Little Girl Lost
Matt tossed his bag on the couch and stretched his arms up over head. A loud crack filled the room. If this kept up much longer his little sister may need to give in and invest in a bed for the guest room. He didn’t mind staying with her, but the springs in the couch were really doing a number on his back.
He called out to Alana, but got no answer. Matt eased up the steps and opened the door to Alana’s room. Thankfully she was already asleep. He saw the little bottle of pills sitting on top of her nightstand and was instantly glad for them. If that’s what it took for her to rest, then so be it. Ever since that son of a bitch Ben had escaped from prison she hadn’t been able to step out the front door. She was terrified he’d jump out from behind a bush somewhere and attack. Only this time he’d kill her.
Both he and Jennifer had tried to put her mind at ease by pointing out the constant police presence outside and the new surveillance system Matt had installed the day they got the news. He wasn’t taking chances this time. Thank God his boss was as worried about her as he was. Thanks to him, Matt had been able to install a top of the line video alarm system in her house along with a live feed that he could view from anywhere he happened to be. All he needed was a signal.
Speaking of. He hurried downstairs and flipped on the monitor. Before he could sit down to review the video a strange noise from the back yard caught his undivided attention. He would have thought it was a wounded animal only Alana didn’t have any. None of her neighbors did either. He grabbed the hand gun he’d stuffed in the desk drawer and cautiously walked towards the back door.
As he stepped out the back door he noticed a bare foot poking out from underneath one of the bushes. “Time to come out,” he said aiming the gun at the hedge in front of him. No movement. “I said it’s time to come out. This is the wrong time and place to play games.”
“What if he’s here?” a terrified voice asked. “I’m not ready to die.”
“Lady, I can guarantee there is nobody here except me, you and the cop out front.” He stepped back, giving the girl room. “Come on out.”
The girl crawled out of the bushes and curled up into a ball beside the porch. She looked hurt. Matt flipped on the light and jumped the rail to check whatever injuries she may have. One look was all it took to know why she’d hidden there in the first place. One eye was swollen shut. There was a two inch long cut on her cheek. Dried blood was caked in her hair and clothes. As his eyes moved further down her body he saw huge black bruises covering her arms and legs.
“What the hell happened to you?” He tried to brush a bloody clump of hair out of her face, but she jerked away. Remembering back to Alana’s experience, he backed off and sat down on the ground beside her. Keep it as normal as possible, he thought. “You know you can’t stay out here forever, don’t you? Whoever did this to you might come looking for you. Why not come on inside? You can get cleaned up while I go talk to the cops out front. No offense, but I’d like to know how you got past them.”
“Why are they even here?” she said softly. Talking to the police was the last thing she wanted to do. She knew who did this to her. She also knew they would never believe her.
“They’re trying to keep my sister safe,” he told her.
“From what?” she asked scooting closer to him. A picture flashed through his mind. The man in Laney’s room. He had something to do with this. But who would she know? She’d never seen him before last night.
“Let’s just say she may have a stalker and leave it at that,” Matt said coolly. This girl wasn’t acting the way Alana had. She seemed scared, but not terrified. “What’s up with you? You look like you’ve been through hell, but you don’t act it.”
“I’m not supposed to be scared of you,” she admitted. And she wasn’t. The man she feared was Nicholas. Not Nick. Not Nicky…Nicholas.