Max King was driving his son to school when it happened. The father enjoyed making his child laugh. He made a vow that he would quit smoking before New Year's Day. He also promised his son that he would take him to Disney World during his time off from work. A bad driver took Max's attention away from his son. Max blew his horn at a motorist who was driving too slow in front of him. He didn’t know things would get worse.
The trouble began when Max went to pick his son, Aaron, up from school. He was told by Aaron’s teacher that a woman claiming to be Aaron’s mom picked him up earlier. The teacher told Max that the mysterious woman wore a gold silk shawl over her black, revealing strapless dress.
Max remembered the teacher telling him that the woman looked like a Hollywood starlet. She had a perfectly gorgeous face that was almost too perfect. Max asked Aaron’s teacher if she knew where the woman took his son. He ended up leaving his son’s school while speaking to a 911 operator.
Max tried to be positive as the police activated a search team. They sent an Amber alert out across the city. Time tormented Max. A voice in his head kept telling him that his child was dead and that he was an irresponsible father, even though the abduction of his little boy was not his fault. The next day, Max began having nightmares involving his son. He would wake up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat. It didn’t help that Max was a widower.
He lost his wife to breast cancer a year ago. Max's nightmares would always start with him kissing his wife on a Costa Rican beach. The dream would morph into Max sitting by his wife’s bedside inside a hospital room. Max’s wife, Kristen, would scream out, saying to him, help me, baby, before rotting in front of his eyes. Max would have his wife’s hand as he watched an army of maggots feast on her body. He could never let go of his wife’s hand while her body transformed into a skeletal corpse. The parasites would leave his wife’s body and crawl across his skin, which would cause Max to wake up in the middle of the night screaming. Now that Max’s son was missing, Max’s nightmare would involve seeing his little boy lying in the hospital bed as a rotting corpse instead of his wife.
The days and nights ran into each other. On the evening before New Year's Eve, Max received a phone call from a mysterious caller. He knew the mysterious caller was a woman. The caller used a voice changer, but Max could hear feminine characteristics in the voice. Things became heated when the caller reminded Max of the road altercation he had with a motorist a few days ago. The woman refreshed Max’s memory by telling him she was the woman in the black Mazda Miata that he blew his horn at.
She told him how he almost ran her off the road while trying to pass her. The caller then told Max that she followed him after he roared past her, and she watched him drop his son off at school. The caller told Max that his confrontation with her caused his son’s abduction. The caller didn’t want money. She wanted to meet with Max at a private location.
She warned Max not to alert the police. She told him that if he did so, she would bury his child in an early grave. Max had no choice but to obey the caller’s wishes. He agreed to meet the woman in an abandoned warehouse. Max almost lost it when the mysterious woman put his son on the phone. She gave him one minute to talk to his child.
“I love you, baby! Daddy’s gonna rescue you!” Max passionately spoke to his son. Hearing his son crying over the phone sent shock waves of panic throughout his body. He wanted to ask his son if the woman harmed him, but before he could say anything else, his child’s voice was snatched away from him.
“Be here tomorrow night at 8:30. Meet me at 53rd and Rosland. You’ll see an abandoned warehouse across from a park. I’ll be inside, waiting.” The caller hung up abruptly, never giving Max a chance to speak again.
Max couldn’t sleep that night. The next morning, he was running into walls, unable to think clearly. He wanted to tell the police what happened to him the night before, but he knew there would be consequences if he did that. Max couldn’t risk losing his son. He had to obey the caller’s orders. Max went through the entire day staring at his son’s baby pictures. He stared at a photo of his wife holding his son, which was a photo he kept in his wallet. His wife’s radiant, island beauty transcended beyond the photo. Max remembered taking the picture of his wife standing in the kitchen holding Aaron. It was Aaron’s second birthday. Max never forgot how his wife made her adorable baby giggle by tickling his face with her lips. At that exact moment, Max snapped the picture.
Nightfall arrived, and Max began feeling sick. He didn’t know what state his son would be in. He didn’t want the caller to kill his little boy. Max prayed to God that he wasn’t dealing with a serial killer. A voice in his head told him he would arrive at the warehouse to find his son’s body. The voice also told Max that the caller was luring him to the warehouse so she could kill him. His nagging thoughts told him it was a set up. The voice told Max that the caller only wanted to trap him, and that his son was already dead.
Max cried while trying to fight off the dark voice in his head. He knew it was the Devil, and he fell to his knees, hugging himself while sobbing and seeing visions of a bloody small corpse that used to be his son. Max thought that if this person was crazy enough to abduct his child over a minor road altercation, then what would stop the caller from executing his child out of spite?
