The boy returns from school | Source: Getty Images
The boy returns from school | Source: Getty Images

Boy Walking Home From School Spots Stranger Tail, Uses His Mother's Trick to Outsmart the Pursuer – Story of the Day

Sonali Pandey
Mar 22, 2024
04:56 A.M.
Share this pen

Ethan, an 11-year-old boy, is walking home alone from school when he spots a strange man following him in a van. When the man's dark intentions unfold, Ethan finds himself in a perilous situation. Ethan has to think fast and escape the man's clutches, but how will he do that when the man is constantly watching him?


Mom will be so proud I did it, Ethan thought as he walked past the cheering crowd toward the stage.

The entire room was already applauding for him, and his heart was pounding in excitement.

This was the first time he was receiving an award in front of so many people, so Ethan was thrilled and nervous.

"Congratulations, Ethan. You were amazing," His science teacher praised him, extending him the trophy.

A wide grin flickered across Ethan's face. He had secured first place in the school science Olympiad.

He was just 11, and for someone his age, this achievement was huge.

The boy was beaming and couldn't wait to show his mom he had bagged the first place. However, his smile faded when he couldn't spot Maria anywhere…

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


"All yours, child," Mrs. Johnson smiled, pointing at the trophy.

"Thank you, Mrs. Johnson," Ethan managed a smile as he accepted it.

The entire room burst into applause once again, but Ethan was not concerned about them. His eyes scanned the crowd for his mother. Where are you, Mom? You had promised you would come!

Clutching the trophy in his hands, Ethan eventually got off the stage, thinking she was late. He saw the other winners return to their parents, but he sat alone, waiting for Maria to show up. To Ethan's dismay, the event got over, and she never came.

Parents and children started dispersing; the other kids – enveloped in hugs and cheers for their respective achievements — congratulated him and left, and the staff were leaving, too.

Ethan's gaze was fixed on the door. He was hoping his mom would just burst into the auditorium at any moment and tell him she was extremely sorry for not making it, but that never happened. He realized she was probably not going to show up.

Ethan's shoulders slumped as he grabbed his backpack and pulled out his phone. As he was about to call her, he noticed a message from her. He clicked on it, only for tears to well up in his eyes.


For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"I'm so sorry, sweetheart! Got caught up at work, and I won't be able to come! But I'm so proud of you, Ethan. Love you! We'll celebrate at home. Be safe when you cross the street. No talking to strangers…" She went on to explain the instructions she always gave him in case he had to return home alone.

Ethan was really mad at her. How could she miss this? I had told you, Mom! I had told you again and again that I wanted you to be here!

Ethan had been so excited while telling her about the ceremony that morning. And she had promised she would be there. Ethan had asked her to be there before time, but she said she couldn't promise him that. Still, he had consoled himself by thinking that at least she would be there.


But now, Ethan knew it was just another lie she had told him, and he hated her for it. She always did this to him. Her work was always so important to her, and Ethan always had to beg for her time.

Ethan noticed her message was an hour old. He'd been so lost in the event that he hadn't checked his phone, and now he felt like he had been a fool, waiting for her to show up. The auditorium was almost empty.

"I wish Dad was here," he muttered as he recalled how the other winners had received hugs and praises from their parents. Ethan angrily shoved the trophy into his bag and stuffed his phone into his pocket.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

After Ethan's dad passed away a year ago, Maria became a workaholic. Ethan barely saw her sleeping or relaxing. She had thrown herself into work to cope with her husband's loss.


While she told Ethan she liked working all the time, Ethan knew it was another lie. She always used to make time for him before.

And somewhere, Ethan didn't blame her for always being preoccupied with work. He understood what she was going through. But it had been hard for him, too.

His dad was his best friend and partner in crime. So he, too, missed him a lot — especially their Sunday barbecues in their backyard and Friday night baseball matches.

Ethan just wanted some attention. He would've been really happy if Maria had been there for him. At least today.

