…Things aren’t as the appear…
If his grip were any tighter, the doorframe would crumble. Chambers was confused, scared, and curious all at the same time. Part of him wanted to run away, not only away from the room but also out of the building all together to the peace of the woods. Another part wanted to confront the mysterious figure and interrogate him. With his fight or flight instinct scrambled, he settled for talking from the distance.
Chambers asked, “Are you the person Babs refers to as Father?”
“Yes, and you may also refer to me as such if it puts your concerns at ease,” replied the voice inside the room.
Chambers did feel a bit better, but only for the fact that he found his objective. Babs was right that finding him would be a welcomed sight, even though feeling extremely anxious. Not noticing that his grip on the doorframe had softened, Chambers asked, “Why do people refer to you as Father?”
Father paused for a moment and said, “Long ago, Babs was frightened when she first arrived. I tried to explain to her that I was her friend, that I was here to help, but she was too scared. She ran off into the woods to hide. After a few hours of searching, I found her curled up in a pile of leaves. She was cold and exhausted; obviously cried herself to sleep. I brought her inside and made her comfortable, and when she woke up the next day, I asked her what she wanted to make her feel better, and she asked for her father. After explaining that he wasn’t around, she asked if she could call me ‘Father,’ and I agreed. Ever since, she and those she discovers in the forest when she goes out to play refers to me as Father.”
Jackson leaned against his desk, holding a manila envelope in his hands. The crime scene investigators called him earlier informing him that a courier was bringing over the forensic report on the dust samples Jackson collected while working the crime scene at the university. He thought it was strange how the lone footprint in the janitor’s closet was partially covered by fresh dust. No other disturbances in the dust could be attributed to Chen. Even the ropes that bound him had a fine coating of dust.
Standing up, he paced around his desk for a bit, fidgeting with the envelope until he decided to sit down. Opening the envelope, he pulled out the photos and test results and started reading. A reassuring but saddened sigh escaped his chest as the results confirmed his fears. The dust contained trace DNA makers, though the age of the material wasn’t determined. Putting down the documents and picking up the phone, Jackson called the lab to compare the DNA markers with the DNA samples retrieved from Chen’s room. “We’re one step ahead of you,” replied the voice on the other end of the phone.
“How did Babs end up here,” Chambers asked.
Father replied, “I heard her crying out in the dark. No one could help her except for me. So when she was left alone, I entered her room and brought her here.”
“So you kidnapped her?” Chambers exclaimed.
“No, I saved her,” Father rebuffed.
Skeptical, Chambers pushed, “If she safe, why is she still her? Why haven’t you taken her home?”
“I’ve tried,” Father sighed. “I’ve tried to send her home, but I can’t.”
Chambers replied, “That makes no sense. Do you mean that she doesn’t want to go home?”
“Bill, it’s not that easy…” Father started to say before being interrupted.
Chambers asserted, “Then let me take her home. Where’s the phone?”
“I don’t have a phone, Bill,” Father replied.
“Then tell me how to get to the nearest town,” Chambers shouted.
“Bill, please, will you come in here so I can explain…” Father pleaded.
Chambers shouted again, “How do I get to town?”
“THERE IS NO TOWN!” Father yelled back, slamming his fist on the console before him – the lights flickering from the impact.
Stunned, Chambers paused. Breathing heavily, his heart bounding loudly in his chest, he let go of the doorframe and slowly entered the room. “Father… where are we exactly?”