*** author’s note: Hey y’all, I hope the timeline isn’t confusing you guys, after this chapter I won’t be flipping back and forth anymore. Since everyone is worrying in present time, I’m flashing back to show what Kim and Aislyn have been up to whilst everyone else is in the dark regarding their whereabouts… I hope you enjoy 🙂 ~ ***
7:30 a.m. | DeCarlo Dining Room
Moments after Gus finishes easing Cailean’s feelings of guilt, his phone starts to ring and he rises to answer it. “Hello? Yeah… Now that you mention it, I don’t know… Yeah. Aislyn said they were supposed to be visiting today. They should be here by now. I don’t know where they’re staying, though… Hold on.”
“It’s your mom.” Gus says as he takes the phone away from his ear. “She said she’s bringing in Kim’s mom and wants to contact Aislyn’s parents. I told her they were planning on visiting today, but I don’t know much about them or where they’re staying… Would you happen to know anything?” He asks.
Cailean thinks back to a conversation he had with Aislyn’s father during their Bayville stay when they were going to retrieve his car…
“You know, now that I’ve had a chance to catch up with Aislyn, I’m thinking Nicole and I will swing by sometime during the holidays.” Marco had said. “You have any recommendations on where to stay?”
“Oldmerrow isn’t as bustling a city as here, but there is a nice, albeit old, hotel downtown called the Merrow Rose. That’ll probably be your best bet if you want something comfortable. Everywhere else is even older and much smaller…”
“I might…” Cailean says as he extends a hand to grab the phone Gus is holding out. “Hey, mom. Listen, Aislyn’s father’s name is Marco, and his wife’s name is Nicole. Marco had asked me where they should stay when they came to visit and I suggested the Merrow Rose…”
“Yeah… Alright, keep us posted…” Cailean says as he does his best to avoid Gus’s eyes whom, despite his reassuring words earlier, Cailean felt was judging him for knowing something it would’ve made more sense for Gus to know…
7:32 a.m. | Oldmerrow Police Station
“How sure are you? All right, I’ll send Officer Ramirez out there now. Bye.” Daphne says as she hangs up the phone. She had a feeling her son felt a certain way about Aislyn; call it mother’s intuition. From his mannerisms when she is around to his attitude whenever Aislyn’s name is brought up, Daphne could tell.
Cailean and his friends were probably drained emotionally, and her motherly instinct, no matter how old he has become or how old he will be, yearns to comfort her son. But she isn’t a mother now, she is first and foremost the police commissioner and her duty is to ensure both girls are found and safe. She relays her son’s message to Alanna and begins brainstorming what to do next.
Her thoughts are interrupted by a knock on the door. She turns and sees Kimberly’s mother, Karina, standing there and looking quite distraught through the glass. Daphne had ordered her officers to bring her in without letting her know what was going on to not only prevent the information regarding the missing girls to spread around, but also to minimize any breakdowns Karina may experience upon hearing the news. Which meant now, Daphne was tasked with the hard part of filling her in on what has happened, and saying several words no mother ever wants to hear…
“What do you mean gone?” Karina sobs once Daphne finishes explaining. Her legs give in beneath her and she leans on the desk. “I know it’s hard, but we are doing what we can.” Daphne says. As much as she would like to comfort the broken mother, she has a job to do and remains still as Karina reaches for her arm. “I’m going to need you to tell me anything you can that’ll help us find her.” Daphne says. And Karina gives a shaky nod.
9:27 a.m. | Merrow Rose Hotel, Suite 203
“Well, this is quite… classic.” Nicole says, as she takes a seat on the hotel couch, they had just arrived at the hotel after a long drive from Bayville. Before Marco joins her, there’s a knock on the door.
“Cailean mentioned the place was old, everything in this town we’ve seen during the brief drive in it appears to be.” Marco says with a laugh as he walks over to answer it.
He was expecting it to be their bags brought up after check-in, but is surprised to see an officer instead. “Hello, may I help you?” Marco asks. “Mr. and Mrs. Persefoni?” The female officer inquires.
