There are so many monsters in this world, far from child imagination. There are monsters that will hide under your bed, monsters that are out to get you, monsters that come from the darkness. While a child thinks of a zombie with tentacles emerging from it’s mouth, or a mutilated werewolf, the monsters that I’m talking about are people, like you and I. These they are one of the many reasons for the internet being one of the most dangerous platforms.
They will chase you, and harm you in ways that you could never possibly imagine. Creatures of the same species as you and I will deceive you to get what they want. But what happens if you trick them? If you lie to the liars. This is exactly what I did. I refer to it as a childhood game of “Run and Hide”. Who knows why I named it that? I’m going to tell you the story of how I outwitted the ‘bad-guy’ and enjoyed every second of it...
This experience began over a game with my neighbor, and best friend at the time, Josh. The game that we were playing was a simple, innocent game called "House Wars". In the game, players had to stay in their own house, keep the windows open, and shoot the person on the other side with a toy gun.
The goal was to shoot the other person in the chest or head with a harmless foam bullet. If players shot their opponent in the arm, or somehow the leg, they would 'lose' the arm or leg that was shot. These were the advantages of living in a neighborhood with houses built the same way and pretty close together. Two friends, playing an innocent game under the dark grey skies above. The point is that before this whole event happened, I lived an ordinary life.
Let me tell you a little bit about myself: Nothing terrifying had ever happened in my life, at least anything directed to me, and nor did I predict that it ever would. I guess I just craved an adrenaline rush, or a difficult goal. I was just a 13 year old geek. I was into science fiction novels, television shows, and especially all kinds of movies. I usually got only good grades on my report card. Nobody would expect someone like me to create such an event, which is probably one of the reasons why I set this whole thing up in the first place. After a few rounds of House Wars one night, I yelled to Josh, from across the small amount of distance between our windows;
“Want to come over to my house and watch some TV? First day of school is tomorrow!” Sadly, summer was ending, which is why we played multiple rounds of House Wars in the first place.
“Yeah, man. Just let me grab my phone,” Minutes later, he was already in my room, but he was acting more reserved and silent than usual. Josh was lying on my bottom bed on the bunk. He had his phone hovering above his face, only looking at me once or twice. I thought that he might’ve gotten addicted to a new video game, however, I didn’t hear the phone produce noise. I didn’t know what to do, so for another minute, I fidgeted with the toy gun while sitting in my computer chair. We didn’t even watch television, which is what I had invited him to do in the first place.
"What are you doing on your phone?" I asked him, to fill the awkward silence.
"My friend Ryan is sending me pictures on ‘Friendies’. He is at the beach right now," Josh said, not even taking his eyes off of the screen. He smiled and laughed, indicating that one of the pictures must’ve been humorous.
"Friendies?" I said while chuckling, “What’s that?” The name of the application seemed to give off a humorous vibe.
"It's an app that you can install on your phone, which allows you to text, call, send pictures, send videos, and video-chat with your friends, and a bunch of other crap. I've made about a thousand friends on this app!" I wasn't into social media that much but I was interested enough to install this application on my phone and give it a shot.
I was interested because this seemed more like an advanced form of texting and communication all in one, rather than a social website. I also thought that a conversation on the app might resolve in less awkwardness since he was addicted to the application.
I pressed “Install” in the application store. The icon of Friendies was a blue square with white circles resembling a person with a phone.
“Toby, Josh!” When my parents yelled that up the stairs, they didn’t even have to inform us that it was time for Josh to go home. We instinctively knew since it was dark outside, and it was already 8:00 Pm.
“Remember, the first school-day of the year is upon us,” My mother proceeded to remind us. Josh couldn’t give me any tutorials on how to use the application.
“See you later, man! It sucks that you guys are moving soon! Oh and by the way, my username is ‘LordOfDarkness101’. Remember that!” Josh said as he walked outside into the dark summer breeze. I figured that I would learn how to use the application by myself. I ate mashed potatoes, chicken, and peas.
“Why don’t you get ready for school?” Said my father, after ten minutes of eating dinner.
“Okay,” I set my plate in the dishwasher and started preparing for the first day of school. I loaded my binder with textbooks, writing utensils, and other supplies that I would be needing. I took a shower before going to bed, as I usually do.
I turned off the lights and crawled under my covers, but accidentally started laying down on my phone. I picked up my phone, remembering the Friendies application, and turned it on. It asked for some of my information, and in less than a minute, I had created an account using my email address.
I inserted usernames that I just thought sounded creative and cool, but every time I tried, it informed me, in red font, that someone had already taken that username. I lay there in bed, attempting to insert a username that was not already taken. I took, what felt like twelve minutes, and I finally found a somewhat fitting username. My username was set to “TobyWoby11” I am not sure why I chose this name. I guess it seemed humorous at the time, besides it felt like the only damn username that was available!
I sat there pondering the question; “What if people were referred to by their account usernames from social media?” I laughed and tried using the application. The format was simple; a light blue themed website that displays the selected username, following accounts, and accounts following myself.
