The East Woods

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
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Submitted: December 27, 2011

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Submitted: December 27, 2011

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Part 1

It was a hot, sunny July morning. But Rae couldn’t enjoy it. Ever since she had woken up, she had a terrible headache and an empty feeling in her stomach. She knew this feeling from a few years ago, when her parents and brother were on their way home from a hockey game in the city. The car crash was fatal to her dad, and it put her mom, Cathleen in a wheelchair for the rest of her life. But, miraculously, her brother, Ty, made it out of the crash with no permanent damage, and he was the one thrown the farthest from the car. Losing a parent was hard at any age, but being only 7 at the time, Ty barely made it through.

Back then, Rae didn’t have any friends, so she had to worry by herself. But this time, she had someone who would understand that she needed someone to be with. Her mother and Ty were out shopping, so she only had one option, Zack. He had always been there for her since the first day if middle school when they met.

As Rae ran to his house down the street, she tried to put her long auburn hair in a ponytail as best she could. When she got to his doorstep, she didn’t bother knocking. She ran up the stairs and barged into his room. Zack was reading a book and listening to music on his headphones in the corner, facing the wall. She yelled his name a few times, but when he didn’t respond, she walked up to him and shook him as hard as she could. Zack screamed and turned around. When he saw it was only Rae, he sighed and took off his headphones, leaving his scruffy blond hair a mess.

“Rae? Why are you here?” Zack asked, confused. She didn’t reply right away, only sighed and sat down on his messily made bed.

 “I don’t know,” she replied. “It’s just… I have a bad feeling. Like I did when...,” she trailed off.

“Ohh… well… where’s your mom? And your brother?” He asked, now very concerned.

“They’re out shopping.”

“Do you want to call your mom?” Zack got up, about to go find a phone. Just then, as if on cue, Rae’s cell phone beeped.

“That’s my mom,” she said under her breath. When she hung up, Zack gave her a questioning look, but she just shook her head, showing she was just as confused as he was. “She told me to get home and that there are people waiting for me there.”

Zack and Rae ran down the stairs and put on their shoes as fast as they could. “I’m going out!” Zack yelled to his mom.

Georgia walked out of the kitchen and was about to ask where, but when she saw Rae, she simply nodded at Zack and said “I’ll text you.”

When they arrived at Rae’s doorstep panting and out of breath, there was already a cop car and two police officers outside, one male, one female. The woman looked to be in her early 20’s and was absolutely flawless, but natural. Her nails were plain, her hair in a bun, and practically no makeup. The man was in his early 30’s and had a small goatee, and short, dark hair. He was rather stocky, but muscular. They all introduced themselves and got down to business.

 “So… what’s this about?” Rae asked, confused.

Officer Redpath and Detective Reed looked hesitantly at each other. Officer Redpath spoke directly to Rae. “Your brother is missing. He wa-“

“What do you mean Ty’s missing? Isn’t he with my mom?” Rae interrupted, now panicking.

It was Detective Reed who answered her. “Your brother disappeared while your mother was in the restroom. She told him to stand beside the water fountain, and when she came out, he was gone.”

Rae was paralyzed. She had lost her dad; she couldn’t bear losing another family member- especially not Ty. Zack grabbed her hand and gave it what was meant to be a reassuring squeeze.

“What’s next? Where should we look? ” Zack asked the investigators.

“According to multiple witnesses, your brother left in a white pickup truck with a tall man in his early 20’s.”

“So basically he left with what could be any man in North America?”

 “We’re not supposed to tell you this, but… we have an idea… no, more of a hunch…” Detective Reed began.

“Continue,” Rae urged her impatiently.

“There have been six other kidnappings in this city and the neighboring communities within the past two weeks. They have been boys and girls, all within the ages of 7 to 10. And they have all been taken from a grocery store.” Officer Redpath informed them.

“Just like my brother…” Rae muttered. She slumped back into her chair and gave a long sigh.

“Do you have any idea where Ty might be?” Zack asked the detectives urgently.

“Sort of…in July of 1993, the exact same thing happened- kids disappearing, within the same age group, from supermarkets in this area.  We think this might be a copy-cat kidnapper.”

“So… where were they kept last time?” Rae asked, now hopeful the detectives might have a lead to go on.

“A log cabin on Murphy Lake. But there are so many log cabins out there that we wouldn’t have a clue where to start. And almost every family who has a cabin is out there- considering this Saturday is Canada Day.”

“Isn’t that a good thing?” Rae asked, annoyed. “That there are a lot of people out there? A lot of possible witnesses that could know where Ty is?”

Just then, Rae’s mom wheeled through the door with Georgia not far behind. Cathleen’s cheeks were tear- stained, and Georgia didn`t look much better. They settled down on the couch, and the officers gave a brief explanation of what they had been talking about for the past twenty minutes.

“Alright, we should be going,” said Officer Redpath, slipping on his shoes.

“You will ask people at Murphy Lake if they saw anything, right?” asked Georgia hopefully.

“We can’t promise that. We have no proof that they could be out there, and it would be a waste of time and man power.” With that, the two detectives left.

Feeling frustrated, Rae trudged to her bedroom with Zack close behind.

