Something supernatural is causing children to disapear from a large group home.
“What were David’s last words to you?” officer Groden asked.
“Nothing important. He just asked if he could play his game in the morning.”
Officer Groden left to speak with Officer Brent. “I’m baffled.”
“This is the tenth disappearance in five months.”
Groden stroked his chin and sighed. “The group home may have to shut down.”
“A few more disappearances and it will,” answered another policeman.
The lobby of the group home was filled with police taking photos and interviewing.
Officer Groden approached another employee with Mike on a clip ID. “How long have you worked here?”
“About a year.”
“When did the children start to vanish?”
“Roughly four months into my internship.”
“I see. At that time, did anything odd happen?”
The group home worker scratched his head. “Not really.”
Groden rubbed his temples. He inhaled deeply then radioed police HQ. “Chief, it’s like the previous cases – no clue about the missing child.” He walked outside still talking. “Copy that. I’ll call or boys back.” He reentered the glass doors of View Point Group Home. He raised his voice. “Attention, the investigation is closed for now. Time to file out.”
They police evacuated, leaving the workers at another loss.
Mike put a hand on Marry. “We’ll figure this out.”
Mary nodded and sobbed some more. “It’s breaking my heart. Seeing all of them disappear like this.”
Mike sat at the front desk. He threw his head back and ran his hands through his hair. “What if we hired a professional investigator?”
Mike’s colleague awoke form her brooding and shook her head. “The group home couldn’t afford that.”
“If this continues the children will notice. What will we tell them?”
Mary slouched in her seat and put her hand over her face.
“What if we put cameras in each room?”
Mike shook his head again. “There are over fifty rooms in this group home. Like before, it would be too costly.”
“What if the police department set them up?”
“There would be a lot of bureaucratic hoops we’d have to deal with for funding.”
Mary lowered her eyes and took a trembling breath. “Well, I’ll leave you to do the graveyard post. I’m going home.”
Mary went home. Sleep came late with worrying. Oh, Lord, please help us she silently prayed. When she woke up at 7:30 am, she dressed, got a scone and latte from Starbucks then arrived to work twenty minutes later.
“Hello, Don. Ready to face the day?” she said her co-worker.”
“Yep. This job is a joy – working with the children.”
Marry nodded with a smile. “I’ve always loved children.”
Suddenly the desk phone rang. Mike answered it. “Yes? Really? Does he have any credentials? How much does he want to investigate? For free! Well, I suppose it wouldn’t hurt. Send him in.” He hung up and turned to Mary. “A private investigator is offering to help us about disappearing children.”
Marry gasped. What’s his name?”
Next a man came into the room. He was tall and slender wearing a sleek, black sweater and slacks. His eyes were dark and deep set. He wore a brown cowboy’s hat slightly torn at the rims. He carried a large satchel.
He shook the hands of Marry, Mike and a few of the other co-workers. “I’m a P.P.I. It stands for Paranormal Private Investigator.
“Paranormal?” said a co-worker named Justin, listening with the rest.
“Indeed. Do you know the history of the place where this group home was made?”
Everyone was quiet.
“Three hundred years ago, a mansion stood right here.”
Mike tilted his head and raised an eyebrow. “Hmm… interesting.”
“It belonged to a baron named Artimus Throng. This person employed a wizard.”
“Enough with the historical folklore. Do you have a valid point? Come on-wizards?” said Mike.
“So you’re nothing more than a crack pot. Great,” Justin said to Jared.
Mary stepped forward. “Wait, let’s hear him out. We’ve nothing to lose.”
Mike crossed his arms and rolled his eyes. “OK, go on.”
Jared Nicks continued like he was not interrupted. “This wizard was envious of his master’s wealth and power. So, he opened a portal linked to ghost-like monster that would steal his children. He told the baron unless he would give the mansion and his riches, the wizard would not send away the monster.”
“What happened next?” asked Mary.
“The baron refused.”
Mary gasped. “What happened to the children?”
“They all were taken.”
Justin threw up his hands. “What if you’re making this up?”
“That’s why I brought these.” Jared pulled out some old books then placed them on table. “Examine these if you wish.”
Mike, Justin and Mary dove in.
“These books have been reprinted multiple times from the originals. Nevertheless, each word is complete and accurate,” said Jared.
“Fascinating!” said Mary.
“Don look! It’s exactly like he says!” said Justin.
“I don’t believe it!” exclaimed Mike.
