The Price Is Right

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
I stumbled upon a truly horrifying scene and can't rest until I find the people responsible.

Submitted: June 05, 2010

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Submitted: June 05, 2010

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It certainly wasn't the first time, and it wouldn't be the last.


I was late for work and therefore decided to stay past closing time to make up my 8 hours. On top of that we were incredibly busy and I had committed to 10 hour shifts for the next week so I wouldn't be going home until after midnight. When the time finally came I was the last person in the warehouse and had to fulfill my “last man standing” duties. I went through my normal routine of locking every door in the building and turning off any computers that were still on. I also took this opportunity to indulge in one of my secret pleasures when I was completely alone: turn off all of the lights and walk across the entire warehouse in near pitch black. Now that may sound dangerous but we weren't the kind of operation that had chainsaws and razorblades laying around. Plus, I walked at a very slow pace so I could remain quiet enough to hear myself breath. The only danger I faced was bumping into a pallet jack or conveyer belt.


Why would I do this? Let's just say that I like being scared. I like scary movies; not the kind that throw gore in your face while blasting shrieking violins to make you jump in your seat. That's easy. That's the same feeling I get when I realize I left home without my cellphone. I am much more interested in the kind of fear that stares you in the face without making a single sound. The kind that you can look dead in the eyes and not be entirely sure what it is you are seeing. The images look familiar and nothing sounds strange, but slowly your brain translates what is happening and your heart pumps vinegar through your veins in response. Not many movies can do that successfully. More often than not these things happen in real life only. Movies are never as scary as real life.


I finally got home at about 2 a.m. only to discover that there was another convention in town and the visiting cocksuckers took all of the spaces in my apartment's lot. I pay good money for that spot and whenever there is a heterosexual-motorcycle-enthusiast convention in town I can kiss my spot good-bye. That's what I get for living 2 blocks from the damned convention center. So I spent the next 15 minutes trolling the nearby streets for an available spot. I finally found a semi-legal spot 5 blocks away that I would have to wake up in 4 hours to move out of or face the harsh fines our wonderful government enforces on us citizens. At that point I didn't care, I just wanted to go to bed. I grabbed my bag, slammed the door, and hit the lock button on my key-chain until my car called me a retard. I stepped up to the sidewalk hoping to see some of the hobo-cats that live in my neighborhood but found none. It was at that moment that I realized I had walked into my special place: quiet, calm, next to no light. I began to walk very slowly, listening for any sound at all. I was happy to find none. I kept moving forward with deliberate steps. Heel, toe, heel, toe. Slowly rolling my foot to avoid making a sound. I was pleased with my ninja-like stealth. I did this for about a block than realized at this pace it would take me an hour to get home so I stopped playing my game. I continued home at a regular pace, counting how many hours of sleep I would get if I went to bed immediately upon returning home ( yeah, right ). I then heard the first sound of the darkness. It was quick, and very loud. I knew it was a voice, probably a female's. It came from the left, out of an old building. It happened so quickly that I couldn't quite register what it was: pain or pleasure. I stood completely still to listen for something else. There it was again. Only this time I knew what it was: a cry for help. A woman's voice screaming in fear and pain. My heart was trying to escape my body via my ribcage, but it just kept bouncing back in. I've heard a woman scream like that in TV and film countless times, but this was not the same thing. People may claim that violence in the media desensitizes us to real violence but it is complete bullshit. Real life is always scarier than fiction.


I looked around hoping to find someone else to shoulder the responsibility of hearing this, but just as I had earlier wished , I was completely alone. To this day I don't know what the hell I was thinking, but I decided to try to find the woman and help her. I should have called the police but I figured if I just called 911 and said “I heard a scream” they wouldn't really be able to do anything. I knew the sound came from the building next to me so I quietly walked to the door, listening for any other sound that may reveal the truth. Hopefully I would hear laughter. Someone must have just scared the shit out of someone as a joke and I can just go home and forget this. But I heard nothing. I checked the front door and found it wasn't locked. Great. I stopped myself to think about what I was about to do. If I go in and the place is empty than great, no harm. But what if I do find something? Someone may be in real danger and in need of help. I guess that outweighs my need for sleep. I was so full of adrenaline anyway that not only would I be unable to sleep for about a week, I wasn't even thinking of the other possibility in this scenario: someone is in real danger and by going in I will put myself at danger. Live and learn.


