Inside Voices

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Charlie Sallow lost her mother at a young age and is forced to build a relationship with her estranged father. When her younger sister is kidnapped, Charlie begins to experience what can only be describe as paranormal happenings at her home. Soon, the nightmares of the childhood incident return. Charlie learns that her PTSD may have a deeper affect on her than she though.

Thriller / Mystery
B. L. Crane
Age Rating:


I don’t stop my afternoon walks. If I stop taking my walks now that I have Beth, they will have the police on my tail in no time. So just as I routinely do, I grab my blue beanie from the dining room table, throw on my oversized zip-up sweatshirt, lace my sneakers, grab my cane, and head out the door. The school is but 5 blocks away, but today I drive to my location. Because of an injury in my right leg during childhood, sometimes walking long periods of time can cause me some issues. When I arrive to the school, I park around the corner from the playground as to further keep my identify a secret. I glance in the mirror and smooth down my mustache before I get out. I have considered shaving it completely to eliminate the stereotype of typical child napper appearances. But for some reason, I feel too attached to it. It’s become part of my identity and to remove it would leave me feeling naked and vulnerable. I step out of the car and lock it up before walking down the hill to the sidewalk surrounding the school.

At first, nothing seems out of the ordinary. I try to look ahead as I always do, but I can’t help glancing around at the teachers. It was then that I noticed the change in the layout of the playground. Before, there were large openings in the fence so the students could exit the building and run straight to the equipment. But now, it’s closed up with a gate and a large padlock. The teachers are now spread out to cover more areas, no longer socializing on the basketball courts. Each of them is facing the equipment, keeping their eyes on the children at all times. It’s intriguing to me that they have taken such extra precautions to seal up the school. After all, it wasn’t here that I took her.

When I round the corner at the west end of the building, I notice a black car parked on the opposite side of the street. My heart started to race, knowing who cars like this belonged to. I couldn’t see them sitting in the front seat, but I knew they were there. As if they were waiting for me. I tried not to let my face show the worry that crept in and continued to walk with my head held high, hands in my pockets. As I drew closer to the vehicle, I could hear the window roll down. The fed in the driver’s seat watched me as I walked by, but never made a move to question me. I hope that I am far enough away from them for them to really see who I am. But for all I know, they have everything they need on me already and they are just waiting for the opportune moment. I couldn’t help picking up my pace as I circled back around to my car. Turning to go up the hill, I looked around me to see if they followed or if there was another one hiding around a corner somewhere. So far, the coast was clear.

I sat in my car for a brief moment, trying to collect my thoughts. There’s a strong possibility that they have watched the security footage of the day she was taken. If that’s the case, they would see me stopping to look at her through the fence. They may even zoom in to read the details of my face, like the color of my eyes. I reach up and pull the beanie off and rest my head on the palm of my hand. Tendrils of my long hair flowed out around me as my head hung low. My hair had been long for most of my adult life and I typically kept it pulled back in a low ponytail, out of my face. Now as an older man, I just don’t have the stamina to keep up with it anymore. It stays dirty, which is why I typically wear a beanie to cover up the musty smell of unwashed, matted hair. But I never cut it. Like my mustache, it’s become just a part of who I am.

My identity is always something I have been very protective of, even when I was younger. The only friend I had was considerably younger than me, so we had to keep our relationship private. They were the only person that knew my real name; even to this day I still give out an alias to people.

Faintly, I could hear the teachers blow their whistles to signal the end of recess. I felt like this was as good a time as any to make my stealth get away. I intentionally drive the back way to my house to throw off the feds from my trail, if they were in fact following me. I kept my eye constantly on the rearview mirror, just to be safe. I decided quickly that if they decided to follow me, I would keep driving until I got to the small pub on the corner of the street. I would lock my car up, head inside, and sneak out the back door. Even though my leg was hurting immensely, I would walk home if I had to. The pub was closer to my house and there were plenty of alley ways to make it there secretly. Fortunately, I didn’t have to do that. This time.

Inside my house, I head straight to the room where Beth is locked up, fast food in hand. It’s been three weeks since I’ve taken her, and her body is starting to show for it. She seems to be looking more fragile as the days pass by. I decided to give her another meal a day to keep her health up. I descended the stairs to see her sitting curled up in the faraway corner. She doesn’t even acknowledge me anymore. I walk closer to her but stay far enough away that she can’t see my face. I can see in the dimness of the stairwell light that her ankle was swollen and bruised from the shackles I had her in. I sat the food down on a plate on the floor and shoved it over to her with my foot. She scrambled over to it like a wild animal and ate the sandwich with ferocity. Her overwhelming stench of body odor and piss was nauseating, making my lunch churn in my stomach. I covered my nose and stepped away from her, regaining my composure. I could hear her lick her fingertips, then scurry back over to her place against the wall.

“How long…are you going to keep me down here?” she asked. Her voice was so low and so hoarse that it startled me. I guess that makes sense considering I only give her one 16oz jug of water a day. She’s clearly dehydrated on top of the constant silence I force her in. Again, compassion nearly wins over my cold, frozen heart, but I suck it all back in. I cannot cave. Not yet.

“Until I damn well please,” I mumble.

Until your father pays for what he’s done, is what I really wanted to say, but decided against it. She doesn’t say anything more to me after that. I grab her piss pot and run it up the stairs and out the back door, dumping it in my usual place. Coming back inside, I toss the bucket back down the stairs, not caring if any of her excrements get on the wall.

Truthfully, I really didn’t have a plan for releasing her back to the community. I want her dad to suffer, sure, but I had no intentions of measuring just how much. In fact, I intended to keep her forever as my ward, never letting her family hold her again or kiss her goodnight.

She could rot down there, for all I care.

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Further Recommendations

Melanie: I loved the plot and fast pace when reading it. Maybe more meandering around the plot - could feel a little over edited. I did really enjoy it and wish you well x

Sue Watts: Loved this book like all the others thank you,you are a great writer really have enjoyed all of your books that I have read

amber47117: Omg 🥰🥰🥰 I love this book so much thank you for sharing

🔥 A I N S L E Y🔥: I wouldn't want to ever meet anyone like Ghost!!!!

Eileen Reed: There are so many things I loved about this story!The fact that it is written from the ML's POV was my favourite. I always look forward to reading chapters from ML's POV as it is not so common. It's nice to see how he felt from the beginning and you do not have to always guess.It's beautiful to s...

Carolyn Russell: A very heartwarming story about love and trust.

Deleted User: A few weeks can do the magic to bring seven years of dead soul alive... Love this novel... A must read

tbglapa: Wonderful 👏❤ author and great characters, action packed story plot. I recommend highly. Hard to wait for updates.

JessDavos: Awesome story! Couldn’t stop reading!

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Hannah: I loved how it just kept getting interesting and it drew me more and more into it and I just I love all of it other than I don't quite understand what she was felling in the beginning when Mase had her and she felt a bee like sting? But other than that I love it

Sue Watts: Loved these Books so much they keep getting better and better but am wondering what happened to Abe in the end is he brain or not ???

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