reported abduction and the discovery of the body. She was clinical, planned, even where the bodies were discovered had given Harker a chilling concern. A bigger picture suddenly emerged and he realised he would have one chance, just one to bring this woman in. Talking his theory through with Billingham, it seemed like years of effort fell into place. However if he was right in eleven days time, unless stopped, Casper Peters would be found dead, most likely in a farm or slaughterhouse. He would be the Pig, twenty nineteen, the chinese year of the pig. All this dated back to two thousand and eight, with a thirteen year old girl, found dead thirteen days after being kidnapped, in a run down alley in the centre of the city, poisoned with rat killer. They now had an idea, they just had to hope it could help.
Mrs Peters agreed to be taken home, but despite being well over his official working hours, David Harker remained on the case. In his gut he knew he couldn't just shrug this off, this woman was dangerous, and needed to be stopped. Billingham also remained at the hotel, turning the room the abductor had used into an operations centre. For the next few hours various officers brought files, maps, equipment to the room. Officers made themselves busy going through local camera footage, some went back over the older files to see if any new light could be shed on the cases. It was a frantic few hours and to many including Harker that nothing had been achieved. Then there was a small detail that came to light, almost like the tattoos, subtile but in plain sight. Every body was found one hundred and thirty miles from the place of abduction.
The map now had a fresh area marked on it, a thick red line that encompassed everything within the one hundred and thirty miles from the child's school, which was now believed to be the abduction point. Teams of officers checked maps and aerial views to find any farms or slaughter houses within the area. Other details from previous cases helped to narrow down options, the victims were found within a few hours of their deaths, which ruled out abandoned properties because they wouldn't be busy enough for the body to be found soon enough. It was also suggested that the couple stayed very local to the scene, carrying the body or chancing being caught with the body in a random check would be too risky, so they had to be within ten miles, and this was also noticed in the other cases except one, where there was a hotel or bed and breakfast within that distance from the discovery point. Pieces were quickly falling into place, hopefully quick enough to act before the woman could change her system.
By the time Billingham left to clock off it was almost four in the afternoon, but it was ok, because the hours of non-stop efforts from everyone, had narrowed the possibilities to one place, just one. A Slaughterhouse, just outside a small town, four miles from a small hotel. The only problem was, it was located in another county, covered by a different police force. So before he could move on it Harker had to square it with the local task force. Billingham refused to aid him, so he got into his car with all the details he needed and drove. Even now he felt sick, how had this couple, this woman get away with eleven abductions and murders, in eleven years, and not get caught. It played on his mind as he drove, this woman as he had already suspected was dangerous and now needed to be stopped. He was closing in, he was sure it would end.
As cooperation talks go, this had been the hardest he had ever had to deal with, Harker now understood why Billingham didn't want to assist. Gary Fellows was an arrogant, self absorbed man who believed his status as deputy of the local force was his by birth. His father had held the same position once, for a year before being dismissed on grounds of unreasonable behavior. It wasn't something Harker thought Fellows should be proud of, but it was his flag to the mast. He wasn't going to cooperate, that much was clear, and luckily after gaining the measure of the man before him very quickly, he hadn't given any details away that Fellows could act upon to take the pompous glory from the situation. No as he left the station it was clear he would have to do this alone.
Deciding to leave the marked car at the station Harker grabbed a bus into town and then out to a local car hire company. He didn't want anything fancy, so settled on a ford focus, silver, so not to look too out of place. Then he bought some clothes from a local supermarket, bagged up his uniform and tossed it into the boot of the car. Three hours after leaving the police station David was sat on a chair looking out over the carpark of a small hotel, four miles away from where he believed would be the dumping ground of thirteen year old Casper Peters, but not if he could stop it.
Tiredness had taken hold without him realising it, so he woke to the sound of a car horn in the carpark. Looking out of the window again he noticed a lot few vehicles parked up. Looking at his watch it was seven forty one in the evening. He grabbed the bag of stationary he bought from the supermarket and began writing down the number plates and parking position of the vehicles in the carpark. He needed to know if any were stolen. This pattern of behaviour was now paying in his favor, but he proceeded with caution as he new, even his luck could run out. Once he had all the plates written down he took a picture and sent it to Casey, at dispatch, who had been in his ear for the majority of this case so far. She would need at least an hour to go through the fifty or so plates he had sent her. So while he waited David Harker, grabbed a shower and something to eat.
Bingo, a hit, he thought excitedly as he got a message back from Casey, but it wasn't the news he wanted, none of the vehicles had been reported stolen. His heart sunk, was all this wrong. Looking out of the window feeling defeated a red Nissan Micra parked up, so he quickly jotted down the plate number and watched as a familiar looking man got out. He grabbed a few shopping bags from the boot then strolled across the car park to the main doors and into the building. It was a lot of shopping for one person over night. He sent the registration to Dispatch who replied within five minutes. The car wasn't stolen, but it was very far from home. Looking back in his notes about the stolen vehicle they found at the previous hotel, they were from the same area. Sloppy he thought, but a lead. Now he needed to know what room Mr Joseph Loggins was staying in. Grabbing his firearm and badge from the draw Harker headed down to the front desk.
