Steel Instinct

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Chapter 2

“Abby? Are you home yet?” Kalama calls out.

Kalama looks around the apartment. Not a sound is to be heard other than that of the traffic outside. She looks in the kitchen and also in the bathroom. She also checks the bedrooms, but there is no sign of her sister.

“Abby, you promised me you’d be home by sunset...” Kalama calls out.

Kalama begins doing the chores that Abby should be doing out of frustration. She washes the dishes, glancing at the apartment door occasionally. She sits down at the TV after getting the dishes clean. The TV is rather small as most of the money made goes towards rent.

“...a massacre, it seems! There are absolutely no survivors,” the person on the news announces.

“A massacre!” exclaims Kalama, “What?! Where is this?!”

“...No witnesses have been found, leaving us in the dark as to what occurred here,” the person on TV continues.

The camera pans to the house where Abby was. Graphic scenes of the shootout are shown. Kalama wrings her hands nervously, looking at the screen carefully to see if any of them are Abby. The camera then returns to the newscasters

“Police will be ID’ing as many victims as possible. Their families will be notified and each one will have a proper burial. Police will be on the lookout for additional shootouts,” the newscaster announces, “Now it’s onto the weather.”

“NO! I NEED TO KNOW! YOU FOOLS!” Kalama yells, shaking the TV.

The TV comes unplugged. Kalama sighs loudly. She gets up and opens her laptop, searching up the location of the massacre. The address of the massacre, as suspected, matches the one from the invite. Kalama gasps and nearly drops the laptop in grief.

“ABBY!” wails Kalama, “WHY?!”

Kalama is all alone at night fall. She continues crying until there are no more tears to cry. She climbs into bed, too sad to even make herself dinner. Kalama’s thinking leaves her to believe that Abby is dead.

The sun rises again the next day. Kalama forces herself to get out of bed despite not wanting to. She eats breakfast alone. She then leaves for work.

“Heeeeey, baby!” a man named Frederik calls out as Kalama passes.

“Shut up, Fred! I don’t feel like talking to you!” Kalama yells, refusing to look at the man.

“Wow, you so pretty, though,” Frederik says.

Kalama clenches her fists. She keeps on moving. Frederik watches sadly as she leaves. He takes a few more steps after her.

“Alright!” calls Frederik, “I’ll write you later!”

Kalama walks into her place of employment. She quickly walks to her cubicle. The other employees watch curiously. Kalama grumbles irritably, trying to ignore their stares.

“Is something the matter?” the boss asks.

“No,” Kalama says, not looking at her boss.

“I’m guessing you heard about the massacre,” the boss continues.

“Leave me alone!” Kalama cries.

The boss falls silent. He turns to leave. Kalama covers her face with her hands, crying uncontrollably. The other employees shift uncomfortably.

“You can take some time off if you need...” the boss says, “...was your sister among the victims...?”

Kalama doesn’t respond, but keeps crying. The boss hurries away. He returns with a basket of goods and gifts. He gently sets it next to Kalama’s computer.

“...I’m so sorry... I can’t even begin to imagine how you must feel...” the boss says.

Kalama smacks the basket away. The boss steps back in surprise. Kalama’s frustration begins rising up within her once again. She gets up and leaves the office abruptly.

Kalama finds a letter at her door upon returning home. She picks it up and brings it inside with her. She chooses to, at first, just slap the letter onto the counter and ignore it. Her curiosity, however, gets the best of her and she opens it.

’Dearest Kalama,

I noticed you were quite upset today. I have a bit of information you may want to know. Also, your sister is still alive. I saw her. Come to my place and I’ll tell you what I know. You know where I live.

-Frederik Uberti’

“How does he know?!” exclaims Kalama, “Was he there?! Why! He should have come forward as a witness!”

She throws the paper down quickly. She then turns and runs for the door. Frederik’s address flashes in Kalama’s mind as she makes her way back outside. She may dislike Frederik, but he may just be the person she needs to see.

She reaches the door to his place of residence within a few minutes. Kalama’s adrenaline helps keep her moving and, also, the place isn’t too far away. She knocks on the door twice. Someone answers, but not before seeming to crash into and drop several things on the way.

“Who’s there?” Frederik inquires, not looking to see for himself.

“Ijsbrand,” Kalama responds.

“Ijsbrand...?” questions Frederik, “Who?”

“You know, Kalama Ijsbrand?!” Kalama says, frustrated by Frederik’s stupidity.

“Oh! Kalama! You should have just said so!” Frederik says and opens the door.

Kalama grabs him by the shirt collar aggressively. She shakes him. He cries out in shock and attempts to escape. Kalama then enters his building, still holding him by the shirt collar.

“SPEAK! WHERE IS ABBY?!” Kalama demands.

“L-let go of me!” Frederik groans.

Kalama releases Frederik. He lands roughly on the ground. He groans some more before picking himself up. He gasps, catching his breath.

“Where is Abby?!” Kalama asks again.

“Abby was kidnapped,” Frederik says after finally catching his breath.

“And how do you know this?!” Kalama asks.

“I was hangin’ out in da alleyway. I saw a strange man escape carryin’ her!” Frederik explains.

“And why didn’t you come forward as a witness?!” questions Kalama.

“Y-ya know, I no good at confrontations!” Frederik exclaims, “Much apologizes!”

“Well, if she’s still alive...” Kalama grumbles.

“Yah?” asks Frederik, “You gon’ save her, righ’?”

“I will alert the police immediately and they will find her,” Kalama states.

“Wha!” exclaims Frederik, ’But she’s your sister!”

“I can’t risk getting involved. That would just put my life in danger. The police are used to this kind of thing,” Kalama says, making her way to the door, “Also, thanks for the info. Don’t be surprised if the police show up at your door.”

