Chapter 20 - Abduction
“We’ve been here for awhile now, how about you two go on one last ride before we go?” Their dad asked.
Grant, taking the final bite of his vanilla cola cubes, shut his eyes, savoring the flavor. He opened his eyes and looked out into the colorful lights dancing within the dark. “Okay, Elijah you have to go on the ride I choose!”
“Is it scary?” Elijah asked with wide eyes, noticing the smirk forming with Grant’s mouth.
“Nope.” Grant stood up and threw his empty container into the trash can.
“We’ll all follow you guys, just lead the way,” Mori said and smiled.
This was the first year Elijah had been able to stay this late at the fair, and he felt proud. Actually, before this year, even Grant had never stayed out this late here. The twinkling lights upon every attraction sparkled all over the pavement paths. It felt like a different place at night. A party Elijah had no idea existed, he beamed, forgetting about the horrors of what ride Grant might choose for them.
Grant led the group through the crowds that seemed to be larger than even an hour earlier. When night fell, the fair offered a discount on rides until closing time. The demographic at this time of the day favored adults and teenagers, ones that were actually allowed to stay out late. Grant and Elijah’s small bodies disappeared behind everyone they passed, tall strangers towering around them.
Every big ride they approached, Elijah would turn to Grant, cowering as he waited for a response.
“This is the one!” Grant said.
“You did lie! This one is so scary!” Elijah shouted, while pointing his hand at the huge contraption.
“That one is indeed crazy! You two have fun! We’ll be watching from back here!” Their mom said and they walked back, giving themselves a full view of the ride.
Elijah took a deep breath and hesitantly followed Grant to the line. Bright orange lights casted over the area. The ride fit twenty people and rotated 360 degrees while occasionally moving up and down fifty-five feet and tilting everyone upside down. Screams were constant coming from the participants, and Elijah winced with each one.
Grant smirked and patted him on the back. “You’ll be fine, I promise. I won’t let anything happen to you. Plus, this is your payback for using my money!”
The line had around ten people when they joined, and it was filling up each moment as the current ride cycle was coming to an end.
“Hey you guys were watching the musicians too, right?” A voice from behind them asked.
Elijah and Grant turned around, and recognized him as the boy that hung around the guitarist.
“Yeah we were,” Grant said.
“That was so cool! The violinist was so good! You guys know him? I saw he was sitting with you guys!”
“Yeah, that’s our uncle!” Elijah spoke up. “He’s gonna watch us ride this too!” He had never heard anyone around his age talk about how cool his uncle was and it surprised him, and filled him with joy.
“Hey dad!” The boy turned towards the opposite side of the ride. “The violinist is their uncle! He is watching them too!”
“Oh is that so?” His father stepped forward, and began searching around. He noticed Mori, nodded his head, and approached him.
The current riders screamed as they were spun about, being dropped for the final time. Elijah’s eyes grew wider.
“I don’t think I can do this!”
“You can do-”
“It’s not scary!” The boy interrupted Grant. “I’ve been on it plenty of times already.”
All the riders exited off the platform the ride rested on, and from a speaker a loud voice echoed, “All right everyone! The next twenty-five people in line please come up!”
Elijah grabbed onto Grant’s arm as they walked up the steps to the metal platform. The lights leered into them as the attendant led them to the black cushioned seats. Elijah sat between Grant and the musician’s son.
The attendant made his rounds as he checked that everyone’s buckles and harnesses were tightened. Elijah fastened his belt so tight he felt he might suffocate.
“I’m scared...” Elijah gripped the safety harness and shut his eyes.
A vibration ran through their bodies as they moved up in the air, slowly. They began to spin in a circle. Elijah twitched his eyes between open and shut as if he didn’t know what to do.
He looked out to his parents, and everyone including Uncle Mori and the guitarist waved back, smiling. Convincing himself he would be okay, he opened his eyes wide and took in the jumbled world outside. Elijah’s stomach turned, but after time he regained his bearings.