I slowly opened the front door trying my best to avoid the cliched creaky door effect. I was immediately confronted by a narrow hallway with a stairway on the left side. The place smelled dusty and consisted of rotting wood throughout. The windows were covered up with something so there was no light source on the inside. Once again: pitch black. Well, almost. There was a door at the very end of the hallway on the right side. The door was closed and had a bright blue oscillating light seeping underneath it. I could also hear sound coming from the door. People were audibly moving around and talking in very low voices. Not whispering, but talking in an almost sensual way. I began to advance down the hallway, using my highly trained ninja skill. As I drew closer to the door I could hear more and more what was going on in the room. There was a light metallic clanking sound, like chains. And a periodic clicking sound. Someone was breathing very heavily; sounding exhausted from physical activity. I found myself standing in front of the door, frozen. Did I really want to go through with this? No one heard me come in here. I could leave now and no one would know. But I would know, and I couldn't live with myself if I gave up here. So I slowly placed my right hand on the doorknob and turned....




I opened the door just enough to allow a reasonable view of what was going on without alerting anyone to my presence. As the opening revealed more and more of the room my brain cataloged everything as it was unveiled: floor, chair with jacked draped on it, camera tripod, large photography light with one of those umbrella things on it, small stand with knives neatly arranged on a tray, blood soaked towels.....


It was at this point that my mind went completely blank. I opened the door a little more and saw something else, but I was in such a state that I could have been face to face with a lion and not even noticed. I still don't know how long I stood there watching, but eventually my brain caught up with me and told me to get the hell out of there without making a sound. I slowly closed the door, my hands shaking uncontrollably. I quietly walked back towards the entrance to the building, realizing that I was crying. I was finally coming to terms with what I had just witnessed. I covered my mouth to smother my sobbing and tried to regain my composure. It was the woman's moan through her gagged mouth that snapped me out of shock. I had to help her. I hurried outside as quietly as possible and reached for my cellphone. I tried to think of what I would report as I dialed 911. I walked to the building next door so I wouldn't alert the men I saw in the room.


“911, what is your emergency?” The voice on the phone asked.

“I need help......there is a woman....tied up. They are torturing her.....” I could barely say it out loud. My voice was trembling.

“Where are you sir?”

“10th and M Street, northwest. There isn't a number on the building but I am outside.....”


Before I could finish I saw one of the men walk out of the front door to smoke a cigarette. I froze completely. He casually lit his cigarette, took a deep drag, then looked directly at me. We locked eyes. My jaw was on the ground and I had my phone to my ear. He knew exactly what was going on. He began to walk towards me with his best tough guy face on. I slowly hung up my phone and put it back into my pocket.


“You have the time?” He asked.


I took that as affirmation that he was about to hit me. I'd never been in a real fight. I studied martial arts for awhile and knew how to strangle a person unconscious, but this was all new to me. I figured I've come this far, I have to keep them here for when the cops show up. This guy could see how scared I was. My eyes were red from crying; he probably thought he could scare me away easily. I decided to use my pathetic appearance to my advantage. With out saying a word I tackled him to the ground. He didn't expect it. It gave me the opportunity to hit him a couple of times, but my hands were still shaking uncontrollably that I couldn't hit very hard. He obviously had been in a fight before and rolled me off of him easily. We wrestled for about a minute, trying to gain a dominant position until he finally hit me square in the jaw. I felt myself going unconscious for just a second when I realized he got off of me. I saw red and blue lights flashing all around me. A cop was kneeling down next to me. I could taste blood and my lip was swollen.


“Can you hear me, sir?” The cop asked.

“Was I out?” I responded.

“You were out cold when I got here. Did you call this in?”

“Yes....the woman.....is she ok?”

“We didn't find anyone inside sir. We are going to have to ask you some questions about this.”

“Ok.”

“There is a medic on the way. We'll have you checked out before we go back to the station.”


