Chapter 2: LOGAN
Before I am about to ask the customer in front of me how he is, I jump at the sound of a glass shattering behind. I look back to laugh at Charlie’s clumsiness, but I see her sprinting towards the back door. I try to yell out her name, but she keeps running as if she did not hear what I said. I peer back at the customer I just greeted only to find that he is running out the front door. I don’t know why Charlie is so scared, but I need to go find her to make sure she is safe. I sprint towards the back in Charlie’s direction, and as I run out I yell “sorry Monique” because I almost slam into her. I swing the door open with all my strength, and try to find Charlie’s bright blonde hair in the darkness. It is hard to hear because of the rain that is pouring down from the sky, damn Seattle, why does it always have to be raining? I faintly hear the voice of a man so I immediately run towards the chilling sound.
As I get closer to where the street and the alley meet, I can vaguely make out a large figure holding onto someone smaller. I speed up hoping I can make it to them in time, but behind them tires screech, and the figures move towards the street. I barely catch a glimpse of Charlie’s eyes, widened in fear with mascara running down her cheeks, as she is pulled into a van. The van whips onto the street, and while cars honk at them they speed off into the distance. I continue to sprint after the van as I pull out my phone, hoping and praying that I can get a picture of the license plate. I curse myself for not being a faster runner because the van is already so far away that it has become a dot in what is a dark and stormy night. In a state of panic, I pull out my phone and dial 9-1-1. I almost drop my phone because I am shaking so hard.
“Hello, this is 9-1-1 what is your emergency?”
“M-m-my friend, s-someone just took her. I-I don’t know where they w-went” I stutter out, still completely shell- shocked.
“Sir, may you please explain to me what happened” the operator stated calmly.
“We w-w-were working, and when she saw this man she sprinted to the b-back. He r-r-ran out the front to try and catch her. I fol-followed her out back, and that is w-when he p-pulled her into a van before I could get to them. P-p-please, you guys n-need to help her!”
“Okay, sir the police are on there way. It is important that you stay where you are, they are going to want to ask you questions about what happened. Help is on their way”
“T-tell them to h-hurry!” I shout as I hang up the phone.
My thoughts were racing, as I tried to contemplate what I should do. I look at my phone, and scroll down to find Charlie’s number. I press the call button and hear the phone ring once, twice, three times, four times, five times, and during the sixth ring someone fix up and I hear static on the other side of the call.
“Charlie? Charlie?! What happened, where are you?!” I yell panicked into the phone.
I continue to hear static, but right before the call is cut off I can hear a scream and then
“Amelia, if you don’t…” and then the call was cut off.
Who is Amelia? Is there another girl who has been captured by this man? I hear sirens wailing in the distance as rain falls onto my clothing that was already drenched through with sweat. I stare at my phone, as two police officers approach me. I continue to stare at my phone, not bothering to acknowledge the cops.
“Son, are you the person who made the call to 9-1-1 regarding the girl who was kidnapped?” the police officer questions.
I nod slowly, and look at them with tears rolling down my cheeks. I only just noticed I was crying because the rain made it hard to tell.
“Can we talk to you about what happened inside? It’ll be easier to hear. And the faster we talk about this, the faster we can find your friend. We already sent an officer in the direction you said they went, but it will help us find her if we know what exactly happened.”
“Okay, w-we can go t-to the office” I lead them inside through the back entrance of the coffee shop.
I walk into the office and immediately sit down on the tattered couch, expecting that they are following me. The two policemen pull up a few chairs and sit down in front of where I am. I look up to find one taller police officer with a deeper skin tone. He seems a bit older than the shorter blonde man next to him.
“My name is Allen, and this is my partner Jerry. If you could, may you please explain what happened to the best of your ability. Take your time, we know you’ve been through a lot” the tall one, Allen, says.
“My fr-friend Charlie and I were working when he w-w-went to the back to get some more coffee grounds. When she l-left, that was when the m-man walked up to me. He was kind of intimidating: an inch or t-t-two taller than me, greyish- black hair, and really really p-p-pale. He was probably in his f-forties, but I wasn’t r-really sure. After I said hello to him, I h-heard a glass shatter behind me. W-when I turned around Charlie was sp-sprinting out the back door, and confused I look b-back to the customer he was sprinting out the front d-door. That was when I followed Ch-charlie out the back because I was scared for her. I didn’t know what was h-happening.”
Tears start streaming down my face again, so I pause and try to gather myself. I used to stutter a lot when I was little, and it always makes a reappearance when I am nervous or scared. I am visibly shaking at this point, and in a cold sweat. I take a few deep breaths and continue my story as best as I can.
