It was about five in the morning, usually normal people would be asleep at that time. But we were no longer normal people. We no longer had lives, at least for the time being. For now, there was no such thing as work or school. There was nothing outside of this situation. All we did was sit around and wait.
What were we waiting for? My toddler to just walk through the front door? Sure, there were police officers leading search parties, but I knew it was fruitless. They wouldn’t find Jj out in the corn fields. They wouldn’t find him out there. Someone had him, and we needed to be doing more to track this person down.
After the events of the day before, none of us could sleep. Zeus, Artemis, Hillary and I sat on the floor of Hil’s bedroom. I still couldn’t figure out why Hillary telling me she loves me as her best friend was so heartbreaking, but that was at the back of my mind. For the most part.
Otherwise, we were just basically sitting in silence.
“Am I the only one who thinks this is bullshit?” Hillary aggressively broke the stifling silence. “Why do they want us to just sit here? We should be helping, we should be trying to track this motherfucker down, not comb through crop fields.”
“Don’t you think the police know what they’re doing?” Zeus retorted, defensively.
“Do you really still think they know what they’re doing? They’re not doing shit, they’re not trying to track this call, they’re not searching houses or sketchy areas. Just crop fields. It’s bullshit.”
“That is fucking bullshit. We should be out there doing something.” Artemis slammed her fist down on the ground. “We shouldn’t just sit here, Athena, we should be out there finding your son.” She spoke to me and only me, implying I was his only parent here.
“We can’t just rely on these incompetent desk jockies to find your son. We need to be proactive.” She sighed. “I’m down to go out searching if you are.”
“B-but the caller…” I trailed off. I wasn’t supposed to look for him. He told me not to come after Jj, that he’d know if I did. “He said not to.”
“How will he know?” Artemis scoffed.
“He’s probably watching me. Hell, he’s probably been watching me for months.” I sighed.
“We can’t just be sitting ducks, Thena. We need to look in different places, not just the fields.” Hillary chimed in. “I don’t think anything is gonna happen.”
“I can’t risk it. I don’t know what that man is capable of.”
“Then you stay here. We’ll go out, we’ll look for him ourselves.” Zeus had seemingly changed his mind, perhaps Hillary had swayed him. She was a very passionate, persuasive person. She could basically convince anyone to do anything.
“Yea, you stay here, watch the phone. Make sure he doesn’t call again. And if he’s watching us, he’ll know you’re not coming with us.” Hillary explained.
“I don’t know…” I thought it sounded like a bad idea.
“I don’t want to just sit here and wallow, either.” I addressed Hillary directly. “It sucks, it’s the fucking worst but I don’t want to go out there and risk my life or my son’s life.” I sighed.
“We’re not gonna let that happen, Athena. We’re going to make sure our little Jj gets back here safe and sound.” Hillary told me confidently. I wanted to believe her, I really did. But was it really worth the risk?
“Where would we even look?”
“There are a lot of old warehouses on the edge of the forest, it used to be a lumber yard until they shut the company down to conserve the forest. There are also a lot of abandoned farm houses on the outskirts of town.” She explained. “If some creep from out of town is holding him somewhere, it would probably be in a place like that.
I had to keep myself from crying after hearing that, the image of my little baby in a gross, dangerous warehouse was enough to make me scream. But I couldn’t.
“I’ll go, but we’re waiting until later. I want to wait for Sebastian.” My uncle had been out of town, on a vacation with his girlfriend. I hated that this was cutting their trip short, but I was grateful he was coming. I missed him, I needed him right now.
“We can do that.” Hillary smiled softly. “Anything you want, you’re in charge of this mission.”
“Okay.” I smiled slightly at her. She smiled back at me, making my heart flutter for a reason I could not explain.
It wasn’t long after we decided to go out to look for Jj on our own that Artemis and Hillary suggested we rest up before going out. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy to sleep, but I was going to try anyway. Artemis was the first out of the door, heading to my bedroom where I offered to let her sleep with me.
But on my way out, the door quickly shut behind me, leaving Zeus and Hillary alone. I stopped in front of it for a second, eavesdropping.
“Hey, Hillary.” I heard Zeus say sleazily, I’d never heard him use that tone before.
“Yes?” She responded, sounding slightly confused.
“I was wondering, if after this whole mess is over, would you like to go out?” He asked her. My heart dropped to my feet. My ex, asking out my best friend.