Dejected and lost in his thoughts, he slung the backpack over his shoulder, ready to leave the auditorium. He knew once he was home, she would apologize to him for how terrible she felt for not being there for him.

But Ethan didn't need her apologies any longer. He would never invite her to any of his school events.

"Ethan, wait!" a voice from behind distracted Ethan as he was about to leave.

Ethan spun around to see Jackson. Jackson was a year senior to him, and they lived in the same neighborhood. He had always been kind to Ethan.


"Just wanted to congratulate you," Jackson said, running over to him. "This calls for a celebration, buddy! Congrats!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Thanks, Jackson," Ethan replied, forcing a smile. "I wish Mom made it. She said she was busy again."

"Cheer up, dude. My folks are often tied up with work, too. But they mean well," Jackson said, shrugging.

Ethan sighed. "Yeah, I know," he said. "It's just…I wish she could be here, you know? Dad would've never missed something like this."

"I get it," Jackson said, patting his shoulder reassuringly. "But I bet she doesn't have it any easier. I'll see you around, yeah?"


"Yeah," Ethan replied dejectedly. He still wished Maria had attended the event. It wasn't like he won a trophy every day.

With a heavy heart, Ethan walked out of the school gate, his head hung low. He could hear the other parents and kids chatting, and he saw some parents still waiting for their kids as he looked up momentarily.

Ethan was so jealous. Of all the kids, why did it have to be him missing out on his parents' love? This was not fair.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

Ethan trudged along the deserted streets, occasionally kicking away the tiny stones in the way with his sneakers.

He knew that if Maria was busy, she would probably be home late, and he would have to help himself with something from the fridge for lunch. He decided he would just order pizza and watch TV. He deserved to have some fun.


Ethan's thoughts about Maria and how she had been ignoring him were cut short when the distant hum of an engine distracted him.

He glanced over his shoulder and saw an old panel van following him. He kept walking, ignoring the vehicle.

But soon, the van slowed down beside him, and Ethan's brows furrowed. He stepped back as a man rolled down the window.

The man was hunchbacked, his skin dotted with spots. He looked scary, and he was a stranger, so Ethan maintained a distance as the man leaned forward to speak to him.

"Ethan, right?" the man grumbled. "I'm Bill. Kid, you've got to come with me. Get in, fast!" He opened the passenger door for him. "Something terrible happened to your Mom, and I need to take you to her!"

"What? What happened to her?" Ethan stammered. "Where is she?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


"There is no time to explain, kid!" Bill's voice trembled with anxiety. "Get in the car, and I'll take you to her. Hurry! She needs you!"

The man's voice was raspy, his way of speaking rough. Ethan noticed everything about him screamed danger — his clothes were tattered, his hair unkempt.

"I'm not moving until you tell me where she is!" Ethan said angrily, his heart pounding. "Where's Mom? What happened to her?"

"I, uh," Bill hesitated. "She—it was an accident. I had to rush her to the hospital, and she asked me to take you to her! Hop in, kid! She might be in surgery now! I can't keep answering your questions!"

Ethan recalled how Maria barely took care of herself and worked all the time. He was so mad at her for not showing up at the school event, and he felt awful now. He ran to the passenger side and was about to get into the van, but Ethan didn't do that.

He stopped and recalled Maria's message. She had asked him to be wary of strangers on his way home like she always did. And Ethan was about to trust a stranger and get into his van. He still didn't know if Bill was telling him the truth.

Ethan swallowed thickly, realizing this man could be someone dangerous. But he couldn't let Bill suspect that he was doubting him.


"You never told me which hospital you took her to, Bill," Ethan said, stepping away from the door. "Can I please talk to someone at the hospital? I'm-I'm worried about her!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

"Kid, you ask too many questions!" Bill said, and Ethan noticed the man was getting frustrated. "Look, I need to drop you off at the hospital, and then I'll be on my way! I've got work! Trust me, and get in the van!"

