Immediately after realizing Jj wasn’t in the house, I dialed Zeus. Maybe he decided he wanted him in his life after all? I wasn’t thinking straight, but I had to know if he was with his father.
The phone rang, and rang, but there was no answer. My next line of thought was to call Winter. Maybe she was with them.
“Hello?” Winter answered groggily, I must’ve woken her up.
“Winter, is Jj with you guys?” I didn’t even bother to greet her, this was too important.
“What? No, why would he be here? Is everything okay?”
“Are you sure? Is he with Zeus? Can you check?” I fired my words so rapidly I wasn’t sure if she even understood what I said.
“I’ll check but I don’t think so. What’s going on?” She sounded much more awake than before, panic rising through her voice.
“He’s not here, I can’t find him anywhere!” I started to feel myself lose control. My son was missing and we had no idea where he was.
“He’s not here. Call the police. We’ll be there as fast as possible.” Winter said, before hanging up.
“They don’t have him.” I told Hillary quietly. I almost forgot she was there.
“Call the police, Athena. We don’t know how long he’s been gone for. We need to start searching now.”
“Already dialed.” I held the phone up to my ear. I just hoped I could hold myself together.
After calling the police, Hillary made sure I got dressed. She told me there would be people talking to me all day, and I probably wouldn’t want to be in my bra while they did. She was right, and I was so thankful to have her in my life in those moments.
It wasn’t long after that before the cops arrived, then my family. Even Zeus. I was surprised to see him, I had no idea he even cared. My heart ached slightly, I hadn’t seen him in a while and he looked good.
The police got all our statements, then the crime scene investigator started searching my room. The rest of the cops went out to canvas or something. I wasn’t really paying attention, I was in shock.
“Don’t worry ma’am, we’ll find your son. There’s never been a missing person’s case that the Riverview police couldn’t solve.” The cop who stayed at our house with us assured me.
“You’re damn right you will.” Hillary retorted. She was just as protective over him as I was.
“I assure you we’re doing everything we can. He’ll turn up.”
“You’re damn right. He better come back without a scratch on his perfect little head or else I will raise more hell than this town has ever seen.” Hillary rubbed my back comfortingly, “Don’t worry Thena, we’re getting our Jj back.”
“Are you his mother as well?” The cop asked. Hillary blushed a deep shade of red and dropped her hand from my back.
“No, just the roommate and babysitter. But I love that kid like he’s my own.”
“I’m his other parent.” Zeus chimed in from his spot near the desk. “I-I haven’t been around, t-this is a-all my fault.” He started to sob. No one jumped up to comfort him.
“It’s not. It’s mine. I was the one caring for him.” I chimed in. The cop looked uncomfortable and announced he was going to check on the crime scene investigator.
“That’s not true. You were caring for him, but it isn’t your fault. He needed me and I wasn’t there for him. I fucked up.” Zeus buried his face in his hands. I didn’t know what to say.
“I don’t think anyone is at fault here. This isn’t the first case of this happening.” Artemis chimed in from her place on the floor. She’d brought her laptop with her, and was doing some research on it apparently. “The towns around us have missing toddler cases as well. All witches too.”
“W-were they ever found?” Zeus asked hopefully.
“No. But, maybe it’s different this time. Maybe they’re not related.” She turned to me and smiled, something she’d never done before in our lives.
“Hopefully, Artemis. Why don’t you go pass that information onto the cop? They might know already but it’s still a good idea to tell them.” My grandma suggested. She looked so old in that moment, so tired. I knew she’d been through hell in her life and this was no exception. I hoped she would live long enough to at least see Jj start school, hopefully even more than that.
“Okay Grandma, I’ll be back.” Artemis closed her laptop and stood up. “I’m so sorry, Athena. We’ll find him.” She stopped before me and smiled slightly. I wondered where my sister was and what kind of alien was in her place.
“T-thank you.” I replied softly, trying to keep myself composed.
But it didn’t work. My son wasn’t here. We had no idea where he was. I couldn’t handle the idea that I might never see him again, or hear his laugh again. It was too much.
“We’re gonna find him. I’ll search the entire world myself if that’s what it takes. But we’ll find him.” Hillary told me quietly.
Just as she was about to respond, our house phone rang.
I jumped up and immediately made my way towards the phone. Just as I reached to answer, I stopped myself. Did I want to know what the person on the other side of the phone was gonna say? Was it good news? Bad news? Was my son dead? Was he hurt? So many possibilities ran through my head.
“Answer it, Athena.” Winter pushed slightly.
I grabbed the phone with shaky hands and pressed the talk button. “H-hello?
“Athena, you don’t sound so great. Mama bear lose her cub?” The voice teased through the phone.
“Who is this?” I answered angrily. Right now was not the time for a prank call.
“Doesn’t matter right now, sweetheart.” The voice replied. It sounded familiar, they had a deep manly voice and a strange accent, but I couldn’t place who it was.
“Who the fuck is this? This isn’t funny.” I felt myself grow angry.
“Oh, dear I know this isn’t funny. But don’t worry, your cub is in good hands.
“What!” I screamed into the phone. “Do you have my son?”
“He’s not your son anymore.” The man turned angry. “He’s ours. There’s nothing you can do to get him back. Don’t even try.”
“Who are you! Is he alive? Give me my son back!” I screamed as loud as I could into the phone.
“I can’t do that, darling.” His voice returning to that creepy, faux-pleasant tone it was at before. “He’s ours now. Don’t you dare come after him. We’ll know if you do.”
And with that, he hung up.
I dropped to my knees and started to scream. Behind me, I could hear my family jumping up to comfort me, asking me what happened. I could hear the cop and my sister running from the next room.
But the only thing I could focus on was the fact that my son was gone, he was in that man’s creepy little hands and there was nothing I could do.
My precious little James was gone.