October 05, 2021
While I was out for a walk one evening, a boy handed me a paper boat and ran away. The events that followed were terrifying, to say the least.
I'm a writer by profession, so I spend a lot of time in parks, libraries, museums, and pretty much anywhere else I can find inspiration for my next story. I was out for a pleasant evening stroll on the day this incident occurred.
I used to see a boy with a man every day as I walked through the park. They would arrive at the same time, the boy would play for a while and then leave with the man. What I found strange was that the man always had a stern expression on his face and never let that kid interact with other people.
Once I had seen him playing with Christopher, my neighbor’s son, but as soon as that strange man saw that, he began yelling at the child.
“I’ve told you a million times, Jordan, that you’re not supposed to play with other kids. How difficult is it for you to comprehend that?” That was also how I learned that the boy’s name was Jordan.
“But it wasn’t me,” Jordan replied. “That boy asked me if he could join, and I couldn’t say no to him.”
“Enough, Jordan!” the man yelled. “Is this how you talk to your dad? When did you learn to answer me back like that, huh?” Yes, the man was Jordan’s father.
After that day, Jordan started spending less time in the park, and whenever he came, he was always around his father. When his ball went too far while playing, he wasn't allowed to leave his spot; his father would get up and get his ball, and when he told him to leave, he never insisted on playing like the other kids.
The evening I received the paper boat was just like any other, with kids running around, women gossiping, and young couples holding hands and walking around. I had approached the park’s end and noticed Jordan sitting quietly in one corner.
“Are you okay, Jordan?” I shouted at him from far. “What are you doing alone there?”
He had a terrifying look on his face. He signaled me to leave with his little hands, but I decided to approach him and ask him if he was okay. Unfortunately, his father arrived before I could do so.
“Jordan, what are you doing here?” How many times have I told you that you shouldn’t be roaming around like that?” he began screaming.
“Sorry, dad,” Jordan said quietly. “I had lost my ball, so I was looking for it, and you were busy on a call.”
His father was enraged. “Listen carefully to what I’m saying, kid. If you do it again after you’ve done it once, it won’t be good for you, understand?”
I was about to interrupt them and ask him why he was always so harsh with Jordan, but then my phone started ringing. It was a call from my editor. I decided to return the call later and help Jordan first, but when I looked up from my phone, Jordan and his father had already left.
I had this unsettling feeling that day that something wasn’t quite right. So I planned to confront Jordan’s father the next day, but Jordan did not show up at the park. I was really worried at this point because Jordan had appeared tense the last time I’d seen him.
I sat on a bench for a while, wondering if the kid was safe and if I should call the cops, but then what would I say? I didn’t know anything about Jordan or his father other than their names and appearance. Furthermore, some parents are stingy strict, overprotective, and expect their children to obey every command. Perhaps Jordan’s father is one of them, I reasoned.
However, just as I was lost in my thoughts, I was interrupted by a voice from behind me. “Uncle Dave! Take this. I’m getting late!” When I turned around, I saw it was Christopher.
“What happened, Chris? Why are you in a hurry?”
“Mom found out that I failed my exam, and now I have to face her. She’ll probably not let me play with my friends in the park if I don’t get home on time, so I have to hurry. Here take this,” Chris handed me the paper boat.
“Sorry it got wet. I accidentally spilled water on it. Jordan asked me to give it to you yesterday, but I forgot. It was in my bag today with my exam paper. Anyway, see you later, bye!” Christopher hurried away.
I brought the paper boat home and when I examined it closely, I noticed a scribbled text on it. The majority of it was ruined by the water, but it was still possible to see some digits and English letters.
I used a blow dryer to dry the paper and looked at it against the light. It said, "Help," but after that, some letters were missing, and then there was a phone number with, thankfully, all digits visible except the phone code.
I dialed the number and guess what? It turned out to be Jordan’s mother Linda’s contact number. She was terrified on the call and said that her husband and son had not returned home since they had left in the morning.
She explained that her husband David used to drop her son off at school in the morning, then go to painting classes in the evening, spend some time at the park, and then return, but it had been a long time, and she was trying to contact him, but he didn’t pick up the phone. When she said that, I understood something wasn’t quite right.
We immediately went to the police station and informed them of the situation. Thankfully, Jordan was tracked down as David’s phone was still on, and the boy was saved.
It turned out David was an abusive man. Linda wanted to divorce him, but he wasn’t ready because Linda comes from a wealthy family, and he could continue to benefit from his in-laws as long as she was with him.
When Linda became too adamant about the divorce, he decided to flee with Jordan because he was in debt, and the goons wanted their money back. Linda had long stopped giving him any money she received from her parents, so he decided to kidnap Jordan and extort money from his wife.
Jordan was sick of seeing his mother crying and begging his father every day, but he couldn't speak up because he was afraid David would mistreat Linda. David would often get drunk and beat him and Linda up regularly.
So Jordan approached Christopher and asked him to give the paper boat to me. He had often seen me with Christopher, and he thought I could help him.
Anyway, after that day, I often visited Jordan and Linda. Soon, I found out that she was single and we began dating. Yeah, I know you guys think it's cheesy, but we married and moved in together a few months later. Now I have a happy family. Also, Linda got pregnant recently, and we are eagerly waiting for our new family member.
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