The Prostitution Ring

November 21, 2009
By , Beaverton, OR
Alice had been driving for about an hour now; she was getting bored listening to the white noise of the car. She started to reach for the music knob but stopped when she saw the sign she’d been looking for. The sign was white and green and it welcomed her to Nomas Town. Her hand hovered another moment while she thought about the 343 population, and it’s shrinking.
She thought back to the call that woke her that morning. The mayor had said that kids were disappearing. I hope they’re not disappearing at night, but if so I may be too late for some of them. I’ve seen this before and it doesn’t end well.
Her car slowed as she reached Town Hall, she parked and climbed out of the dark-purple, dust-covered SUV. She started up the stairs and they moaned as the pressure went on and lifted off of each step. As she walked inside she saw a man who was tall with a large gruffy beard that matched his dark gray hair stand up and smile.
He greeted her with a warm hearty voice. They introduced themselves to each other and Alice offered her hand. That’s a hand?! She thought as his large rough hand wrapped around her petite satiny hand. Then the mayor told her the parents of the missing kids would be there soon. Alice thanked him for having them come and making her interviewing part of the job a bit easier. As soon as they got there Alice began questioning them, and she slowly started to realize the dreaded truth. The kids that were being taken were all girls, and they were all teenagers.
They’re being sold, Alice thought in horror. The creep who’s taking them is probably running a prostitution ring. How in the hell do people do that? The woman talking to her continued chattering in a worried, stressed tone. Alice appeared to be looking and listening; she’d had lots of practice since she always thought when people spoke to her. A moment later Alice snapped out of it, she told the parents she needed to search the town now.
The parents filed out and some of them were sobbing. Alice decided she’d search all the abandoned places with basements. Luckily that greatly lowered the number of places she needed to search. There was an apartment-like building and an old church. She chose buildings with basements because that was normally where kidnappers hid the kids they took. She asked the mayor if, after her investigation, she could stay over night to catch the criminal during the act. Then she asked him if she could set up cameras wherever she thought the criminal might be seen if she doesn’t see him herself.
The old apartment building appeared to be about a hundred years old. The paint was chipped and faded, and the smell of rotting wood was overwhelming. Inside was just as bad; the musty smell clung to Alice’s nostrils even when she put her perfume covered sleeve over her nose and mouth. All the apartments were the same; the wallpaper was peeling revealing the rotted wood. The basement she’d been hoping to reach wasn’t even accessible; it appeared to have been blocked off for a long time. Parts of the roof had collapsed in front of the door for one thing. Upon closer inspection Alice also noticed the door had been taped off and large rocks were stacked in front of it so it wouldn’t open. Everything was covered in squishy green moss and a variety of other fungus.
Her next stop wasn’t much nicer; the church was much older and appeared to have been abandoned as long as the apartments had had any type of life. The century of disownment hadn’t done it much good either. Alice walked in to the old chapel; it smelled even worse than apartments. There was a wet, musty smell floating in the air, Alice’s head started hurting and she knew it wasn’t just because of those smells. Then she smelled something like roasted almonds and knew it was some sort of knock out gas. She put her mini gas mask on and continued to search the room. She was searching for any signs of the kids or the man taking them. Then she spotted an old teddy bear sitting on the floor, she examined it more closely and saw a trap door next to it.
Alice picked up the bear gently and looked around the room again; she spotted a few really good spots to hide cameras. So she set up the cameras all over the room and turned them on so they’d record all night. After setting them up she went to the mayor to ask which room and which hotel she was staying in. He told her she’d be staying in the nicest room in their ritziest hotel. Alice also asked him for an officer to come help her monitor the cameras.
She walked in to the hotel and looked around; she found it to be cozy and a lot homier than a normal hotel anywhere else. She went to her room on the first and only floor and set up her small computer that recorded the data from her cameras, she also set up motion detecting cameras outside. Her equipment was easy to set up and went quickly.
Once she was all set up she heard a quick light knock on the door. Alice walked over and opened it to a young eager looking boy; she could tell he wanted to prove himself as a man. Great, she thought as she invited him in. The mayor sent me a rookie. The boy looked about 20 years old (just a year younger than Alice) and like he worked out a lot. He introduced himself as Drew and shook her hand vigorously.
Alice told him that she would take the first shift watching the camera so he should get some sleep. Drew didn’t object, instead he went and lay on the couch and closed his eyes. He asked her what the shift times would be and she told him every hour. A moment later Alice heard a quiet snore coming from him and she just rolled her eyes and watched the monitor. She pulled some string out of her backpack and tied it in a large circle to play a single game of Cats Cradle while she watched. The hour passed very slowly and all that she’d seen was a couple of street cats fighting over some trash.
Her hour had passed so she woke up Drew then went and lay in her bed. A few hours passed slowly with the two of them taking turns watching the monitors and the cats fighting in the street. It was almost one in the morning and it was Drew’s shift when the camera caught movement that wasn’t from the cats. Drew spotted a man sneaking around in the street and woke Alice. They watched the man a moment longer to see what he was doing; he started to climb through a window so Alice and Drew got up and started out of the room.
As they went out they heard a girl scream so they began running. The two of them were outside and caught sight of the man running with the girl dangling limply over his shoulder. They sped after him and a moment later they heard the dreaded screams of parents and they stumbled when they looked over their shoulders at the house. When they looked back ahead of them the man was gone, he’s taken some other route when they’d looked back.

Alice told Drew to go back to the hotel and check the monitor connected to the church cameras, then to meet her in Town Hall. Once Alice got to Town Hall she woke up the mayor and asked that he call the police, as she said this Drew ran in and told her she was right about the church being the dirt bag’s hideout. The mayor called the police and asked for a squad to wait outside the church and told them they would have to follow Alice’s orders. Drew and Alice got to the church and she picked two men to go in with her and Drew. The four of them walked in to the church and the other police waited outside anxiously.
Alice went to the trapdoor and opened it slowly so it wouldn’t make too much noise. But opening it slowly worked the other way around. The door croaked and groaned and Alice cursed under her breath. She held still a moment before starting down the ladder and continuing in to the tunnel. She told the police to leave their lights off and to be totally silent when they were down there. When they were all down Alice put a finger to her mouth to remind the men to be quiet, then she looked around. The group stopped and looked around realizing that it was a labyrinth, not just a basement.
The tunnel walls were old and cracked in some places. It was damp and smelled like rotting rats; you could hear a constant but far off drip echo through the halls. They began walking down the tunnels looking for any evidence of the man or the direction he’d gone. Alice noticed mud prints and realized it’d been raining outside so those prints must be from the man. There were a few long strands of blonde hair on the wall to the right as well.
“That’s the color of the girl’s hair,” Drew commented.
Alice took that tunnel and walked fast, there were a few more forks in the tunnels but they always found some sort of evidence leading them in a certain direction. After another turn and some more long blonde hairs stuck to the wall Alice heard soft whimpers and cries from girls. Alice told the men to stay back a minute and she lay down and crawled forward so not to be noticed. When she could see what was happening, she was horrified.
A cage?! I was right; this guy is a freaking pig! Ohmygod, he tattooed each of the girls. They all have numbers on their shoulders; the numbers must be for when he sells them. The blonde is still bleeding from that fresh tattoo.

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