Rayen blinked her eyes open. Instinct forced her to stand up fully before she was even fully awake. She could not remember what had happened. The last thing that was in her memory was peering into the forest. There had been someone there, so she thought. It turned out to only be one of the large magpies that lived in the area.
No, wait. There had been something else. A dark shadow. Rayen could remember turning around to find the item responsible only to come face-to-face with a man. Now she was here, wherever that was. There was no light; Rayen could not even see the most basic of shapes around her.
Patting herself down, Rayen searched for some form of light. The flash light must have fell from her grasp when she blacked out in the forest. She fought down the strong urge to scream. The man from the forest could be in the room, waiting for her to wake up. Still, Rayen could not stop the short, painful gasps that escaped her trembling lips.
Holding her hands out, Rayen started walking slowly forwards. Her hands brushed against a wall. She ran them around it, trying to see if it would give away where she was. The wall was uneven and jagged, with small streams of water falling down. Rocks, she was touching a rock. A gasp escaped her lips, was she in a cave?
Panicked, Rayen turned and started to run. She was desperate to find an exit. In the rush, she did not feel her way around in the blackness. She ended up cutting her knee on a rock and falling over it. The sound of her cry echoes around the cave for a few seconds. Rayen held her breath while pulling the injured knee closer to her chest.
She could feel blood, though whether it was from her knee or her hands she could not be sure. They both stung painfully and had small bits of gravel imbedded in them.
It took Rayen a moment before she realized that there was a light approaching. The rocks around her were staring to become visible. Rayen looked around, trying to find a place to hide. She stood up, only to crumple back onto the floor. The light up ahead stopped. Whoever was at the entrance could hear her. Rayen scooted back as far as she could into a small alcove behind her. She hopped that whoever was at the entrance could not find where she would by the sound of her fall.
The light came closer and Rayen started to see the outline of two men. They headed to the center of the cave. She could see a small brown blanket on the ground. Her jacket rested a little to the left of the blanket. The men approached it only to find it bare.
“Where did the damned girl go,” one of the men snarled. He had natural red hair with the faintest hints of dark brown. His skin was a deep tan. Rayen could not see his eyes.
The other man placed a hand on his shoulder. He stood a few inches taller than his partner. Rayen could not see much else; he stood out of the light. “Relax Xyon, she must be here somewhere. Just woke up a little early.” Rayen scooted back as quietly as possible, desperate to avoid the nearing light.
The light started to turn around the other way, before it came to close. Rayen let out a sigh of relief. She stilled as the light stopped. The man started to turn around. He held out the light as Rayen scooted back even further. The glow of the torch bounced around the cave. A large rock directly in front of her alcove blocked the light from shining upon Rayen. The man looked around for a moment before turning back around and continuing his search. As he turned around, Rayen slid out of her alcove. Quietly as she could, she started backing up in the direction the men had come through.
Rayen’s back pressed up against something hard. She closed her eyes and begged that it was just a rock.
“Well, there is our little escaped bird,” sounded a menacing voice from above her. She opened her eyes to come face-to-face with rotted yellow teeth.
A scream pierced the air of the cave.
Nemu sat near her living room window, watching the rain fall. Noah, Scarlett, and her dad were all discussing what they had learned about Rayen’s case. So far, no one knew any information about the case. They were all getting frustrated with the two detectives. It had only been two days, but to everyone, it seemed like a lifetime.
They just wanted to know what had happened to Rayen, even the slightest information. Yet, the detectives would only reply that the case was still unavailable to the public.
“That means it has to be bad, right? Otherwise they would tell us,” Scarlett said. She had been angry before, but now was just worried about her friend.
“Or it could mean that they have not found anything,” Noah replied, trying to keep himself and Scarlett calm. He glanced over at Rayen’s father. He had not joined the conversation. Instead, he was looking at the pictures hanging on the wall. Many of them had Rayen and Nemu together, doing whatever activity they had planned that day. One was of Rayen and Nemu coloring a giant poster. Another had them helping out their father with repotting plants.
Noah ground his teeth and looked away from the pictures. He did not want to think about what could have happened to Rayen. Just because he was too lazy to go and check on her that night. Nemu even tried to tell him, yet he just brushed her off. Now, Rayen could be anywhere.
