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Freedom snatchers

Can you smell that? It smells like wet metal, rusty metal and something else.

Blood and piss?

So, he may have been here.

Maybe, still is here...

We continued to search.

Bracing ourselves for what we might find; fueled by an insatiable curiosity, intent and purpose we quietly and uniformly moved forward.

After all these years, the chills still gripped me and I was tightly wound ready to spring. Colin was a few feet ahead of me and Peps was off to my left. Our triangular formation slowly and steadily making its way towards truth, understanding, closure.

There was bird shit everywhere now and dank wooden water damaged beams leaning at unnatural angles kept us ever more vigilant.

He had been missing for four days now. The letter stating that whoever took him would take "good care" of him had sent the mother over the edge. The grisly blood stains on the torn sheet of insignificant lined paper along with the underlying meaning had been too horrific to absorb!

In the time it took to read the short note, a regular middle class family with routine thoughts and actions, regular expectations and a false sense of invincibility in the bosom of suburbia were thrust into a nightmare from which they could not awaken.

The fact that there were individuals who believed they could just waltz into another person's life (for whatever reason and in whatever manner) and take, steal, deprive said individual of a day, of sunshine, of time, of space and dreams, of their life was so unfathomably wrong that it had to be stopped. That is what propelled three friends from days of snotty noses and scraped knees to make it their mission in life to actively do something about it when they grew up.

Peps stopped short and we followed suit. Where he stood, he was half in shadow and although he was indicating seeing something further to his left in an even darker area, Colin and I could not make out anything. We changed our positions and allowed for Peps to lead and Colin and I took each flank.

I could feel that we were close to discovering something. Years of heightened sensory perception through training and doing rarely steered me in the wrong direction.

Peps' quick short intake of breath and expression as he turned to us and pointed revealed a lump of what used to be a boy.

Colin and I turned and vomited.

Photo by Mathias Reding

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