"Where did you take her?" Ethan asked again, sneakily removing his phone from his pocket. "If you're in a rush, I will ask someone else to take me there," he added, stepping back.

"Kid, you really want to do this here?" Bill asked, his temper flaring and jaw clenched.


"What was Mom wearing today, Bill?" Ethan asked further. "You know what? I'm not getting in!"

"Kid, stop being difficult! Your mom needs you—Hey! Hey! Stop!"

Ethan's instincts kicked in, and he turned to walk away, picking up his pace. Ethan heard Bill restarting the engine behind him, and panic gripped him.

"You will regret this kid! Your mom is in danger, and you're just walking away?" Bill's rough voice boomed from behind.

Ethan's hands trembled uncontrollably as he dialed his mother, his heart throbbing against his chest. Several rings went through, but she was not answering.

"Mom, pick up! Answer, Mom! Please!" he muttered anxiously.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock


Ethan had realized Bill was lying to him. He didn't know anything about Maria. That meant Bill was trying to abduct him, and that was enough for Ethan to understand he was in deep trouble.

"Come back, kid! I will take you to her!" Bill shouted as Ethan hobbled away.

"You don't know her! I'm not getting in!" he yelled, redialing Maria without daring to look back. This time, Ethan's mother answered the call, her voice appearing over the line.

Relief washed over Ethan, but before he could respond, Bill lunged forward, grabbing him and covering his nose and mouth with a chloroform-soaked handkerchief.

Ethan didn't realize Bill had stopped the van and stealthily approached him from behind.

"L-leave me!" Ethan cried, his voice muffled.

"You should've just listened to me!" Bill snarled, pressing the handkerchief further and dragging Ethan to the van.

As the chemical acted, Ethan's struggles weakened, his limbs going weak. He slumped in Bill's grasp, and the phone slipped from his numb fingers and clattered onto the deserted street. The call remained active, and his mother's voice continued to echo through the speaker.


"Ethan? Ethan, what happened? Are you there?" Maria's voice pleaded from the abandoned phone, but her cries went unanswered. The world around Ethan blurred, and his consciousness slipped away.

Huffing and puffing, Bill loaded Ethan into the back of the van. Then he marched to the driver's seat and sped away. Ethan had no idea what happened next.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

When he slowly regained consciousness and his eyes fluttered open, Ethan found himself bound and gagged in the cramped confines of the windowless cargo area of the van.

It was a small, dark space, and he could feel the vibrations of the engine beneath him. The air was stifling, and a sense of dread settled in as he realized the dire situation he was in.


His eyes darted around, adjusting to the dim light filtering through gaps in the van's metallic body. Then his gaze settled on a loyal but wary dog sitting beside him, and Ethan flinched.

Panic gripped him as Ethan's mind raced to make sense of his surroundings. He was terrified of dogs, and now he was locked with one in a van. There was no space for him even to move. What if it attacked me? Ethan thought worriedly, his heart shuddering in fear.

Through the mesh barrier that separated the cargo area from the front, Ethan glimpsed Bill at the wheel, focused on the road, his hunched back facing Ethan.

Ethan's heart raced as he strategized an escape plan, his eyes scanning for his backpack. However, his stomach churned with unease when he saw it resting on the front seat next to Bill.

What am I going to do now? How do I escape? Ethan didn't know what he would do now. His arms were tied behind him, and the ropes securing his arms were thick.

He would need something sharp to cut the ropes and break free. He couldn't spot anything useful in the cargo area, and the dog's eyes scared him.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash


The Malinois just stared at him, a chill running down Ethan's spine. He was scared the dog would bite him if he dared to move even an inch.

"You awake back there, kid? Don't get any ideas. You won't be escaping this ride!" Bill taunted him from the front seat in a gruff voice.

Ethan was so scared that he wanted to cry. He had no idea where Bill was taking him, and he had no way to escape the man's clutches. Mom, if only you had come to school today, I would not be here! What do I do now, Mom? he thought, terrified, his eyes welling up.

