This was something I did when I was at the Florida Christian Writer’s Conference. It’s supposed to be based off this picture.

Photo belongs to the copyright holder.

A cold wind tugged at Misty’s dress as she ran down the street. Not even a stray cat stood on the street. A few sparse streetlights gave only enough light to show the trash on the road. Where was the manhole? Mommy said Misty needed to find it if anything ever happened. It had to be somewhere near the old church with the cross in the window.

Misty’s bare feet gave her some view of the underground layout, such as the tunnel system, but she couldn’t see or feel the manhole. If only Mommy could be here.

Where had those men in blue taken Mommy and Daddy? Mommy and Daddy weren’t bad guys. Weren’t people in uniforms supposed to go after the bad guys?

Finally the manhole cover came into sight, just beside the old church. Misty stopped in front of it. Maybe Mommy would come out of the sewer, like Ninja Turtles.

Someone, still a few minutes away, ran through the tunnel under the manhole. Misty knelt and touched the cobblestone to get a better view through the ground. Whoever it was moved with long but quiet steps.

No wonder she hadn’t sensed him sooner. He leaped over a pipe. With both his feet off the earth, Misty lost sight of him. He landed past the pipe, graceful as a deer jumping a fence.

The man shoved the cover up and leaped from the hole. He wore a checkered scarf around his face like one bad guys who blew themselves up in the old war movies.

Misty stumbled away from him.

“Come on,” the man snapped. His voice had a high pitch, so he was younger than Daddy. He held out a dirty hand.

Misty shook her head and took a few more steps away from him. “I want Mommy.”

“Your mom sent me.” The man glanced at a church. “Come with me, now.”

Misty summed up her courage. “Mommy says not to go with strangers.”

The man sighed. “Sorry about this.” He leaped at Misty and grabbed her.

Misty screamed.

The man threw her over his shoulder and sprang into the hole. He used his free hand to close the cover.

Darkness consumed them. The only light came from a tiny flashlight on the kidnapper’s trench coat.

He took off at a jog.

Misty cried.

“Shut up,” her kidnapper snarled.

Misty quieted herself. What would he do to her? Her back scraped against the top of the tunnel.

The kidnapper hunched over more, protecting her from any more scrapes.

After a long trip through the black tunnels, the kidnapper stopped and set Misty down. Dirty water soaked her bare feet.

Misty sniffed and wiped her nose, then rubbed her back. It was a bit skinned up, but not bad.

The kidnapper shoved a manhole cover up. Moonlight streamed through it. He lifted Misty and pushed her to the surface.

Only the moonlit this part of the city. Wherever they were, all the streetlights were dead.

A skinny boy stood in the street. Unlike the kidnapper’s bad guy outfit, the teen wore a dirty sweatshirt and ripped jeans, like a normal poor person. He hurried toward her.

Misty backed away.

The teenager stopped and knelt. “It’s okay. We’re trying to help you.” He glared over Misty’s shoulder. “He’s not very good at explaining things.”

Misty shivered. I want Mommy.

“Your parents can’t be with you right now, but they told us to take care of you if something happened.” The teenager gazed at Misty. “We’ll keep you safe.”

The kidnapper had moved away from the manhole. It was still opened. Even now, Misty sensed the winding passageways beneath the streets. She could make a run for it. She didn’t need light.

The teenager stood and walked toward her, his hand outstretched. “Don’t be afraid.”

Misty took his hand. He seemed nice enough, and if she ran, they’d probably catch her.

“Don’t worry. We’ll keep you safe. “There are other kids to play with too,” the teen said.

Misty smiled. She’d never gotten to play with other kids. Mommy always said they’d think she was weird.


About Jessi L. Roberts

I live and work on my family’s cattle ranch in eastern Montana. I have a flock of chickens, a hyper golden retriever, some cows, and a few horses. I enjoy fantasy and science fiction and my head is full of wild sci-fi story ideas, some involving apocalypses and others involving aliens. I have been published twice in Havok Magazine, an imprint of Splickity.
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