An hour later, I received a notification from Friendies that read "Lucas Sent You a Friend Request!" It startled me, as the notification sound was very loud. It echoed through the halls, where my mother heard it.
“Toby, you need to get sleep!” said my mother.
“Sorry!” I ignored the notification and just stopped using Friendies for the night. I plugged earbuds in and got busy searching videos on this random website. I can't remember the name of it, but the point was that I was spending my time slowly before I went to school the next day, and I didn’t feel like being bothered by random people on Friendies.
I woke up, forgetting about the application. My mother left a note that read “Biscuits and gravy on the stove,” I walked over to find a tray of biscuits, topped with gravy, under aluminum foil. On the stove, there is a small clock.
I was about to be late for the bus, so I picked up a gravy-covered biscuit, and stuffed it into my mouth. I did this three more times, getting gravy on my chin. I picked up my heavy binder, put it in my backpack, and walked outside to board the bus.
I walked down the aisle, witnessing the familiar faces from the last school year. I sat down next to Josh. His mother had confiscated his phone before he went to school.
“New teachers!” said Josh.
“Yeah I know,” I replied, “Oh sh*t! I forgot my schedule!”
“You can pick up a new one in the office,” I brought out my phone and opened the Friendies application. It still read “Lucas1954 has sent you a friend request!” I swiped the notification off of my phone, ignoring it.
“No, accept it!”
“The new update that’s coming out has a new feature, that gives you some kind of virtual points for each friend that you have,” virtual points? I didn’t need that. This made Josh sound like a complete idiot.
“It’s a random person,” I said. After more discussion, we eventually were dropped off right in front of the school.
I picked up a new schedule from the office and made my way down to my science teacher’s classroom, my first period of the school day. I walked in to see a tall, orange-haired man in circular glasses.
“Hello, class! I am Mr. Albert. I am new to this school,” Josh and I looked at each other and smiled, as we knew that we could trick this teacher into allowing certain things since he was new, however, we were wrong. I was drawing a green skeleton when I heard the Amber Alert noise go off on somebody's phone. I perked up, as the noise now emitted from my phone as well.
(Amber Alerts warn you about a nearby kidnapping, gives information about the kidnapper, and information about the victim) I am interested in Amber Alerts, ever since my father found an abductor ahead of our car when I was only four. I whipped out my phone and scrolled through the information. The last thing that I read on the Amber Alert was "Abductor: Lucas Brown", before…
“Toby, I’m gonna need to confiscate that,” said the teacher. My friend, Emily suddenly defended me from behind; “Wait! But what if he finds the kidnapper?”
“Oh alright. I’ll let this one slide, but don’t look at Amber Alerts or any more notifications while you're in school,” I thanked Emily later. Life was so perfect at that moment; almost boring. I was one of the mentally brighter students at my school. I had a bland life.
There seemed to be no challenge at all. The bus dropped me off at my house after school. I had to walk around the front of the bus while it was stopped. I slept that night, without a care in the world.
The next day, I woke up to my alarm clock annoyingly repeating it’s wake up process. The bus always picks up students around 8:30, and it was 8:15. I grabbed my backpack and rushed to the bus, as quickly as possible.
When I boarded the bus, I pulled my phone out of my pocket. I saw a notification from Friendies that read “Lucas1954 Sent You a Friend Request!” I laughed, as I realized the coincidence that had occurred with the Amber Alert, but I was also quite pissed since I already ignored his friend request about three times.
Accepting the friend request would allow us to contact each other easier. I don’t normally accept friend requests from strangers, but this guy’s profile looked interesting. His profile picture was a dark room lit up by a single candle.
I turned off my location so that nobody on the app could access my whereabouts. I thought “Maybe I can prank this guy!” I pressed “accept”. I made it to school on time, but I kept receiving messages from this “Lucas1954” person. I ignored them all.
A few weeks went by of me ignoring his messages, which just contained pathetic attempts of conversation before Josh encountered me at the local grocery store.
“Oh, hey Josh!” I said when I saw him.
“Hey, dude! I came here to return the toy gun bullets,” He replied as he held up a plastic bag of the foam bullets. Something immediately didn’t feel right. I stood there for a minute, awkwardly thinking, slowly accepting the bag of bullets. I then found the problem;
“Wait, how did you know I was here?” I asked him.
“On Friendies, there is a new map feature that allows you to see your friend’s current location. Pretty cool, right? It came with the new update!” Now I knew that I would never accept another Friend Request from anyone that I didn’t know personally. I didn’t think that “Lucas1954” had any dangerous intent. This was a big mistake!
Let the rest of this story be a lesson; Never accept a friend request from someone who you don’t know personally. I made the mistake of not removing this person from my friend's list. On the application. This guy’s messages just consisted of “Hi!”, “Hello!”, and “Are you there?” I tried to access the map feature but had some troubles.
“The map feature will only work if I had the latest update for the application,” said Josh’s older brother, right next to him. I pressed “update”, and put my phone in my pocket.
