The Predator had to hunt and kill today. Its need was overwhelming it. It just had to find someone to assuage its desires, but the right sort of prey was always difficult to find. Still, if you looked the part and was patient, the right one would usually turn up.
Little Paula looked so scared and lost. Sure, it was the second week of school, and she had been shown which bus to catch last week – but that was last week. Over the weekend, she had forgotten; after all, she was only in first grade.
So, feeling small and cold in her pretty pink dress and lacy white cardigan, she tried to understand what she should do next.
Her mummy had always told her that when you are worried, you should look for a teacher or a policeman. It was good advice, except Paula couldn’t see anyone who looked like that. All the adults she could see looked harassed or grumpy, not cool and calm like a teacher should. Nor was anyone wearing a police uniform. And, as an obedient and serious little girl, she was careful not to speak to strangers.
She could feel tears beginning to well in her eyes. The other children were cheerfully climbing onto their various buses, or trailing off to walk home. Soon, she would be left all alone.
What should she do? Should she go back into the school, and try to find someone to help? Maybe there would be someone still left in the office, and she could ask them for assistance.
But what if everyone goes home when the bell went? While her school was fun when it was full of chattering students, it looked kind of spooky and deserted when they had all left for the day. The shadows were big and gloomy, and the hallways echoed. It just seemed too big and too imposing and way too frightening for a little girl not yet six years old.
Still, maybe if she hurried, the shadows wouldn’t catch her.
Just then, a warm hand clasped her shoulder. “What’s wrong, honey?”
Paula turned her pale, tense face to this new threat. Smiling down at her was a big man, wearing smart navy blue and white clothes, and a crisp hat. He didn’t look exactly like a policeman, but he did look very official in his own way.
“I can’t remember my bus. I think I’ve missed it,” whispered Paula.
“Well, then, we’d best see how we can get you home. Do you know where you live? Do you know your address?”
Paula brightened up considerably at the word ‘home’. The threat of tears subsided to a shiny gloss on her eyes. “Oh, I have my address. It’s written down on the inside of all my books.”
The kind man looked pleased. “That’s excellent. Here, give us a look then.”
Paula handed him one of the books from her Power Puff Girls knapsack, her handwriting book. In the front cover was her name and address and phone number.
“Well, Paula,” said the man, “My name is Ronnie. I live just a few blocks from your house. How about I give you a lift home?”
The little girl looked hopeful. The man knew her name, so he couldn’t be a stranger; he must be a friend of her parents that she just couldn’t place. And he wanted to get her home, to her Mummy.
“Yes, please,” she said politely.
The predator couldn’t believe its luck. It had located a potential victim who seemed just perfect. If it played its cards right, and didn’t seem too eager, the little fish should be well and truly hooked.
Ronnie led Paula over to his vehicle, and made sure she was secure in her seatbelt before pulling out from the curbing. The little girl was too small to see out of the car window, and so couldn’t see where they were headed. Still, it didn’t really matter, as Paula was not familiar with the streets surrounding the school to know any different.
So, she didn’t really know that they were headed away from her home address.
The predator’s luck was holding. No one had noticed it and the victim getting into the car. Even if anyone had looked in their direction, they would have seen a happy little girl getting tucked in by her attentive Daddy. It would be too late before anyone noticed Paula missing.
Ronnie’s car was a big, butch four-wheel-drive. A criminal psychologist would have had a field day with such a car. It had all the equipment for a hunting trip, even though any permitted seasonal hunting was well and truly over. The macho vehicle helped compensate for his feelings of inadequacy.
The only time that Ronnie felt strong and in charge was when he was raping a minor. He was too much of a coward to attack a full-grown woman. He needed to completely dominate his target.
Paula was beginning to get restless in his backseat. It was beginning to dawn on her that the trip was taking much too long.
“Are you lost, Mister Ronnie?”
“No, sweetheart. We are nearly there,” he lied.
A couple of minutes later, Paula started to cry. Ronnie hadn’t really done anything to give himself away, so he was a little confused.
“Why are you crying?” he asked.
“You aren’t taking me home. You are one of those bad men that steal little girls.”
Ronnie was surprised that she had figured it out so soon. Usually, the children were quite happy and cooperative right up until he started to hurt them. Most kids, even when constantly warned about ‘Stranger Danger’, still couldn’t really believe that anyone would be mean to them on purpose.
In a way, he was doing them a favour; he was teaching them what went on in the real world.
The little girl continued to cry. It gave Ronnie a bit of a rush; this girl was exactly the type of victim he was looking for, weak and passive. Another girl might have started screaming, or trying to struggle out of her seat restraint.
They reached the abandoned store that Ronnie had sussed out previously. The shop had been untenanted for months, and no one ever bothered to check it out once in a while. It had been the work of moments to break in, and over the last week Ronnie had set it up for his power games.
He quickly bundled Paula inside.
Paula looked around at her surroundings. The place was dusty and grimy, with cockroach droppings dotting the floor. Against one wall was an unrolled sleeping bag, and it was here that she had been dumped. The place seemed completely deserted, with no chance of anyone hearing screams for help.
Ronnie was pulling down his jeans. He was feeling just great. In a few minutes, he would be getting his rocks off. He was large and in charge.
Except, the girl child had stopped crying. In fact, she had stood up and was smiling, a creepy smile that held no real humour.
“Well, it’s time for little girls to get what they deserve. Take your knickers off, Paula.”
“You are a bad man, a really bad man,” stated the little girl. She just stood there, staring at him.
Paula didn’t seem to be frightened anymore. She wasn’t following Ronnie’s mental script. By now, she was supposed by be crying or begging to go home.
“Look, it you shut up and do what your told, it won’t hurt so much,” snarled Ronnie. He had his pants around his ankles, and he hopped over to the child. Grabbing her roughly, he tried to get her to lie down.
Paula seemed to ripple. Her mouth was suddenly larger, her teeth looked sharper, and her fingers curled into claws. “I like bad men. No one misses them when they are gone.”
The predator ate well that day.