44 Chapter Forty Four/ A Thousand Miles of Emptiness

Grace was sitting on the futon wearing just her bathing suit and some big stupid socks with her hand stretched over into the pocket of the bath robe that aunt Betty had provided gently running a finger up and down the make shift blade that she had made when a bright beam of light seemed to slowly appear under the door of her small room. She didn’t hear the large metal door do its usual creek that it did when it opened and she didn’t think she could hear any noise outside the door in the outer room. She turned on the futon so that her feet were hanging off the edge and gently placed her feet flat on the floor, still there was no sound. She slid the sleeves of the robe on and tied the belt around her waist. It was too hot for the heavy robe but if she made it outside she didn’t want to be knocking on people’s doors in a bathing suit and wool socks. Placing her hands on the black metal frame she felt herself slowly push up into a standing position still completely aware of every single little sound. She made a step towards the inner door and then another until she was standing right in front of it. Perfectly still and completely aware, she stood for at least three minutes completely silent letting her ears scan the world inside of the basement for any slight evidence that someone else was inside Then she focused her ears even harder as if walking her range of hearing outside of her door and to the crack of outside world that lay past the metal door. She placed her hand on the door knob of the little room and turned it ever so softly until she felt it release from its spot in the frame and begin to open. As the little boy, her captor had left the door open for her. The only question was did the angry side know that he had as well? She fully opened the door and she could see exactly what she had expected, the metal door was slightly open and she could see the blazing Arizona sun making it’s way through the ever increasing crack in the door. Once again she stood silently outside of a door waiting for any sign of life or hindrance in the escape. She did a full 360 degree turn in that same spot making sure that no one was behind her. Grace fought back a scream when she saw the large wooden shop table against the back wall of the basement. It was like one that her school had in the back room of the art department that she had heard held the woodshop class many years before. It was made of heavy old wood and just like the one in the art department had a big metal clamp attached to one end of it and it also had nail holes and saw marks as well. This one however was covered with a dark brown stain that made its way to the floor that she could tell was dried blood. It appeared to have multiple layers to it as well, as if blood had dried and then more had been applied on top of it many times over. With every second she discovered even more horror but no matter what she did her eyes continued to scan the environment. In the corner there were large yellow plastic containers with lids that read Toasters Loco Pollo on the outside of them and she remembered something that the kidnapper had said when he first talked to her dad about putting her in pickle buckets and spreading her over the desert. The worst she would see would be by the metal door. There was a life size cardboard cutout of a model in a bathing suit advertising some kind of Mexican beer. Grace just stood staring at her unable to move, unable to comprehend what she was seeing. At the top of the models head, covering her hair completely, were bloody hunks of scalp and hair that had been stapled to the cardboard. She stepped back in shock and forced the thoughts from her mind as quickly as they tried to break in. When were these pieces of scalp removed from the victims? Were they still alive when he had done it?

Grace put her hand around the makeshift blade in her pocket and held it as tight as she could stand in her small hand. She pushed the door open moving even slower than before and the more that she could see the more that she felt desperately hopeless. Outside of the crack in the door all she could see was old cars that looked like they hadn’t run in a hundred years and just dirt and sand as far as she could see. She didn’t remember the ride out here, just waking up in the back of a big old car in a big heavy bag and being thrown over his shoulder and brought in. She never imagined that she was in the middle of the stupid desert, or was she? She had seem some places on the way from the airport that looked weird and junky like this place maybe there was a highway over the dirt mound that was over past what looked like an old school bus that might have taken the Flinstones kids to school back in the day; she stopped again listened hard to see if she could hear anything like the sound of a car in the distance. She couldn’t hear anything. It sounded like a thousand miles of emptiness.

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