Suddenly, he heard the sound of sirens, and the van jerked to a halt. Bill swiftly closed the curtain that separated the front from the cargo area, concealing Ethan from view.

The Malinois rose, a low growl escaping its throat. Ethan didn't understand what was going on. Why did Bill suddenly close the curtain?

From his concealed spot, Ethan could barely make out what was going on. The dog's attention shifted from him to the window, its sharp eyes fixated there as if sensing his desperation. Then, Ethan heard Bill's window being rolled down.

"What's the problem, officer? Why did you stop me?" Bill grumbled.


Ethan's eyes widened. Bill was stopped by a patrol officer.

There was a pause before the officer answered. "You see that?" he said. "I'm afraid I'll have to issue you a fine, sir. Your headlight's out. That's a safety violation."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

A wave of relief washed over Ethan. The cop could help him. Forgetting that he was scared of the Malinois, Ethan strained against his restraints, attempting to shout through the gag in order to alert the officer. But his muffled sounds barely escaped.

The Malinois turned to look at him sharply, and Ethan stopped moving. He didn't want to be bitten by a dog and bleed to death.

But to his surprise, the Malinois, sensing his distress, began to bark loudly and attracted the officer's attention.


"What's going on there?" the officer immediately asked Bill.

Ethan's eyes teared up, and his heart raced. If his hands weren't tied, he would've hugged the dog.

"Oh, it's just my dog, officer," Bill replied, feigning nonchalance. "He gets a bit worked up sometimes. No need to worry."

"I'll need to take a look, sir. Standard procedure," the officer replied, and Ethan's heart pounded with joy. Yes, this is it! Finally, I will be rescued! Please check the vehicle! he thought.

But then he heard Bill's voice. "I wouldn't advise that, officer. He's not friendly. Better stay back…unless you want to be treated for rabies."

The Malinois's barks intensified, its sharp gaze on Ethan. He struggled to hear what was going on now. He knew Bill and the officer were talking about something. But he couldn't hear a word of it. Then Bill screamed at the dog.

"Hey, quiet there, Dablo! Quit being a bad boy!"

And the dog stopped barking. Ethan's heart fell.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock

For illustration purposes only | Source: Shutterstock


"Get the headlights fixed soon. Have a safe journey," the officer said, and Ethan didn't hear him again. Instead, he heard the sound of Bill's engine being restarted, and his heart sank.

The officer must've let Bill go because the van started moving.

After a couple of minutes, Bill drew the curtains and shot the Malinois an irritated glance. "You almost blew it, you dumb dog," he muttered under his breath.

The journey continued in tense silence until the van eventually rolled to a stop in front of a dilapidated house.

Bill turned to Ethan, a sinister grin etched on his face. "Time to get out, boy! Welcome to your new home!"

Ethan's eyes widened with terror, but he was helpless in the face of Bill's malicious intentions. The van door creaked open, and Bill grabbed Ethan, yanking him out onto the uneven pavement.

"Hope you like it here, kid," Bill sneered, dragging Ethan towards the ominous entrance of the run-down house.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash


Ethan's mind raced with fear and uncertainty. His eyes darted around, searching for any sign of help, but the desolation of the surroundings only deepened his sense of hopelessness. What is this place? Why are there no houses around? Why is this house in the middle of nowhere?

Ethan glanced around as they entered the worn-down house. A rickety coffee table stood at the room's center, burdened with an assortment of half-empty takeaway containers, crumpled newspapers, and a scattering of mismatched socks. The couch was lined with flattened and deformed cushions. Discarded clothes draped themselves over the furniture.

In the corners, neglected cobwebs clung tenaciously to the ceiling, capturing particles of dust in their delicate snares. A musty odor pervaded the air, a mixture of stale cigarette smoke, decaying food, and something damp. The windows, coated in a film of grime, filtered feeble rays of light that struggled to penetrate the room's gloom.

Ethan didn't know what smelled worse — Bill's pungent body odor or this house. His gut churned as the uneasiness in his stomach intensified.

