The Doll Collector

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Chapter 44

Abigail was anything but accustomed to being forced to flee a scene by gunpoint. Despite that, she was certain that Joshua’s behaviour following the incident at the B & B was not normal of kidnappers.

Her experience of such issues were based on the pop culture interpretation of criminals, but she had expected the gun-wielding abuser of children to drive at high speed from the seafront.

Instead, Joshua started the car normally and ambled around several corners, coming to a gentle stop only a matter of streets away from the place where they had stayed the previous night.

After coming to a stop and turning off the engine, he exited the car, retrieved clothing from the boot, and threw it at Abigail through the briefly opened car door. There were no words of explanation. There were no suggestions on how she could hope to put on such clothes with an arm attached by handcuffs to the door handle.

Joshua walked past the front of the car and kept walking. Abigail looked at the clothes. There was underwear and a long sleeveless dress, the kind she might have worn in the summer, and a thick jumper. Struggling, she managed to put on the knickers, and then she looked at the dress. She would typically put on such a dress by raising it over her head. This time, feet first seemed wise. She would, at least, be mostly covered, despite her left arm being unavailable to fit through its assigned hole.

She looked past the front seats and out of the windscreen. Joshua had stopped walking and was turning around. A moment later he opened Abigail’s door, almost sending her hurtling to the floor. Again, without a word, he unlocked the handcuffs and removed them.

Abigail let out a sigh, relieved to have the use of all of her limbs again. Her relief, however, was short-lived. As she finished putting her left arm through the appropriate part of the dress, she felt a sharp pain. Turning to her left she could see a hypodermic needle being squeezed by Joshua, sending an unknown fluid through her veins.

Abigail wanted to speak, or shout, but she found herself breathless. What was in that syringe? Joshua dabbed a dot of blood away with a cotton wool bud, took Abigail’s right hand, and pressed where he had been pressing. Her right arm already felt too limp to mount a successful attack on the man.

The door slammed shut and Joshua almost power-walked down the street.

As her captor started to disappear, Abigail was starting to feel terrible. This was more than dizziness. She felt as if her head might explode. There was an immense pressure behind her eyes. Her tongue felt as if it was swelling to occupy all available space in her mouth. Her fingers and her toes felt as if they had been treated to a quick trip through a pane of glass.

In a few seconds, which felt excruciatingly long for Abigail, Joshua reappeared, looking worried, and pointed ahead to the car. There was another schoolgirl next to him, blonde, in a bright red sweatshirt and dark grey trousers, also looking concerned. They both ran the final few yards to the car before Joshua opened the passenger door opposite Abigail’s.

Abigail tried to speak. She wanted, more than anything, to warn the girl to run as fast as she could back to her school. In a moment, any attempt to talk was pointless. The girl was the second within a minute to be caught off-guard by a hypodermic needle, this time to the side of her neck. Before the girl could struggle she collapsed. Maybe she had been given a higher dose.

Joshua calmly lifted her into a sitting position in the car and fastened the seat belt.

Exhausted and in pain, Abigail could not scream, move her arms or even keep her eyes open. She slumped into her chair. Her final thought before the darkness clouded her mind was one of consideration for the young girl next to her. Did he use the same needle on her?

She could not even come up with an answer to her own non-verbal question before she passed out.

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