A knock sounded on the door. Nemu went to get up and answer it. She opened the door and peered out. A few seconds later, Noah could hear the door slam. He peered into the kitchen.
“Who was it?”
“Those stupid detectives again.”
“You can’t just slam the door in their face,’ Noah sighed.
“Well, I did.” Nemu stormed upstairs and hid in her room. Noah went to get the door, fighting down a small smile. As much as the two sisters tried to deny it, they had a few things in common. Their temper was definitely a major similarity.
He opened the door. It was the same two detectives from before. The woman with blazing red hair and her partner. “Detective Barron, Detective Quincy, come on in.” Noah opened the door wider and stepped aside. They went into the living room and sat down on one of the couches.
“It seems as if the little one does not want to see us,” Detective Quincy said, looking at the stairs.
“You think,” Noah mumbled. Everyone was done with the detectives. Nemu was the only one that voiced her thoughts, too young to care what anyone thought.
“Do you have any information for us, anything at all,” Nemu’s father pleaded.
The two detectives shared a glance. With a sigh, Detective Barron pulled out her notebook. “Nothing. We have not found anything. Even the dogs could not track a scent. We are going to keep looking, but I am not sure how much more we can do.” Noah caught the brief look the Detective gave her partner. Scarlett must have noticed to, she glanced at Noah with a questioning expression. He just shook his head.
“Well, I suppose that is more that we normally get. Thank you,” Mr. Danford grumbled.
“I am going to talk to the little one. It seems as if her and her big sister walked through the woods earlier that day. Maybe she can remember something that she saw.” Detective Quincy stood up and walked towards the stairs. Noah gave a small cry of protest, but the detective ignored him.
On the top floor, Quincy walked up to the door that had stickers and a handmade bright pink ‘KEEP OUT’ sign. He gave a small knock. Something hard slammed against the door. Chuckling, the detective opened up the door slowly, looking for any more flying objects.
The little girl sat on the bed. Her eyes were red and puffy as she glared at the man going through the door. Quincy sighed and sat on an empty chair next to the bed. “I came up here to ask a few questions, and answer some of yours. The reason we have not told anyone about your sister’s case is because we-.”
“Rayen,” the little girl choked out, “her name is Rayen. Stop acting like she isn’t real. Say her name.”
Quincy scratched the back of his head. “I apologize. We don’t use names in cases a lot. It makes things more personal. It could bleed into our normal lives; we would go crazy from all the things we had dealt with if every case became personal.” Nemu hesitated a moment before nodding in understanding.
“Rayen wanted to be a police officer one day. Helping people out always make her happy. You haven’t found anything yet, right?” Quincy nodded, scratching the back of his head again.
“Yes, which is why I am hoping you could help me. My partner does not believe it is an animal attack, but we cannot find any other evidence. Can you remember anything from when she took you into the forest?”
Nemu took a deep breath. “Well, I remember a face peeing at me through the shadows. I could not see it that well because I had lost my glasses, so I thought it was just my imagination. But then Riley, our dog, started to growl and back up.” She could see the detective writing things down in a small notepad.
“Does your dog growl a lot at people?”
Nemu shook her head and frowned. “No. Well, he only growls if we are at home and someone comes. When we are in public places, he is normally very nice. Anyway, that is all I saw, because I ran after that. Rayen said that she had heard some sort of noise. I think she had something else happen to her because she seemed really freaked out, but Rayen wouldn’t say anything.”
Quincy looked up, “is there any reason why she would have gone into the forest after such a scary encounter?”
Biting her lip, Nemu was silent for a moment. “Well… She could have convinced herself that someone was just trying to pull a prank. Rayen gets really angry about things like that. She didn’t like people picking on us or her friends. That could have made her go back, to face the person that did it.” Quincy shook his head and snapped close the notebook.
“Thank you for the help. I know that it’s hard, but we are really looking. I’m sure we can fin’ your sis-, I mean Rayen soon.” He patted her head, causing Nemu to duck.
Nemu watched the man leave, the door clicking shut behind him.