Matt was a small individual, standing about five foot nine, with short brown hair and a pleasant, innocent face. What he lacked in size, however, he made up for in determination. Matt woke up every day at 3:45AM to run. He would run seven miles every day, enjoying the quiet of dawn and the solidarity of the route through the park he had carved out for himself. It was about a week into October that his daily routine was interrupted.
Matt put on and tied his shoes just like any other day. He locked his apartment door and stepped outside, putting his earbuds in and finding a good song to begin his run to. For about 15 minutes, he ran his normal route. Then he came to the tunnel.
The tunnel was about 60 feet long, and rested under a footbridge in the park in which it was located. It was a hotspot for graffiti artists, and Matt always thought it had an ominous look to it in the darkness. Even so, he’d never had any problem making his way through it, and proceeded to enter it. He began jogging through, admiring the artwork on the surrounding walls.
As he traversed from the entrance of the tunnel to the exit, he didn’t notice the shadow at the end, cast from a light post just outside the mouth of it. He reached the opening at the end of the tunnel, and for a split second, he saw a figure swing something at him, and then everything went black.
Matt awoke to find himself in the dark. Once his eyes adjusted, he realized that he was in a small space, but he could tell from the bumpiness of everything around him that whatever he was in was moving. The sounds of gears shifting and passing cars told him he was in a truck. The ride lasted for about three hours by his guess, as his phone had been taken from him. When the truck finally came to it’s last stop, Matt listened as the back of the trailer he was in slid upwards, followed by approaching footsteps.
He heard keys jingle and a lock click, and then, the wall in front of him opened at one end and he saw the silhouette of a man pointing a gun at him.
“Let’s go.” said the burly man with the gun. This man was Greg, the truck driver.
Knowing it wouldn’t do any good to ask questions, Matt abided. He was led out of the truck to a cabin that was seemingly in the middle of nowhere. They went inside the cabin and the Greg moved a rug off the living room floor, revealing a trap door. He opened the door and motioned for Matt to walk down the stairs, which he did. In the cellar, there was another man, a woman in her 20’s, and a teenage girl, all chained to different areas.
Greg led Matt to a wall that had a chain connected to a piece of metal, and wrapped a cuff around Matt’s ankle. He then walked over to a refrigerator where he pointed to a copious amount of bottled water, one of which he tossed to Matt.
“So what’s gonna happen? Are you gonna kill us?” Matt finally asked, twisting the cap off of his water.
“No way, man. I’m no killer. They just pay me to get you there.” Greg replied.
“Who? Get us where?” Matt inquired, not really expecting an answer.
“To Glarus.” Greg replied as he walked back up the creaky stairs to the ground level of the cabin.
Matt let out a sigh, and began looking around trying to figure a way out of his current predicament. The other people in the basement sat where they were, disheveled and dirty.
“How long have you guys been here?” asked Matt, not to any one person in particular.
“Three days.” said the teenage girl. “I’m Maddie.”
“I’m Matt.” he said with a chuckle.
“I’ve been here for three weeks.” said the other man. “I’m Dave.”
“And I’ve been here for about two weeks.” said the woman. “Jessica.”
“And what, he just keeps you all down here?” asked Matt.
“Yup.” said Dave. “Feeds us twice a day, we have all the water we can drink, and he lets us use the bathroom twice a day, at gunpoint.
“Sounds like a nice guy.” said Matt, eliciting a stifled laugh from his fellow prisoners.
And so Matt sat with the others, going about the routine they’d described for about a week. On the final day there, a third man was brought in. He too was chained to a part of the cellar and asked the same questions Matt did, albeit in a more panicked tone.
“Who the fuck are these people?” the man asked after Greg returned upstairs.
“People?” asked Matt. “You saw more than one?”
“Yeah, one guy took me and then delivered me to that guy.” he said.
“The same thing happened to me.” said Maddie.
“So they’ve gotta be working together. This seems like some kind of human trafficking situation. Fuck me.” Matt said.
“Jesus Christ.” the man said.
The captives all introduced themselves to the man, whose name turned out to be Sam. And for the next week, they all stayed in the cellar, until one day, the truck driver and another man, this one being Paul, came down. Paul unlocked everyone while the Greg stood watch with a gun. The men didn’t need to explicitly tell anyone not to do anything foolish, as it was heavily implied. The group walked single file up the stairs to the ground floor and out the cabin door.
The same truck Matt had been transported in sat parked with the back open, and the false back wall of the trailer was ajar. The group went into it and packed into the back of the truck. They were given water bottles and sandwiches and advised that they would get a chance to use the bathroom in roughly six hours.
