Recap: Mr. Slotkin needed Dr. Nathan to come because their baby was very ill. Dr. Nathan wasn’t home, so he asked Aharon to come, since he was the doctor’s assistant. Aharon didn’t want to leave his nephews alone and he didn’t think he knew enough to help, but the Slotkins were desperate, so he left nine-year-old Chezky in charge of Shmuel and headed out into the blizzard with Mr. Slotkin.
I was so engrossed in the journal that I didn’t hear a car pull up on Ilana’s deserted block. I glanced at the wall clock. It was past midnight. Suddenly I heard rustling by the front door.
It could be Ilana, but they wouldn’t come home this late. Someone was trying to get into her house.
I dropped the journal and scurried to the back window that I’d climbed through before, and I quietly slipped out into the darkness.
It as a moonless night. There was no sound but a soft whimpering of some wild creature. I crept behind a tree in the backyard and listened. Should I call the police? I heard banging, and it sounded like someone had entered her house. Then I heard a loud voice. “I know you’re in here. Just come quietly and we won’t have to make a mess.”
It was Gator. I recognized her loud coarse voice.
I took off running as fast as I could. I didn’t know where to go but I knew I had to get away from her. She was on my trail.
I ran and ran, thinking I’d better go where there are lots of houses and somewhere to hide.
I didn’t hear any car following me and I prayed she’d given up the chase. I ran for what felt like miles, until my legs were shaking and my heart was pounding. I was in a different part of town. I didn’t know anyone in this neighborhood. It wasn’t a Jewish area, but I couldn’t worry about that now. I pulled out my cell phone and called the police. I told them someone broke into my cousin’s house. I gave them her address. Then I told them someone was chasing me. The police knew about the Alligator gang, and they said they’d send out a patrol. I tried to explain where I was, but it was too dark to see any street signs.
“Find a sign and we’ll send a car to pick you up.”
I found one finally and, shining my phone on it, I read off the street name. Just then I heard the sound of a car. It wasn’t speeding but there was something eerie in the way it was inching down the street. Every few feet it stopped, and someone flashed a search light out the window.
My neck muscles tightened. She was hunting me down.
I backed behind some trees. The officer had instructed me to stay here but if I did, she’d find me. There were two other people with her and, to my horror, I saw she had a Doberman Pinscher in the back seat.
I took a deep breath and began running again.
I ran and ran but I could hear the car. If they got out on foot with that dog, how would I escape?
I was running wildly without thinking which direction. I found myself in the middle of large park. I’d never been here before. I noticed it was completely deserted and very dark except for a few streetlights.
I heard a rustling. I spotted a homeless man lying on a park bench. I kept running. There were no roads here, so hopefully I would lose her.
I took out my phone and punched the number of the police.
“Hello,” I was out of breath. “I’m in a park. I had to run away from where I told you. Yes. I called before—”
At that moment, I heard barking and suddenly I was surrounded by Gator and her two friends.
My heart flip-flopped.
The three of them strode towards me. Before I could scream or run, one of them grabbed me by the waist and tied my hands behind my back. The other one grabbed my cell phone and tied a gag around my mouth.
I felt like I was going to throw up. My head was spinning.
“Now, you just be a good girl and take us to your father’s papers. We know you know where they are. Any good father would instruct his only daughter where something valuable like that is. Barrie, you lead this nice girl to the car.” Gator’s voice was low and malicious.
Barrie pushed me into the car. I was too frozen with fear to move or to protest. I felt like a lifeless balloon with all the air pushed out. I couldn’t take a breath. I pulled at the gag.
“I can’t breathe,” I said. The words came out muffled.
Barrie loosened the gag.
The other girl was a big, heavy girl named Wolf. Her job was to sit right next to me and watch that I didn’t try to escape. Her huge presence made that option impossible.
Gator drove along at a moderate speed. I noticed a police car in the distance. She was clearly making sure not to catch his attention.
If only I could get to my phone. Wolf was holding it.
The moonless, starless night reflected the darkness I was feeling. Hashem, please, I know you are always here with me. Please help me. I can’t reveal Aba’s secret. Help me be strong to resist these brutes.”
To be continued…
By Susie Garber