“Toby, what should we have for dinner?” my mother asked.
“We had that like three days ago,”
“We had that just yesterday!” After a long hour of grocery shopping, I returned home and whipped my phone out of my pocket, only to find out that I had received a notification that said the application was done updating.
I opened the application and tested the map feature. There was an overview map of Prosser, the town I lived in. It displayed an icon of Josh’s profile picture right over mine. He was at his house, and his house was obviously close to mine, causing the icons to be so close together. I tested out some other new features that the update provided, such as the option of a Profile Background, a Check-in Streak, and a Score Count. Profile Backgrounds allowed users to provide an image behind their icon. Score Count would keep track of how many texts, videos, and pictures users sent on Friendlies.
It also keeps track of how many minutes users spent. Each minute spent on the application, text, video, or picture is one Point. I was already at 1,430 Points. Check-in Streaks also gave users the opportunity to gain, not only more points but Friendies-exclusive emoticons just by using the application for five minutes per day.
For every ten days that users spend five minutes on the application, the users will receive a new emoticon. If the users use the application for five minutes and earn emoticons, but they don’t use it for five minutes after receiving an emoticon, the streak is broken and starts over.
While I was at home one day, Lucas1954 sent me a message. Out of pure boredom and curiosity, I took the time to read his message. His message read:
“Hello, Toby! I would like to be your friend. I have free video games that I give out to good children!”
The words “good children” made me want to jump out of my skin. His message made me feel uncomfortable. What if Lucas the abductor and Lucas1954 were somehow the same people? No… this didn’t make any sense. The situation was so coincidental, that it was humorous, however, Lucas1954 seemed to have rather strange intent.
The words “good children” almost made me gag. This couldn’t be some secret Santa Claus-like person that surprises random children with gifts. It was autumn, October 15th to be exact. I had to at least give an attempt to solve my crazy theory, so I sent him a reply, purposely misspelling some of the words to make it look like an unintelligent child was replying, to see where this was going, and what he may have really wanted to do;
“Hi, Lucas! I’ll bee ur frend! Wats ur last name?”
I felt crazy for attempting to somehow connect the two, but only someone as disgusting as an abductor, with strange intent, would make such a claim as giving video games to “good children”. I thought it was a little bit weird that he would attempt to lure a middle school student using free candy.
Maybe he was into teenagers. “Oh damn!” I thought. Just pondering this made me uncomfortable. I didn’t understand until I looked closely at my profile picture and remembered that my profile icon displayed a picture of myself, taken when I was only nine years of age. In fact, that picture was taken on my ninth birthday. He sent a response no less than two minutes later that read:
“My name is Lucas Nworb. It’s a weird last name right?” I sighed, a little disappointed that it wasn’t the same person. However, later that night, I stayed up thinking about what had happened.
I knew that I was safe. I started pondering the humorous last name; “Nworb… what a funny name. What if my name was Toby Nworb? I wonder what Nworb spelled backward is… what the f***…” I remembered the exact minute that I had figured it all out. At 10:38 Pm, I deduced the fact that “Nworb” was “Brown” spelled backward! I jumped off of the couch.
At that point, I thought it was confirmed. My thoughts were racing. Lucas Brown, the name of the abductor! This couldn’t be happening. But what if this was just a coincidence? I never considered them being two different kidnappers with oddly similar surnames. I grew obsessed with my theory, even thinking that I was just jumping to conclusions, but this barely put a dent in my curiosity.
Breaking my parent’s rules, I viciously whipped my phone out, even though my parents instructed me to get to sleep. I found out that the Amber Alert told of a kidnapping that took place in Pasco, and sent him another reply, with some misspelled words;
“Where r u rite now?”
“Have you heard of the town Pasco?” He replied.
It was definitely the same person. I let out a whimper of surprise. I was officially more freaked out than I had ever been in my life. I felt like I had confirmed the existence of the Illuminati or some major religion. Who the hell was this person?
It was pretty obvious what he wanted from me at that point. I didn’t need any more confirmations. I felt like I had confirmed the existence of Jesus Christ. I sent another message that just stated that I had to go to bed. I kept thinking of what to do with my situation, but I figured that my parents would protect me, as children always assume when there is a monster hiding in their closet.
The next morning before school, Josh sent me a link. I clicked the link, and it took me to a funny website for jokes and humor. He had linked a particular joke, which consisted of an animated male with a caption that read “People die if they are killed!” I laughed at that.
I had luckily slept well enough to wake up at 8:01 Am. I’ll spare you the details of changing clothes, getting ready for school, and eating breakfast. When I boarded the bus, I noticed that I had received a text from Josh. He was sitting next to me and claimed that he didn’t send that text.
“Dude, it says so right here!” I held up the phone to demonstrate, displaying the joke he had sent the message to me.
“What are you talking about? Look!” He showed me his phone and all of our exchanged messages. The link, my response, or anything he had sent last night was not present.
