Carefully, Charlie looked over his shoulder. He sighed, no one was there. The young mathematician turned back to his chalkboard and started working on his equation. He still had the indeniable feeling that he was being watched. A footstep was heard overhead and curiously he climbed the stairs and looked out into the living room.

Spying nothing out of the ordinary, he returned to the basement to complete his work. Again he was facing his chalkboard and felt the presence of someone behind him. Unconciously he tensed up and the hairs on the back of his neck rose.

Slowly he turned around, but again, no one was there. 'I'm just paranoid' he thought to himself. Then he distinctly felt someones hot breath on the back of his neck. He went to turn to face the chalkboard again, but a hand had been placed firmly on his back and pushed him into the wall.

"Hey!" Charlie shouted and was rewarded by being banged against the wall harder.

"Shut up!" A voice whispered coldly in his ear.

Charlie fell silent as he felt the cool metal of a gun barrel pressed against his temple. The man whom the voice belonged to, drew his hands behind him and fastened them to together. He heard a small metal clink, handcuffs. Charlie prayed silently that Don would come home early and stop whoever this man was from whatever he was going to do to him.

Pulling Charlie back, the man propelled him toward the stairs. He stopped suddenly when he heard the doorknob turn and the squeaking of hinges. Inside his mind, Charlie leaped for joy. The man pushed him toward the back of the room and forced him to crouch behind some boxes.

The pressure of the gun barrel was still apparent against his skull and his captor warned, "One word and I'll spill your brains on the floor, one word."

Charlie nodded slightly, staying obediently silent. Hoping that Don would find him.

Minutes lasted for hours as Charlie heard Don descend the staircase and poke his head into Charlie's work area.

"Charlie?" Don called into the room. Don was greeted by the quiet silence. He opened the door the rest of the way and saw that no one was there. Or at least as far as he knew. Don climbed the stairs, muttering to himself, "He's at school of course."

Again they heard the doorknob turn and the door open and close. Don was gone. Charlie cursed to himself and the man dragged him to his feet.

He was pulled up the stairs and out the back door, where a small car was parked. He nearly puked when a disgusting tasting rag was tied around his mouth, effectively gagging him. A scarf was wrapped around his eyes and he felt himself being pushed into the backseat of the car.

'What the hell is going on?' Charlie asked himself silently. The door slammed and he heard his captor enter the driver's side. The engine started and the car started to take him away from his home. He wondered how long it would take Don and his father to realize that he was missing.

It finally dawned on him the situation he was in. Frantically, he struggled to relieve himself of his metal restaints. All he succeeded in, was causing the handcuffs to dig harder into the skin of his wrists; until they were raw.

He tried to scream through the retched rag, but his cries were muffled. He screamed until his throat was too sore to continue. He heard the man driving chuckle.

"I wouldn't waste your strength, Charlie," he told him icily.

Charlie tried to reply, but alas the gag was very effective. His reply was muffled and his captor only laughed harder.

"You're going to be quite useful to me," he informed him harshly and Charlie did not like the sound of that.

"What do you want with me?" Charlie tried to ask.

"Pardon," his captor mocked.

"What do you want with me?" Charlie repeated, but again the gag thwarted his efforts.

"You're probably wondering what I want with you," the man practically read his mind.

Charlie nodded and the man chuckled, "I won't reveal that just yet, Charlie." He said it almost affectionately and it made Charlie sick to his stomach, "But get comfortable, this is going to be a long ride."

Charlie did not even try to reply to this. He lay on the seat and prayed Don or his father would realize was gone soon and come find him.


"Dad? Have you seen Charlie?" Don called when he returned home and found his father had arrive there before him.

"No, I assumed he was at CalSci or with you," Alan Epps anwersed his eldest son.

"He's not at school, and he wasn't here earlier," Don replied.

"You sure?" Alan questioned.

"I'm sure," Don affirmed his father.

"Are you worried Don?" He asked his son.

"Not yet," Don answered. He opened the front door and he looked back at his father momentarily, "But I'm getting there. I'm going to look for him."

Alan nodded and grabbed his coat, "I'm coming too," he announced.


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