“Kalama!” wails Frederik, “Please! Don’t do this to me!”

“So long!” says Kalama and leaves.

Kalama makes her way down the city street. She’s heading to the police station. When she arrives, there is a long line. Lots of people apparently have matters they feel are necessary to take directly to the police.

“You all better hurry up! I have some very important info for the police and I need to get it to them right away!” Kalama calls out.

The other people in line do not take kindly to this. Kalama receives several sour glares. There is nothing that can be done. Kalama will have to wait.

The line inches forward inch by inch. Kalama’s irritation begins flaring yet again. She pushes past the others in line without warning. The other people in line yelp in surprise as they get pushed aside.

“Officers!” cries Kalama, breaking into the police station, “Officers! I have important information! This cannot wait!”

The police officers stare at her. They then glance at the irritated people who got pushed aside. The police officers slowly look back at Kalama again. She puts her hands on her hips impatiently.

“Did you seriously just cut in line?” one of the officers asks.

“Yes. That’s because I have info on the recent massacre,” Kalama says.

The police officers look at each other in surprise. Then they wave for Kalama to follow them. The other people who had been waiting in the line cry out in anger. Kalama follows the police officers.

The police officers guide Kalama down a long dark hallway. The few lights that haven’t gone out buzz noisily overhead. The path twists and turns seemingly continuing endlessly. Kalama and the police officers make it to a room at the back of the hall.

“Why don’t you have a seat? You’re the first lead we have had on this case,” one of the officers says, pulling out a chair.

“Thanks,” Kalama says and sits down in the chair.

“What do you know about the massacre? Hmmm?” the other officer asks.

“I found a witness,” Kalama states.

“Is it you? Please let it be you...” the first officer says.

“Yeah, about that... He’s not me. BUT I can provide you his address,” Kalama says.

“You should have just brought him in!” the second officer says.

“He probably wouldn’t listen to me, but, he told me that he saw what happened to one of the people,” Kalama says.

The first officer pulls out a note pad. He jots down notes about Kalama and everything she has said. The first officer finishes the latest note and stares at Kalama expectantly. The second officer clears his throat.

“Continue,” the second officer prompts.

“My little sister, Abby Ijsbrand, was at that party,” Kalama says.

“Abby Ijsbrand...? I don’t think we ID’d an Abby Ijsbrand amongst the dead,” the second officer says.

“According to the witness, Abby is not dead. She was kidnapped shortly after the shooting,” Kalama states.

“Did the witness describe the suspect?” the first officer asks.

“No. He just said it was a strange man,” Kalama says, shaking her head.

“Hmm... It seems we’ll need to talk to the witness ourselves...” the second officer says.

“Please! You have to find Abby for me!” Kalama says.

“Once we get enough info, we will send a team looking for her. You’ll just have to wait,” the second officer explains.

“Abby needs me! She doesn’t do well on her own! You have to promise me you’ll make her a priority!” Kalama says, tearing up.

“She’s on our list, now. We will get to her,” the first officer says.

The officers request the address. Kalama takes a deep breath and tells the officers the address. The first officer writes it down and then caps his pen. Kalama gets escorted back out of the police station after the police officers nod a thanks to her.

The line of people at the police station is gone now. The people either left or were helped. Kalama is able to leave without getting yelled at regardless. Kalama is half expecting it to still be morning time, but according to the position of the sun, it is now afternoon.

Kalama makes her way home as trouble brews elsewhere. Ms. Gray is perched on a fine leather couch, being attended to by her loyal servants. One servant is massaging her feet. Another servant is typing up emails for her.

“TACOMA!” Ms. Gray calls out.

“Yes, Mother?” Tacoma asks, quickly entering the room.

“Have you taken food to our prisoner yet?” Ms. Gray asks.

“Not yet. I was just about to,” Tacoma says.

“Then get to it! And no flirting, alright? Just feed her and go!” Ms. Gray yells.

“I understand,” Tacoma says, “I have no desire to flirt, anyhow.”

“Good! Move along!” Ms. Gray yells.

Ms. Gray waves Tacoma away. He leaves quickly. He grabs a bit of food on his way to Abby’s room. He then continues on and unlocks the door, stepping inside.

“Abby. I brought food,” Tacoma says.

Abby cannot speak as she is still muffled. She does, however, appear to be very sad. Tacoma closes the door behind himself and approaches. Abby struggles as she is still trying to break free from her bondage. Tacoma takes off the cloth that is muffling her.

“Here, you better eat if you want to survive,” Tacoma says.

Tacoma scoops some rice up. He holds the spoon to Abby’s mouth. She refuses to open her mouth. She turns her head away.

“Abby... I’m sorry... Okay?” Tacoma asks.

“I-if you were really sorry...” Abby whispers, “You would help me get free...”

“I can’t do that. Ms. Gray won’t allow it,” Tacoma says, “We need you alive, though.”

“...why? So you can torment me?” Abby asks.

“Don’t you think your sister will come looking for you?” Tacoma asks.

Tacoma shoves the food into Abby’s mouth. She refuses to eat it. Tacoma becomes frustrated and forces food down Abby’s throat. Abby gags, but ends up swallowing the food.

“You’ve got to eat more than just one spoonful,” Tacoma responds.

“I-I don’t want to... M-my head hurts, I’m dizzy, a-and I don’t know where I am!” Abby wails.

“You’ll feel better once you have eaten. But I guess I’ll have to do this the hard way,” Tacoma says.

Abby continues resisting. Tacoma forces the food spoonful by spoonful down her throat. Abby is in pain, but she manages to finish all the food. Tacoma covers her mouth up once again and leaves, locking her in once again.

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