"Get up darling." The red eyed demon said, in hell he never hid his true hideous form. Ava had landed on the ground hard, refusing to move.
"Shut up." She said through gritted teeth, looking around she saw cages everywhere. Inside there were people, all of them screaming in agony although there was no force attacking them. Ava could tell by their expressions and cries, that the pain they felt was absolutely real. She feared what torture awaited.
"The fire!" One man screamed; Ava could see the crazy in his eyes. "Make it stop!"
"Fire is just terrible, isn't it?" He said with a smile. At the snap of his fingers, fire erupted in the cell of the crazy man.
"My god!" Ava exclaimed as she covered her face. She took a peek through her fingers and saw the man burn to ashes. "You killed him!"
"My dear, we are all dead." He gestured to the cage once more and Ava watched as the man began to... regenerate. Once he realized that he was alive, he began to weep.
"Indeed. Now we have come to your stop." Red Eyes shoved her into a small cage. Ava soon learned that fire was the least of her worries.
Weeks had passed and there was no progress on Ava's case. Caiden feared the case would go cold; he had lost sleep because when he did he would see her face. Caiden would see her slipping away. Slowly, weeks turned into months. He called the officer weekly for an update but nothing had changed. Caiden hung up the phone and got ready for work/ With his internship completed Caiden was working at the computer company of his dreams. He wore the locket everyday, keeping Ava's memory close.
"Come on dude," Caiden's friend Brad said one day.
"Come out with me, lets go out and get drinks."
"I don't know.." Caiden said hesitantly.
"I'm not saying hook up with the first girl you see. Just let some of that weight off your shoulders and relax.
"Alright," he said after a moment of thought. It couldn't hurt to loosen up.That night they went to the local bar and got extremely wasted; it had been a year since Ava had disappeared and it was the first night that Caiden had gone anywhere with anyone.
Slowly, he was beginning to spin out of control. His work performance was dropping and he just felt like shit. Ava was his rock, she had been there for Caiden always. What made it worse, was that her parents, although they never blamed him outright, they wanted to. Hell, Caiden blamed himself.
Laying in bed late one Saturday, Caiden thought about Ava. Her hair, eyes, body... even the sound of her voice, smell, and her attitude. He was craving it all; heaving a great sigh he looked over to the calender on the bedside table, day 515 without Ava. Everyone kept saying that with time, it would get easier. But if anything, Caiden felt worse. To him, it was as if it happened yesterday.
Day 730, two years after Ava had disappeared, Brad had decided that it was time for Caiden to be set up with a blind date. Even though Caiden had blatantly refused, his friend forced him to go. He hadn't really gone through with any social interactions, let alone a date in over a year. Caiden had no interest; he had been focusing on work, his only solace without Ava.
"Seriously, Caiden it is one date. You're not going to marry the girl. Besides, you won't be alone with the girl, Krista and I will both be there." Brad said on the phone. It was late in the afternoon, almost four. Caiden had been laying in bed all day, reading some of Ava's favorite books.
"I know, I'll agree... But you have to realize I cannot make any promises that it will go well."
With that Brad had shut up and hung up the phone, it was all Caiden wanted. He didn't want to date and he didn't want to be bothered with dating. Regardless, he got dressed and left for the bar at quarter to six. When he arrived, Brad and Krista were sitting along the bar with a skinny blonde. She was plain, and her style was a lot sloppier than Ava's; she looked desperate. Brad waived him over and made introductions.
"Faith, this is Caiden." He shook her hand and sat beside her. She talked endlessly for the first hour, it was going to be a very long night.
On day 731, Caiden woke up alone. Faith had gone home alone and was planning on seeing someone else. Since then Brad had set Caiden up on numerous dates, they all failed miserably. Maybe it was because Caiden was breaking the first rule of dating; comparing every one you date the the one you fell in love with first. It was wrong, but Caiden couldn't help it. He had found everything he had wanted in a girl, and now he would never be able to find it ever again.
On day 1096, three years (counting the leap year), he visited the spot in the park in which his baby girl had disappeared. He sat beneath a tree he had planted and thought. He came by as often as he could to tend to it. He thought about how she had disappeared, it didn't make any sense. By this point he was sure that he h ad fabricated the entire event. There had been someone there, but it wasn't a monster. It was a person, like anyone else... A sick person. She had tried to get away, and he tried to save her, but he was too slow.
At home that day, Caiden looking at himself in the bathroom mirror. He had grown a beard and looked terrible in it. He dug up his razor from the drawer under the sink and decided it was time for a shave, Ava liked him clean shaven anyway. He was half finished when there was a knock on the door.
"One minute," Caiden called. He finished quickly and ran to the door with the glimmer of hope. He paused at the door and took a deep breath as he took off the latch. He swung the door open and let go of a sigh. Standing in front of him was his brother and his wife, peeking around their legs was their daughter Kara.
"Uncle Caiden!" She shrieked.
"Hello beautiful," he said swooping down to lift her up in his arms. Still holding Kara, Caiden stepped to the side and allowed them to come inside.
"We thought we could stop by and check in on you." Mason's wife, Sienna said. Mason stepped forward and pulled Caiden into a hug. Then they sat on the couch and looked at each other awkwardly for a moment. Caiden ran his hands through his hair and sighed again.
"How are you?" His brother asked softly. Mason reached over and put a firm on hand his shoulder.
"Okay," Caiden's flickered over across the room at Kara.
"Kara honey," Mason said sternly. She stopped in the doorway to Caiden's room. She looked back and forth between Caiden and her father.
"It's alright." Caiden said softly. He nodded his head towards her, giving her the okay to go an explore. She smiled and ran into the room, her dark hair flying.
"I figured you would have moved out of this apartment by now." Mason said.
"I can't... she still out there. I know it." Caiden said.
"We all hope she is, but you know that she wouldn't want you to live this way. Regardless of if she was dead or alive."
"I don't want to live any other way." Caiden shouted.
"We are just trying got help you. Everyone is worried." Sienna said softly.
Caiden opened his mouth to respond but stopped when he heard a noise from his room. A moment later Kara stepped out carrying a large photo album, the one he had found all those years ago. She walked over and climbed onto my lap.
"Uncle Caiden, who is this girl?" It was such a innocent question. Tears welled up in his eyes as he took the album. Sienna was going to say something but Caiden held his hand up. He flipped to the beginning and shared their love story.