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My name is Karley. I’m 22 years old. And I don’t know what the fuck am I doing for the last while. I’ve been in this god-forsaken city for the last twenty-seven days. To state the obvious, this is not the Toledo that I know anymore. The city I knew was more robust. It had people. Businesses were thriving per the norm, cars driving down the roads. You know, alive.
Not this town.
This town is virtually absent. The only ambience that I know is nature. But... this Toledo is random. Every day, the phone that I have on me, which weirdly doesn’t run out of battery life, texts me goals to do around the city to survive. The texts are from a person that goes by the name “Meta.” Never met them. All I know is that they have my life in their hands.
- - - - - - - - -
The first day here, I woke up in my home on Fasset Street as normal. My typical day was wake up Megan and Ziggy, my kids to get them ready for school. Meg is seven and Ziggy is five. I went to their room to do so, and they were gone. I’d quickly went to my phone and see if Xavier, the kids’ dad, already took them. But when I got to it, I’d instantly noticed the design was different. That wasn’t my phone. It was something else entirely.
When I turned on the screen, the main screen was empty. All except for the texting app. When I opened it, there were no messages. I turned the screen back off, and flopped it on my bed. I got my robe on and went next door to my neighbor’s house to see if she seen my kids. When I got outside, it was a gloomy cloudy look. Typical April morning kind of chilly. I go to my neighbor’s to knock on the door. I was knocking on it until I got very anxious and started to pound on the door. She didn’t answer. I didn’t know how long I was over there, but I knocked so much, I started to call out my kids until I got to the level that I screamed for them while I was pounding the door until my arms were bruised.
I walked back to the house and grabbed the mysterious smartphone. Turned on the screen, and it said that I had a one text message. Gone straight to the texting app, there was a message that had no phone number, but it said “HELLO, KARLEY.”
Shit just went downhill from here.
I texted back, “Who is this?”
“MY NAME IS META. I BID YOU GOOD MORNING!”
“This phone isn’t mine. Did you take my kids?”
“NO. BUT THE PHONE YOU ARE USING IS YOURS. KEEP IT, FOR AS YOU ARE NOW KEPT HERE IN THIS CITY.”
I got pissed the fuck off and texted, “The fuck you mean ‘kept here’? I’m not into playing any game with any fucking body! WHERE ARE MY KIDS, YOU SHIT!?"
“I UNFORTUNATELY DO NOT HAVE YOUR KIDS, KARLEY... BUT I DO KNOW THEY ARE SAFE.”
My anger from these texts, from this “Meta” guy, was getting me to boil hot. I unleashed a fuck-ton of threatening words to this ghost-acting ass. When I sent my last message, it responded, “YOU WILL CALM YOURSELF, OR YOU WILL NEVER SEE YOUR CHILDREN, NOR THIS LIFE EVER AGAIN!”
With great fear, I dropped the phone and heavily feel onto my knees and bawled. I had to get a grip. I want this person to give my kids back. It doesn’t have them, but it knows that my Meg and Zig are alive. “Get it together,” I said to myself. I climbed onto my bed and got the phone again. I texted, “What do I have to do?”
I didn’t get a text back from Meta.
To calm the nerves, I went to the kitchen to make a screwdriver. I sat down and waited... and waited. Until it hit around the afternoon, I finally get a text. The text Meta sent said...
“FIND THE MAYOR. EITHER KILL HIM OR JOIN HIM.”
“Why?” I texted back.
“HE KNOWS WHERE YOUR KIDS ARE. GOOD HUNTING.”
- - - - - - - - -
Fucking asshole. Been in this wild goose chase for twenty-seven days and no sign of this “Mayor.” But throughout today, I’ve been in Downtown, trying to find good clues to find him. Here’s one of the things what I find weird about this town, this place ALWAYS have something going on. When Meta texts me, it gives me these “QUESTS” to keep me busy.
There was a day that I was learning to make homemade chicken and dumplings. And there was a day that this city was so flooded it actually managed to reach the street of the Cherry Street bridge. So I had to drive this small car to the water plant outside of downtown to turn on the machine to flush the excess water on the streets to the sewers. This town is a cunt to me.
But today was hell. I finally got a lead. The Mayor was at a hotel near the Promenade. I saw a man that was looking over the city at where it seems like the presidential suite. He was wearing a scarlet designer hoodie with a muzzle mask that has a design of a skeleton. The bottom was black cargo pants with set of knives wrapped around his right thigh. I seized my opportunity and ran for him.
Inside the hotel lobby, the place was rather kept up. I would’ve figured it would collect dust and be shut down. The lights were well lit, and the furniture were very clean for being untouched. I looked for the concierge, a bellhop, anyone. No one was at all here. At the service desk, there was a knife. I took a closer look and realized it was a throwing knife. I was a bit pleased to find something to protect myself. I wasted no time and got on the elevator. The Mayor was on the top floor. I was very nervous to find him, though Meta wants me to make a choice to either kill him or join him. Why did it give me those choices like it did?
The elevators opens to a dark hallway. I slowly crept out the elevator and suddenly, it shuts fast to head back down. I was hearing nothing but my heart beating and my silently blunt footsteps in this dark and hollow hallway. The wall for the first few minutes was my saving grace. I couldn’t be any more scared. I had the throwing knife a the ready, waiting for someone to creep up on me so I can quickly give them a stab and run by the nearest staircase.
I headed down further through the sheer dark hallway, until I saw a ray of hope. There was a scarlet door that has two dim lights surrounding it. And then there was a small coffee with a framed photo on it with a reclining chair next to them. There was a buzz that came from the phone, scaring the dog shit out of me. I looked at the text, but it wasn't from Meta. The text said “Careful...” I gripped on the knife even more. My body was taking deep breaths, sweat was dripping everywhere, my awareness was so heightened that my eyes were focusing only on the scarlet door.
I finally arrived to the door. There was no noise of any kind coming through the other side. I knocked on the door. No one answered. My anxiety got the best of me. I said out loud, “I know you have my kids, perv! Now open this fucking door. Pedophile piece of fuckshit." I started to kick the door down; didn’t budge. I tried to stab through the side of the door to jimmy it open; didn’t dare to unhinge.
At wits end, I stabbed the door in utter anger because that bitch that’s hiding in there isn’t opening the door so I can murder his faggot ass to give my kids. But if he murders one or both of my children, hell and I are gonna league up to kill this motherfucker!
But then, I quickly stopped. I put the knife down and I saw a photo on the table of Megan and Ziggy at their Easter party with the bunny and their candy-laden baskets. I remembered it like it was yesterday. I cried again, but not as hard. This was the first time seeing my kids in any way since the last time they were around me. Meg, with her cheesy smile like her dad. And Zig being silly as always. I took the picture out of the frame and pocketed it.
When I brought my attention back to the The Mayor’s door, there was a fresh written name at the door it said... “DarcMan”?
Then I heard a deep, dark whisper that was coming behind my back.
As I turned around, there he was. The kidnapper. All I knew was he grabbed my face, and shoved the back of my body head-first to the door, knocking me down. I couldn’t move. My eyes were blurry. He kneeled and looked at my head. “Good. You’re not bleeding,” he said. He dug in his pocket and handed me a keycard. He continued, “Come in when you’re ready. We’ve got work to be done.” Before I rendered myself unconscious, I saw him pull his phone out and I think he unlocked his door to go in.
What kind of shit am in for?
-TO BE CONTINUED