I yawned as I walked along the concrete path of my town’s local park. It was dark, but the lack of light didn’t bother me much. I work long hours as a nurse, so occasionally when my shift ends I like walking through the park to unwind.
Sometimes there is the occasional jogger or stargazer during the late hours, but most of the time it’s just me walking around listening to music through a pair of earbuds. Tonight I’ve seen a few people walking about doing their own things.
The path is about a mile in length, so it’s a good exercise. I was contemplating turning around to walk back to my car and head home as my usual rock music blared in my ears when I almost bumped into a person standing in front of me.
I took my earbuds out. “Sorry sir, I didn’t see you there!”
The man, who was tall and had a hood on covering most of his head, stayed watching me quietly. It made me feel kind of uncomfortable, and I shifted my feet awkwardly under his stare.
“C-can I help you with something?” I asked politely. No matter how weird or rude a stranger acts, I still try my best to be nice to them. You never know what could be going on in their lives, and a friendly gesture could just make their day a little bit better.
The man stayed silent and continued to stare. He wasn’t even moving a muscle, making me wonder for a brief second if I was talking to a tree instead of an actual person…. No, he was definitely human. A portion of his eyes could be seen through the shadows, as well as a crooked nose and chiseled jawline.
“Um… have a goodnight, sir.” I put my earbuds back in my ears and walked around him quickly, not sure if I was being pranked or if he was just trying to scare me. It wasn’t until a few seconds later that I realized that I had made a huge mistake.
I didn’t feel any pain, just a slight bit of pressure to a spot on my neck that sent tingles through it and my head. The next thing I know, I’m struggling to open my eyes, and I somehow ended up in a sitting position.
“Ugh…” I groaned a little as I lifted my head up and finally managed to look around. Why was I sitting? No, more importantly, where was I?!
I felt slightly dizzy and disoriented, as if I had awoken from a slumber, but I couldn’t have fallen asleep. The last thing I remember was walking around the man, then boom, suddenly I’m here.
I tried to stand up, but to my utter horror, I was unable to move my limbs. I looked down at my arms and saw ropes tied around them tightly. The same had been done to my legs.
I was mostly confused, and was struggling to comprehend what was going on. As I started to regain my track of thought, panic settled in, but I tried my best to stay calm. Okay, so I had most likely been taken captive by some unknown person, and I had no idea where I was. First things first - figure out where I am and get help.
I looked around the room, which was completely empty except for me, my chair, the walls, a lightbulb hanging from the ceiling, and a single wooden door in the corner. There were no windows, so that door was my only chance at escape.
I turned my head back to the ropes keeping my arms immobile. They surprisingly looked simple enough, bringing my hopes up slightly. I just had to get one arm free and I could probably untie the other-
My thoughts were interrupted as the door swung open. A tall, muscular man walked into the room wearing a tank top and jeans. I tried to take in as many details as I could so I could identify him later- a bald head, with strange tattoos in various different places. He was carrying a plate of… food?
Without a word, he walked straight up to me and set the plate on my lap. It held a piece of bread and a few slices of bacon that smelled amazing.
Wait, why was I worried about the food?! I had more important things to think about, like how he untied one of my arms so I could move it freely while I had been staring at the plate…
“Eat.” I jumped when the man spoke so suddenly. His voice was deep and threatening. Saying nothing else, he stood up straight and walked out the room, closing the door when he did so.
I blinked in confusion. He… did know I could just untie myself and sneak out… right? I started to do exactly that as my mind was racing. As soon as I no longer had ropes holding me still, I moved the food off of my lap and stood up. I was tempted to steal a slice of the bacon, but I didn’t know if it had been drugged or poisoned, so I figured my best chance at survival was not to.
I walked as quietly as I could to the door, and attempted to open it. I figured it would be locked, but of course it could never hurt to try.
I turned the knob, and to my shock, it opened without a problem. No traps or anything, it just slid right open. It was almost like my kidnapper wanted me to try to escape…
Pushing the thoughts out of my mind in order to focus on escaping, I took a breath and stepped out the room. I must’ve been taken to some kind of house, because I found myself standing in a hallway.
I took a few cautious steps forward, watching for any sign of movement. I heard a loud bang from behind me, and knew it had to be the man. I ran as fast as I could and ducked underneath a table, feeling as though he might be able to hear my heart pounding inside my chest.
I caught movement out of the corner of my eye, and my breath caught in my throat. There was someone hiding under the table next to me.