“We need a plan.” Rae said, breaking the silence.

“Yes, it doesn’t look like the authorities will be much help,” Zack agreed. “What if we…”

 Part 2

As the two friends arrive at the lake bustling with energy, they exchanges nervous glances. Rae was more of a social butterfly, so she was going to try to mingle and find possible witnesses. Zack was more quiet and sneaky, so he was going to try and blend in with the crowd, and follow any suspicious-looking people.

Zack followed a lot of people for a few hours, but nothing seemed remotely suspicious.

Meanwhile, Rae hadn’t found anyone who knew anything about her brother. She had spoken with quite a few people, but none seemed to know anything about what she was talking about. She decided to phone Zack and see if he had found anything.

“Hey Zack.”

“Hi. Find anything suspicious?”

“Nope. I talked with a lot of people, but none had seen anything suspicious. What about you?”

“On the gravel road beside the woods on the east side, I saw a man and a woman, both in their twenties, walking into the woods with two kids, who looked around 7 and 10, both with light blonde hair. The older was a girl, the younger a boy. But the kids looked like they were grumpy, because the parents were on either side of them, practically dragging them. It just seemed… odd.”

“Did you follow them?”

“Sorry Rae, I didn’t. It didn’t seem all that suspicious at the time. I mean, it looked like two parents trying to get their kids to go on a nature hike instead of playing video games all day.”

“It’s okay, I get what you mean. Meet me at the main concession by the east beach.”

“Okay, I-“

“Hello? Zack?”

“Rae- I-“

“Hello? Zack, you’re cutting out!” All she could make out was “Help… Woods…”

Rae didn’t know what to do. She ran to the east side of the woods on the gravel road, where Zack had seen the family. She ran through the woods as fast as her feet would carry her. By now, it was almost dark. The fireworks would be starting soon. Rae stopped short. She heard a twig snap behind her. Rae walked as slowly and quietly as possible to a nearby bush. Then she looked around to see who was following her.

While she was looking around, she caught movement in the corner of her eye. She turned towards it and saw a small figure coming towards her. Rae picked up a stick and held it in front of her. When it was about ten feet away from her, she realized it was… a girl.

Part 3

She looked around 10, with long blonde hair.

“Who are you? Why are you in the woods all alone?”

“I’m running away from somebody. I need to keep going!”

Rae asked her a lot of questions. It turns out she was the older girl that Zack saw in the woods. Her name was Emma, and the younger boy was Urie, his brother. They were kidnapped from the same store Ty was taken from, only 2 days earlier.

“Do you know where you were being kept?”

“I think I can show you where it was.”

“Alright.”

They walked for about half a mile until they reached another gravel trail.

 “Where do we go next?” asked Rae.

“If we walk a little this way, there should be a log cabin on the west side of the road. It might be hidden behind some trees. We were being kept in a cellar somewhere on the side of the house.”

When they reached the row of trees beside the old log cabin, Rae led Emma to a cluster of tall pine trees close to the ground. “Stay here,” she said while lying her down under the trees. “Don’t make any noise. I’ll come back and get you later.”

Then the reality of the situation hit Rae. She was all alone out in the woods, trying to rescue a bunch of kids from mass kidnappers. For all she knew, they could be dead. Don’t think like that she told herself. But it could be was true, and Rae knew it.

As the row of trees beside her ended, she realized she had only the darkness to rely on for her cover. Then the first firework went off, making her jump. Great, she thought. Now the festivities will get me kidnapped just like Zack and Ty. Zack! He’s smart enough to know what to do! She crouched down and moved as fast as she dared. Reaching the side of the house, she reached into the faded bag she had completely forgot was slung across her shoulder. As she grasped for her sweater, something hard hit her hand. She mentally slapped herself. A flashlight! Hanging over my shoulder, and I forgot it was there!

 

 

Part 4

Rae shuffled along the side of the old cabin and flicked on the flashlight. After she hit it against her hand a few times, it came to life. Her left foot hit something as she was scuttling along the log wall of the house. As she shone the flashlight towards it, she realized it was about an inch above the grass, and it had two small handles on it. Rae bent down and pulled on the handles. It was only then when she realized there was a small chain with a padlock keeping the handles from opening. She looked around for something hard to hit it with. She scanned the area with her flashlight, and for a fraction of a second, she saw something shining in the eaves trough. At first, it meant nothing to her, but what else would be shining up there? She gently shook the eaves trough and it clinked down onto the ground. She ran her fingers through the grass and clasped the small silver key in her fingers.

As Rae pushed the key into the lock, she suddenly became nervous. She realized that she could find anything down there- even eight dead bodies. She knocked on the wood as hard as she dared. “Is anyone in there? Ty? Zack?”

Rae heard a faint moaning coming from the cellar below her. She suddenly had a flicker of hope. Her fingers turned the key as fast as they could manage. She slowly pulled the two doors open. There was a light coming from somewhere down there, but it wasn’t close to the door. Rae slowly climbed down the ladder and shone her flashlight around there were two tunnels leading in opposite directions.

“Zack?” She yelled.

“Rae? What are you doing here?” yelled a husky voice coming from the tunnel leading to the right.