The P.P I. raised his chin and folded his hands behind him. “What I’m about to say will disturb you. These entities stole his children at night.”
“How?” asked Don.
“From 1 A.M. to 3 A.M. If a child stepped out of their bed, the monster would grab them and pull them from under it.”
“Where did they go?”
“Into the phantom realm.”
Mary put her hands over her mouth. “Oh, my!”
Mike frowned. “If you mean to say 18th century monsters are to blame, why has it started only four months ago?”
“The wizard was discovered and sentenced to death so the phantoms would leave.” Jared took a deep breath. “It worked. But he cast a spell so they would someday return.”
“But why now?” asked Mary.
Justin interrupted while reading a book. “Because the spell had to gather energy over time to reopen the portal.”
“What do you plan to do?” asked Mike.
The P.P.I pulled a small camera-like device with small antennas jutting out of a cylindrical end piece. Then he attached a screen like an IPhone display to the device. “This apparatus acts as a radar. The monsters become active after 1 am. They are repelled by light or the presence of an adult.”
“How do we catch them? That is what we plan to do right?” asked Justin.
“We’ll need two things: night vision goggles and this.” Jared pulled out a rubber arm band like a big watch with multiple faces coupled with some exposed wires and lights. “This will mask my chemical and size registration that the monster senses.”
“What do we do to catch…kill or whatever when we locate them?” asked Don.
“We do it with this.” Jared pulled out a large vile of clear liquid.
“And that is…?”
“Holy water. One squirt will stun and kill them.” Then the man took out a child’s water pistol. “It may seem silly, but that is all I need.”
“Won’t more monsters keep coming through?” asked Mary.
“I think it is the only one. The holy water will keep that from happening anyway.”
“Is there a way to retrieve the missing children?” asked Justin.
“Right now, no. I’d have to go into the phantom realm for that. But I am close to finding a way.” The man sat down. “
The tarry for nightfall came gruelingly slow. The group home employees talked about various things but a tension like a hot, painful sting was in the air. It drained the relaxed atmosphere that was always there.
As Mary as talking to Justin, a child named Jimmy approached them. “Where is David? We always play together and I can’t find him.”
A few moments passed before Justin replied. “He’s…gone for now.”
“When will he come back?”
“Don’t worry abut it hon,” Mary said. “Go play with someone else Jimmy.”
The boy went off.
The only thing that gave peace for the employees was the children’s gleeful laughter and play. They entertained the group home workers and time passed quicker. Soon 9 P.M. came and the children were put to bed. Mary and Justin stayed past the end of their shifts.
“Four hours to go,” said Justin.
There was little talking as everyone waited. Tension in the air stole any good conversation.
Thirty minutes to 1 A.M. came and Jared Nicks stood from a chair. “Do not come after me for anything. That would cause the monsters to retreat.”
“Good luck,” said Mary.
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Jered Nicks wore the armband and calibrated his tracking device. Lastly, he put on his night-vision goggles. Jared entered through the doorway leading to the hall to the rooms. It was long with entry ways lining each side. The scanner showed no presence. He pointed it, going from left to right. A red dot appeared on the screen. “Gotcha.” The investigator withdrew his water pistol.
The man sprinted to the door where the dot was. He grabbed the handle. Jared cracked it and peaked inside. Two red almond shaped eyes glowed under the bed of a sleeping child.
Jared waited. He knew child biology and that most children go to the bathroom from 1:00 A.M. to 3:00 A.M. Unfortunately, so did the monster.
The child uncovered himself. The investigator licked his lips. The child put his feet on the ground. A hairy, damp hand with six inch claws came from beneath. It caught his ankles and he fell forward. Jared leapt forth and clutched the victim’s hand. The man aimed his water gun and fired a line of liquid between the glowing eyes. A deep roar reverberated in Jared’s ear. The monster’s grip broke and it kept crying out. Jared turned on the lights. The creature was stunned. The light revealed a hideous face. It had a layer of scales with strands of hair draped over its eyes.
Jared picked up the child and turned to run out the door. Suddenly Jared felt a hairy warm hand grip his ankle. He dropped the child and fell on his chest and was dragged under the bed. Jared was being carried through a tunnel of black clouds. He saw the wounded beast dissolve from the holy water that seared it.
Jared felt himself plunge beneath icy water. He broke through the surface to find himself in a pool of water in gloomy cavern. All around him were large, jutting emerald-like crystals that glowed dimly. He swam to the edge of the water and climbs onto the stone ground. A few yards in front of him was a cave tunnel.
