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I’m Karley. And I was scared of what’s next. See, according to my phone’s guide, Meta, my kids were gone and had no idea where they were. My leads were empty for almost a month until it told me to hunt down the mayor of this bleak and empty town where I’d thought it was only myself that was here. The choices were to either kill him or join him, without knowing the weight of the choices behind either. When I found him on the top floor of this hotel that was downtown, I made pursuit to my children’s kidnapper. The man was reeking of guilt. As I got to the top floor, I was shrouded in a deeply dark hallway. For a while, I couldn’t find his door. When I got to a dim-lit door, there was a photo of my kids next to it on a table. But as I looked back at the door, that’s where the bastard attacked me and knocked me unconscious...
...Now that I was awake, I was petrified of what he was going to do to me in this corridor.
I woke up with the back of my head pounding something awful. I slowly got up. Some kind of card fell off of me as I did. It was a keycard. I did remember he dropped something on me before I was rendered unconscious. I figured it belonged to the door to his suite. The beaten door that I had tried to destroy was whole again. Even the keycard lock looked brand new. I admit, I was in a bit of a shock when I saw that the torn door seemed like nothing had happened. Without any more hesitation, I inserted the keycard. The lock from the machine was loud in all the silence. Fear shivered me as I was unaware of what was behind this door. As it unlatched, the door of this “DarcMan” finally open to reveal the threshold of the kidnapper.
The place was absolutely serene and breathtaking. I entered slowly. The scarlet door slammed shut, leaving me in a quick gasp. Looking through the place made me jealous as fuck. It had a full living room, fireplace, full kitchen, one and a half baths, jacuzzi, and two bedrooms. It also had a grand piano, plasma TVs, and a refrigerator that had an infinity symbol on it. But as beautiful everything was, I wasted no time and tried to find Megan and Ziggy. They were nowhere to be found. I tried to not get pissed, but it was getting worse. I was gonna snap again. But before I even made one yell, that asshole voiced out somewhere in the place.
"That’s a Möbius strip,” he bellowed. “That is, if you were pondering what’s on the fridge. I hate it when people say things dumbed down.”
When I heard that pervert’s voice my fists balled up, ready to rip his spineless body open.
“Please,” he asked when he got up close behind me. I turned and flew a haymaker to the masked man. But he bested me by catching my punch and pushed me away a few feet. I finally saw his eyes. I saw terror. A dark, brooding terror. I’d never seen so much a calm evil from a man like him until now. When I lifted my fist again, he quickly halted and stopped me, pointing to the bar chair in the kitchen.
“...Sit,” he finished.
For a minute, I was ready to kill him. But something about his manners when we fought said a lot about him. I put down my guard and sat down, without eyeing away from this monster that I wanted dead.
He went to the refrigerator and asked if I wanted something to eat or drink because I looked like I hadn't eaten in a long time. I angrily said, “No.” He continued to look in the fridge, and got out a cola. At the same time, he made me an ice water and gave it to me. He finally sat down across the counter from me and opened his soda.
“You have many questions for me, Ms. Hinderson,” he said politely as he unmasked himself for a sip.
As he took off his mask, I was a bit shocked. I mean, for a Black kidnapper, he was a little attractive...in his own villainous way. Without hesitation, I sternly asked, “Where are my kids?” The Mayor had slight confusion on his face as if he didn’t have a clue what I was talking about. I asked louder, “Where in the fuck are Megan and Ziggy, you sick, pedophilic motherfucker?!”
There, he went silent. A glaze was in his eyes as he glared into my veiny pair of eyes. His confusion crescendoed into laughter, almost joyful-sounding. He responded, “You came all this way to assume some stupid shit like that?" He laughed to the point that he fell off the chair to humor himself more.
“You think this is a fucking joke?”
The Mayor got up and was trying to get his breathing pattern back together. Then he responded, “In fact, yes. I think this was the hardest I've laughed in a long time. You know, give me another joke. This is intriguing!”
“Look, fuck you! I’m here for my kids. If you’re not gonna confess where they are, I’m gonna beat you blue in the face. Now WHERE THE FUCK ARE TH—"
DarcMan’s eyes sharpened hard into mine as he slammed his fists to the marble countertop, making both of our drinks clash on it like drums. He snarled, “Don’t...you...fuck with me! I’m the mayor, remember? I demand respect! Because if you don’t show me that, you’ll join the birds from eighteen stories high. Flying is optional.”
I shut up almost instantly. I didn’t know what he was going to do. He calmed himself, softening his eyes. “Allow me to explain,” DarcMan said calmly.
For two hours, he explained how he was stuck in this city alone as much as I was, including the way he became the mayor, which I found interesting.
“I seriously don’t fucking know,” he said. “But if Meta gave you that choice, let alone that ‘kidnapping’ excuse, he may have wanted to see if we were going to make those choices.”
“But did you—"
“No. Because if they were here, Meta would’ve told you up front where they were, not make leads to confuse you and do something stupid.”
“OK...what if I did kill you?”
“If you kill me... you’ll kill the real Toledo with me. Including yourself. At least, that's what Meta told me.”
For once, I felt like shit. I was chasing a man that’s as stumped as I am as to why we were stuck in this Beta test of a town. I couldn't kill him, because he was my lead to my children. I had to join him. I hoped that he was right about all this.
“Fine, I’ll help you,” I answered.” Just as long you help me find my babies.”
“Remind me who they are, Ms. Hinderson?” he asked.
I pulled out the photo, showed DarcMan, and said, “That’s Megan on the left, and Ziggy on the right.”
“They’re beautiful. Really.”
“We’ll find them. Swear to it.”
“What is that coming under the door?”
There was an unusual white smoke coming underneath the scarlet door. DarcMan put his mask on and asked me, “Do you know how to use a weapon?”
“Kind of,” I answered.
He looked around and, as he saw the cabinet next to the stove, he reached in and pulled out a Desert Eagle.
“Today’s the day,” he said, giving me the gun. He pulled out his throwing knife and reached for his phone. He rapidly pressed buttons on it to activate the security through the suite. The armored doors and window were activated, and all the white walls turned into blue, indicating the black lights were on. When DarcMan reached the smoking and looked through the peephole, the hallway lights were on. But in the far distance of the hallway...
“Fuck,” DarcMan exclaimed.
“What?” I asked.
-TO BE CONTINUED-