HOGARTH

I glared at the man, trying to hide any fear that was still tying the knots in my stomach. "You won't get away with this," I spat, keeping my fierce look.

"Oh," he chuckled darkly. "But I already have, Hogarth." I could practically see the smirk on his face through the thick darkness around me. This isn't happening, this isn't happening, this isn't happening. That's all I could tell myself to try and keep calm. That this was all just a nightmare and that soon mom would wake me up and make me clean my room. God, I missed my room. But then my logical side would take over and I realized how much everything had hurt. "And until your mother and her little boyfriend give me what I want, you're staying with me."

"Th-the police are gonna come and ge-get you," I insisted, struggling to get free of my bonds. It was more of a prayer than a threat, though. Just me hoping that mom would call the police and save me, but I didn't even know where I was, they probably didn't either. "And they'll save me and put you in jail."

"What makes you think the police are coming for you?" he replied, moving closer. He rested his hand on my shoulder and I flinched away as he roughly squeezed it. I was about to tell him that my mom would send them, but he continued before I had a chance. "Your mother's probably glad that you're gone." My head snapped up to look at him with both anger and curiosity. "She had enough financial issues with you around. One less mouth to feed is less of a burden to her."

"No!" I shouted at him, tears stinging at the corners of my eyes. That couldn't be true. Mom loved me. Then I realized, though, that he was right. All I was was more work for her, another person for her to feed, a burden. "No, she loves me," I muttered, keeping my gaze glued to the ground.

"Does she?"


ANNIE

It didn't take long for the police to arrive, nor Dean. So I soon found myself with a yard-full of police cars outside, and Dean standing next to me while I spoke to one of the police officers in the living room.

"Ma'am," the officer tried to calm me, trying to stop me from talking four-hundred miles a minute like I was doing. "Please calm down, your son probably just went out for a stroll. Maybe walked down to Rockwell. For breakfast or somethin'."

I tried my best not to glare at him, I really did, but I'm pretty sure that I ultimately failed. "This is my son we're talking about. If he went to Rockwell, which he wouldn't have in the first place, he would have told me! He would have left a note." I took an unintentional step towards him. "I want you looking for my baby because, for all we know, he could b-"

"Annie," Dean started, putting a relaxed arm around me. "Calm down." He then turned to the officer. "Please, just get someone out there looking for him." The officer looked between Dean and I for a moment before sighing and giving a small nod. I let out a breath, but couldn't bring myself to smile. I wrapped my arms around Dean's waist in relief that someone was searching, and we just stood there for awhile like that.

Then I heard the phone ringing in the kitchen.


HOGARTH

"We're going to call your mother," Kent told me. For just a fraction of a second, my hope's rose and I felt like he might let me go. Then I remembered he was a dangerous, insane man who just kidnapped a kid. "And we're going to tell her what I want and how to get you home."

I didn't say anything but soon enough he was holding a phone to my ear and dialing in what I assumed to be my phone number. After a few rings, Mom picked up and I had never felt so happy to hear her voice before. "Mom?" I choked out, my voice cracking.

"Hogarth?" she answered, sounding just as relieved as I was. "Dear God, honey, where are you?"

I felt tears welling up again just hearing her voice. But I couldn't cry. Not in front of Kent. I wouldn't give him that satisfaction. I glanced up at the man holding me captive, pausing for a moment before continuing. "Mom, I've been taken by a really bad man, a-and he's not gonna let me g-go until-" I paused again as Kent scribbled something down and flicked on a light switch. I took that split second to look around. It was a cellar. Or maybe a basement. Either way it was small and cold and nearly empty. He held the notecard in front of me. "Until you give him thirty…thousand dollars." I looked up at him. "Why do you want that?" I whispered.

"Shut up," he hissed.

Either way, I knew at that point that I was never getting out of there. We didn't have that kind of money. You could practically hear Mom's heart breaking as she realized as well that we didn't have that money, and there was no way we could get it.

"Hogarth, honey, I'll get you out of there. I swear. You'll be okay. I love you so much."

No, mom, don't say your goodbyes. Not yet.

"He says you can't get the police involved or he'll… he'll hurt me more. I lo-" Before I could finish telling her I loved her, Kent pressed the receiver and cut me off.