I checked my phone, and it turned out this was not Josh. This was some imposter who thought that this “prank” would be funny. I tried to message that account, but the account the account homepage said: “This account has been terminated by user”.
I turned off the notification alarm sound on my phone and started thinking. Who was this person? Did they know Josh? Or did they know him in real life? Was it someone who attends our school?
So many thoughts raced through my head about the imposter, that I completely forgot about Lucas1954 until that recess break at our school. I snuck my phone out of my pocket and started checking my notifications. I got multiple messages from Lucas1954:
“Hey buddy, are you there?”
“I have the Galactic Gods series!”
“I am in Prosser, getting my hair dyed orange,”
That last message shocked me so badly. He had said the name of my town! Was he really here? How did he find out? None of this made sense until I remembered that the owners of Friendies had installed that new map feature.
I almost threw up but started to focus on the idea that it was all someone pulling a prank on me. People usually took extremes around our childhood when it came to setting up pranks. Perhaps someone had been inspired after that Amber Alert to fool some Friendies user.
They proceeded to become an imposter of my friend. I pick-pocketed Josh to see if he was the one pranking me. I still feel apologetic to Josh, but I’ll admit that I was actually freaked out for my life. I spent awhile going through his phone. I found nothing that rose my suspicions, so I returned the phone back to him and claimed he had dropped it.
I was so confused that I became dizzy until I gave the situation more thought. I knew a thing or two about computers, so I predicted that Lucas1954 had probably made another account, and that explains the imposter of Josh.
He infected the link with IP grabber, which sends him my hometown, serial number, and IP address. Damn! This guy sure worked hard planning this, if my theory was correct. No one would go this far for a prank.
The theory of the IP grabber and the prank confused me, but that still left me with the immediate problem; There is most likely a predator after me in my town!
I wanted to call the cops, or at least tell my parents, but I didn’t want to have my social media privileges taken away. I started to scream on the inside until I thought of something…
Just then, a crazy thought occurred that recess. This was the most dangerous thing I had ever thought of…
What if I were to turn this into a game? The idea: The game would consist of running from him, and attempting to be spotted near him around public areas, and hopefully the police station. I couldn’t help but love the concept of this game. The feeling of determination struck me.
Even if this was a prank, going along with the prank would make sense. I got the idea of this game from remembering the first time that I had written when I had misspelled words on purpose. It made so much sense. The game would also consist of attempting to be publicly noticed to the point where Lucas1954 foolishly reveals himself as a pedophile. If I were to make this a game, I would need rules. I wrote down my game’s rules and the object of the game before bed:
Objective: I must get Lucas1954 caught by police or public.
Rule 1: I cannot remove him from my friend's list, block him, or loose contact in any way.
Rule 2: I Cannot tell ANYBODY about the game or any information about Lucas1954.
Rule 3: I have to get him caught by the police to win but without directly contacting the police.
Rule 4: I can only pretend to be either 9 years of age or 13 years of age since I was actually 13 years old.
Rule 5: If I get kidnapped, or captured, he wins. If I escape, the game still continues.
That last rule didn’t scare me one bit. The more I wrote, the more determination filled my very soul. This was perfect! The fun part was that he wasn’t aware that he was caught up in this game.
I was determined to win, and I didn’t feel afraid, knowing that I would be moving to a new town in a few months. I didn’t even begin to think of how dangerous this would be. At the time, I felt like a courageous hero, about to save the city, however, this was for entertainment instead of for the citizen's sake.
I never considered the possibility of what might happen if I were to ‘lose’. I didn't even think of this being morally wrong. “Someone who commits a crime, and violates on impulse deserves this punishment.” I thought. Without a second thought, I sent him another reply, pretending to be an innocent child being tricked, but feeling like a mastermind;
“Okay! I cant wate 2 get that vidio game! Mete me tomorrow!” I texted. “What an imbecile!” I thought.
The next day, I started sending him responses while I was at school. I was in history class.
“Can u bring the games 2 me?” I sent as I laughed under my breath
“Yes, I will come now!” he replied. What an idiot! He couldn’t just barge into a public school like that. He would have to get into the school building without being seen by staff or administrators.
I kept looking out the window to the point where I wasn’t paying attention to the teacher anymore. My teacher knows of my perfect attendance and intelligence, so he doesn't care if I stare into space sometimes. My stomach felt like it got 100 times heavier, as I spotted a very dirty and decrepit white van with a game controller painted onto it, slowly rolling down the streets.
I’ll admit that the controller was well painted. It said “Gaming Truck!” under the controller. At this point, I had enough evidence to firmly state that I had contact with an abductor, not that I was proud. I suddenly became nauseous when I realized that this was no prank. This was an atrocious, filthy man. I wondered how angry he would get if he knew I was older than age nine. I sent him another message when the teacher wasn’t looking, that read;
“Wats the mattr? I want the game!” I soon realized that I was in middle school. This would reveal my age. “Sh*t! I have to do something if I want to continue this game!” I thought. He responded with;
“How old are you, Toby?” He had caught onto it! I tried my best to lie my way out of it. It took me about a minute to come up with the lie.