It was a man about my age, and he looked just as terrified as I was. Had he been kidnapped too?
The man peeled around from beneath the table, perhaps looking for the feet of our captor. Once determining it was safe, he whispered, “You woke up here?” I have a slight nod in response, and he continued. “Me too. Guess we’re stuck here together, huh? My name’s Joey.”
“I-I’m Skylar.” I frowned at the sound of my shaky voice, but I suppose it couldn’t be helped in a situation like this.
“Okay, yeah I’m calling you blondie. So, I’ve been hiding here for a while and there’s a window over there,” he pointed in a general direction, “that will be our way out. Any ideas?”
I blinked in confusion. “Okay first of all, don’t call me blondie. Second of all, if we can cause a distraction somehow it would make it easy to slip out without that guy noticing.”
“Would you rather me call you girly?” Joey smirked.
I glared at him the meanest I could. “I’m not a girl. I’m non-binary. I’m calling you Joe.”
“Oh okay then, blondie it is,” Joe continued to ramble as I carefully peeked out from under the table for anything that might come in handy. We must be in some kind of kitchen, because there were counters nearby. Unfortunately, all of them were empty.
Taking a deep breath, I stood up, ignoring Joe’s panicked whispers behind me, and scanned the tabletop for anything of use. There were salt and pepper shakers, but that was it. I snatched them and quickly ducked back down and hid, my heart pounding in my ears.
“Salt? What’d you grab that for? You’re gonna put it in his drink-“
Without hesitating, I hurled the salt shaker down the hallway. It made several noises as it hit hard objects, and I grabbed Joe’s arm and darted out towards the window. It was small, but we should both be able to fit through it.
There were loud footsteps echoing from the hallway, and I knew our captor was searching for us because of the noise. Joe seemed to catch on to my plan and ran ahead of me, attempting to open the window. When the panic in his eyes increased tenfold, I knew we were doomed. “It’s locked isn’t it..?” I said quietly.
Instead of responding, Joe backed up a little and rammed his elbow into the glass, making it shatter. I flinched, knowing the impact must’ve left him a couple cuts or at least a painful bruise.
I hurled the pepper shaker down the hallway to try and buy us some more time while Joe knocked off a few sharp pieces of glass. He then climbed through carefully, holding out a hand to help pull me through.
I reached out my arm quickly, allowing him to grab it and drag me out the small opening. The footsteps were growing closer, and my anxiety continued to increase somehow. Before I knew it, I fell on top of him and we both crashed into the ground. Not even pausing, I jumped to my feet, pulling him up with me, and started running as fast as I could down the long driveway towards a road.
I glanced to my side and saw Joe was keeping up easily, possibly even running slower than he could have to make sure I wouldn't fall behind. I continued to brace myself, waiting for the stomp of someone chasing us or even gunshots, but nothing came. We made it to the road without a problem and even managed to stop a truck. The owner kindly agreed to give us a ride back into town. With sighs of relief, the two of us buckled up as the truck took off.
“Hey Joe? Do you know who that man was?”
He looked at me and thought over the question. “Actually… not personally, but I have an idea… Have you watched the news lately?”
“The news?” I was confused as to how whether or not I watched television would help us figure out who tried to take us captive and do who knows what to us. “Not really, why?”
“Then you haven’t heard of the Hunter?”
I shook my head at him. “What’s the Hunter?”
Joe shifted in his seat to face me more, ready to go all storytelling mode. “He’s a serial killer that ties up his victims and gives them a chance to escape. If he catches them then… well...” He made a cutting motion across his neck.
I felt my eyes widen. “You don’t think… that was him… do you?”
Joe shrugged. “I mean the doors were unlocked weren’t they? I’m sure an actual kidnapper wouldn’t forget to make that stupid of a mistake twice.”
I thought it over. He did have a good point, as my door had been unlocked as well, and he hadn’t even been guarding it. The thought sent a chill up my spine. We had just escaped from a serial killer. It almost didn’t feel real.
“Either way,” Joe started again. “You seem like a cool person, blondie.” He picked up a pen from the dashboard of the truck and grabbed my arm, scribbling multiple digits onto it. “Call me if you ever feel like getting kidnapped again.”
A small smile broke out across my face. “I don’t plan on that… but maybe I’ll still call you anyways. Just to annoy you.” I playfully punched his shoulder, earning a laugh from both of us. Thus ended the first of our many future adventures together.
© 2021 L Ryder