My head was spinning in circles. I was still trying to tell myself that all of this had really happened. Between what I saw in that room and the fight, I felt like I had just had a nightmare. It felt like it happened days ago. I started to forget the details already. I put my fingers to my temples, trying to regain focus. Right now I was the only witness to this whole mess and I had better remember the facts to help with the investigation. The medic put some liquid bandage on my busted lip and gave me an icepack.


“They said I'm ok. I'm ready to go to the station now.” I said in monotone to the officer. I was just doing what I was told from here on out. I got into the back of the squad car in a trance. I had never been in a police car before. I wasn't really able to enjoy it given the circumstances. Although, should one ever “enjoy” being in a police car? I felt nervous as we drove past my parked car. I was worried he would stop and give me a parking ticket.


The police station wasn't very far from my apartment. I had walked by it many times. This was the first time I'd ever been in a police station. It didn't look like it does on TV. It reminded me of a Walgreen's with desks. I was asked to sit in a waiting area for the detective to get back from the scene to ask me a few questions. I used this time to drink all of the water in their water cooler. I love the smell of the little paper cups that office water coolers have. Not the shitty funnel cups, but the Dixie brand ones. There is some kind of wax water proofing on the inside that prevents the cup from turning to mush once you fill it with water. You can usually only find them in dentist and doctor's offices. Some day I would like to have one of those in my bedroom.


“You the guy that called in the tortured woman?” A voice interrupted my water cooler pondering.

“Yes, yes I did.”

“I'm Detective McLarney. I am a homicide detective. I just came from the scene you reported.”

“Homicide? Does that mean....”

“No. We haven't found anything there. I was called in based on your initial call. But there isn't any trace of foul play. We won't rule it out yet though. I need to know what you saw in there and if you can remember who was doing it.”


McLarney led me to his desk. We both sat down and he offered me some coffee. I poured myself a cup as he took out a notepad. “Let's start from the beginning: what is your name?”


Half an hour later I had gone over my story 3 times. I didn't get the impression that he saw me as a suspect, but he was probably testing me to see if my story changed with each telling. Considering the mental trauma involved, I don't blame him. I did the best I could to describe the man I fought with. I didn't get a clear look at the other man in the room – or the woman for that matter – but I spent quality time with one guy and hoped he had previous arrests that would put him in the police database. The detective had me look at some mug shots to see if I recognized anyone, but to no avail. After everything I tried to do to help, it seemed as if the two men in that room covered their tracks pretty well. As I had stated to McLarney, they had plastic tarp on the ground where the woman was chained. Everything was so neat and well organized. By my guess they had done this before. The guy must have knocked me me out and fortunately used the time to pack everything up and escape instead of killing me. I asked McLarney a few questions of my own but I think I pissed him off a little bit. I just couldn't believe that there wasn't any trace at all left behind. I didn't want to sound like I felt they weren't looking close enough, but I saw all of this with my own eyes. I heard her scream. I could smell the sweat and blood in that room. My lip was busted from being hit by one of the perpetrators. I didn't make this up. McLarney told me they would ask around the area to see if anyone else saw or heard anything, but that I should just go home and wait for them to follow up with me.


The cops gave me a ride home; which was good because I was too scared to walk by that building. McLarney gave me his card in case I remembered anything else. I saved his number in my cellphone contacts on the ride home. I knew I would call him back; but not before I did some investigating of my own. As we passed the building on the way home I saw that everyone was already gone. No police tape or lab techs in white coats scrutinizing every inch of the house. I wasn't angry with the police, just with the men who did this. The police require evidence to further an investigation and unfortunately there wasn't any. Just my eye witness account. I grew angry when I saw the building again. Just as I had decided to get involved by going into that building in the first place, I decided to get involved in the investigation. This all reminded me of that Nicholas Cage movie. I figured I would follow his example. After I locked the door to my apartment I checked my closet to make sure no one was hiding and waiting for me. I even checked under my bed. This entire experience had made me feel like a 6 year old afraid of the dark again. When I felt sure there was no one hiding I went straight to the bathroom and peed out a gallon of water and a pot of coffee. I then turned my computer on and googled “Snuff Films”. I was going to figure out who did this myself.


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