“Why aren’t you at your school, Toby?”
“We r piking up my sistr.”
“Remind me of the video games later, and don’t contact me in school, okay?”
“Ok!” I felt a little concerned that he knew where I was just about every time he checked his phone, so I devised a plan to hide my phone somewhere far away from my house after school. Most people in my neighborhood would be suspicious if there was a white van with a game controller painted on it that was so decrypt.
On the bus ride back home, I started thinking about where to hide my phone. I finally decided where to bury my phone, but before I did, I sent Lucas a message that read:
“I'm home alone rite now,”
I made sure to bury it in a shoebox in my neighbor across the street, David Allen’s, yard because I thought that it might be funny to see him enter the property of someone who was in the marine corp of the United States.
I knew that David wouldn’t get home until 4:30 because he is a reading teacher, and it’s a requirement that all teachers, staff, or administrators stay at the school for about an hour after the children leave.
I was in his class the previous year. I ran to my house and raced upstairs. I opened up the curtains, and I watched as the van rolled up my street from out the window. I smiled when I saw the van pass my house.
“The game begins...” I said to myself. David lived across the street (in front of us) from my family, so I got a good view of what was about to go down.
I felt like David and Lucas were my puppets, and I was controlling them through this chain reaction, this scheme. I set this whole trap up, and nobody would even suspect me.
Lucas waited in his van for five minutes before approaching the front door of David’s house. This moron was about to go to the wrong house. As he stepped out, I saw that he was wearing a thick black jacket, with the hood covering his face.
His skin looked very pale and wrinkled, from what I could see. I was witnessing a wicked man, about to deceive the innocent. I could see him pull out his phone and send messages, probably to me. I couldn’t see what they were though since the phone was in David’s yard. He then looked both ways on the sidewalk.
After receiving no response from me, he grabbed a sharp, shiny object, and used it to literally pick the lock of David’s door in less than a minute. “Holy sh*t!” I thought. I couldn’t believe that this was happening. I literally covered my mouth with my hands.
It’s too bad my parents weren’t here to see this because if they were, I would've won the game. If they saw this, they would definitely call the police, and that would have lead to my easy victory. What happened next, however, was very unexpected. David’s car pulled up into his driveway.
My laughter filled the silent room. David got out of his car and stared angrily at the white van. I watched him look back and forth just as Lucas did, but David’s intention was to see if anyone, who would have unlocked his door, happened to be around.
David waited. While I was waiting for something interesting to happen again, I got the license plate number of Lucas’s van. I wrote it down on a sticky note but I can’t remember what it was to this very day. I just figured that it was something that I could use against Lucas in some sort of emergency. I placed the sticky note in the cushions of a chair that I had in my room. I was sure that when David saw Lucas, he would take him down and have him arrested. David used to be in the marine corp, as I mentioned earlier, which meant that he was highly skilled and trained to handle something like this.
David seemed to be pissed because the front door was wide open, and proceeded into the house with caution. I watched as Lucas then opened David's bedroom window and jumped out. He landed into one of David’s bushes. He ran to his van and left the sight. What had just unfolded made my eyes widen and my mouth drop. I couldn’t believe that he had pulled off such a stunt! I then started on my homework, feeling adrenaline rush through my veins while thinking about the previous incident. I then realized how difficult it was going to be to get my phone back.
The next day was a Saturday, and with David staying at home on weekends, I had to get him out of the house to retrieve my phone. I searched my house for something I could use to get David out of his house. I eventually found a gift card to some restaurant, wrote a note and attached it to the gift card. The note read;
“Here. Didn’t want this so I thought I’d leave it here. -Sean Bruce”
Mr. Bruce was a history teacher, and I knew that he and David are friends. I rang the doorbell of David’s house, dropped the note at his porch, and ran back to my house, but decided that I didn’t have enough time to unlock the door, so I hid behind my mother’s old car.
I couldn’t get a perfect view, but I could take occasional peeks from behind my mom’s car. From what I saw during the occasional peeks, David had grabbed the gift card, went inside to grab his jacket, and left.
This was my que. As soon as his vehicle left the area, I took a shovel and ran to his backyard. I dug up the box, which contained the phone, and here are all of the messages that I received from Lucas on Friendies, that were most likely sent before and after he broke into David’s house:
“Hey, why aren’t you at your house?”, “Do you live here at this house with the little black dog inside?” (he was referring to Oliver, David’s puppy), “Open the door!”, and “Tell me when your parents aren’t home,”
I replied back with “I wuz at a slepeovr and left my fone at home sorry sorry sorry! Come mete me at the library,”
He replied immediately: “Okay.” It’s like he has his phone in his hand all the time, and he’s SO intent on kidnapping me, that he awaits my messages and is always watching my location on the map. The library is right across from the police station. His van looks suspicious enough, that if he were to drive by the police station, he would be 'greeted' by a police officer and be questioned on his van.
