Katie stormed up the steps of the police station and made her way inside to the front desk. A woman in her mid thirties stood behind the front desk. She looked like she was probably pretty when she was dressed to party, but the police uniform did not do her justice at all, or maybe she didn’t do the uniform justice, it was hard to tell. “I want to see my friend Sarah” Katie demanded. She was scared and angry and in no mood for beating around the bush.
“Your friend Sarah?” the woman asked perplexed. The big officer had been in the back but walked to the desk at the mention of her friend’s name.
“We let her go. Her medicine checked out with her pharmacist. I’d imagine she went back to her room” he replied nonchalantly.
His casualness enraged Katie. “You left her there? Alone? Those people are crazy, they broke my SUV, stole our stuff and they had a camera hidden in our room!”
The officer took Katie by the arm and escorted her out of the station and down to his cruiser. Tom and his friends made themselves scarce as the big man came into view. After a short drive back to the Inn, the officer went to the room and searched around. “Those are some very serious allegations you’ve made. Yet you have no proof and there is no sign of anything inappropriate, especially any cameras. You girls have been nothing but a nuisance since you arrived. You need to get your friend, pay your bill and get out-of-town before we have more serious issues” he scolded. His patience has clearly expired and he wasn’t going to be of any further help.
Katie headed downstairs. She had no phone. There were no payphones in town. She had no wallet, no identification and no idea where Sarah was or where to start looking. The town was small, but she was alone and vulnerable. Sarah wouldn’t have left willingly without Katie, she knew that for sure. Something bad obviously happened.
Katie ran down to the body shop, hoping to catch Junior. When she got there, he was inside, locking the office for the night. “Oh thank God” she gasped as she caught her breath. “Junior I need your help”.
The boy gave her a peculiar look. “I’m not sure that’s a good idea” he replied, reserved. “I shouldn’t”
“Please! They took Sarah, I don’t know where she is, but she’s here somewhere and I need to find her!” Katie was hysterical and she spoke so fast it was almost one long garbled word.
“Wow, okay, okay, I’ll help you, calm down before someone sees you” he said and took her hand, trying to calm her. The way Junior was so intimidated and the way the fat man and the clerk had treated him earlier, it was clear that this wasn’t an isolated case of insanity plaguing the town. “Let’s start looking, they’ll notice if I’m out late” he whispered.
Together they headed out of the shop and started down the street. Junior brought a flashlight with him from the shop and they searched every store window and every vehicle as they made their way back to the last place they had seen her, the Inn. This strip of town was freakishly quiet. Other than the inn, the body shop and the diner, the shops were closed down and even the vehicles parked on the street looked abandoned.
The office door was open but the clerk was nowhere to be seen. Junior leapt over the front desk and looked around inside the clerk’s office and returned shaking his head. “Nothing” he whispered and continued on.
Katie was impressed at how intense Junior was. He was taking charge and seemed to be as desperate to find Sarah as she was. Suddenly he stopped and held up his hand for Katie to stop. There was a faint sound coming from a room down the hall. A sign saying “Staff Only!” sat in the middle of the door.
As they got closer, the faint sound got louder. When they realized it was crying and muffled screams, both Katie and Junior burst into a sprint and barged through the door. Inside the clerk was standing naked, behind one of the maids. She was fully dressed except that her underwear were around her ankles and her faced was streaked with tears and one end of a dirty rag hung from her mouth, the other half was stuffed inside.
With the shock of the intruders bursting in, the clerk stood like a deer in headlights. The maid quickly took the opportunity to push away and race out of the room, pulling the rag from her mouth. “You sick fuck!” Katie shouted.
Junior jumped forward and smashed the clerk across the forehead with the flashlight. Mr. Luntz flopped backwards and landed on his back, completely caught off guard by Junior’s defiance. He rolled about for a moment holding his sore head. “You’ll pay for that” he growled through his gritted teeth.
In a flash, Junior was kneeling over him, his right hand cocked back, threatening to strike with the flashlight again. “Where is she?” he demanded. His voice made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t going to give the man a second chance to answer correctly.
“I don’t know! The officer took her out to the street and let her go! I swear I didn’t follow her… I was… busy” his voice tapered off in shame and fear.
Katie walked over and kicked the man in the stomach. “You sick bastard, you filmed us in our rooms, and you stole our wallets and damaged our car!” she wanted to go absolutely ballistic on him. To start stomping on and kicking him. He was a sick pervert and whether or not he knew where Sarah was, she wanted to hurt him badly.
“No! Okay, okay, okay. I had the camera in your room, I just like to watch. I don’t record it, I don’t keep records, I just watch and, you know…” Katie did know, but didn’t want to think about why he watched. The man continued, grovelling more and more as he spoke, “I didn’t take your wallets, I swear! I didn’t mess with your car either, I don’t know anything about cars, especially big things like you have!”
Junior had enough. He put the flashlight down and punched the man in the face twice, very hard. Katie was taken aback by his aggression but the maneuver worked. Taking a beating wasn’t the clerk’s strong point and he cracked immediately at the thought of another strike. “When we have a real sucker come into the motel, I call Big Ed; he messes with the car to make business for his shop. The people have to stay in town longer so I make more money too. But I didn’t touch the car, I swear!” Mr. Luntz broke down, crying like a baby and curled up into a fetal position.
