In the Stacks: Part 4

When Maddie woke up the next morning, she looked like a completely different person. She was lively, and there was color in her once pale cheeks. Rowan made her a hearty breakfast to give her energy for the day to come.

Still Maddie spoke very little, but it was to be expected. She would spend a great deal of time that day giving her report. Rowan knew that it was sure to tire her. He did, however, find it odd that she never once asked to call her family. Never once did she mention reaching out to a friend, nor did she seem like she even wanted to talk to her roommates from her dorm. Rowan waved those thoughts away by assuming it was because she was in shock. Perhaps once she told her story to the police, she would realize that she hadn’t notified anyone just yet. He did not give any more thought to the matter.

Once breakfast was over, both readied themselves to go to the police station. Rowan gave her fresh clothes to wear. She didn’t seem to mind that all of his clothes fit her poorly. He was sure that she was just glad to be in something clean.

They made their way back out to his car, which was parked at the back of his building. It was the most secluded spot, which made it easy to sneak Maddie in and out of the complex. As they sat in the car waiting for the AC to cool them, Rowan thought he saw someone in another car staring in their direction. When he looked more closely, though, the person quickly pulled out of the lot. Rowan thought this was kind of weird, but then again, most of the people in his complex were a little strange. Regardless, this just heightened his anxiety.

He pulled out of the lot and began making his way towards the police station. The entire ride, Maddie looked out the window not saying a word. Rowan tried to make conversation every so often, but he didn’t want to pressure her. He could feel the tension building in his car, though. When he glanced over at her face, it seemed like her eyes were searching for something. Perhaps she was as paranoid as he was that somehow the man had followed them.

As they pulled into the police station parking lot, Maddie started drumming her fingers nervously on her thigh. Before they exited the car, she tried to tell Rowan that he didn’t have to wait for her, that he could go home, but he insisted that he at least walk her into the building. He felt a strong urge to stay with her and see her through the situation at hand. Both walked up to a woman sitting at a desk, and Maddie stated shyly that she wanted to file a kidnapping report. Before the woman could respond, a tall, angry-looking police officer approached Maddie and told her to follow him. He gave Maddie a strange look and then glared quickly at Rowan. He then proceeded to lead her to an interview room. The receptionist looked a bit flustered but didn’t say anything.

Rowan was not allowed to go back with her, and he was left to assume that the officer had overheard them mention a kidnapping and was anxious to separate Maddie from Rowan. He probably thought that Rowan had something to do with it somehow.

He seated himself in a small chair near the entrance and mulled over the events of the last couple of days. He wanted to believe that all of these things were going to be over soon, but something still had him feeling uneasy. Sure the man was still loose at that very moment, but Rowan would be able to point him out quickly. Not to mention that Maddie’s statement would give them plenty of cause to arrest him. There should not have been any reason for Rowan to worry.

As he thought these things, he waited for Maddie to reemerge from the room, which seemed to take hours. And it probably did because at some point, he had nodded off from his sheer lack of sleep the night before. He leaned his head back against the wall behind his chair and only awoke because someone had tapped his shoulder.

He opened his eyes to the same angry officer that had led Maddie away. He quietly whispered to Rowan that Maddie had been taken home and that everything else should be left to the police officers. Rowan was mildly shocked because he hadn’t known what to expect. He hadn’t even considered that she would go home immediately, but he realized quickly that there was actually no need for her to explain anything to him. Really, he was still a stranger to her. He was also shocked and wondering why the officer had whispered to him as if he didn’t want others to hear what he had said.

He reluctantly thanked the officer, who merely grunted at him in response. Puzzled at Maddie’s supposed refusal to talk to him again as well as the officer’s behavior towards him, Rowan turned to leave the station. The officer watched Rowan intensely as he walked away. As he reached for the door, though, he heard another door in the back of the building slam open. The next moment he was being pulled roughly by Maddie. She ran and dragged him towards his car without any explanation. She didn’t scream or make any sounds, but he could tell that she was terrified again.

Rowan turned questioningly towards the angry officer, and he looked furious. However, perhaps because he was surrounded by his coworkers and other people, Rowan wasn’t sure, the officer did not pursue them. As they both hopped in the car and sped off, Rowan started screaming at Maddie, asking her what had happened and why the officer had lied to him. He felt bad for raising his voice, but he couldn’t control it. He was frightened and worried that he would be arrested for something.

Maddie quickly screamed back that that something hadn’t been right about the cop. When he had pulled her away from Rowan, he ended up taking her to a back hallway, not an interrogation room. He practically threw her down by her arm once they were away from everyone and had begun screaming at her.

Rowan was surprised at her raised voice and immediately cooled down. He could see that what she had to say was important.

When she was sure that he was calm and listening, Maddie continued her story. The officer had yelled that she had made the worse mistake she could have made. His brother had told him that ‘his girl’ had escaped and would more than likely be coming to the police for help.

At this Rowan felt his blood freeze in his veins. The man was related to the officer. There was nowhere safe that these two could run.

She continued her story. She said that he had taken her to an unused portion of the station to an older, unused room. Here he tied her to an exposed water pipe and proceeded to call his brother. Maddie could hear him screaming on the other end of the phone something about ‘doing away’ with her and that he thought ‘she would be the one to last’. He had sat for the next half hour or so trying to console his brother, the whole time glaring at Maddie.

When he got off the phone, he had grabbed her by her hair and told her that she wasn’t escaping this time. He left the room after, again, throwing her to the ground in disgust. When she heard his footsteps recede, she had begun to work at the ropes that were binding her. Luckily, the pipe she had been tied to was rusted away, and there was a portion of metal that was sharp enough for her to fray the rope. Shortly after that was when she had run out to Rowan.

At the conclusion of her story, Rowan just stared ahead, dumfounded. He was concerned, extremely concerned that he had gotten thrown right into the middle of this whole situation. He knew that he was being a bit selfish, but he had just wanted to help. He now worried that both the man and his police officer brother were going to come for him too. All Rowan could do was drive, as he didn’t know where to go. He knew he could easily remove himself from the situation and let the girl fend for herself, but he didn’t want to. He HAD to see this through, and he HAD to help Maddie.

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