Every muscle in Max’s body ached. A lack of sleep and an overdose of paranoia and fear caused Max to hallucinate. He screamed when he looked down and thought the snake tattoo on his arm was moving. Max’s fear soon transformed into an unfiltered rage. The distraught father drove his bulky arm through his living room wall. The drywall collapsed under the impact of Max’s fist and forearm. As the hours rolled past, Max battled his hallucinations and his fear.
He could hear his son calling out to him. Max used his son’s voice to strengthen him. Nothing would ever cause Max to forget his son’s voice and his face. All Max had to hold on to were the memories of his little boy. He used his little boy’s sweet, unguarded eyes as fuel to keep him going.
Time raced against Max’s car. It was 8:20 at night. Max revved the engine inside his 1989 Ford Taurus SHO. He had his car doing 70 miles per hour down an empty boulevard. Max thanked God that he purchased a family sedan that had the engine of a race car. He needed something fast and turbocharged to get him to the warehouse in time. Max gripped the steering wheel as he nervously glanced down at the digital clock readout on the dashboard. He had ten minutes. Every time he’d press his gym shoe down on the accelerator, his high-powered sedan would release a supercharged roar, causing his driver’s seat to vibrate. Max almost became hypnotized by the silver moonlight reflecting off the hood of his car.
Max sweated so much that his fingers kept slipping off the steering wheel. He had his sedan’s tires screeching and burning the pavement every time he’d make a sharp turn around a corner. He could hear his son's car seat shifting around behind him. This was not how Max pictured celebrating New Year’s Eve. He thought about his next-door neighbor, Pamela, inviting him to her New Year’s Eve party a few days earlier before his son’s kidnapping. Pamela was a single woman and she saw Max as being an extremely handsome man. She also loved his son. When Pamela first moved into the neighborhood, she became excited when Max told her he was a widower.
Every Christmas, Pamela would bring freshly baked cookies to Max’s doorstep. Pamela loved the new Die Hard movie that debuted the year before. It was the summer blockbuster of 1988 and Pamela would always flirt with Max, telling him he was sexier than Bruce Willis. She would try to persuade Max to come to her Christmas parties, but he would always turn her down. This time Max accepted Pamela’s invitation when she wanted him to come to her New Year’s Eve party. Five days ago, Max told Pamela that he’d attend her party and bring his son. He had no idea that days later, on New Year’s Eve, he would have to cancel his plans.
He wanted to tell Pamela over the phone that a maniac abducted his son, but he couldn’t. Pamela could hear the anguish in his voice. She asked him what was the matter. Max broke down in tears and he hung up on Pamela when she called him honey, which was something his wife used to call him.
The tears on Max’s face never dried. Sometimes his hands would get caught between wiping the tears off his face and steering his car. Max tried hard not to over-steer his powerful sedan. He didn’t want to lose control and crash into a building or a parked car, or worse, a pedestrian. Max punched the accelerator, forcing his car’s V6 engine to purr and growl. It was 8:28 when Max finally arrived at the abandoned warehouse. He drove into the parking lot and he jumped out of his sedan, leaving its engine running.
“Aaron!” Max screamed out for his son as he sprinted across the empty parking lot. “Please don’t kill my baby!” Max shouted as he ran into the warehouse’s entrance. All the father heard were his pleading cries echoing back to him. Darkness cloaked his eyes when he ran into the warehouse. Within a few seconds, a man’s enormous hands grabbed Max by the collar of his muscle shirt.
Max lost it. He attacked the man even though he couldn’t see him. Max landed a few blows to the man’s face and torso. He could tell that the man was taller and bulkier than him, but he didn’t let the man’s hulky physique discourage him. Max channeled the spirit of heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. He kept thrusting his fists into the man’s abdomen. Max endured a few punches to his stomach and jawline. The man wrestled with Max, and the only way he could stop Max from fighting was by putting his semi-automatic pistol to the desperate father’s temple.
“I don’t want to kill you, big guy!” The man snarled in Max’s ear. He had his bare, rock-solid arm hugging Max’s throat while pressing his handgun against Max’s head. Max blacked out after the man struck him with the butt of his gun.
A woman’s smooth voice greeted Max and he awoke to find himself trapped inside of a metal capsule the size of a coffin. The titanium alloy capsule had a translucent door, and the shape of the capsule resembled a nuclear missile.
Max squinted when a menacing red light bathed his face. The light was penetrating, like a giant tactical laser beam. A minute passed before the intense blood-red light died down, allowing Max to see a beautiful, slender woman in a platinum strapless dress, holding a little boy. The woman wore a black eye patch over her right eye, and she sported a torch red pompadour hairstyle that gave her a cyberpunk, fashion model appearance.