“I wonder where this leads.”
Jared entered the tunnel, looking all around him. He touched one of the crystals and it was warm and smooth. Then he saw something farther up the tunnel. He got closer and it was a cage; someone was in it! An old man in rags against the bars was sleeping as his chest rose and fell.
“Hey, wake up,” Jared said. “Wake up!”
The old man jolted and his eyes snapped open then he gasped. “You’re an adult! How can you be here?”
“I was taken by the monster. You know of it trust?”
“You’re an adult yourself to follow up on your first question.”
“I am the last living soul captured from the wizard’s time.”
“Then you must be hundreds of years old.”
“No. Time must go by slower here than the human world. I have no knowledge of my exact age but I know I am not that old.”
“Have you seen any children come here?”
“I have. Drakma has brought a few children across the years. That is the monster’s name. Remember time goes by slower here.”
“Where are they?”
“They’re locked in a cage farther in the tunnel.”
“Do I need to use a key?”
“No. It’s more difficult than that. A guardian keeps them inside the cage.”
“You mean like a medieval knight or soldier of some kind?”
“To free the children, you must face dragon.”
“Come here,” the man said as he beckoned with his hand.
Jared veered his eyes and tilted his head and slowly neared the old man. He got out a small object wrapped in blue silk cloth. “Take this.”
“Just take it,” ordered the old man.
Jared unwrapped the cloth to reveal a green gem. He touched it and suddenly he was in a bright place with shining beings. He was on a street made of pure gold and pools of running water. They reflected the sky. Clouds looked to be made of coalesced silver dust and the bare sky burned like purified silver.
One of the shining beings talked to him. “Hello Jared.”
“How do you know my name?”
“I am an angel. I know many things.”
Jared shook his head and rubbed his eyes. “What’s happening?”
“This is a vision. I’m here to tell you of the jewel you just received.”
“Why did the old man give it to me?”
“He also had a vision where I told him he was to give you the jewel. It turns into sword when you face the dragon.”
“But why me?”
“The jewel can only be used by a mortal who has been exposed to the human world for long enough.”
“I see. What happens now?”
“Your vision will end and you will defeat the dragon. Farewell.”
Suddenly Jared saw he was back in the cavern tunnel. He looked at the jewel than at the old man. “I’ve been informed by the angel what I must do. I’m sorry I must leave you.”
“It’s for the children. Go.”
Jared left him and continued into the tunnel. It was not long until he came to a wide, roofless cavern with caged children. Each one wide, trembling eyes. They were balled up against the back of the cage. There was an unsettling silence in the iron prison.
Jared peered around. He saw no dragon. Then from above him a large red beast landed on the ground with a thud. In a flash of light, the jewel became a double edged sword.
The dragon roared revealing sharp, scythe-like teeth. It reeled back ready to lung at the human. Jared gripped his sword. The dragon charged forward with open mouth. Jared swung the blade and cut off the right incisor of the beast. It backed off and made a low growl. Then the dragon’s chest expanded. Jared knew what was to follow. He sprinted to the narrow tunnel where he came from. The the beast spewed a stream of fire at Jared but the tight tunnel protected him. Before the beast could repeat its attack, Jared ran forward as the dragon’s chest rose. Just as it was about to unleash its fire attack, Jared plunged his sword into the behemoth’s belly. Blood poured out and the dragon cried in pain. It fell on its side and curled up writhed about until it was still.
Jared collapsed. He exhaled deeply as the door to the cage opened and the children’s eyes lit up and they filed out. All of them thronged around Jared. Before he could say anything, the sword slipped out of his grip and floated into the air. It swirled rapidly until a portal was formed. Jared and the children saw the group home hallway on the other end. Without hesitation Jared led them through and when all had gathered the inside, portal closed. It was now 8 A.M. due to the time difference. The children laughed and ran out into the main room.
The staff cried as the children went running into their arms of their caretakers.
Little David cried in Mary’s arms as she wept too. “Oh David! You’re back!
Justin approached the victorious P.P.I. “It seems all is in order.”
“So the monster is gone for good?” asked Mike.
“I believe it is.”
“Justin joined two talking and smiled while holding one of the missing children. “I’ll admit I was skeptical about you. How can we repay you?”
Jared put his equipment in his carrying bag. “Success is all I require.” He turned and went to the exit door. Just as he mysteriously came so he departed.
Everybody looked at each other silently.
Don broke the silence. “Who was that guy?”