“Um, are you serious right now?” Hillary retorted in disgust. My heart lept back up into my chest as she said that. It felt good to hear him get rejected. Especially by her.
“Your son is missing, and you’re calling that ‘this whole mess’ and asking me out when its over? That’s fucking sleazy.”
“What? It’s sleazy to think this is all going to work out okay? It’s sleazy to want to celebrate that with a pretty girl?” He pleaded. I internally chuckled, he sounded so pathetic.
“I’m not interested, get out of my room.” Hillary demanded sternly. I leapt away from the door, anticipating Zeus’s exit.
But before he could even leave the room, the house phone rang.
Everyone came running from their respective rooms. Even Dexter came running from my room behind Artemis.
Within seconds, I was in front of that phone. My heart was pounding so loudly in my ears, I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to hear whoever was on the other line.
“Hello?” I answered confidently. If this was the man who was holding my son, I didn’t want him to give the satisfaction of knowing he was upsetting me.
“Ah, Athena, how are you?” That smooth, creepy voice poured through the phones speaker. It sent shivers down my spine, because I recognized it from somewhere. I just could not for the life of me place where.
“What the fuck do you want from me?” I snapped. I didn’t want to play his fucking games. I just wanted to know where my son was.
“Oh, Athena. That’s no way to talk to someone doing you a favor. I called to let you talk to James.” The man laughed slightly. “I wanted to let you say goodbye.”
“What the fuck do are you talking about?” I started to panic. We should’ve left earlier, we had to find him as soon as possible. “What do you mean ‘goodbye’?”
“James Jorge is our son now. And tonight, since it’s the full moon, James Jorge will be descending into hell. He is a crucial sacrifice to our one and only.” He sounded absolutely batshit crazy.
“I swear to god, if you hurt him, I will tear you limb from limb with my bare hands.” I threatened. The thought of my son being… sacrificed… made me incredibly angry. I was ready to fight.
“Your god can’t help you now, Athena. And since you’ve been so awfully rude to me, I don’t think I’ll let you speak to James. Except, one goodbye.” He laughed, and I heard some slight scuffling on the other line.
“Say, goodbye Mama.” The creepy man urged from a distance.
“Goodbye Mama!” Jj’s precious little voice came through the phone set. I nearly lost my shit.
“James, I love you baby. I’m gonna find you, I’m gonna save you. I promise.” I told him as fast as I could.
The phone call came to an abrupt end. The man must’ve heard me promising him things, and ended the call. My heart sunk. Hearing my little boy’s voice again was too much to bare. I had to go and find him, and I had to go now.
“C’mon, we’re going.” I gestured towards Zeus, Artemis, and Hillary.
“Without Sebastian?” Hillary asked.
“He can welcome Jj back home.” I clenched my jaw. I wasn’t coming back without him.
We grabbed our wands, and stormed out the front door. I almost broke the thing off the damn hinges, but I didn’t care. I was enraged, and I needed to find my son. But as soon as we got out onto the front lawn, we were surprised by someone we hadn’t expected to see until later.
“Um, hey.” Sebastian stood at my gate awkwardly, unsure of what to do or say. Brooke, his girlfriend and one of Artemis’s best friends, stood behind him. She was visibly upset, she looked as if she was going to cry.
Sebastian started to take a few steps towards me. “Are you alright?”
I flung myself at him. I had never been so glad to see him in my life. We’d grown apart a little since Jj was born, and since I’d moved out. We hadn’t seen each other in a while. But none of that mattered now. He was here, and it felt like the best thing in the world.
“I’m not.” I answered honestly. “But I’m so glad you’re here.” I hugged him as tightly as I could without hurting him. He hugged me back, which I really appreciated, considering he didn’t like physical affection very much.
“Where were you all going?” Sebastian asked me as I buried my face into his chest.
“We were going out to look for Jj on our own. We don’t have much time. They’re going to hurt him tonight.” I told him. I heard Brooke sob sharply behind him.
“Well, we better get going then.” He let go of me and dropped his arms. “Do we have a specific area we’re searching?”
“Hillary wants to look in the old warehouses.”
“Well, it’s a good thing Brooke and I brought our wands. Let’s go get Jj back.” He smiled softly at me and immediately turned to leave.
I was so glad I had such a confident, capable group of witches with me. We were going to find my son and get him home safely.
I was also going to tear apart the son of a bitch who took him in the first place.