The sunset had turned to sunrise and the red and pink painted sky prompted Hank to pull down the visor but it did little to shield his eyes from the rising sun. He was exhausted from driving nearly two days straight. Worried about Nadine home alone and probably missing him there was an uncomfortable itching at the back of his throat caused by the knowledge that going on this trip may lose him his job.
Hank pulled off at historic Baskerville, Oregon and got a room at the first motel he came across. It was surprisingly nice for the glorified trailer park it appeared to be on the outside. It didn’t have Wi-Fi. He unlocked the door to his room and immediately began setting up his laptop. Luckily his phone had reception and he used his cellular data for his laptops internet connection. The first thing he did was log into what appeared to be a long forgotten Xanga group and made sure that his status showed he was online.
Then he opened up his mail client and sent Nadine a quick message saying he loved and missed her. Then there was little to do but wait. Hank unbuttoned his shirt and left his pants crumpled on the floor on his way back from the restroom. He was too anxious to turn on the T.V. or take a shower. He wanted to be ready when she came online, if she came online.
It seemed dishonest to him at first, creating an account and assuming this online personality to contact strangers, possible murderers. But the more he participated in the online chats the less it felt fake. It was purely the sympathetic side of him. The part that if these girls were really the murderers, he wasn’t sure he would hold it against them.
The punishment for sexual crimes against children was severe yet was rarely carried out to the full extent of the law. Crimes against women even less so and so many cases that were never reported or closed. Yet these Lolita’s had so much anger and claimed that killing their assailants would hypothetically make everything better or at least easier. Hank wasn’t so sure that was true.
The chat sessions had taken the form of group therapy. Users like Kawaii15 and PoSies_R_4eVa spoke about their terrifying experiences as children or young women, how they’d hurt themselves like Nadine had and how they yearned to be stronger than they thought they were. They explained how being Lolita had given them confidence to face their daily life. They felt like their bodies weren’t being objectified by fashion and Hank expected that looking like children removed any societal pressure to engage in adult behaviors.
Rosette was the guiding light of the group of girls. She claimed that she too had once been weak and broken by the harm caused to her by her stepfather. She claimed to have gotten revenge and how it had helped her move on. She provided a sense of inspiration for her followers. Hank gave her that much but the way she was revered sent a chill through his body. When Lolita’s were “ready to take their future into their own hands” Rosette would offer to chat privately with them. She contacted you, not the other way around.
No one had met her in person and Hank knew it was a long shot that she was actually the ringleader of a Lolita crime group. Maybe she wasn’t even a woman at all nevertheless he had a feeling.