I needed to see what would happen if he really came near the police station.
“Hey dad, can you drive me to the library?” I asked him a few minutes later.
“No can do, Toby. I’m trying to get something designed over the computer.” Because he wasn’t willing to give me a ride, I had to walk. The town is slightly downhill from this suburban neighborhood, which made it easy to walk down. I made it into town within minutes.
After I made my way to the library, I saw a man in dark cloak standing right outside the library. This peaked my suspicions. When he turned to face my direction, I quickly hid behind a tree. Even if this wasn’t Lucas, I’d still needed to take precautions.
With every second that I looked at him, I would get nauseous. I know that I stated my profile photo was taken when I was nine years of age, but one could still make a resemblance to my face now and my face when I was nine (particularly in the picture).
I snuck behind the library without being noticed because they have a back door. When I went inside the library, I saw the hooded man through the front window, standing there like the creep that he was.
I just awaited the police from across the street to question him. I eventually got bored because I was wrong. If he would’ve taken his van, he would’ve been questioned, or possibly confronted, by the police. It seemed that he was taking precautions as well because his van was nowhere in sight.
“Oh sh*t.” I thought. This was going to be more difficult than I thought if he was taking as many precautions as I was. That’s when I got the feeling of determination again. No matter how long it took, or difficult it was, I was going to get Lucas sent behind bars without anyone knowing that I was involved.
And the reason I was determined to win was because life is boring. I had been craving a challenge lately. I never actually feared what would happen if I were to ‘lose’. The dark grey sky fit the mood. I realized that staying at the library was a waste of time at this point, so I started walking home.
I then pondered a humorous idea; What if I toyed with this game some more before getting him arrested? Conveniently, I found a twenty dollar bill on the ground. I picked it up, wondering what to do with it, and I devised a plan; I would use it to go bowling. You had to pay to get into bowling, which would make Lucas spend his money to find me in the bowling alley.
“I saw u at the library.” I sent him. He instantly replied back;
“I would appreciate it if you could tell me where you are going and when,”
“I am going bowling, mete me there, but my parents don’t want me talking to strangers so meet me in the bathroom of the bowling alley.”
“Okay! But PLEASE acknowledge my previous message!” The lengths that this guy would go to kidnap me were surprising. I don’t know much about pedophilia, but if I were a predator, I wouldn’t stay on the same child. By now, I would be suspicious if a child lead me to a police station and a school.
The question of; “What would this guy do to me if I was kidnapped?” Only occurred to me then. This was a sick man. If he didn’t see me at the bowling alley, what would he do next? I didn’t want him to move on to another kid. I wanted to win, but how exactly was I going to do that?
All of these thoughts took away my determination from that moment, however, I kept going, with hope that he wouldn't move on to another kid by the time I got him arrested. I walked to the bowling alley. I needed to stop thinking about this game and just relax for a moment.
I just needed some time to cool off, and maybe enjoy my time bowling. I texted my father, stating that I found a twenty dollar bill on the ground, and I would be going bowling.
He sent a text that said “Okay!”, allowing me to do so. The bowling alley was within walking distance from the library, obviously. The bowling alley was also in the middle of town, so the “Gaming Truck!” sign would raise suspicion of pedestrians who happen to view it.
Unfortunately, He thought about this too, because while I was bowling, I saw his van, but he had painted white over everything. Now, it was just a plain white van. I was surprised that he had thought this far ahead. He had painted that in the small amount of time that it takes to get to the bowling alley from the library.
He entered the building, still in the dark hooded cloak, and I laughed inside, as I watched him pay real money for his ticket. He rushed to the bathroom, not seeing me. My hood was on, and I was facing the opposite direction. I didn’t even feel a little bit of tension until I realized that my face was still visible to anyone here. He would come out of the bathroom eventually, and with intent like this, he'd look around until he would spot my face and recognize me.
I took one last shot and swung the ball down the wooden pathway. I wasn’t there long enough to enjoy my strike. The other people, that I played against, looked confused. I started heading home after that. It was very dark by the time I got back to the house. I needed to hide the phone somewhere again, so I carefully snuck into David’s fenced backyard. As soon as I was on his property, I went directly behind his house. His backyard is just an acre of plain grass, which made it easy to get around.
Oliver started barking. My stomach dropped, and I almost felt as if death were upon me. I didn’t even notice that he was there. Had Oliver been sleeping outside? I turned my head, hoping to get a view of the fence that I thought about jumping over again, but found a ladder that lead to the roof of his house. I smiled, as I thought about the idea of placing the phone on top of his house, just to enjoy the game while it lasted… and to enjoy my remaining few weeks in this town while it lasted.
It seemed as if everything was working out in my favor due to the conveniences. First, the twenty dollar bill, and then the ladder. I walked up the ladder but froze halfway when David came out of his backdoor to put Oliver inside, look around, and return back inside of his house.