Bill continued his ominous tirade. "You should've learned to keep quiet back there. Now that you're stuck with me, you'll learn the lesson."


Ethan's pleas were muffled by the gag, his eyes darting between the shadowy corners of the house, desperately seeking an escape route. Meanwhile, the Malinois trailed behind them, its watchful eyes never leaving Ethan.

The musty smell of the unfamiliar basement enveloped Ethan as Bill led him down a narrow, creaking staircase. A faint dampness lingered in the air, and the only sound that echoed was the soft padding of the dog's paws as it followed them. Ethan was sure nobody would find him here.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

The space was dimly lit and packed. Broken furniture lay scattered about. Dust-covered boxes formed haphazard piles in the corners. Some ugly wooden chairs were arranged in one corner of the room. The feeble light from a lone, flickering bulb cast long, eerie shadows on the damp, crumbling walls.


Bill directed him to one of the old, worn-out chairs and, with a cold smile, gestured for him to sit. Then he took a seat across from him, their eyes locking in a chilling stare while the Malinois settled on the floor beside Bill, its eyes fixed on Ethan.

"Now, kid, we can do this the easy way or the hard way," Bill said, his tone unnervingly calm. "You cooperate, and things won't get any messier than they need to."

He walked toward Ethan, and Ethan flinched — both in fear and disgust. He could almost taste the bile in his mouth. Bill's body odor and the faint dampness of the space made Ethan feel like throwing up. To his relief, the man just removed the tape from his lips and returned to his seat.

"Nobody can hear you from here, so no point in shouting," Bill warned in his grim voice, sitting on the chair, its wood creaking underneath his weight.

Ethan's eyes darted around the dimly lit space, searching for any means of escape. His heart shook with fear.

"Look, I get it," Bill said, noticing how Ethan's eyes scanned the space. "This isn't ideal, but we're in this together now. You and me. I can make things a lot easier for you if you do as I say, kid," he added. "Let's get to know each other. Are you ready?"


For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Bill got up from his chair and tied the dog near the lone window in the room, which was the only means of escape from the basement — apart from the basement entrance.

Bill observed Ethan's desperate gaze, a twisted smile playing on his lips. "No need for heroics, boy. You're not going anywhere."

Bill then returned to his seat and leaned back in his chair, his arms crossed. "I know what you're thinking, kid. You see that chain? The dog's not just for show. You try anything funny, and well, let's just say it won't end well for you."

The Malinois, sensing the tension, started barking and pulling the chain.

"Quiet, Dablo! Quiet, boy!"


The dog growled, exposing its razor-sharp canines.

"Wh-What do you want from me? Just let me go!" Ethan pleaded with Bill.

"I want you, kid," the man rasped with a smirk. "I've been watching you for days. It feels lonely, you know, living alone in this big house. I needed some company, and I noticed you are always alone. In the playground. At school. Those few friends you have—they are no good. They always come to you when they need you, not when you need them."

Ethan swallowed thickly in fear. So Bill was watching him all along. No wonder he knew what route Ethan took back home and even his name.

And what he said about his friends…That was true. Ethan was alone. Most of the time. Apart from the one hour he and his friends spent playing soccer every week, he would be at home. Even Maria wouldn't be there for him. And that's why Ethan loved books. He would always be in his room, studying something. Books didn't complain or ignore him. They were his best friends.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


"Am I wrong?" Bill asked with a nasty smile, leaning forward in the chair.

"So y-you want me here because you want company?" Ethan asked, trembling in fear.

"Don't you like it here?" Bill got up from his seat again, sending chills down Ethan's spine. He settled on a chair next to Ethan this time, causing the boy to shiver in fear.

"You know, kid, you are living here with me forever. So how about you stop asking questions, and we get to know each other a bit, huh?" Bill's gaze was sinister as he leaned closer to Ethan.

Ethan could feel the man's breath on his face. He shuffled away, which irked Bill.

