He had been struggling with it for a few days now. It was over six weeks since the last one. The weather was awful, heavy rain and overcast, that didn’t help his mood either.
They were standing at the bus stop. Trying to shelter under a child sized umbrella. The smaller girl was crying and her big sister appeared to be telling her off. They were obviously related, both pretty little dark haired girls wearing matching summer dresses. The bus stop was in the countryside, a good mile from the nearest village, and he knew the buses were few and far between.
It was an opportunity he simply couldn’t pass up. There was no-one else around. What a gift! He drew up to the bus stop and wound down his window.
“ You two girls need a lift?” he shouted, raising his voice so they could hear him above the downpour.
The older girl said no, immediately, but the little one stopped crying and said yes. The older one had obviously been warned about taking lifts. He thought he was going to lose them then, but the rain was getting heavier and lightning streaked across the sky.
“Have you missed the bus?” he asked.
“Yes...and we’ll be in trouble if we don’t get back soon with the shopping”, blurted the smaller girl. She looked about four, he thought, and she’d obviously been jumping in the puddles. Her little white ankle socks were covered in muddy splashes. He did like little girls in ankle socks.
The older girl, who looked about seven or eight, was not keen to get into the car but whilst she was still deciding, the little one hopped into the back seat and closed the door. Perfect, he thought, at least he had one of them now.
“Come on love”, he said. “I can drop you off at the shops”.
Very reluctantly, the big sister got in. She couldn’t let her little sister go without her anyway. He asked them their names and the little one said she was Lucy and her sister was called Sally. Sally told her sister off for giving him their names and told her to stop chattering on.
Things seriously deteriorated when he drove straight past their local shop. Sally was obviously very wary of him now. Shame really that the bigger sister was there, the younger girl seemed completely unaware of any danger. Still, two at once. That would be a first for him and he could feel his pulse racing with anticipation.
“You don’t want to get out now”, he said. “It’s pouring down”. He drove on.
Sally was scared. She knew they should never have got into the car. She demanded that he stop and let them out. He just laughed and drove on. Lucy started to cry in the back seat. She had no idea what was happening but she could tell her sister was upset.
“We’ll get ice-creams” he said and Lucy stopped crying. Sally kept asking him to let them out but he just smiled at her and told her not to be worrying.
They drove on for a couple of miles and eventually stopped at a little row of shops.
“You go and get two big ice-creams”, he said, giving Sally some money. She wanted to run away then but her little sister was still sitting in the back seat, completely oblivious of the real situation. Plus, she didn’t really know where they were now. She went into the shops and bought the ice-creams...she told the shop keeper that a stranger had her little sister in the back of his car. She asked him to help her or ring the Police. The shop keeper looked at her as if she was mad and turned away. No help there then.
There was nothing else Sally could do. She went back to the car and got back into the front seat. Lucy was quite happy now, contentedly eating her enormous ice-cream. What a kind man, Lucy thought.
Sally began shouting at the man, demanding that he take them home. She was getting quite hysterical by now and he couldn’t afford to let things deteriorate any further. He turned the car around and pretended to head back. For a short while she thought they were going to be alright. It was when he turned down a little country lane she knew led into the back of the woods that she realised, without doubt, they were in big trouble.
He pulled the car up at the side of the woods, in a rough area that was used by local lovers as a park- up place. He got out of the car and opened the boot. He got out some rope and was rustling about getting some tools.
This was the chance Sally had been waiting for. She hissed at Lucy to get out of the car. She didn’t want to shout in case he heard them and came back round to the front of the car. Lucy sat still with a confused look on her face. He was a nice man, wasn’t he? Sally was really panicking now. She knew something awful was going to happen if they didn’t get out. She tried to open the back door but it seemed to be locked. She whispered to Lucy to try and climb over the bench seat into the front of the car. Lucy just sat there. Frantic now, she reached over the bench seat in the front of the car and grabbed her little sister by the front of her dress. Crying now, she tugged at her sister and dragged her bodily over the back of the front seat. The man was still busy in the boot. If he realised what she was doing they were done for.
“Run” yelled Sally. She held tight to her sister’s hand and dragged her into the woods. Lucy had no real idea what was happening but Sally was screaming at her to run...so she ran as fast as she could. They could hear the man running after them. He was shouting and swearing at them.
They knew these woods. They played in them all the time. They collected firewood in them most days. They ran and ran. They knew all the paths and hideaways. The man went crashing past them and they hid behind the wild raspberry canes. It went very quiet but they stayed hidden for a very long time. Eventually, they came out of hiding. They were both dirty and their arms and legs were scratched and bleeding. But they were safe. The man had gone.
When they finally got home, their mother was furious with them. Didn’t they know better than to get into a stranger’s car? She had been worried sick about them and was relieved to have them home but why did they always disobey her? She dealt with the situation in her usual inimitable fashion. She smacked them both and sent them to bed with no tea.
Their father came home an hour or two later, tired from a long day’s work. When he heard what had happened he insisted that the Police be called. When the detectives came, they said it was lucky the girls had been together. That was what had saved them. All the previous victims had been alone.
© 2016 Yeadon Writers
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