If he knew that I was trespassing on his property, I would probably get into a lot of trouble with my parents… and the law. I climbed to the top of his house. I placed the phone on the roof. I looked around, getting a good view of the neighborhood. That’s when he saw me. My eyes hurt as I came into view of David’s flashlight.
“HEY!” he screamed angrily. I had no other choice but to jump off the roof at this point. There was no way to avoid it. If I was in view for too long, he would identify me, so I got onto my feet, and with a boost of courage, I made a leap of faith. Being in the air felt like I was experiencing a slow-motion scene in those epic movie trailers. I groaned in pain when I hit the ground but As my foot suddenly felt a burst of aching, I realized that I had not fallen onto a bush. I had leaped onto the neighbor's roof. Fearing that I had disturbed them during sleep, I ran to the edge of their roof and jumped once again.
I hoped to land on another roof but ended up landing in a thornbush. The sharp thorns only hurt for a second, as I was wearing a lot of cloak on, covering almost every inch of my body. I quickly got back up onto my feet and ran down the street in the direction of the nature preserve. I could hear him chasing after me.
“STOP RIGHT THERE!” with each word that he yelled, I felt closer to trouble. Sports players don’t truly know what “gameday-situation” is. I had to keep running down the street as far as I could. The game was now advancing. My boredom was slowly being cured by every minute that this whole thing went on, however, I wasn’t paying attention to the amount of exercise that ended up getting involved, but rather the entertainment value.
He was getting progressively closer, so I needed to sneak behind other people’s yards. I saw a white house with their lights on. This was an unknown neighbor, who lived in this neighborhood for a long time without any formal introduction to my family, had no fence in their front yard, allowing me to enter swiftly.
I ran right behind their house. David must’ve thought that I lived in this house because I heard him ring the doorbell at least ten times when I hid behind their house, which had a large glass sliding door. I rammed into their backyard fence as hard as I could and broke one of the fence planks.
I ran down the alleyway, paranoid as all hell. Luckily, our backyard fence was easy to jump over. We also have a glass sliding door that we usually keep unlocked. I ran to the backyard door and opened it. I entered normal to avoid suspicion from my parents.
“Want to eat dinner? We are eating fish and mashed potatoes tonight.” My mother said, handing me a plate. This all happened so suddenly, but there was no trace of myself doing the deed. I took the plate and placed bread onto it.
I added the fish patty and placed a slice of cheese. I then loaded a scoop of mashed potatoes onto the plate. I sat and ate with my family. We talked about how our day was while watching television, and how good I was at bowling.
I had bowled at least six to ten pins every time. I am actually pretty good at bowling, and that’s why I chose to go bowling specifically when I found that twenty dollar bill on the ground. When I finished eating, I went upstairs, took a shower, and went to bed. My bedroom contained the window that I used to view Lucas sneaking into David’s house. I looked out the window and saw David making a phone call while alternating between going inside and outside.
This chase with David had completely taken my mind off of Lucas. The question of “What is going to happen next?” filled my head through every second of this whole experience.
I saw a police car drive in front of David’s house. They must’ve sent a car to patrol his house for the night. I tried to relax. That was sure one hell of a day!
The next day, I awoke late, as it was a Saturday. My parents weren’t home, as usual, meaning that I had some more time to fool around with this game. I carried a pocket knife as I walked down the sidewalk, phone in hand. I watched Lucas’s location on the map. It said that he was at David’s house. Since I was already halfway down the sidewalk, pretty far from David’s house, I didn't feel any concern. I started walking to my cousin Chayse’s house, which was out in the country, so it would be a nice, long walk. I started walking into the local market. I picked up some cookies for Chayse and I to eat. I placed them in a bag.
I started to have a weird stomach pain. I was definitely not getting enough sleep. My leg also hurt a lot that day. As I made my way over to the cash register, Something smelled like cigarettes. I placed the grocery bags onto the conveyor belt, which then rolled the groceries to the lady who was working the register. I turned around to see what the stench was… when I saw a familiar jacket. Lucas was purchasing something at the register right behind me. I saw him start to look back. I turned around before I heard the lady say;
“Here you go,” I was startled inside, but I couldn’t show that. As I saw Lucas pull his phone out of his pocket, I immediately knew that he was gonna check the map. I bolted, knocking over a box of crackers. Even if he wasn’t checking his phone for me, I needed to be cautious. I didn't even accept my change. That register lady made all of her movements slow anyway. I was halfway through the woods when I pulled out my phone and saw his icon at the woods. I couldn’t have him enter this forest if I was here.
When I started to lose service, my heart sank, for the first time. I started frantically running in directions that I didn't even know lead anywhere until I found myself in a golf course. I know that the golf course is close to the nature preserve, which is at the end of my neighborhood. I walked uphill and in the right direction until I saw my street. I waited until 8:00 Pm to go to Chayse’s house.
I gained enough confidence to sprint in the darkness, even though Chayse’s house existed on a desolate highway. I decided to leave my phone at David’s and I took a different jacket. Chayse and I had a good time at his house, eating all of the cookies while playing video games all night. I thought that the game would never get boring, however, routines can get pretty bland.
