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More of God's beauty to enjoy!!
~ Chapter Seventeen ~
Justin froze. Bright light flooded the closet. His heart slammed so hard against his chest he couldn’t breathe. He tried to take in a breath, but failed. He was captive to his terror.
‘The Monster’ reached out and pulled a shirt from a hangar in the middle of the rod and closed the door.
Justin shook his head, unable to believe the man hadn’t seen him. Air filled his starved lungs causing him to experience a dizzy, light-headed feeling. He looked upward, whispered, “Thank You Lord Jesus.”
He could hear as the man moved around in the room outside his hiding place. The sound of a creaky faucet was plain to discern, and then the unmistakable flow of water. Is he taking a shower? Should I try to escape? Indecision washed over him. He was in way over his head, and knew it. It was a mistake to come here alone.
He whispered again, “Dear Lord, help me.”
A sudden calmness flowed through him and he sighed in contentment. God is with me.
He laughed. The whole situation was impossible. First, his audacity to offer to help find the baby. The fact he actually came to fulfill that promise, the reality he’d actually found the right place, but most of all, the fact God was with him. He didn’t know why or how, but knew he’d be safe. Or at the very least what he was about to do was meant to be.
He stood up, stretched for a second then opened the closet door. The room was empty,
the sound of running water echoing in from the bathroom. He creeped across the room and out the door, not waiting to see if the man heard him until the door was shut behind him. When the man didn’t appear, Justin made a quick beeline for the room the girl was being held. Chance was there, too.
His heart had resumed its painful pounding, but he tried to ignore it. He had to do this. Two lives depended on it. Should he call the police? Yes. He pulled out his cell and punched in 911 and began talking as he reached the outside of the locked door.
Too late, Justin remembered he hadn’t re-locked the door. ‘The Monster’ knew he was here. Or at least that someone had been.
Justin whirled around as the floor behind him gave a sickening creak.
‘The Monster’ stood behind him, arm raised above his head.
Justin’s eyes followed that arm. He gasped in horror when he saw the bat extending from a beefy hand.
“Sir. This is 911. Is this call in error?”
Thinking fast, Justin screeched into the phone, “Track me!”
The bat came down and Justin instinctively put an arm up to ward off the attack. He closed his eyes, awaiting the impact.
A noise from the end of the hall caused his eyes to pop open again.
The girl came down the hallway brandishing a heavy wooden chair.
He tried to stop her. “No, he’ll…”
But she kept coming, not stopping until she brandished it over her head and whacked him over his.
A voice came over his phone’s speaker, unheeded. “Sir, someone is on the way. Is the intruder still there?”
Justin watched as the man crumpled in a heap to the floor. Why hadn’t he moved before she hit him?
And then it hit him. How had she escaped? So he asked. “How did you get out?”
She smiled. “My family works in a circus during the summers. I’ve done all kinds of daring feats, including tightrope walking, and scaling brick walls—you know, it’s like rappelling without the equipment.”
His eyes widened. She couldn’t be more than twelve or thirteen years old. “Are you saying you climbed down the side of the house?”
She nodded, a smug look covering her young, grimy face.
And it hit him, again.
“But I didn’t see any windows in the room.”
She smiled again as the sound of an urgent siren grew closer. That’s because he has it disguised as part of the wall. The only reason I found it was because I was throwing a tantrum after he first locked me in there. I think I hit every inch of the wall. When I hit that spot, it sounded different, so I explored.”
“Why didn’t you just leave?”
She gestured toward the room. “The baby.”
He nodded. “You’re an amazing child.”
“Thank you, sir. I’m Amy.” She held out a grimy hand.
He took it. “I’m Justin. I married Chance’s mommy.”
“His name is Chance?”
“You didn’t know?”
She shook her head. “Nope. The monster wouldn’t tell me.”
His eyes widened once more. She’d deemed him as Monster too. “Well that’s his name.”
“He’s a good baby. I miss my baby brother.”
“How old is he?”
“He just turned one.”
The man on the floor began moving around, grumbling in pained outrage.
Several people stomping up the stairs broke the possibility of the man getting up, as he was trying to do. A cop wearing SWAT gear pushed a booted foot into his chest. “Stay where you are.” He looked at Justin and said, “What’s going on here?”
Justin moved toward the guy, a smile on his face. “I’ll be glad to tell you…”
The SWAT guy raised his gun at Justin’s chest. “I said don’t move!”