"Don't make this harder than it needs to, kid! As I said, we can do this the easy way or the hard way!"

Ethan thought about what to do now. If he were honest, he wanted to cry because he had never been so terrified before.

The only exit to the basement was blocked, and Bill…needed serious help. He was keeping him here just because he wanted company. He was a mentally troubled guy, and his fractured sanity was clearly visible.


An idea flashed to Ethan's mind. Wait, Bill needs company!

Just like him — Ethan was so depressed to think that he and Bill were in the same position — Bill craved attention and company. Bill wanted to spend time with someone. And Ethan decided he would do that. Ethan had to get the man to trust him.

"I-I'm sorry, Bill," he said. "You-You were right. We should get to know each other."

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Ethan smiled at him nervously, launching his first step to manipulate Bill emotionally.

A twisted grin played on Bill's lips. "That's more like it, kid. Now tell me about yourself."


Ethan sighed in relief. Bill was falling for his trap.

"Wha-What do you want to know?" he asked reluctantly.

"Anything. Your likes, dislikes," Bill smirked.

"Well, uh, I like school, I guess. Math is okay, and I love science. I love reading," Ethan replied hesitantly. He had no interest in continuing the conversation, but he could sense Bill was slowly falling for his answers and getting comfortable.

"Uh, and I love pizza. It's my favorite food," Ethan added, playing along.

Bill squinted his eyes, his gaze narrowing as if he had just caught a whiff of something fishy. He tilted his head slightly, studying Ethan with a newfound suspicion. "Pizza, huh? That's convenient. I like a good steak myself," he remarked, the corners of his mouth twitching.

Ethan tried to maintain a casual demeanor, but he could feel the weight of Bill's skepticism. "Yeah, you know, the cheesy goodness, the perfect crust," he stammered.

Thinking on his feet, Ethan added, "I think burgers work, too. And, oh, my mom used to make me delicious pies when I was a kid. I still love them. You know, there's an amazing cafe near my school, and they serve the best pie. It's really delicious!"


For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

Bill's gaze remained fixed on Ethan, his squint turning into a full-fledged stare. Ethan couldn't help but gulp, wondering if the man was buying into his elaborate fabrication.

Finally, Bill's eyes glinted with interest. "Pie, huh? I do love a good dessert. What's this place called?"

"It's called 'Sweet Places!'" Ethan answered too quickly. "Imagine sinking your teeth into that warm, gooey goodness, Bill! I love that place so much, I know their menu by heart, and...their phone number, too!"

Bill swallowed, his mouth watering. His demeanor softened. "Sounds tempting. Maybe we can check it out sometime."

"Why not now?" Ethan suggested, seizing the chance. "Come on, Bill. It could mark the start of our friendship! It would bring us closer. What do you say?"


Ethan appeared confident in front of Bill, but his heart was racing so fast in his chest that he could hear it in his ears. He saw how Bill paused as if contemplating whether to accept the suggestion. If Bill said no, Ethan would be stuck here forever. Come on, Bill. Say yes. Come on. Ethan's mind screamed.

Bill finally looked at him and nodded. "Alright, let's check it out," he said, and Ethan heaved a sigh of relief.

"Awesome, Bill!" He faked a smile at his kidnapper. The Malinois's ears pricked at him as if sensing what he was going to do.

"I'll need my phone to order because I can't take you out. They do orders?" Bill asked as he rose.

"Yes, yes, they do!" Ethan eagerly nodded.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash


"Alright then, let's go up. No reception here," Bill escorted Ethan upstairs to the living room while Dablo remained in the basement. Ethan's hands were still tied behind him, so he couldn't do anything for now.

Bill and Ethan ascended the creaking basement stairs. As they reached the living room, Bill made him sit in a corner. Ethan had to face the nasty odor of the space yet again. The air smelled pungent, and a musty scent lingered.

Bill approached his phone, his gaze fixed on Ethan. "I will call the place and tell them the order myself. I can't risk trusting you to place the call!"