Junior looked back at Katie. “He’s telling the truth. I noticed whenever an outsider came by they always managed to need some type of repair. Usually something dumb like a hose or a battery adjustment. They’ve got a good scam going I guess, and he is a sick pervert, but he doesn’t know where Sarah is and that should be our priority right now”
Katie agreed and they headed out. She needed to find Sarah, but she also couldn’t stand to be in that disgusting smelling room with the old naked pervert, sobbing on the floor. They checked the room upstairs but there was no trace of Sarah anywhere. Then they headed to the bank, searching the shop windows and the back seats of cars as they passed.
Still there was no sign of her anywhere and now it was completely dark outside. The moon was bright and the street lamps offered a bit of light, but not much. Katie began to cry again. She was terrified for her friend. Junior gave her a comforting hug and then continued searching.
“Where else could she be?” Katie sobbed.
“I don’t know. I didn’t see her pass the shop. You didn’t see her at the police station and she wasn’t at the Inn. You didn’t pass her when you came back from the bank. I don’t know” Junior admitted but wasn’t deterred in searching.
They made their way down alleyways and searched behind units and around the dumpsters. Then Katie had an idea. “The fat man, Big Ed or whatever. Where does he live?”
Junior nodded without speaking. Then he started to jog down the street. After passing several houses, Junior grabbed Katie’s hand and ducked down behind some garbage bins at the street corner. She didn’t know why at first and then she saw the police cruiser pass by. The big square-jawed officer was stuffing his face with a bagel and didn’t notice them.
Once they were sure the officer was gone, they continued their jog. Minutes later they were standing in front of a medium-sized home with fairly elaborate looking fixtures. Big Ed was surely making good money from his scam. He also had several cars in the driveway, presumably ones he had fixed up for himself.
Junior snuck around back, Katie in tow. He did his best to peer in through the windows, both the main floor and the basement, but all were covered. Junior walked up the porch and tried the handle and the door slid open silently. Junior paused for a moment, unsure if this was a step he was willing to take. He glanced back at Katie and saw the terror in her eyes and made up his mind and headed into the house.
All of the lights were off except one, the kitchen. The television was on in the dark living room. They slowly made their way toward the light. Luckily the floorboards were cooperative, not making a peep. A few seconds later, as they were about to enter the lit area, the back door opened and they could hear Big Ed shouting on a cell or cordless phone. Quickly they ran to the only place they could, the kitchen.
Big Ed stormed down the hall, his fat legs stomping loudly and his knees cracking and popping the entire way. “Alright I said! I’ll take care of it. I’ll make sure the little bitch gets what she deserves” he growled and slammed the phone down on the counter.
Katie covered her mouth to stop her scream. Junior glanced around and pulled a big knife out of the cutting block. As the fat man turned into the kitchen, the two were in plain sight. “Junior!” he boomed. “You’ll pay for this!” the man’s face was already hot but now it burned a fluorescent red with rage. Big Ed lunged forward, his hands extended to choke the boy. As he grabbed Junior’s neck, the tip of the blade slid easily into his obese chest, piercing his heart and killing him almost instantly.
The fat man fell to the side, blood gushed from the wound. Katie couldn’t stop herself this time; she started screaming wildly like a police siren. Junior fought to get her to calm down and eventually she stopped, but only because she just couldn’t muster any more. Junior grabbed her hand and together they raced through the house, calling Sarah’s name.
But she wasn’t there. Their wallets were there and everything that had been inside them were ripped and thrown about. Their cell phones were there as well but they were smashed to pieces. Katie ran over and grabbed the phone from the nightstand and started calling her parents. There was no answer. It was their date night. Their cell phones would show an unknown number and they wouldn’t pick up, calling them would be useless tonight.
Junior took her hand and hung up the phone. He looked just as terrified as she did now. “Let’s go back to my place” he begged. “This is crazy. Big Ed’s dead. We were trespassing in his house and killed him!”
Katie tried to interject, to explain that it wasn’t his fault but Junior wouldn’t let her. “It doesn’t matter what the truth is right now. It’s all about evidence and motive. We need to get out of here so I can think, please”
Katie didn’t like the idea of leaving at all. She wanted to call the police and explain everything. The scam that Mr. Luntz and Big Ed had been running, the raping of the maids, the filming of the guests, the stealing of the wallets and the threats on the phone, all added up in Katie and Junior’s favor. But then she remembered Frankenstein. He seemed to hate outsiders from the offset and probably wouldn’t be interested in giving her the benefit of the doubt. It would be impossible to find Sarah while locked up.
Reluctantly she agreed and the two raced off to Junior’s little house. On the way, they ran into three figures in black clothing, cloaked by the darkness of night. “Hey Katie!” she recognized Tom’s energetic voice right away. “Are you okay? Where’s your friend?” he bounced slightly as he spoke.
“I’m not sure” Katie started but then she didn’t know who to trust so she decided she had already said too much. “I got to get some sleep. Maybe we can talk in the morning?”
“Yeah sure thing” Tom smiled happily. If he wasn’t so damn creepy, Katie would actually like the guy.
For a moment Tom and Junior stood eyeing each other. It was like two wild male animals claiming territory, neither wanting to give in but also neither wanting to risk any type of injury from confrontation. When they realized Katie noticed, they both turned and walked away.