He sees him by the comic books in his too big hand-me-down shirt and jeans, his small hand reverently stroking the covers. This is his new favorite hunting ground – the racks of comics are close to the store entrance which is right beside the fire exit. So many little ones left alone whilst their parents peruse the book offerings further inside the store. It's always so easy to take them, it's almost like they are being offered up so why shouldn't he take them.
He's already done this twice before – never in the same state, after all he's not stupid. It's been months since his last little toy broke and had to be discarded and he'd been such fun to play with, just like this one will be – he's perfect. He looks to be around six or seven years old with soft wavy brown hair, big dimples and expressive puppy dog eyes. He can't wait to see those eyes tear-filled, to see the fear in them. Little boy blue. He suppresses a shiver.
He can see how much the boy wants one of those comics, maybe he could lure him away with the promise of one. Much less chance of attracting attention that way, there's always a risk that he might be seen if he drags him out. He knows this one was meant to be because he didn't come in with an adult just an older child – brother maybe – no more than twelve and completely absorbed with the car magazines further over. This will be a piece of cake.
He can't wait any longer – can't lose this golden opportunity whilst the older boy is distracted. He stands next to the boy and picks up a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle comic, one of the ones the boy has been eyeing. He's about to speak to the child, ask for help in choosing something for his son but the boy is instantly wary and starts to look around for the other one. He knows if he speaks the boy will leave or call out, he'll have to snatch him now. He quickly scans around and seeing nobody close by he grabs the boy's arm and clasps his hand to his mouth, lifting him easily and moving quickly through the entrance to the door of the fire exit. "De.." The rest is muffled quickly by his large hand.
Dean is three racks over but instantly hears Sam's small cry, even over the cheesy music playing through the store's PA system. He rushes to where his brother had been but the space is empty. He whirls around and thinks he sees his brother's small feet disappearing through the fire exit just outside the store and takes off at a run. He pushes through the doors screaming, "Sammy!" and sees a man pushing his little brother into a car parked just outside.
He yells, "Hey!" and the man turns toward him with a feral look on his face.
He's annoyed that the older boy found him so quickly but it won't make any difference. He'll be in the car and gone by the time the older child can run for help. He grins at him as he pushes his prize over the bench seat to the passenger side. He knows his toy can't escape because he removed the door handle. But instead of screaming, or running to find an adult the boy reaches behind himself and pulls a small snub nosed pistol from his waistband. What the hell?
"Move away from the car you sick fuck or I'll blow a hole clear through your head." The boy has a steady aim, not even a small tremor in his outstretched arms.
He weighs up his options – would the boy actually do it? He's just a child himself. He could most likely throw himself into the car and be gone by the time the boy can react but then the boy calmly flips off the safety.
"I won't say it again, move!"
He raises in arms in front of himself in a gesture of surrender and steps away from the car door.
"All the way to the back."
He complies, walking backward toward the car trunk.
"Sammy, get out of the car."
The small one, his beloved prize, leaps from the car and runs to the older child who pushes him behind to shield him.
"Are you alright?"
The little boy is crying, snot and tears running down his face, exactly the way he had pictured he would look when he got him to his play room – beautifully terrified. But now he would never get to play with this toy.
"M'okay," the small boy snuffles and hiccups, pressing into his brother's back.
"Do you think you can run when I tell you?"
Before he gets a chance to think about the boys calling for help or the police the older boy speaks again.
"Throw me the car keys." His stance hasn't wavered, his face a mask of cold fury that looks odd on a child. There is zero fear. He tosses the keys and the boy moves forward enough to pull them toward himself with his foot.
"Get the keys, Sammy." The small boy picks up the keys with one hand while the other arm is wiping his face.
"Get ready to run," Dean whispers.
"You one of those sick fucks that get off on hurting little kids?"
The question is obviously rhetorical because the boy doesn't seem to be expecting an answer and he doesn't offer one. He is really regretting everything now, not only choosing this particular boy but parking where no other soul is likely to walk by.
The older boy moves toward him but not getting close enough to be grabbed or tackled.
"You were gonna hurt my baby brother."
Before he can begin to talk or plead he feels the bullet shatter his knee at the same moment he hears the explosion of the gun being fired. White hot fire burns its way through his body and he is vaguely aware of the older boy shouting "Run, Sammy!"
His vision dims to black spots as he thinks about the incriminating souvenirs in his car that he kept from his two previous toys and wishes he had kept them somewhere safe as he hears running footsteps approaching and a voice telling him to hold on, an ambulance and police are on their way. He wants to run, needs to escape but as he hears the distant sirens, the darkness claims him.