It was a very hot day in Westham, and Thomas and his friend Ken were at the grocery store to get some ice-cream to chill off a bit. Thomas was waiting outside for Ken who was at the toilet. As Thomas was sitting there an old man came out from the store carrying a big box of groceries. He had some troubles getting the box into the car and he asked Thomas if he would help him get it in. Thomas didn’t mind helping the man, so he pushed the box into the backseat of the car. As Thomas was bending over inside the car, the man pushed Thomas into the backseat, closed the door, got in and drove quickly away. And it all happened so fast that nobody noticed what had happened.
When Ken came back from the toilet, he couldn’t find Thomas. He looked inside the store, but Thomas was not to be seen. Ken didn’t think it over much, because he was used to Thomas pulling jokes and pranks at him all the time. Ken just bought his ice-cream, and went home.
After a few hours when Thomas still hadn’t called him, Kent thought he should call to see that everything was all right. It was Thomas’ mother, Anna, who answered the phone.
- Oh, hello Ken. How are you doing? she said.
Ken told her that he was just doing fine, and that he would like to talk to Thomas.
- Well actually, when I said you, I meant you and Thomas, because I thought he was with you.
Then Ken told her what happened at the grocery-store, and that he thought that Thomas had gone home.
It had become dark outside, and it wasn’t like Thomas not to tell his parents where he went. Anna told Ken that she would call some of Thomas’ other friends to ask if he was there. Ken said that he would go and see if Thomas was at the store or somewhere downtown.
Ken didn’t get any results by checking downtown, and neither did Anna by calling Thomas’ friends. They were both getting worried, and they knew that Thomas would have been home by now if everything was all right. It had been seven hours since Ken last saw Thomas, and Anna and her husband, Jim, didn’t see any other solution than to calling the police. Anna spoke to a nice detective, but he couldn’t help them. He told her that Thomas couldn’t be filed missing before he had been gone for at least 24 hours.
Anna and Jim didn’t know what to do. They sat up for a while hoping that someone would call about Thomas. And when the phone rang after a while, they both ran up to get it. Anna was the one that reached it first. The person on the other end of the line was the detective they had spoken to earlier. He told Anna that a women had reported a car wich almost ran her down on its way out of the parkinglot outside the store. The women didn’t see the people inside the car, but she had given the detective the registration-number. The detective went on telling her that he knew who owned the car, but he couldn’t be reached, and he would try again first thing in the morning. Anna was both glad and mad at the same time. She was glad because of the progress he had made, but she was mad since he wouldn’t do anything until tomorrow. But the detective had to remind her that it wasn’t a police-case yet, and what he had done so far was on his own initiative. Anna wanted to know who the person was, but the detective said that he couldn’t tell her that. He told her that he would call her the next morning.
Anna broke down after the conversation, she started crying. She cried and cried, and she just couldn’t stop. Jim had to carry her into her bed so that she could relax. Afterwards he called Ken who was waiting to hear what they had found out. Ken was relieved when he heard what the detective had told them, but he also got very scared when he heard that it might be a kidnapping. Jim promised to call at once when they heard something new.
Ken had difficulties sleeping that night, and Jim and Anna felt the same way. Even though they all wanted to be positive, they couldn’t help thinking of all the horrible things that could have happened to Thomas.
Anna couldn’t wait for the detective to call her the next morning, so she called him instead. He told her that they had just been over to the man’s house, but he was still not at home and the house was locked up. He also felt that he had to tell her that the man had been arrested for crimes like this before, so they were now pretty sure that he had abducted Thomas. But the detective also told her that the man had never hurt any children. He had usually just waited for a while, and then he demanded quite a sum of money to release the kids. The detective had sent out a warrant for the man, and patrol-cars in the whole area was looking for the car. Now they had to try to relax and wait for something to happen.
Anna thanked the detective and hung up. And again they called Ken to let him know what was happening. He came over to Jim and Anna, and they sat together, again waiting for the phone to call.
The hours felt like days and weeks for them. But after a few hours (or days ???) the phone rang. Again it was their friend from the police station. He said that a highway-patrol officer had spotted a man and a boy in a store in Deaport about 60 miles south of Westham. He noticed that the boy didn’t look quite happy about the man pushing him around. When he checked a little bit, he found out that they were driving the "wanted" car. The officer had followed them, and now he knew what motel they were staying at. The detective told that he was on his way there now, and that he could pick them up if they wanted to come along. They didn’t hesitate about that question, and just a few minutes later, they were on their way to Deaport. The detective started briefing them about the plan he was thinking of. While he was telling, his phone rang. The tree passengers could see on his face that he was getting some good news.
- I got some news from the police in Deaport, he said and they could see a smile on the detective’s face, they have got Thomas!
He went on telling them that Thomas had seen a police-car, and somehow he had managed to slip out of the kidnapper’s hands and run over to the car. There was some luck in the act too, because the man had left his gun in the car and he couldn’t do anything. The police had now got him in custody.
The people in the car didn’t know what to say. Anna started to cry, only this time it was because she was happy. When they got to Deaport, the gathering consisted, as you can imagine, of a lot of hugging, kissing and telling. And the man was charged with kidnapping and got four years in prison.