4. Empty Walls

” Baby we love you, and you’re more special than you could ever imagine. You have the power to change the world, we just want you to know that everything we’ve done for you is because we see your potential.”

Over and over those words play in my head. I took a sip from the mug and pulled the blanket around me tighter. It’s been thirty minutes since I’ve arrived at the sheriff’s office. I’ve given my story twice and all I’ve gotten were worried glances and tea.

Granted if a soaking wet teenage girl burst through my doors in tears rambling about being kidnapped by people with magical powers I’d think she’d lost it too.

“Miss Gywnn?”

I looked up at the sheriff who had left to make some phone calls. He was a pretty big guy, in height and in weight with short hair and a thick gray beard. He seemed nice, the kinda guy who was everyone’s grandpa. He pulled out the chair across from me and sat in it causing a squeak.

“As far as we know, there are no single cabins out in the woods, unless you count the ones going into town. Also because your parents haven’t been missing for forty eight hours, we legally can’t file them for missing persons at the moment. Now we can wait until the time passes and if they still haven’t shown up, we could do that, but I’m sure they just went out on a date night or something and forgot to mention it.”

 He gave a reassuring smile and waited for my response.

I looked back down into my tea mug. Honestly, I don’t know what I was expecting. Of course he wouldn’t believe me, hell, I barely believe me. I lightly caressed the handle of the mug with my thumb.

” I understand the fear you must be feeling but you should know that we get these kinds of claims all the time. Worried parents about their teens who ran away, Concerned boyfriends whose girlfriends spent the night out parting without them, it’s very common. Now, for your other problem, are you sure everything is how it really happened? You were kidnapped by ummm… superheros you said? Most claims we get that are as,” he struggled to find the word ”unique, such as this one are mostly the result of having too much to drink. You sure you weren’t at a party and maybe had a little too much fun?”

This was a mistake. I came here for help not to be gaslighted. I looked up at him again this time with a sheepish expression.

“Actually I think you’re right, I did have too much to drink.” I forced my most believable smile and placed the cup down on the table.

“We should get you home, I’m sure your parents will be back soon. If you like I can have one of my guys escort you home and take a look at everything for you, just to be sure.”

I frowned. Did I really want to go back there? Like Jullian said, It might not be safe.

“Umm sure that would be nice, thank you.”

                                                    ***

I rested my head on the window pane listening as the raindrops softly fell on the glass. The warm glow of the red light illuminated throughout the car.

“You hungry?” The deputy looked at me through the rear view mirror. “Your home is quite a distance and with the night you’ve had might as well put some food in that stomach. My treat.”

“Sure.” Was all I said. The light turned green and we drove in silence again. I didn’t mean to come off as rude or standoffish but my mind was racing.

We pulled into a Wendys and he ordered four burger meals and three cookies. At first I was comforted with the fact that I wouldn’t have to speak again until he turned to me and asked what I wanted.

Was all that food for himself? He didn’t look like the type to eat that much but then again there was no ‘look’ for healthiness. We ordered the food and were back on our journey.

My appetite had gone but I kept forcing a fry every now and then so that I wouldn’t seem ungrateful. I watched as we passed the city lights trying not to think about the past events.

Maybe the sheriff is right. Maybe my parents are safe at home waiting for me and this was all just some crazy nightmare. Everything will be fine once I get home.

A little while later we pulled into my driveway. I gaze up at my home. It looks just like how I left it. How I was taken from it. I held back the tears and grabbed my food. The deputy also exits the car and takes out his flashlight.

” I’ll do a search around just to be sure.” I nodded and we walked up the porch to the front door.

I pressed my fingers against our lockscreen. It scanned my hand and then bleeped red. “Access denied, notifying homeowners.”

What? Why isn’t my fingerprint working? The deputy looked at me questioningly.

“Sometimes when we all leave the house they use our emergency protocol. It strictly gives only my parents access to get inside, they took me off of it when I snuck out once, and had friends over.”

Little did they know I always keep a spare in case I get locked out. I reached over into the bushes and grabbed a stick. I leaned over to one of the steps and pried open a loose brick revealing my key card.

“Mom and dad would kill me if they knew about this. They’re really sensitive about security and stuff so the idea of keeping a key outside the house doesn’t sit right, hence the fancy locks and security system.” I placed my key card on the screen and allowed it to be scanned.

“Access approved, welcome home Gywnn.”

I opened the door and walked in, the deputy followed. The house was dark and cold. I waved around trying to trigger the motion sensored lights. Nothing. The deputy turned on his flashlight and looked around.

“Stay here, I’ll do a quick search and let you know if I see anything.” I nodded and he turned and started off into the first room. I turned and disabled the security system so that it doesn’t go off when he leaves.

I walked over into the kitchen, set my food down on the counter, and turned on the faucet.

The water works.

Maybe the lights just went out. I slowly moved over to the dining area where we had been eating dinner before…..before. I took a deep breath shaking the thought out of my head and looked down at the table.

There was nothing there. I pulled the curtain from the nearby window allowing the moonlight in. The table was empty and clean and the chairs were all nicely pushed in. I rushed back to the kitchen. Clean. Everything was put away and wiped down.

I gripped the sink staring down into the drain, tears brimming my eyes.

“All clear.” The sudden noise made me jump. The deputy walked up to me chuckling.

 “Sorry ’bout that. Everything looks good though. No problems here as far as I can see.”

“That’s great.” I say, blinking away my tears.

“Hey there, you’re alright. The station is pretty tight with the guys down at the leasing office, I’ll talk to them about your power in the morning. As for tonight, just get some rest. Tomorrow, if you still feel shaky go ahead and call us and we’ll do that report. You know the number.” He patted my shoulder and headed out the door.

I walked around for a bit, looking into the rooms checking for a sign, anything that would seem out of place. Apart from all our personal technology missing, It was all perfect. All the beds were made and the rooms were tidy.

 It looked like a home you would see in a catalog ; picture perfect, unsuspecting.

The last night I was home the kitchen and table were full of the food and dishes we cooked that night. Our TV was playing our dinner background music. When I went to my room it wasn’t perfectly clean, my bed wouldn’t have even been made because I was sleeping in it.

I grabbed a blanket from the guest closet and went down to the living room. I couldn’t sleep in my room knowing someone had been in there. Even my parents left that to me, it was my own personal space. Now it felt alien.

I lay down on the couch and curl up into my blanket. Once again I teared up listening to the empty walls.

 A part of me had hoped that I would return to my parents waiting for me at the front door with open arms. They would squeeze me and tell me how worried they’d been, and I would tell them how crazy my day was and we’d laugh and go inside.

Everything would be as it was.

Instead I was alone. All alone.

Time goes by and I let my tears carry me to sleep.

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