Edgar Alfred Poe
"I was hired by an anxious single father who said his daughter had disappeared. He shared custody with the ex-wife; it was her turn to take care of the girl for the weekend. Apparently the mother said she had left the house for a few minutes, and when she returned the door was open and the child was gone.
The police were treating it as a kidnapping; they had interviewed the woman about any suspicious characters that she might have seen hanging around the neighborhood or the playground. Me, I wasn't so sure. There was something fishy about the mother's story. And the father was beside himself with worry - little Tabitha had been sick of late, taking antibiotics. How could a desperately ill child have been lured or carried away in broad daylight by a complete stranger.
I did what any detective would do: I went snooping. It was child's play to wait until the woman left the house; I noticed the special care she took locking all the doors and windows. I picked the lock to the kitchen door; it didn't take a genius to see the fresh repairs to the wooden floorboards in the hall, and move the wardrobe that had been pushed so hastily in front of the cellar door that its legs scarred the hardwood. A shining new deadbolt had been recently installed, and a padlock.
Fearing the worst, I knocked on the door, calling for Tabitha. There was no answer save for a furtive creak below. I felt sick, asking myself what sort of woman could lock a sick child up in the dark and terrorize her so badly that she was afraid even to cry for help. I went to my car, returned with a crowbar, and ripped the hardware out of the door to liberate the child.
If I had not been wearing leather gloves, I likely would not be speaking to you now. Little Tabitha's teeth were quite black with poison."
|Edgar Alfred Poe|
|Clubs||0||Hand to Hand||37|