“I’m officer Alanna Ramirez, and I’m afraid you’ll need to accompany me to the station.”
“What is this about?” Marco asks, confused at the sudden pronouncement. “I’m afraid I can’t say, but it’s imperative we leave as soon as possible.”
After a worrisome and silent car ride, Marco and Nicole enter the Oldmerrow Police Station in a state of nervousness, with their hands locked together. “Will you now inform us as to what’s happened. Is this about Aislyn?” He asks once they’re inside.
“Please have a seat, the police commissioner shall be out shortly to fill you in.” Officer Ramirez says.
Marco and Nicole sit down reluctantly; knowing asking what on earth was going on again would be futile. After a few minutes, a blonde woman walks out. She definitely wasn’t what Marco expected to see when the officer said police commissioner, but so long as she had his answers, he didn’t care who he was speaking to.
“Mrs. And Mr. Persefoni? I’m Commissioner DeCarlo, sorry for all the secrecy in bringing you here. Please come inside.” “No. We aren’t moving a step away from this spot until we get some answers. What the hell is going on here?” Marco asks in a near yell. The police officers in the background were moving in a hurry and state of urgency which only fueled his worry even more.
The commissioner seems unfazed by his outburst and lets out a small sigh. “Unfortunately, we have two missing persons cases on our hands, and one of them is that of your daughter, Aislyn. We don’t know why it has happened or where the girls are, so keeping this information under wraps until we can properly assess the situation is our primary concern at the moment.” The commissioner says.
She continues to speak but Marco can no longer hear her. Surely there had to be some sort of mistake… He and Aislyn were speaking to one another on the phone not too long ago. “Mr. Persefoni?” The commissioner says, but Marco is still not listening. “Marco.” Nicole says gently, reaching for his arm and pulling him out of his thoughts. “Huh?” He says, coming back to the scene and conversation going on around him. “I’m sorry, you were saying?…” He asks. “I understand this is a lot to process, but I’d appreciate you both accompanying me inside so I can bring you up to speed.”
Even after hearing all of the facts, Marco couldn’t believe his ears. “Do you know anyone who may have had some ill intent towards your daughter?” The commissioner asks. “What? No… I don’t… But then again, my daughter isn’t the type to share that kind of information even if there was.” He says grimly. The commissioner nods her head but says nothing more.
“It’ll be alright.” Nicole whispers; she had seen the mother of the other missing girl, Kimberly Scott, sobbing on the couch when they’d walked in and went to comfort her while the commissioner filled them in.
As the commissioner ponders what to say next, the room is filled with an agonizing silence aside from Ms. Scott’s tears.
“I promise you, we will do whatever we can to–” “Make sure our children are safe?” Marco says, cutting the commissioner off. “All due respect, Commissioner, but you don’t even know if…” It’s already too late. Marco finishes his sentence in his head, not being able to bear saying it aloud…
1:00 p.m. | Cailean’s Room
There was a heavy snowstorm raging outside which meant getting anything delivered would be near impossible, so when the others woke up and were hungry, Cailean scavenged what he could from what was available in the house and whipped up something for them to eat. He wasn’t hungry himself and decided to head back to his room to think. As he enters, his eyes drift to the signed book Aislyn had brought over to him a while back.
He walks over to it and runs his fingers over the cover and thinks back to that visit…
Because Cailean was so caught up in his own feelings, he ended up treating Aislyn pretty badly. And though he has made things right since then, the look of anger on her face that she wore at the time had become somewhat engrained in his mind.
As more and more time passes with no word on her or Kim’s whereabouts, the more restless he gets. His concern for Kimberly is a given, considering she’s like a little sister to him. And as a friend, of course he’d be worried for Aislyn, too. And yet, Cailean finds himself surprised at just how great the ache he feels is when he thinks about her considering he hasn’t even gotten to truly know her yet… and he wants to… very much so…
Being capable of feeling this level of pain only makes the extent of his feelings for Aislyn more evident, as if he wasn’t extremely aware of it already.