"Alright, Bill," Ethan nodded, swallowing thickly.

Ethan noticed the worn-out carpet beneath them. It looked like it hadn't been dusted for years. A solitary lamp on an adjacent table cast a feeble glow on the grim surroundings.

Bill approached Ethan and untied the boy's hands, his gaze fixed on him. He then handed him a notepad and pen.

"Write down the cafe's number and the pie you wanted to order. Don't even think of trying anything funny!"

With Bill's hunched figure looming over him, Ethan didn't dare protest. His nerves frayed, he complied, hastily scribbling the cafe's number on the note. Bill snatched the paper from him and tied his hands again. Then he scanned the note and grabbed his phone, watching Ethan.


"I'm gonna call the place now. If you shout for help, the consequences won't be good, kid. I want to keep you here and have your company, and if I cannot keep you, I can always find someone else!"

"Yeah, okay," Ethan replied nervously.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Bill dialed the number. "It's ringing. No tricks, got it?" he reminded Ethan, who nodded.

A few rings went through, after which the call was answered, and a female voice appeared through the device.

"Welcome to Sweet Places. How may I help you?"

Bill covered the phone momentarily. "Good that you didn't try to deceive me!" he told Ethan, then returned to the call.


Bill was relieved that it was actually a cafe's number. He was initially hesitant that Ethan might have tricked him.

"I wanted to order something for two people," Bill said on the phone, his gaze fixed on Ethan. "Do you do the orange pie?"

"Orange pie? Did I hear that correctly?" the woman asked, her voice high-pitched now.

Ethan heard her voice through the device and gulped.

"Yes. Why? Is something wrong?" Bill raised a brow at Ethan, which sent a shiver down the boy's spine.

"No, no, nothing. Please tell me the delivery address and the pie will be with you very soon," answered the woman.

Bill covered the phone again. "Cover your ears," he instructed Ethan. The boy did as he was ordered, and Bill told the woman the address. The woman thanked him, promising him a swift delivery.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


"Good job, kid. You didn't cause any trouble!" Bill grinned as he hung up.

"We are friends, aren't we? Why would I cause you trouble?"

"Yes, yes, we definitely are!" Bill nodded.

He pretended to be relaxed as Bill approached him and hurled him to stand.

"Now we should go back to your old place. Can't risk anything," Bill grinned and shoved Ethan ahead of him. "Back to the basement, boy."

Once again, they descended the stairs to the dimly lit space, and Dablo rose and started barking at them.

"Don't worry; Dablo's a good boy. He won't do anything. Back to your chair," Bill ordered.

As Ethan took a seat, Bill approached Dablo and patted the dog's head.

"Before you came here, Dablo and I were so lonely. Now we all are together, and Dablo already seems to like you. Do you like dogs, Ethan?" Bill asked.


For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Ethan didn't. He was scared of dogs. But he couldn't tell Bill that. So, maintaining a straight face, Ethan lied. He told Bill he liked dogs but never had the chance to get one.

"I like you, Ethan," Bill approached him again and settled on the chair beside him. Ethan shrunk his nose in disgust once again. This man smelled awful.

"You were such a good boy earlier. You didn't cause any problems. We're gonna get along just fine," Bill said, placing an arm around Ethan's shoulder and pulling him closer. Ethan squeezed himself, disgusted to be in this man's embrace. But Ethan faked a chuckle. "I-I know, Bill."

"I'm so glad I chose you, Ethan," Bill went on. "You are easy to befriend. And I choose good friends. I watch so many children every day, you know. But I am glad I chose you."


"Ye-Yes," Ethan nodded. "Tell me about yourself, Bill. Why do you live alone?"

Ethan was trying to while away the time so that he could get to know Bill better and manipulate him. He also wanted to distance the man from himself, but Bill's arm was still around him. And he was staring at Ethan — scanning him from head to toe.