Their seats were almost to the peak altitude for the ride and Elijah braced himself, as he could feel his end coming soon.
Grant started laughing and began to speak, but was cut off due to the drop. Everyone screamed on their way down and their legs pointed straight forward. The ride kicked into overdrive unleashing its full set of actions. Elijah’s hand hadn’t enough strength to even move from the harness that he gripped.
“Ahhhhhh!” They all screamed as they spun in circles.
After the third revolution, Grant managed to spit out a sentence. “Elijah! Are you okay now?”
“Yeah… I think I’m okay!” Elijah had a slight smile and felt his worries were brought to naught, until it went upside down. “Oh no!”
Grant and the other boy both belted out laughing.
“Are you sure you’re okay!?” The boy said, still laughing.
“I think so!” Elijah said, grinning.
The ride continued for many more revolutions and periods of altered gravity. The final drop took place, and they sat suspended in air. The night lights spun around in Elijah’s vision, slowly forming into a stationary scene. He looked to his family, who were no longer watching them. They seemed to be in a deep conversation with the musician. Looking in the opposite direction, he noticed something.
“Hey look! That man has a Shuraek plushie! Not the second form like earlier, but that one is still so cool!”
“Yeah, he must have won it,” Grant said, stretching his arms and legs.
“Oh I know him!” The boy said. “I think he will give it to you if you ask, he is really nice.”
“Are you sure…?” Grant asked.
Elijah had one thing set on his mind. He was going to get that Shuraek. The ride made its way down to the platform and Elijah rushed out dashing for the exit.
“Wait Elijah!” Grant took off running towards him. The boy followed them.
Grant caught up with Elijah, standing before the man. The musician’s son caught up too, and eyed the man.
“Elijah come back!”
“I’m just talking to this man, Grant! He said I can have the plushie, and he says he has the second form one in his car that I can have too!”
Elijah had been taught countless times growing up to never follow strangers, or even engage with them. But, he would do anything for Shuraek. Grant’s body stiffened as he gazed upon the shadowy figure of a man, blood red eyes striking into him.
“No! Come back here now!” Grant began taking off towards the man, glaring with his own yellow eyes, seething with hatred. He felt something sinister coming from that crooked smile.
The man picked up Elijah and took off towards the dark forest with a speed Grant had previously thought impossible, seemingly unhuman. Although, he didn’t give up. He kept running.
“Grant! Help me!” Elijah’s harsh cries trailed off into the distance.
Why couldn’t their parents be watching them the whole time? If only that musician hadn’t shown up to distract them, Grant thought as he realized his twelve year old body was helpless against an adult man.
Grant kept running, arms flying back and forth. A wall of trees laid before him, he maneuvered his body sideways as he scraped through the branches. Blood trailed down his arms as his skin caught on the sharp edges.
He had no way of knowing where he was going, and almost no light, allowed him only his intuition.
An open field devoid of trees awaited him within the maze. There was no sign of anyone. Where could he have gone?
Grant, breathing heavy, moved his head from side to side trying to get a general idea of which direction the man ran off in. From behind him, a tree branch rustled.
“It’s too late,” The boy from earlier stood atop a branch about ten feet up.
“What would you know?!” Grant yelled as he took off in another direction.
“I understand more than you.” The boy’s voice fell behind him.
Not letting up on his speed, Grant kept running. And shouting. More blood dripped downwards as he tripped and fell over rocks and trees.
Another empty area welcomed him within the dark hellish maze. He fell to the ground and smashed his fists into the grassy terrain.
“I told you.” The same voice spread out from above.
“Leave me alone! Why didn’t you help me?!”
“It’s best I don’t interfere. In fact, it’s for the best that I helped.”
Grant grit his teeth and pushed himself to his feet. He sent a glare towards the boy.
“You didn’t help me at all!”
“Not you, that man.” The boy turned around and leapt through the trees.
“Damn it!” Tears fell from Grant’s face, mixing in with the blood on his body.