“That was when I s-saw her get pulled into the v-van. Th-they were dr-driving to fast I-I couldn’t c-catch them.” I stutter out the last bit of the story, as try to keep myself from breaking down completely.
“Did you happen to get a glimpse of the van, could you please describe it to us if you could” Jerry questions.
“It was hard to tell c-cause it was d-d-dark, but it l-looked kind of g-g-greyish. It d-didn’t have a license p-p-plate, but i-it had a red st-sticker on the b-back window. I am p-pretty sure it was a f-ford.”
“Is there anything else you can remember?” Allen asked.
“A-after I called 9-1-1 I-I tried calling her t-t-to see if she would p-pick up. After it r-rang for a while, someone p-picked up. All I heard w-w-was static, someone scream, a-and at the end I heard the n-n-name Amelia. I-I don’t know who Amelia is, b-but it sounded l-like he was angry a-at her f-for screaming.”
I breathe a sigh of exhaustion as I finish the end of the story of events. I can’t stop thinking about what this man is doing to her. My eyes widen in fear as I realize something horrible, something she never thought would happen, but always lived in fear of. The cops see me reach new levels of scared which causes them to look more concerned than before.
“Did you remember something else, son?” the shorter cop asks me curiously.
My stutter disappeared because anxiety was taken over by fear, a fear for her I was so focused on I barely registered I was talking.
In a sort of trance I said, “Her father... she ran away from her home a year or two back, she never really gave me details. The few times she did talk about it though, I could tell she was really scared of him. Do you think it was him?” I was so absorbed in my own thoughts that my stutter ceased without me even noticing.
I already knew the answer to my question, I just did not want to believe it. He finally found her after over a year of tireless searching. I felt like I was going to throw- up.
“I have to go find her.” I shouted as I shot out of my chair.
“Woah, slow down” says the police officers as they gently push me back down onto the couch.
“But you don’t understand, she is terrified of him! Let me go!” I shout angrily.
“Hey, why don’t you let us drive you home. We promise we will do everything in our power to find your friend.” Allen looks to me for confirmation, and I look down and nod solemnly in response and give them my address.
As they lead me to the car, I comb through my thoughts trying to remember everything she told me about him. I want to kick myself for respecting her privacy at this point, I should have been more nosy. But, I know Charlie better than anyone, there has to be something she told me that could help her. I vaguely remember her saying that she had gone on a few vacations to the beach with her father because I had asked her why she hated the beach so much. That was the first time she opened up to me about her past. I could tell she felt uncomfortable talking about it, but she said her father used to take her to a run down beach house every time she had a long weekend during the school year. All she said was that he always used to make the weekend miserable for her by doing anything in his power to make sure she was grateful for gifting her with these vacations. A gift she hadn’t asked for to begin with, but he wanted to ensure she worshipped the ground he walked on. I decided not to pry further at that point because she seemed really bothered by the topic. What is wrong with me, how does being respectful somehow come back to bite me in the ass?
I was so lost in my thoughts, that I look up and realize we are at my house. The shorter police officer, I think his name was Gary or something like that, walks me to the front door of my house.
“You should get some rest, maybe take the day off of school tomorrow. You’ve had a really hard day.” The police officer advises me.
Not really listening to him, I unlock my door and thank him. I close the door and wander up to my room. I collapse onto my plaid sheets unsure of what to do with myself at this point. I keep thinking that if I had reacted quicker, asked more questions, or even if I just ran a bit faster I would have been able to prevent this from happening. I failed my best friend, what kind of a person am I? I walk over to my desk and open up a box of photos. Charlie was always going on and on about how disposable camera are way better than using your phone because it forces you to print the photos. I am so grateful for this weird quirk of her at this moment because I am able to hold something tangible that she has held. I am hoping that by looking through these photos I might remember something she told me about her past that I can’t remember off the top of my head.
The first photo I pick up is one of us on a swing- set in her favorite park to read in. This was the day she lent me her favorite book, the one that made her fall in love with reading. I go over to my bookshelf because I remember I forgot to return it to her. I pick up the copy of The Outsiders and begin to flip aimlessly through the pages. I flipped to the back and notice something that had seemed insignificant in the past. I always assumed she had gotten the book used and it was a previous owner, but on the back inside cover in messy script was written:
To my dearest Amelia,
Amelia… that was the name the man said on the phone earlier today! This cannot be just a coincidence, I know it isn’t. When Charlie said she had to run away from home and start a new life, I had not even begun to think she changed her name. What if her real name is Amelia? It makes perfect sense, of course she would pick the name Charlie. Her favorite author is Charlotte Brontё, how could I be so blind? What else have I missed, she must’ve told me so much, but I never bothered to look beneath the surface.
I am going to make it my mission to figure out this puzzle to find my best friend, no matter what it takes.