She had found a key on John’s keyring that set her mind to wondering. What did it go to? With this question in mind, she began searching the house. She could find no lock upstairs that it fit, so she headed down into the basement. She had been down here to get the steak that she ate for lunch, but had not noticed anything odd.
She did not find a basement all that odd. But, then, she had found very little all that strange. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that she couldn’t remember anything past the here and now. Not even the key had her worried, though it had her curious.
It didn’t take her long to find the lock. A padlock on a door. A door with no handles. Even that did not make her think anything strange.
She unlocked it. It swung open, pulling a chain that turned on the light. Deeper in the room, she could see women chained to the wall. There was one on a table-like structure, her eyes open. What was this place? And who were these women?
She looked over at the bench on the far wall. A set of keys lay there. Perhaps those went to the shackles that held the ladies. As she went to retrieve them, the lady on the table moaned–low and weakly. It made her jump.
She grabbed the keys and began freeing the women, starting with the one on the table. She looked blankly at one of the women. “I doubt he is ever coming back.” She handed her the cordless phone she had carried down with her, along with the card containing Detective Sherman’s number.
without a word, she turned and left the little room, leaving the basement altogether. She went upstairs and gathered her suitcase, sticking John’s debit in her back pocket with the code he had written…when, she couldn’t remember. But apparently, she’d had to get something for him. Looking around, she knew that she was no longer going to be able to call this home. Maybe she would not have been able to for long anyway.
Michael sat at his desk, piecing together the picture of Petty’s crime spree. The only thing bugging him, at the moment, was the fact that there were still more missing girls and women. Where was he keeping them? Were they even still alive?
The phone rang and he answered. “Hello?” What he heard made his blood go cold. “Hold on. Where are you?”
Once again, he had to wait for the young woman on the other end to go check the address. Once again, his heart almost leapt out of his mouth at the address. Petty’s house! Again! This time, it was not Jane Doe. It was someone else!
“Who is this?” He asked. She gave her name and he glanced over at the Missing Persons poster to find her the first of the women there. He swallowed hard. “How many are there of you there? Ten? One in serious shape?” He motioned to Reilly and Danforth to gather a crew and head for the house. Reilly radioed for as many emergency medical personnel as possible. Those in the precinct, except Michael, emptied from it to head for Petty’s house. They would scour the house for every conceivable piece of evidence.
Michael would wait for Marcel to get back, then head over with him. They had to figure out how everything fit together. They would take the statements. They would…they would wish they had never had to work this case.
As the police sped toward John Petty’s home, The garbage truck stopped long enough to pick up the inconspicuous freezer at the curb up. Duct tape held the lid shut, keeping it from flying open and letting the contents spill out. The truck went on its way, collecting the refuse at other houses. It was gone by the time the police arrived in front of Petty’s address.
She made her way as far away from John’s house as possible. Every time she stopped to pull money from the ATM, she made sure the camera was not working. She didn’t need any questions. She pulled $400 at a time from his account at different locations, then dropped his debit into the trash at the last one. She wouldn’t need it anymore. Not after getting $2000 for her use. That should hold her until she found something better.
She kept going until she got hungry. She stopped at a small burger stand and ordered a special. She sat down for a while and ate her lunch. She had no clue what she was going to do. John had vanished.
By the time she stopped for the night, she was in the French Quarter. She found herself a cozy spot behind the same pub she had met him at. After setting up her place in the alley, she entered the front door of the pub. Perhaps, she would find someone else.
It did not take her long to forget John. It was as if he had never existed. The music had woven its spell, and her memories vanished. She smiled.
The bartender came over to where she had stopped near the bar. “What can I getcha?”
“I want a sex on the beach,” she replied softly, placing a twenty on the bar, “and a quiet booth.”
“Come with me, Honey,” one of the servers replied, “I’ll getcha to the quietest booth in the house, Don’ worry.”
She followed the server to the far back of the pub. Sitting, she thanked the server, who placed her drink on the table before her then left. It didn’t take long for a man to approach her. He sat down opposite her.
“What’s your name, Shuggah?” He asked.
“Sara,” she replied, just wanting to have a name.
“Sara what?” He was insistent.
“Just Sara,” she relied.
“Alright, Sara,” He smiled, “I won’t press anymore. I’m Dominic. My friends call me Dom. Looking for anything in particular?”
“Just a place to stay,” she replied, “and someone who’ll love me.”
“Then you’ve come to the right place. Lonely Hearts is the premiere singles pub in Nahlins. Maybe you and me…well, we could come to some agreement.”
“Sure,” she smiled, her strange charisma suddenly coming through, almost like the fabled ‘glamour’ that fairies were said to possess, “I would like that.”