The clerk was surprisingly helpful. He had been working the same shift all week, and had noticed the man, his wife and their son arrive the night before. The room, number thirteen, had been paid for in cash for fourteen nights, the last night that had been paid for being the night leading into the day the boy would be killed and left to be discovered. After viewing some CCTV footage Harker was absolutely sure that it was the couple with Casper, here, so close. He asked to use the phone in the office and the clerk agreed. Minutes later he was walking back to the room knowing he had back up on the way.
The next hour was critical, he couldn't move in until he had back up, it was going to be gut wrenching to be so close and do nothing, but he could keep tabs on the room. He asked the clerk if he could move to another room, ideally next to number thirteen. The clerk had checked and room nineteen and fourteen were empty, so he accepted the key for room fourteen and would move his stuff down. As he was doing so he walked passed the male suspect, gave him a friendly nod, not to rouse suspicion. But suddenly the man shoulder charged him into the wall, causing him to drop all of his stuff. It wasn't until Harker was getting back to his feet he realised his handgun was visible. He had blown his chance, the man was now back in his room where there was suddenly a lot of noise.
He heard a window smash so taking out his weapon he rushed to the door and kicked it a few times before it gave way. Before he could draw his sight on a target he felt his ribs take a solid blow, winding him instantly. His attacker was the male assistant, he was bigger and stronger than he first seemed. The punch to the jaw caused the officer to stumble into the wall before feeling the gun being kicked from his hands. Winded, dazed and unarmed Harker realised he was not in a great position. Reaching out for the door handle he pulled it back with him as he rushed into the corridor. The door caught his attacker with a wallop which allowed him to tackle the man to the floor. It wasn't a fight like in the films with the good guy sat over the bad guy punching him in the face, the two men clawed at each others faces, trying to blind or disorientate the other.
Finally as Harker gained the upper hand his gun fired and the woman was stood with his gun pointed at the ceiling, which she then quickly pointed at the officer. Forcing him back into the toilet, the man then closed the door and locked it using a coin and then placed a chair under the handle. During the breaks in him kicking the door he heard the three flee down the corridor. Finally he managed to kick his way free and gave chase. The others were at their vehicle by the time he got to the car park, so he rushed to his rental and started it up, reversed quickly and began to give chase to the speeding vehicle.
He had no idea who was driving the other vehicle, but they were taking too many risks, putting the lives of so many other road users at risk trying to escape. While he tried to safely keep up he kept his back up informed of his movements. They were closing in so it was only a matter of time. The kidnappers raced onto the carriage way cutting up a lorry who only just managed to keep control. Due to the time of day the road was quiet and at the speed they were going it was a blessing. Using the open road to his advantage Harker pushed the car, slowly gaining on the little car in front, once close enough he could see Casper in the back seat panicking. He had to do something, there was the faint flashing blue lights in the distance, they had no where to go.
Except he spotted a chance for them to cross between the barriers onto the other side of the carriage way. Pressing his foot all the way to the floor Harker swerved to the outside of the lane and pulled in along side the Micra. Then he heard the gun fire, glass shattered and he felt a burning pain race through his shoulder. He knew what had happened, but he wouldn't stop, he couldn't stop. Turning the wheel he shunted the other vehicle, his eyes grew heavy, his arm weakened and as he felt the car steer toward the central barrier he blacked out.
The silver focus hit the barrier and flipped through the air. Armed police brought the red Micra to to halt. A few shots were fired but the chase was brought to an end, both kidnappers killed on site. Ten minutes later the fire truck and ambulances arrived, David Harker was cut free from his vehicle and rushed to the local hospital.
Nine months later a young boy and his mother walked down the sombre path of the church yard, it was only a small church with an area around it for burials. Casper Peters was dressed in a little black suit, white shirt and tie, the flowers in his hands were in full bloom. They both entered the church to the sound of the organ playing, they walked down between the pews all eyes on them, everyone knowing who they were. The Boy and his Mother, the last case David Harker would ever undertake. He was a hero, locally and nationally, and now this day was about him, his life, or at least the rest of it. Mrs Peters looked amazing in her long cream and ivory dress. The flowers she held matched those Casper carried. David and his three daughters waited at the end of the isle, faces glowing. David looked at the woman in front of him and he smiled, she had seen him through his six months of physiotherapy, they had grown close since he was in hospital, and finally they were starting a new chapter in their lives.
Twenty minutes later the vicar closed the bible in her hand and congratulated David and Janet then told them, they may kiss for the first time as Husband and Wife. The church erupted in cheers and once they finished they hugged the kids tightly.
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