The truck drove for nearly two days, with periodic breaks for the group to relieve themselves along the way. They sat cramped in the small space they were held captive in, taking turns laying down because the limited room didn’t allow them to do so simultaneously. Eventually, they came to a stop for what they assumed was another trip to a restroom. However, the door to the trailer slid up and Matt realized they were at the loading dock of a warehouse. One by one, the group was brought from the back of the trailer into the vacant building.
The warehouse itself was massive, but Matt and the other prisoners were kept near the loading dock that the truck was backed up to, chained to the ground once again. The floors were dusty, and the air was damp and warm, but even so, it was better than being behind the false wall of the trailer. Matt and his fellow captives were able to stretch out on the concrete floors, and though it sounds bad, it was preferable to their other dungeon.
At the beginning of the second day in the warehouse, three children were brought down, two boys and a girl. They too were chained to the floor. They sobbed, as scared as any child ripped away from their families, their friends, and their lives would be. The adults in the group of prisoners did their best to comfort the children, but their efforts were, understandably, ultimately fruitless.
While at the warehouse, the drivers would take turns running errands, none of which the group were privy to, besides one of men getting them food twice a day. Matt did his best to try to hear what the men talked about in hushed whispers, but to no avail. He and the others were kept completely in the dark as to the reason for their kidnapping.
Finally, the drivers took the group from their chains and placed them into the hidden space in the back of the trailer, which was now with even less space with the addition of the three children. They drove for another day, still with no clue as to their destination besides the name of a place they’d never heard of. Eventually they came to another stop. After a short time, Matt listened as the trailer door slid upwards followed by footsteps approaching the false wall they were being held behind.
The wall was unlocked and opened, and the three children were ordered out by Paul, much to the objection of the adult captives. Jessica, Dave, and Maddie did their best to keep the children from being taken, but a gun in their faces left them with little choice. The children were removed from the small space and the false wall was closed once again. The group sat there in silence, assuming the worst had happened to the children.
After a short while, the truck once again roared to life, and they were once again on the move. After about a 15 minute drive, they came to yet another stop. After waiting for roughly another 15 minutes, the familiar sound of the door sliding open filled the open space in the trailer. The two men walked to the back of the trailer and opened the false back wall, with Greg making sure to show the group his gun.
They were unloaded out the back of the truck and found themselves to be at a motel with all of the lights off, including the business’s sign. Under the cover of darkness, the captives were put into motel rooms. Maddie and Jessica went into room 4, Dave and Sam to room 5, leaving Matt by himself in room 6.
The prisoners all found it strange that they would be left alone in motel rooms, but they quickly learned that the doors locked from the outside, and there were bars over the windows. While they all, naturally, spent hours trying to find a way out, each of them found that the rooms had been immaculately sealed, with no chance for escape. After exhausting all of their efforts, each member of the group of five captives drifted off to sleep.
Once dawn came, the drivers came to take them out of their rooms, cuffing them together as they were collected. Each of the five captives saw people outside in the town, walking their dogs, riding their bikes, all in different Halloween costumes. They all screamed at the top of their lungs, which only made Paul and Greg chuckle, who then waved to the people about the town. To the group of prisoner’s horror, the people simply waved back and went about their business.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING WITH US?!” screamed Maddie, now more afraid than ever.
“I’m driving you.” said Greg with a chuckle.
“But where?!” begged Jessica, who more feared the mystery of the situation than anything else.
“To some guy’s farm, now shut the fuck up!” Greg snapped back.
The terrified women abided. They were finally loaded into the back of the truck, where they conversed amongst each other as to what could possibly be going on, with Matt coming to the only logical conclusion: whatever was happening, the entire town was in on it. Meanwhile, they were driven for about 15 minutes until they stopped again. When they saw sunlight again moments later, it was only brief.
They were unloaded from the truck and led down the steps to a new cellar, where they were once again chained to the walls. They saw that they weren’t the only ones in this new cellar, as evidenced by the man and woman who were chained about 10 feet away from where they were now being kept. Paul walked down after all five of the captives had been restrained.
“Whew, looks like the spider already caught a few flies, didn’t he?” said Paul.
“I guess so. Well, it’s been fun, guys.” said Greg with a laugh. “I’d say good luck, but I don’t think luck has anything to do with what’s gonna happen to you.”
And with that, the truck driver shut the door to the cellar, leaving the prisoners in the dark, both figuratively and literally.