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Drama Fantasy Suspense

Jingling like a bowl full of jelly, Vincent Petrov ran through a crowd of elated kids and exasperated parents at the Walter Bros Traveling Carnival outside Barstow, California. He yelled the same thing over and over: Eli.

He ran past every booth looking for the right boy with blond hair, blue eyes, shorter than he should be, and though he had been moved to a safe place, he was still rough around the edges. No one he passed checked off that list, increasing the flittiness in his flight.   

At the end of the row, Vincent passed a man in a long flowing red jacket and a top hat he used to shield his face from view. When Vincent was gone, a Joker-like smirk grew across his face with an infectious evil. And with a flick of his hat, he was gone.

Eli Krieger sat, leaning his head on the armrest of an 80's floral couch along the back end of the camper trailer. Through his shaggy blond locks and buoy-bobbing eyes, he watched a police officer on her radio. 

“10-4 Johnson, keep looking,” she replied, jotting something down on a notepad in front of her on the desk. She let the pen fall and looked at Eli. Her sight fell as she slipped a folder off her desk and slinked it over to a row of file cabinets.

“Don’t worry, you’ll find them,” Eli mumbled.

“Yeah.” She took a plastic water bottle off the top of the cabinet and squeezed past an oversized copy/fax machine. “It’s just such a big place for two rookies,” she said, handing Eli the water.

“You could go. I don’t mind.”

“Why don’t you get some rest.”

“I can do that,” he said, bringing his legs up and curling up into a ball. As his eyes fluttered, she draped a blanket over him.

After a few minutes of darkness, the sound of clinking and clanking of the wobbly trailer steps startled Eli awake. His gaze jumped to the other side of the room, where Officer Lopez was seated at her desk again. The steps shook again as the door opened without any knocking. A mascot-like rabbit with a wicker basket entered. Saying nothing, it walked - not hopped - to the desk, and before Lopez said anything, it pulled out a gun. After firing three carrots at the officer, the rabbit and the gun turned to Eli. 

Eli hid behind the blanket as if it would protect him. With a hand on his shoulder, he screamed.

“Hey. Hey. Hey, are you okay?” Lopez asked, crouching by his side.

Eli huffed and puffed as he searched the room. No Murderous Bunny. “Yeah. Just a weird dream. Too much sugar… are there any rabbits here?”

“Sadly, not even the magician does.”

A smile blossomed as he sighed. “At least you don’t have to chase done run-away animals.”

“Get out of my head, kid,” she chuckled, taking back the bottle and opening it. “If you don’t want any more weird dreams, you should use this.”

“I can do that,” he said, taking the bottle again and sending her back to the desk.

As soon as he tipped the bottle up, the steps started to clink and clank. He dropped the bottle and the water spattered across the floor. He hid under the blanket like a child hiding from a monster. 

She asked, "Is everything-."

The door opened to a police officer. "Officer Lopez?"

She looked at Eli as she answered, "Yeah, what?"

"Sergeant sent me." He walked to the desk. "He wants me to take the boy to the hospital. His family's there."

She finally looked at him. "Who are you?"

In a Western showdown, he fired his gun first, shooting Lopez three times.

The shots were soft to the ears, but they sent panic down Eli's spine. He tried to get up but the blanket was wrapped around his legs from his earlier nightmare.

The man made no hurry in his task. He scoured over the desk until he found what he wanted: a wallet-sized photo of Eli and Vincent Petrov and his son Walter along with friend Miles Walker at a birthday party. 

In quick succession, the man plugged a spiral handled dagger into the picture as Eli got himself free. The man twisted and with a tilt of his cap transformed into his red jacket and top hat self. Eli darted for the door but the magician caught the edge of his arm, twisted it and the boy around. 

"Your family took something from me." He twisted tighter, presenting Eli's face. "Now-" he waved his hand and the glowing device attached in front of Eli's eyes, making the boy go limp - "I'm taking something of theirs."

And with a flick of his hat, he was gone before one of the EMTs wandered in, raising alarms to an officer down.

Doubled over, Walter Petrov exclaimed to his father and Miles, "Have you found him?"

Neither of them could tell their young coworker that they hadn't and their silence hastened Walter’s breath. “You should be working not looking for Eli!”

“Don’t you think a second this is your fault,” Vincent said, with a firm hand on his son’s shoulder. “It was mine and Miles’ decision to bring you and Eli here with us. And it’s no one’s fault, these things happen.”

“Excuse me, Vince Petoff?”

“Petrov. Yes.”  He looked towards the voice, seeing a lanky, pimple-faced officer.

The officer presented a wallet-sized photo. “Is this your adoptive son?”

“You found Eli?” Walter interrupted. 

“He’s back with my T.O. I’ll take you to him.”

His radio crackled alive. “Shots fired and officer down at the emergency area.”

“That’s where he is,” the officer mumbled.

Vincent, Walter, and Miles booked past the frozen officer. Walter led the pack, hitting the yellow police tape. Two officers moved him back, ruffling up his undone button-up shirt and t-shirt combo.   

Walter dug in his pants pocket. “FBI, let me through,” he said, flashing his badge.

They let him past and Vincent, NSA, and MIles, MI6, followed. 

A couple of EMTs and a gurney moved past them. A hand slipped off the gurney and grabbed Walter’s sleeve.  “He’s not there. He has him,” Lopez whispered.

“Who has him?” 

One of the EMTs touched his shoulder. “Sorry, we have to go,” he said, pulling the gurney away.

“Walter!” Miles yelled, in his thick accent, from the trailer door.

“I’m comin’,” he said, stomping his foot like a child.

Climbing the steps, he trembled as they wobbled under him. The shakes stayed with him when his father wouldn’t look at him. “Dad?”

Putting on an evidence glove, Vincent said, “I was wrong-” he tugged something off the desk. “It is my fault,” he continued, presenting the dagger while holding it by the end of the blade.

“Your fault? What are you talking about?”

“We found the subject before you called about Eli,” Miles answered for Vincent.

Vincent pulled an evidence pocket from his inside jacket pocket. In rambling knots, a golden pocket watch and chain loitered in the corner. 

“You have the curiosity and you stayed. That’s not SOP!”

“I know! I know.”

“It looks like a good thing we didn’t,” Miles added, picking up the photo of Eli’s birthday. “It’s probably the only way to get Eli back.” He ran a finger over the blade slit in Eli’s face.

“Who’s the subject?” Walter asked, rolling his eyes.

“I don’t think you would us if we told you,” Vincent laughed.

The clouds blew off into the distance inside Eli's mind. His eyes bubbled open to the sound of a saw at work. He tried to put a hand on his aching head but he couldn’t move either of them an inch. 

“Oh, look who’s up.” The magician stepped into view.

Eli looked down at the chair he was tied to. “Why am I here?”

“Well-” he held out a small glass ball, no bigger than a golf ball - “any minute now your family will come barging in and try to take you back. But rest assured they won’t get you until I get what I want.” He patted Eli’s knee with freehand and a laugh.

“They won’t give you want! It’s probably already where you’ll never see it again.”

“Thanks to you, I doubt it. They care about you way more than you think, ‘spending the last two hours searching for you with giving up’ more. And you don’t have to take my word for it, just wait and see. Wait and see.”

“Hensen!” an Americanized-Russian voice called out.

“Vince?” Eli questioned.

“I told you, kid,” he whispered. “Come on in, agent! Don’t be shy!”   

Vince came into sight, hands raised and one with the evidence bag in plain view.

The magician pointed and cocked his gun at Vince. “Where’s the rest of your gang?”

“Searching your trailer, trying to find what other artifacts you have that can change your appearance.” 

“That’s what stupid about all of this. You never had one!” he yelled, using the glowing hand device to knock Vincent on his rear.

On his back, Vincent looked up to the catwalk to see Walter. His eyes went widen to see his father like that. However, after receiving a death glare, he continued along his route.

“Now, what’s so important about this watch that you would kidnap a little boy?”

“It’s more important than all the objects in your pathetic repository! Now, give it here or say goodbye.” He pointed his gun at Eli.

Eli coward back into his chair, making it rock.

“What assurances do we have that you don’t do that anyway?”

“I’m not the one that broke into your home and stole from you.”

“Says the kidnapper,” Vincent said, watching Walter repel from the catwalk.

A Joker-like smirk grew across his face as he released the magazine from the gun. “Now, give me my watch. And no tricks, I still have one in the chamber!”

Watching Walter sneak up behind Eli and start on his ropes, he said, “Okay. Okay, here!” He threw the evidence bag in the air.

The magician dropped the gun. With both hands, he caught the bag. Standing straight, he received a blow to the back of the head.

As he fell, Miles exclaimed, “Bloody hell!” He shook his hand like he threw a bad punch. “The next time you want someone to play the shadow, your white arse can do it.” 

“Language, please!” Vincent said, pointing to Eli who was in Walter’s arms, cuddling him.

May 15, 2021 02:29

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1 comment

Charli Britton
12:34 May 24, 2021

When Vincent was gone, a Joker-like smirk grew across his face with an infectious evil. This sentence feels incomplete to me. Eli huffed and puffed as he searched the room. No Murderous Bunny. “Yeah. Just a weird dream. Too much sugar… are there any rabbits here?” “Sadly, not even the magician does.” I think you meant to say "Sadly not even the magician has them." Or something along those lines. Nice story though! I really like the whole concept and they way it was executed. Nicely done! :)

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