On August 12, 1980, a stranger abducted Jeanne Smith and killed her boyfriend. Thirty-four years later, authorities had no idea who kidnapped her or where she was. Amanda Smith, Jeanne's mother, dying of cancer, in a last chance attempt to find her daughter, hired John LeGrand, the Cajun PI. What John discovers is a string of missing girls spanning four decades. This is the premise of my new work in progress. The following scene will never make it into the book because my main character can't know what happened after Jeanne's abduction. However, I have to know—mostly because the backstory gives me insight into my victim and my antagonist. I have written such scenes for each of the girls abducted in the story. This is Jeanne's experience.
August 12, 1980
When Jeanne woke up, she was immediately aware of the shooting pain in her head. It was so intense that it took a while before she was able to focus on anything. Then she remembered what happened, and the image of Joey lying face up in the bloodstained water came to her.
"Oh, my God," she cried and blacked out briefly from the pain in her head, and the horrible recognition that Joey was dead. She would never see him again.
After a few seconds of blissful darkness, she opened her eyes. I have to force myself to focus, she thought. I have to figure out what's going on. I can't think about Joey. But of course, that was the first thing she did. The man, a hunter, shot Joey without saying a word. Jeanne had been afraid that he was going to shoot her too, so she tried to run. What happened then? The man grabbed her. She fought back. Then he hit her with the rifle. Yes, she remembered the rifle stock coming at her, and then everything went black. She lifted her right hand to feel the spot where she'd been struck, but she couldn't lift her arm above her shoulder. She was handcuffed to a pipe.
Where am I? How did I get here?
She surveyed her surroundings. She was in a room—a cellar it looked like—with cinder block walls. A bare bulb, with a pull chain hanging from it, illuminated the room. The metal pipe holding her handcuffed ran from the wall behind her to the other end of the room about fifteen or twenty feet, she guessed. She tugged on the cuffs and tried to slip out of them but only succeeded in bruising her wrist.
The walls were bare and unpainted. The ceiling was low with exposed joists. The floor looked like unpainted concrete. To her left, an opened door revealed stairs leading upwards—from where she lay, she could only see halfway up the stairs. She lay on a cot still dressed in her red bikini. She took a deep breath and sobbed.
Focus Jeanne. Please focus.
Across the room from the cot sat a white chamber pot, a roll of toilet paper next to it. The place smelled dank and mildewed. She could faintly hear footsteps from upstairs and what might have been boards creaking as someone shifted his weight.
Her teeth chattered, more from fear than cold.
Then she heard what sounded like a door sliding open and footsteps on the stairs. She curled up in a fetal position—the only protection she had.
He's going to kill me. Please help me, Momma. Please.