After another week of hiding my phone and running around town, I started to get bored. It started to become a mandatory routine, like brushing your teeth. I needed to make it more interesting somehow. His intent to capture me seemed to be so ongoing, that it felt like it was a game to him as well.
I figured that he would lose interest or gain interest on another child by now, but his intent was so strong that he chased me around town for a month, only using this social media app. I would always tell him where to go, but I would be somewhere else. That’s how it was for the rest of that month.
What if he was hired to do this? What if a strange man had seen me before and used a deep web or internet black market to hire a kidnapper? But why me specifically? With “Gaming Truck!” erased from his van, there was almost no way to get him caught. I could try the trespassing prank again, but last time, he got away from David by jumping out the window, so that wouldn’t work.
The amount of intent that was put into this whole plan puzzled me to the point where that’s all I would think about. My left leg was in pain for a long time. I couldn’t tell my parents how I broke it, so I tried purchasing enough calcium pills from a pharmacist and drank enough milk to deal with the injury. I needed to make it more interesting but I wasn’t exactly sure how to do that. This game became an obsession.
I was on the bus one day, and this game was all that I was thinking about. I ignored josh and passed on what he said with “That's cool” or “Pretty Awesome”. I checked the date on my phone and realized how long I had been ignoring Josh. Anyway, as soon as I hopped off the bus after school, I turned to David’s house to hide the phone but this was a mistake. Lucas had been hiding in front of David’s house.
I caught him hiding behind a post. We made eye contact, and it was the tensest feeling in my life. It was as if I was staring into the eye of the devil. I’m sure that with my acne and height, he could easily deduce the fact that I was in middle school.
His large eyes stared me down. His eyes were wide as if he was having war flashbacks at every minute. He had a pointy nose and a dirty orange beard and mustache. I panicked inside but tried something new. I confronted him in front of passing strangers. I saw people passing by and waited for them to come close enough to hear me confront him. As soon as pedestrians got closer, I made a scene;
“Hey! What are YOU doing here? Sir, this is my house!” I made sure to be very loud, and when I got closer to him while performing the confrontation, he ran. One older guy asked;
“Do you know that guy?” I shook my head. The man surprisingly just said “Okay,” and walked away, as if to ignore my response. What an a**hole! If you see something like this, you don’t stand around. You contact the authorities, dammit! I made sure that Lucas wasn’t near me anymore.
I was constantly looking around on my phone, viewing his whereabouts. He was somewhere near the park, and he was running very fast. I peeked my head over David’s fence and noticed that he had purchased a guard dog and security cameras.
I searched for a spot to hide my phone and found a toolbox. I quickly tossed my phone next to it and ran. I bolted to my house and locked the doors. I climbed up the bunk bed that I share with no one, and sat in a position that allowed me to view the streets around David’s house out my window.
I felt concerned, knowing that he had seen my face, but because he didn’t always know of my current location since I had hidden my phone. I wasn’t sure if it mattered.
I just relaxed and completed my homework on the Boston Tea Party or something like that, in a matter of minutes since all the assignment required was to directly copy answers from an informational article and write them in the blank spaces under the questions. I took a break from patrolling the window when I got hungry.
My parents weren’t home so I called them using the home phone. “Honey, we told you this morning,” My mother said, “We are checking out the new house.” I was so concentrated on the game that I didn't even pay attention to what anyone was saying anymore. I threw a frozen meal into the microwave after the phone call and set it to cook for three minutes. I took the food to my room when it finished, something I’m not normally allowed to do. Lucas didn’t return anywhere near David’s house for the rest of the day… or so I thought.
When I was in bed hours later, I started to question myself if what I was doing was wrong. I had been fooling this guy for entertainment. He was the figurine, and I was the child who just received the set of toys. Did he deserve this? It was almost teasing him, like when someone cooks steak and makes his dog run to get it, but as soon as he gets to it, said steak cook takes it away.
As I started to ponder into this, I got a strange sensation when a thought came up ;
“This game is ending soon…” I started to feel less comfortable playing this game, I wasn't paying attention to anyone anymore, and it was just too difficult.
He was never going to find me. This whole ‘adventure’ soon became dull. I fell asleep about an hour later, but I suddenly woke up around 3:00 Am. I rolled over to face the window. I felt as if I were being watched somehow. You see, in cliché scary stories, I never understood what it was like to feel ‘watched’ until now. It feels like you can see someone watching you within your peripheral vision, but your focus is somewhere else, and your body is subconsciously alarming your brain… at least, that’s what I think. I looked out the window and nearly jumped out of my skin as I saw someone watching me from David’s window.
They were standing at the window. Their eyes were half-closed, and they had their hand pressed up against the glass. We made eye contact for three seconds, even though I couldn’t see any eye color, probably because of the distance. I knew that it wasn’t David or Lucas. This person was too short and had long hair.
“I am safe… mother and father are h-...” That thought was cut off when I remembered that my parents weren’t home. My stomach dropped...