Cailean’s thoughts are interrupted by the sound of the door opening; he turns and sees it’s Chad. “Hey, you alright? You haven’t eaten anything.” He says. “I don’t think I can stomach anything right now.” Cailean replies. “You haven’t rested either.” Chad adds; Cailean shrugs.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to do either until I know that they are alright…” Cailean says as he glances back at the empty chair…
– FIFTEEN HOURS EARLIER –
10:04 p.m. | Abandoned Oldmerrow Military Outpost
“A little further.” Aislyn says as she reaches for the vent.
“You know, for someone so skinny, you’re still pretty heavy…” Kimberly says as she attempts to lift Aislyn higher.
“I offered to lift you first.” Aislyn says. “Yeah, yeah, but I refused, because of my boobs remember? Now hurry and get in there.”
“Got it.” Aislyn says as she manages to push the vent open. She heaves herself through the narrow opening which is a tight squeeze, even for her small frame.
Unfortunately, Aislyn underestimates the force needed to get herself through, and she falls headfirst on the other side. Her glasses dig uncomfortably into her face when she hits the ground.
“Are you alright?” Kimberly asks. “That sounded like it hurt.”
“I’m fine.” Aislyn says, feeling an ache in her chest as well. That’s probably going to bruise. She thinks. The cell door is wide open, not that she expected anything different. She rises, and feels heat on her face where her glasses had dug in.
“You’re bleeding.” Kimberly says, when Aislyn comes around. “That’s the least of my worries right now.” Aislyn says; she could care less about her face scarring or chest bruising. Her greatest concern was whether or not her fall was silent enough for the sleeping captor upstairs not to notice.
“I’m going to find the key for this cell and then we are going to get out of here.” Aislyn says. “That doesn’t look too pretty, Sunshine.” J.D. says. “I can tell you where the key is.” Jacob chimes in. “Good.” Aislyn says ignoring J.D’s remark.
“Look, Aislyn. It’s my fault for not listening to you when you were trying to warn me… you don’t have to–” “Save it, Kimberly.” Aislyn says, cutting her off. “I have no intention of leaving you, just sit tight. Jacob, lead the way.” She adds. “We’ll meet you up top.” Jacob says; Aislyn nods and takes off towards the stairs.
The second she’s out of the cold, damp, underground cell area. Aislyn is greeted by warmth. She peers inside the metal door that lies at the top of the steps as a precaution before slowly pushing it open.
Jacob wasn’t kidding when he said the assailants turned whatever outpost this was into a home. Aislyn thinks, as she notices the pieces of mismatched furniture sprawled around.
“Now what?” J.D asks. Aislyn lays eyes on a phone in front of her and wishes she could call for help, but knows she can’t risk wasting time or making noise. “The key is in that drawer by the fridge, the only way out of here is that main door. The one downstairs is filled with the belongings they took from you, and it’s locked with a key that one of the brothers wears on his neck.” Jacob says.
Aislyn nods. “J, stay outside, and warn me if you see the other guy coming back.” She whispers. “Jacob, can you keep an eye on the one still here and do the same thing if he wakes.”
Jacob nods. “Be careful.” J.D says, before they both disappear.
As Aislyn makes her way over to the drawer, she sees what appears to be failed attempts at cooking. Again, she’d laugh, if the situation weren’t so serious. She finds the key lying at the top of a stack of papers. Aislyn quickly skims what’s written on the surface and infers they are some kind of utility bill.
She figures they can be something the authorities can use to track these guys down when they make it out, so she carefully folds it and stuffs it in her pocket before making her way back downstairs at lightning speed, clutching the key in her palm.