"Wha-what happened, Bill?" Ethan asked nervously. "Won't you tell your friend about yourself?"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

Bill looked him in the eye and grinned. "We'll have plenty of time to talk when the pie arrives, boy."

That's what I've been waiting for, too, Bill. Ethan thought to himself, managing a tight smile.


Bill removed his arm from around him and got to his feet. He marched to Dablo and began petting it. The dog leaned in closer to Bill.

Why is it taking them so much time? Where are you, Mom? Ethan wondered worriedly.

"You alright there, kid?" Bill asked.

"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine," Ethan answered nervously.

Suddenly, a loud crashing noise of a door being broken distracted them. Bill looked around in uncertainty and fear. Dablo pricked its ears at Bill again and began barking loudly.

"What is happening?" Bill screamed. "What did you do?" He locked his piercing gaze on Ethan.

A sudden rage gripped Bill as the sound of footsteps seemed to get closer and closer.

Then the basement door burst open, and a swarm of officers burst into the space, their weapons loaded and aimed at Bill.

"Freeze! You're under arrest!" One of the officers ordered Bill. "On your knees, and hands at your back!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


Bill, caught off guard, stumbled backward as the officers swiftly restrained him.

Ethan, his eyes wide with a mixture of relief and disbelief, watched as the officers took control of the situation.

And behind the officers, Ethan's mom entered. Maria was in tears and so glad to see her boy safe.

While the police officers were freeing him, she raced to him and hugged him.

"Ethan, you did it! You stayed strong!" she cried, wrapping him in a tight hug. "I'm so sorry, Ethan. I should've been there for you," she whispered, her voice choked with regret. "I'm so proud you acted barely."

Ethan, overwhelmed by a flood of emotions, held onto his mother as if afraid she might disappear again.

"Mom, I thought I'd never see you again," he confessed, crying. "I just did what you taught me. I was so scared, Mom."

Maria pulled back, cupping his face in her hands. "We have a lot to talk about, sweetheart. I promise I'll always be there for you from now on!"

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash

For illustration purposes only | Source: Unsplash


The cops undid Dablo's chain and carried the dog out of the basement along with Bill, who cast Ethan a sinister gaze. Ethan didn't care because he was with Maria now. He felt safe. He was so glad he remembered the code Maria had taught him.

"Orange Pie" was a code word Ethan and Maria used. Maria was allergic to oranges, so 'Sweet Places,' the cafe she owned, didn't keep orange pies. Maria had taught Ethan to use the code word whenever he was in danger, and today, her trick saved Ethan's life.

Maria hugged Ethan again and promised she would never prioritize work over him. After all, nothing would matter if something happened to Ethan.

What Maria and Ethan went through is a lesson for all the parents out there: You can never be too careful with children, and you should always prioritize your children and their well-being before anything else.

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels

For illustration purposes only | Source: Pexels


TOP 3 STORIES on AmoMama

1. Military Veteran Suspects His Middle Child Is Not His & Takes DNA Test — Story of the Day

Upon returning from the military, James is haunted by suspicions about his middle child's paternity. Feeling unsettled, James finally takes a DNA test with his son but has to pay a heavy price for it — his family...Full story here.

2. Family Psychologist Gets an Envelope Signed 'Truth about Your Husband' – Story of the Day

Emma, a successful family psychologist, finds a chilling envelope with the words "Truth about your husband" in her mail just after she gets home. The blackmailer wants to take everything from her and ruin her life. Will Emma be able to protect herself and her family before it's too late?... Full story here.

3. Teacher Visits Boy Who Skips School, Learns He Tends to Little Sis Alone — Story of the Day

Amelia grows worried and suspects something is wrong after one of her pupils starts skipping classes. Concerned about the boy's well-being, she drives to his house and discovers the appalling conditions he and his sister are forced to live in... Full story here.


Tell us what you think about this story, and share it with your friends. It might inspire them and brighten their day.

This piece is inspired by stories from the everyday lives of our readers and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone's life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to info@amomama.com.



Related posts