The Doll Collector

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Chapter 61

Dan was anxious to do something, go somewhere. Jennifer had assured him that pacing the living room floor would not help. She had tried it herself. He looked at the flooring, laid a couple of years earlier. He wasn’t sure if it was his imagination, but there seemed to be a clear track around the centre of the floor, lighter than the rest. Has all of our pacing over the past three days worn it out?

At the point where Dan was about to ask Jennifer how long their carpet had looked worn-out, his phone beeped.

Removing it from his pocket and checking the screen, he had an email from an unknown sender. It was clear who that sender had been.

Dan,

By now you will probably be aware that the girl you recovered from the burning car was not in fact your daughter. I had abducted her from a nearby school because she had features that might confuse authorities (and you) for several hours. I abhor the fact that I had to resort to such methods, but I’m sure you can understand my need to extricate myself from a difficult situation. It was necessary to distract the police in order to flee the area, which I have now successfully done.

You will remember my promise to reunite you with your daughter for a total ransom of twenty five grand. I am a man of my word. This promise remains in force. If you arrange to pay the remaining twenty grand using the international money transfer details included at the end of this email, I will email you the exact location of Abigail.

Your daughter is still perfectly healthy and safe. The responsibility for her recovery now rests with you. Send the money and recover your daughter (courtesy of information provided in up to two emails by me), or don’t send it and you’ll never hear from me again. The choice is yours.

Sincerely,

Joshua Billings

Without wasting a moment, Dan handed the phone to his wife, who read the message far quicker than he had done.

Dan shook his head. “Where do we get twenty grand? It was a struggle getting five.”

Jennifer stared at him. “I don’t care if we need to sell the house or rob a bank. We’re getting that money and we’re getting our daughter back.”

Dan nodded and then paused, pursing his lips together. “We’ll find a way to get the money together, but while we do, I’ve got another idea.”

Jennifer spun on her heels and rolled her eyes. She turned back and pointed a finger at him. “Your ideas almost got our daughter killed. I’m getting that money. I’ll pay to save Abbie, which is what we should’ve done in the first place.” With that, she stormed up the stairs and out of sight.

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