In the few minutes Aislyn has been gone, Kim’s mind runs a mile a minute. She has a million questions she wants to ask Aislyn, but knows now is not the time. How long has she been able to see ghosts? What do they look like? Is she not scared?…
She is pulled back from her thoughts by the sound of Aislyn’s approach. “Let’s go.” Aislyn says as she shoves the key into the lock. Kimberly can’t even begin to imagine how nerve-wracking it must’ve been to snoop around upstairs, and the reality of what was going on finally sets in for her when Aislyn pulls the door open.
“Thanks…” She says. “Don’t mention it. The only way out is upstairs.” “What about that door?” Kim asks, gesturing to the one on the back wall. “Our stuff is in there and it’s locked.” Aislyn says. “Come on.”
Aislyn leads the way up the steps and Kimberly is in awe at how collected she is since she herself is petrified. “The coast is clear, let’s move.” Aislyn says, reaching for Kimberly’s hand when she doesn’t budge.
They are enveloped in a much needed warmth as they enter the upstairs room, and begin tiptoeing past what appears to be bedrooms, with Aislyn pulling Kimberly, whose legs were now shaking, along.
When they’re nearly at the door, they hear the sound of moving springs and freeze in place. After a few seconds that feel like hours, they continue walking and Kim finds herself wondering yet again, how Aislyn appears so unfazed.
The brief warmth they felt inside is gone the moment they step through the front doors, and an icy wind slaps them both in the face. “We’re nearly home free.” Aislyn whispers. “Except we have to brave this cold without our clothes and shoes.” “Doesn’t matter, we’re alive. Let’s go.” Kim says.
It appears that they were still underground, so they begin making their way up the outdoor stairs. That was much easier said than done. Kim thinks as she feels her feet go numb with the cold as they ascend the steps. “Got it.” Aislyn says. “Huh?” Kimberly asks before she looks up and sees Aislyn wasn’t speaking to her. “Oh… what are your friends saying?” Kim asks. “That the city is that way.” Aislyn says, pulling Kim away from the prison-like building they emerged from.
Kimberly hears the sound of rushing water as they walk on, and wonders if there is a stretch of the Oldmerrow River running nearby. The further they walk from their place of captivity, the more she regains her composure and she stops walking and begins to think. “What are you doing?” Aislyn asks. “The town is this way.” She adds, pointing to the lights shining in the distance.
“Hold on.” Kim says aloud, as she walks towards the sound to see if she can see the river. “What? Why?” Aislyn asks. Yes! Kim thinks as she catches a glimpse of the dark water. Aislyn jogs back to face her. “Why’d you stop?”
“We can’t go that way.” Kim says. “Why not?” Aislyn asks. “Because you mentioned that the other guy is out, and he could be heading back here any minute now.” “So?” Aislyn says, quickly. “So.” Kim says with emphasis. “We are so far out of town, it’s doubtful we’ll see anyone drive by… meaning we’ll have to walk most of the way back. You think that guy won’t see us strolling along the only road that heads into town?” Kim says. “So what do you suggest?” Aislyn asks. “That we take that.” Kim says, gesturing to the river. Aislyn follows Kim’s gaze and snaps her head back.
“You want us to swim?” Aislyn exclaims. “All of the river branches lead to the heart of Oldmerrow, we can just follow it back.” Kim says simply. “Kimberly it’s freezing out. If we step in there, we’re as good as dead.” “You think we have a better chance of taking on that guy?” Kim scoffs. “Yeah, I do.” Aislyn says. “At least we outnumber him.” She adds. “You said it yourself, they are armed.” Kim counters.
“We don’t have time for this.” Kim says, figuring now it’s her turn to take charge and ensure their safety. She grabs Aislyn’s hand and begins taking off in the direction of the water.
“Kimberly. This is a bad idea.” Aislyn protests as she drags her frozen feet along in the snow. “Now, you are going to have to trust me.” Kim says as they reach the edge of the snow, and jump into the icy water…
Thanks for reading! Well, quite a bit has happened here. Feel free to share what you thought on anything from the parents, to Cailean or that escape adventure at the end there XD Hope you all have an enjoyable week!
p.s if you’ve missed my 100th post special, you can click the photo below to check it out 🙂