“I’m coming! Hold on! Keep talking so I know where to go!”

Rae was very relieved that Zack was ok, but what about her brother? Could Ty be hidden somewhere else? Or even worse, dead? Rae shuddered at the thought. She wanted to break down and cry, but she urged herself on.

For the next fifteen minutes, Rae and Zack yelled at each other through a series of tunnels when Rae turned the last corner, she knew she was in trouble.

“Zack! I’ve hit a dead end! What do I do?”

Zack’s voice seemed to come from behind the giant brick wall in front of her. It looked polished, almost shiny. “What are you talking about?”

“There’s a brick wall in front of me!” Rae was pacing back and forth, and her hands were sweating. This can’t be right! How did they get them in there? There has to be a way!

Frustrated, Rae ran brought her right leg up and kicked it as hard as she could. She expected it to be hard, but it moved slightly when her foot hit it. She walked away from the wall, and then ran towards it as fast as she could. The impact from Rae’s hard hit made the bottom of the wall fly up, and before she knew it, she was on the other side. A curtain! Really?! A curtain?

 “Zack! I got through!” she yelled, almost giddy. “Where are you?”

 “I’m over here! Hurry!” Rae followed his through a few tunnels and reached a brown wood door. She turned the handle and slowly pushed the door open. As she slowly walked around the door, Zack ran towards her and hugged her. “I missed you so much!”

“I missed you too.” As she looked around, she saw seven kids all huddled in a corner. In the middle fast asleep was a short brown haired boy around nine years old. “Ty!” she yelled as she ran towards the group of kids.

“Rae! I missed you! I knew you’d come to get me, I told them! But they didn’t believe me! I told them!” He yelled as he hugged her as tight as he could.

“Wait… told who? Who did you tell about me?” Rae became suddenly worried at the thought that the kidnappers might know she came to save her brother.

“The man who came and got me. And the girl, too,” Ty replied, unphased.

“The girl? Wasn’t it a woman?”

“She was only a bit older than you, I think. Why does that matter?”

“It doesn’t. I just… wondered,” Rae replied. “We have to get out of here. Get all your friends to line up against the wall beside the door. And keep quiet! Zack, come here. I need to talk to you!”

Zack followed Rae into the corner opposite of the one the kids were in. “Rae, what’s wrong?”

“I think they know we’re down here…” Just then, a man and a woman barged into the room. At first, Rae panicked, thinking that they were the kidnappers. But then she looked closer and saw that they were the two detectives who visited her the day before, Officer Redpath and Detective Reed.

“Oh, I’m so glad you’re here!” Rae began. “I-What are you doing?” Rae asked as they pointed their guns around the room.

“Get on the ground! NOW!” shouted Officer Redpath, pointing his gun at Rae and Zack.

They lay on the cold, stone floor on their stomachs and exchanged a worried look. Detective Reed looked worried, almost guilty. But Rae refused to feel sorry for her. After all, she kidnapped Ty… and Zack. Rae slowly inched her way over to the door. She made a gesture for Zack to follow her. When Reed and Redpath were looking the other way, Zack grabbed Rae’s hand and they ran out the door and through the rough tunnel. As they turned the corner, they heard cursing coming from the room the kids were in. They both looked back and ran through the curtain wall into real two police officers.

Part 5

“Whoa whoa whoa! Who are you kids and what are you doing down here?” asked the younger of the two men. His brown hair was damp with sweat, and his hands were shaking. He kept glancing at the ceiling and walls, as if they were going to collapse any moment.

“Let me see your badges!” Zack yelled with such force that Rae jumped.

The officers looked questioningly at each other, but still pulled out their badges. Rae grabbed them and showed them to Zack. It was only then that she realized how tense he was. His jaw was locked and his hands were bunched up into fists. Rae gave the badges back to the officers and massaged Zack’s hands open.

“What’s wrong?” Rae whispered to Zack.

“I just know that… we trusted those officers and they turned out to be the kidnappers. So who can we trust?”

“You’re right. But you and I both know who we can trust- each other. And our families. And these officers seem legit enough.”

“You know what I mean, Rae.” Rae gave him a sympathetic look and turned towards the officers.

“How did you find us?” She asked before telling them any of her information.

“We were working to keep the partiers to a minimum and saw you sneaking around. So we followed you,” the older man explained.

“OK,” said Zack reluctantly. “Let’s go save the kidlets. Get your guns out- they’re armed,” he informed them.

The group of four charged into the room. Reed and Redpath had a moment of confusion, giving the two Officers enough time to tackle them.

“You’re under arrest for the kidnappings of eight children,” The older man said while he and the other detective put handcuffs on the kidnappers.

“Crap! I knew we should’ve taken the girl!” yelled Redpath as he was being dragged down the hall.

Part 6

As Rae and Zack left the police department with their families, they explained to their moms how it all went down. But Georgia and Cathleen were just glad everyone got out safely.

“Hey Ty, me and Rae are going to the mall after lunch. Would you like to tag along?” Zack asked to make Ty feel better.

But Ty simply replied, “Na, I’ve had enough shopping for the rest of my life.”

 

 

 

 

 

 


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