Hillary of Nibiru by Brad Danbrook - HTML preview

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Chapter 2


Hillary awoke several hours later. The sounds of Christmas shoppers had completely vanished. Only the noise of constantly repeating Holiday tunes remained. Hillary stretched out her small arms and carefully pushed open the door of the cabinet. Peering carefully out, she saw that the store was empty and darkened somewhat. She took a quick look back to grab her remaining sack of cookies and checked to see if Digby was about. Realizing that he was still beside her, she climbed out with him and looked around. A familiar Holiday song could be heard blaring from the speakers above. “Just hear those sleigh bells ringing, go jing, jing, jing-a-ling-ling...” Hillary gazed around at the vast dark emptiness of the store. She walked through the long empty aisles and returned to the bakery counter. Looking through the glass, she was displeased to see that the tasty wares had been removed. A security camera above caught the movement of the girl as she ambled happily through the store. The camera’s image was caught and transmitted to a remote room on the top floor. The security guard on duty that night had dozed off and failed to notice the young intruder. Hillary noticed the video instrument above her and waved. She and Digby continued to saunter through the store. Off behind one counter, a particular door caught her attention. It almost seemed to call out her name. She walked over to the large heavy gray door and noticed the message above it in bright red. Hillary looked up and read the words, “Do not enter. Employees only.” Hillary crinkled her nose and folded her arms in 21

frustration. She closed her eyes tightly. “Oh…I wish I knew what that meant!” Digby spoke up. “Employees means people that work in the store. It probably means that there’s good stuff inside.” Hillary frowned with an aggrieved expression. “I can’t get in there anyway, the handle is too high to reach.” Digby offered a solution. “I know what to do. I have a special key that opens any lock.” Hillary looked mournfully around the barren department store and thought about her mother. She would most likely be getting rather upset by now, she thought.

She decided to tell Digby that they would have to find a way to get home. Digby produced a shiny blue metal key from one of his many pockets. The strange key was shaped like an Egyptian Ankh. The heavy door opened easily, as the magical key slid into the lock. A loud siren shrieked as the door swung open. Hillary shook her head and stared at Digby. “I think we better get home now Digby.” The red-haired boy nodded his head. “Don’t you see? This is the way home, I promise. Let’s go.” He shoved the girl through the entrance and followed himself.

The heavy steel door closed with a loud crash behind them.

Charles came bursting through the front door of his house. Carolyn came rushing over and collapsed into his arms. He hugged her close then pulled away.

He stared hard at the police officers that had gathered in his living room. Two detectives stood with steaming mugs of coffee, watching the distraught couple.


The taller black detective walked over and flipped open his notepad. “Mr. Penrose.

I assume that your wife has filled you in on the details. I’m Detective Gardner.

This is my partner sergeant Hancock. Now, we’re going to get back to the mall, this time with some trained scent dogs. They should be able to find your daughter.

I’ve asked your wife to provide us with some personal item of your daughter’s.” The other officer held up a worn brown teddy bear. It was tattered with the left black button eye missing. The concerned father nodded and followed the police out of the house. He and his wife followed behind the squad car in their gleaming new black Mercedes. The atmosphere within their car was clearly strained. “I can’t see how she was able to get away from you! Weren’t you watching her closely?” The teary eyed woman responded with an icy glare. “How dare you accuse me of being negligent! Of course this never would have happened to you! You don’t see her enough to ever lose her. I’m sure she’d hardly recall your face!” Charles was ready to answer with his own biting remark, but thought better of it. “Listen…let’s not fight, all right? I just want to find Hillary. I know what a handful she can be. I’m frankly surprised this hasn’t happened before. It’s not your fault. That child has a mind all her own.” Carolyn appreciated the cessation of hostility. “She said something strange just before she disappeared…what was it? Something about imaginary characters…like Peter Pan…being real…or some such nonsense, I don’t know, maybe it’s nothing.” Her husband drove furiously through the now pelting 23

snow. “It’s probably nothing. Still, with her wild imagination, sometimes I wonder if we made a mistake putting her in all those advanced learning classes.

It’s not right for a child that age to read so much! Hell, I don’t think I could even read at that age, and there’s nothing wrong with me!” Carolyn seemed curiously peeved by the observation. “So you think she’s gone missing because she reads too much?” The agitated father shook his head confusedly. “No…I can’t explain it…it’s not natural for a girl that age to…think so much…I mean some of the things that she says! It’s like talking to an adult. It’s creepy! I think she spends altogether too much time with that mother of yours…the witch!” Carolyn was tired of fighting and conceded the point. “I don’t know…maybe you’re right. I don’t care about that. I just want to get her back.” She reached over the black leather interior and held his right hand. The sleek black vehicle continued to dart effortlessly in and out of traffic. They reached the downtown mall to find a multitude of flashing police cars and vans outside.

Hillary walked down into the dark basement of the store. She had the very strange feeling that she had been in the place before. Yet she could not for the life of her recall the circumstances. It might have only been a dream, she thought.

Hillary sometimes found herself experiencing events that she had previously dreamt. She carefully made her way down the hard steps. Only the dull glow of the 24

blood red exit sign above lit her way ahead. She reached the concrete floor and slowly felt her way ahead. It was nearly pitch black. Digby held tightly onto her hand. He whispered into her ear. “Don’t worry, this is the right way. We just need to find some light. They continued to make their way in the enveloping black emptiness. Suddenly Hillary felt something in front of her. It was smoothly round and cold. She could not make it out in the blackness. “Digby, where did you put your lantern? Can’t you find a way to get some lights on?” Digby broke away from her grip and searched for a light switch. After scurrying around for several minutes he called out to her. “I don’t know what happened to it, I think it’s lost.

Okay, I found a light, here goes!” As he flipped on the switch, a dim line of red emergency lights came on. Hillary was amazed and frightened by what she saw all around her. She was standing amidst a disjointed array of statue still store mannequins. They were all unclothed and in various levels of anatomical completeness. The one immediately at her feet was missing two arms. One of the creatures beside her was headless. They all seemed to be physically female, with those strangely perfect, almost correct bodies. Hillary furtively studied the odd figures and wondered about their untimely fate. Digby had returned to her side.

“Digby, what do you think happened to these girls? Were they once real like you and me? Are they all dead? Did somebody kill them?” Digby seemed stumped by the question. He responded, “are you sure that they’re real? Do you think they 25

might be somebody’s toys?” Hillary rejected the fanciful explanation. “No, that can’t be. They’re far too big for toys. