The morning began like a normal Saturday, the smell of bacon had filled the house as Gloria Sorensen made her family breakfast. It was eight thirty when Steve Sorensen would come down the stairs in his pajamas sniffing the fresh smell of cooked bacon. The couple had been married for fifteen years and had a son and a daughter age’s fourteen and fifteen. Susan Sorensen, a fifteen-year-old teenager had long blond hair with a petit figure and a smile that all the boys at school could not resist. Susan was a quiet type that made the honor roll and had joined the book club along with several other clubs in her junior high school. Bobby Sorensen, Susan's brother was quite different. Bobby had long hair and was into motorcycles and race cars. While he did not really like school, he did make enough good grades to make it through each grade.
The Sorensen’s were a middle-class family that lived in a suburb outside of Los Angeles. Steve Sorensen was an Architect that had his own practice. Business had been good the last several years but as the economy started to go stale things began to get tight in the Sorensen household. Gloria Sorensen was a stay home housewife that enjoyed her life to the fullest. She loved the after-school activities like dance, drama and cheerleading classes her daughter had always gotten into. Gloria was also the green thumb in the family. She had a rose garden that she would tend to each day after the kids had left for school and Steve would head off to the office.
The family all gathered at the breakfast table and did their morning routine. As they were finishing up Susan asked her father if he could take her to her cheerleading practice like they had discussed earlier in the week. After agreeing with her, Steve got dressed and took Susan to the Junior high ball field and dropped her off and headed to his office in downtown Los Angeles.
. . .
“Hey there Susan, could you help me put this luggage in my car?” Mr. Topple the seventh-grade history teacher asked as he stood by his station wagon in the school parking lot. Susan was on her way to call her mother from a payphone across the street at the Phillips sixty-six to tell her she was ready to be picked up when she encountered Mr. Topple with a cast on his left arm. “Sure thing Mr. Topple, what happened to your arm?” Susan replied. “Oh, we were out boating yesterday when I slipped on the boat dock and fractured my shoulder” The teacher answered.
Susan thought this was kind of strange because when school got out yesterday it had been raining hard for the whole evening. Not thinking any more about it, Susan bent over and picked up the luggage.” This is pretty heavy, where do you want it, Mr. Topple?” Susan asked as she strained to get the luggage off the ground.
“If you don’t mind just put it back here.” Mr. Topple said as he opened the back of the 1979 station wagons tail gate. Susan struggled but finally got the luggage up and slid it into the back of the station wagon. Before Susan could turn around the history teacher had grabbed her from behind and put a rag to her nose. Everything went black for Susan.
. . .
As five thirty in the evening rolled around Gloria started getting worried because she hadn’t heard from Susan. Susan was supposed to call her mother when she was done with cheer practice so Gloria could pick her up and take her to the mall for some new sandals for the upcoming homecoming dance the following week.
Gloria called Steve at his office and asked if he had heard from Susan. Steve told her that he hadn’t talked to her since he dropped her off at the ball field. Gloria then called the cheerleading coach Samantha and asked if they were done with cheer practice yet. Samantha said that they had been done for two hours and that all the girls had left at the same time. Gloria asked Samantha if she seen who Susan had left with and she said that she had not paid attention. Gloria called all of Susan’s friends to see if she had gone to any of their houses. After two hours of calling around she called the police and reported Susan missing. At first the police said not to worry and that this happens all the time. The police assured Gloria that her daughter would be home before night fall. That would never happen, Susan had disappeared.
. . .
“Where am I at?” Susan asked herself. When she had awoke Susan had a sharp pain in her head, she thought it must be because of the drug that Mr. Topple had used to subdue he with. It was pitch black and Susan could not see anything. She could tell that she was in a vehicle going down the road and knew that she was in danger, and that she must find a way to free herself before she became just another statistic of a missing person.
Susan could tell that she was traveling on a bumpy road and must be far from any help. When the vehicle came to a stop, she could hear the driver’s door open and shut. She then heard another car door shut and two men talking. “You better get double my money and bring back twenty thousand cash!” Susan heard Mr. Topple tell the other man that had met them. All that was said after that was the other man telling Mr. Topple “Yes sir.” After that Susan heard the driver’s door shut and the engine start. Susan faded back out as the vehicle started driving back down the bumpy road.
. . .
Lightning was crashing down, and the wind started whipping from across the way as Johnny wandered around the open field looking for a place he could find shelter in and get out of the storm. Time was running out before the eye of the storm would reach him and the closest cover he could see was some woods about a half of a mile away. With only a backpack and a leather jacket, Johnny didn’t have much to help his situation. The crazy man that had picked him up on the highway couldn’t be that far behind him.
Johnny had been hitching along the old route 66 trying to keep a low profile away from the cops as he was wanted for a murder he did not commit. His neighbor, a 69-year-old man, Charles Slater had been viciously stabbed to death in his apartment in Colorado Springs. It was a robbery that had gone bad, and since Johnny had taken Mr. Slaters dinner to him for the last 5 years, Johnny’s fingerprints were all over the old man’s apartment. Johnny’s sketchy past did not help matters any. Johnny had grown up on his own since he was fourteen years old. He had to steal food at times to get by and was caught trespassing many times in homes that seemed like were abandoned at the time but weren’t. Life wasn’t easy at first for Johnny until he finally turned 17 and met Charles Slater.
Charles Slater was a semi wealthy man that owned a gas station. He gave Johnny his first break in life. Johnny had wandered into the gas station one afternoon and asked if he could do any kind of work to make money for food. Mr. Slater had a soft heart and helped Johnny right away. Before long Johnny had an apartment right next to Mr. Slater and basically ran the gas station for Mr. Slater who was getting up in his years. Jonny looked up to Mr. Slater as a father figure. Mr. Slater also helped Johnny get his GED and showed him the hobby of fishing and hunting along with other outdoor activities. The one blessing in life that came to Johnny was now dead and gone and the police think that Johnny was the one guilty of murdering him.
Johnny started running in the direction of the wooded area, the winds were blowing him around so hard that he had to lean against the wind just to stay up. With the wooded area finally coming into his reach, Johnny could feel the cover from the trees stopping the wind pressure against him. As Johnny entered the woods, he began to look for short branches to lean up against a stump and pre-pare him some cover to get out of the rain. Mr. Slater had taught Johnny many things about outdoor survival that, at the time didn’t really interest Johnny until now.
Night fall had fallen, and Johnny was finally out of the weather in his little hut he had built out of cedar and pine branches laced with leaves from the forest floor. The hut was only about three feet wide and four feet long, just enough for Johnny to get inside and lay in a fetal position, but it was warm and dry. As Johnny laid there listening to the thunder and the sound of the heavy rain, he thought about the crazy guy that had given him a ride just a few hours ago. Johnny had been hitchhiking along route 66 when a white van-truck had pulled over and offered Johnny a ride and told him to hop in. The big man, about six foot tall and around two-hundred and fifty pounds, ask Johnny where he was headed. Johnny told him as close to the east coast as possible. Johnny asked the man what he was hauling, and the man said he was just hauling some furniture for a friend. After about thirty miles Johnny began to hear banging coming from the back of the truck and it sounded like someone was trying to get out. Johnny asked the man what the banging was. The big man said it was something falling over as he pulled to the side of the road and told Johnny that he had to go pee. When the man got out of the truck he reached behind the seat and got a rifle out. Before the man had got the rifle completely out, Johnny spotted it and dashed out of the passenger side door into the woods on the right side of the road. The man had fired two shots at Johnny but missed. Johnny could hear the man running after him, in fact the man stayed right on his heals for quite some time. It wasn’t until the lightning started that he noticed that the man was no longer behind him. What the hell was wrong with that man, Johnny thought to himself, and who was in the back of that truck trying to get out? Johnny would lay there thinking for another hour before he finally dosed off.
. . .
The vehicle had stopped, and Susan could hear a truck door open on the passenger side. They were not stopped long before taking off again. Still in a daze form the drug she finally realized that Mr. Topple must have moved her to a different vehicle because she was no longer in the station wagon in which she had been put into. Slowly Susan began to come to her senses and became more alert to her surroundings. Susan thought it must have been thirty minutes or so since they the driver had stopped. She needed to use the bathroom bad. Susan raised her feet that were tied together at the ankles and began kicking one of the walls where she was being held captive. It didn’t take long before she noticed that the vehicle had pulled over. After hearing the driver’s door open it wasn’t a few seconds later that she heard two-gun shots. Scared to death Susan fell silent and waited for the worst. Why was this man shooting and what was he shooting at?
Susan sat there in silence and wondered if her mother and father were looking for her. They must be worried by now she thought. Surely someone would soon find her and this nightmare would come to an end with the authorities arresting Mr. Topple before he could do this again. Susan’s mind would race with thoughts for the next hour until she passed out from mind exhaustion.
. . .
The morning sun was a refreshing sight for Johnny as he came out of his make-shift shelter. There was a slight breeze from the west blowing it's warm air through Johnny's long hair. Johnny decided to head North so as to not reencounter that crazy man that had picked him up the day before. After two hours of making his way through the wooded area he came up to a highway headed east looking for a road that would lead north. Not long after hitting the black top Johnny heard a vehicle coming from behind him. Turning around Johnny noticed it was the white van-truck that he was trying to avoid. The man must have slept in his van waiting the storm out Johnny thought to himself.
The man in the van sped up as he noticed Johnny looking at him, The man did not want any one that could connect him to the girl he had in the back. Human trafficking wasn't something he wanted any part of but had owed Mr. Topple a huge favor and this was the favor he was stuck with doing. Mr. Topple had hired a lawyer that had gotten this man out of a bank robbery charge.
As the van got closer to Johnny , Johnny jumped the ditch and decided to run across a wide open field. The white van tried to follow Johnny but when it hit the ditch the van went end over end crashing into the field. Johnny thought about the sounds he heard in the back of the van and knew he had to go see if they were alright. As he approached the van cautiously he could see the man's lifeless body sprawled out next to the van with a pool of blood around his head. He quickly went to the back and struggled with the door but eventually got it to open.
Johnny helped the young girl out of the van and looked her over for injury's. Other than a bunch of bruises the girl looked untouched from the accident.
Making their way to the nearest phone Susan would finally get to call her parents and tell them that she was ok.
Gloria called Steve with such happiness and joy. Gloria told Steve that their daughter was ok and that she was being transported back home as they spoke. Steve quickly hung up the phone and closed up for the day and left his office. As Steve headed towards his car he noticed several police units surrounding his car. Steve tried to run in the opposite direction but two undercover agents tackled Mr. Sorensen.
Mr. Steve Sorensen you are under arrest for human trafficking and the sell of your own daughter. A Mr. Johnathon Topple told us everything about your business going under and that providing your own daughter would get you contracts from others involved in the local human sex trafficking ring. It will be a cold day in hell before you see any daylight, the young under cover agent told Mr. Sorensen...