It took them awhile, but Karen, Eddy, and Trust reached the town when it was still morning. They went to Sloppy Joe’s motel and saw the door hanging on its hinges.
“This is awful!” Eddy exclaimed.
Karen then turned to Trust and asked. “Do you know where that crowd took them?”
Trust shook his head. “No, they didn’t say where they were going to hold them. I wish I had followed behind them to see.”
“You did the right thing, friend. If you did that they probably would have gotten you too.” Eddy said to him.
“Let’s see if we can find clues that will lead us to the captors.” Karen suggested.
Eddy searched outside and Karen and Trust searched inside for traces that the crowd may have left behind. After a few minutes Eddy called out to them and they ran to him.
“What is it Eddy?” Trust asked.
Eddy pointed to footprints on the ground.
“Good job Ed! We’ll surely find them now!” said Karen patting him on the back.
They followed the footprints. But when they reached the sidewalk the trail was being washed away by someone spraying water on the sidewalk.
Trust despaired. “Oh, no!” he wailed.
The sidewalk cleaner heard him and turned off the hose. “Is there anything I can do for you?” he asked.
Thinking that maybe he could help them, Karen went up to the sidewalk cleaner: “Excuse me sir, but do you know of someone named Sloppy Joe who owns a motel in this neighborhood?”
“Indeed I do,” he answered, “I’ve been attending his meetings about the end of the World and the Second Coming of the Good King. He’s a very good man. Why?”
“Do you know that he and two men have been captured by a mob last night?” Karen asked.
The sidewalk cleaner was stunned when the teenage girl told him this. “No, I haven’t heard anything about that at all. Oh, dear! Who took them?”
“We don’t know but we are hoping to find them before something bad happens to them.” Karen answered.
“Have you seen anything that could lead you to the kidnappers?” the sidewalk cleaner inquired.
“We saw some footprints but then…” Karen stopped when she heard a loud sound close by. It sounded like a ball game going on.
The sidewalk cleaner pulled out a cellphone from his pocket. “Oh, pardon me! It’s the latest news about yesterday’s baseball game. Give me a second.”
Karen waited as he gazed at the screen on his smart phone. She could hear the reporter:
“And history is in the making because famous baseball player Phil has struck a home run. His team called Red Mittens will now be…”
The reporter was cut off and the screen became blank.
“Shoot!” exclaimed the sidewalk cleaner annoyed. “And I was looking forward to hearing about that game!”
In the abandoned building the black bandanna man was standing in front of a door with a microphone in his hand and the sign with the big red words above him.
“Do we have a signal yet?” he asked someone who was working on a big machine with buttons and dials.
“I’m not sure. It looks like we have one but it is taking long to get through. Maybe we can move the satellite a little more.” he then phoned the thugs who were on the roof and said, “Put it up a little more and move it to the right.”
They followed his instructions.
While he waited the bandanna man rehearsed what he was going to say. He wanted to make sure that he would get his message across on how he and many others felt about Believers.
“We’ve got through!” said the gentleman behind the machine.
“Great!” he said excitedly, then he said to the one holding up the TV camera: “Make sure the camera is steady. I don’t want this to look amateurish.”
“What in the…?” said the sidewalk cleaner when a man with a black bandanna on his head appeared on the screen of his smart phone.
The intruder began to speak:
“Now listen all you who believe in an invisible God!”
Karen walked up and looked at the screen on the smart phone. Then she motioned her friends to come and see it. Eddy and Trust walked up. They all watched to hear what else he had to say.
“I am coming to you with a message. You have caused a lot of destruction with your talks about things that are not real. You have led people away from reality and have taught them to live in a fantasy. Worst, you have encouraged them to leave their way of life and to prepare for some kingdom that will never be. This is high treason against this town and the World! We have taken a very small group of Believers and we are about to introduce you to them.”
He then opened the door and walked into the room. The camera followed close behind him. When the screen showed Sloppy Joe and Concord, and Honest tied to chairs, Karen and the others saw that they were badly beaten. They didn’t move and the viewers began to fear that they were dead.
The black bandanna man faced the camera and spoke again:
“Though we have given them a piece of our mind they are not dead. But we will keep on treating them like this until they are. Let this be a warning to all those who persist in their believing ways. If you keep going, your fate will be the same as theirs. Good day.”
The news came back on with the reporter looking very bewildered. “Well we don’t know what that was about but we will be sure to report this hacking to the authorities.”
“My brothers! My friend! We’ve got to save them or they will die!” Trust cried.
“But we don’t know where they are,” said Eddy. “This is a big town and finding them will be like looking for a needle in a haystack.”
Karen scratched her face in thought. “If only we knew where that interference came from.”
The sidewalk cleaner pressed some buttons on his smart phone. Karen and her friends watched him curiously. he saw them looking at him. “This smart phone saves information from satellite signals that it receives. I am sure that it was also able to save the information from those hackers.” he said confidently.
Karen, Eddy, and Trust prayed that the information would be in the device.
The sidewalk cleaner then stopped pushing buttons and gazed at what he found. “It says that the signal came from a satellite called Air Bird. No one in this town has that kind of satellite dish. It’s way too expensive and the only ones who could afford it were those who worked in the media.”
“That means there’s a media outlet somewhere here.” Eddy said. “Do you know of any, kind sir?”
“There was a TV station that was around until it filed for bankruptcy. It’s not too far from Sloppy Joe’s motel.” he then stopped himself and said, “I bet that’s where those people took them!”
“Can you tell us where it is so we can get to saving our friends?” Karen asked him.
After giving them directions on how to find the TV station Karen, Eddy, and Trust thanked him and started off.
To Be Continued.