The little boy looked like a curly-haired angelic being wearing shorts and a sleeveless jersey. The child had his small hand stretched out toward Max. Tears washed his little face. Aaron cried out to his father. The little boy had a headache from sobbing harshly. Aaron thought he would die and never see his father again.
The woman who gripped Aaron between her arms tried to pacify the child, but Aaron constantly reminded her she was not his mother. Aaron even slapped the woman when she tried to kiss him. The little boy never raised his hand again when the woman brought her loaded gun to his 6-year-old face. She threatened to shoot Aaron if he didn’t behave himself. The woman thought Aaron’s crying was adorable at first, but now it was annoying her.
The woman’s name was Ava Volaris. Ava had a dark past. She could kill at the drop of a hat. And since she was a powerful crime lord, she bribed and threatened organizations so she could get whatever she wanted. Ava recently bribed the chief scientist of a secret government laboratory. She had access to top-secret technology, and she used her corrupt authority to threaten the chief scientist, telling him that her men would disembowel his wife and daughter if he refused to give her access to his equipment.
Ava wanted revenge, and there was one piece of equipment in particular that the crime lord wanted access to. The piece of top-secret equipment was an interdimensional machine that was the size of a four-door hatchback. Max was trapped inside this machine, which was called a Pyramid. It could inject a person’s body into any living creature.
“Do you remember me, sweetheart? I’m the woman you ran off the road a few days ago!” Ava stepped toward the Pyramid’s door, giving Max a murderous stare through the glass. “I didn’t like what you did to me, so I kidnapped your son! I hope you don't mind!”
Max paid no attention to Ava’s words. He wanted to reach through the glass and hold his son. The father thought that Ava was about to kill him. He thought the missile-shaped machine he was trapped inside of was a gas chamber. Max banged his fists on the reinforced glass. He screamed at Ava, not knowing that Ava couldn't hear his voice on the other side.
Ava spoke to Max through an intercom system built inside the Pyramid. She told Max what she wanted him to do. She told him what was going to happen to him. The crime lord wanted to transfer Max’s consciousness to her pet Pitbull. A machine would trap Max inside the body of Ava’s dog for the rest of his life unless Ava reverted Max’s body to his human form. Ava did this to her husband after he left her for another woman. She used the Pyramid to inject her husband’s consciousness into a cockroach. After the transfer was complete, Ava crushed the cockroach beneath her high heel shoe, killing her husband instantly. Ava wanted to transfer Max’s consciousness into her dog because she didn’t want to execute him right away. She wanted to torture him. Turning him into her Pitbull would be the cruelest thing to do to a human being. But Ava feasted on cruelty. She saw herself as the ultimate sadist.
Max prayed for God to help him. He didn’t want his mind transferred into the body of a canine. He pleaded for his life and he begged Ava to release his child. Max’s heart clogged his throat when one of Ava’s men brought out her Pitbull on a leash. Ava’s pooch was a Staffordshire Pitbull Terrier named Bruno. Bruno was a young brownish gray, robust dog with a nasty sinus infection, which caused him to drool constantly. This was going to be Max’s fate. Max would be with his son, but as a crime lord’s dog.
Only Max could hear his screams. The same fierce red light blasted him in the face from inside the Pyramid. The red light heated Max’s face. He saw death walking toward him. Max felt that being transferred into the body of a Pitbull was just as bad as death. Max thought his life was over until he heard gunfire. The distraught father heard a woman scream. An ominous red light no longer clouded Max’s vision. He pushed past the light to see Ava lying on the floor in handcuffs with men in military uniforms towering over her. The men had their automatic rifles aimed down at Ava’s head, and Max saw blood leaking from the side of her head.
Max looked up when he saw a woman step from behind the armed soldiers. The woman had an ivory skin tone and her wavy, sunset gold hair matched the color of her low cut sequin dress. Max watched as the woman kicked Ava in the face while she was down on the floor with her hands behind her back. The woman knocked Ava unconscious before making her way toward Max. Max’s mouth dropped open when he saw the woman. She was holding his son securely in her arms. She had a familiar classic beauty, like Farrah Fawcett.
“Happy New Year, Max!” Pamela spoke to the man she loved while stepping up to the Pyramid. “I guess I should’ve told you that your next-door neighbor works for the CIA. I followed you here because I knew something was wrong.” Pamela smiled, finding delight in the astonished expression on Max’s face. “I’m taking you home with me. My New Year’s Eve party is still going on and I want you and your beautiful baby to join me.” Pamela had an infectious laugh. She kissed Aaron on the side of his face, causing the child to giggle.
Max placed his hand on the glass when Pamela and his son reached out to him. Max missed his wife, but he saw a new life with Pamela. A woman who saved his life. Max’s days as a Rock 'N' Roll widower were over, and his son would have a new mom. This was a great way to ignite the new year.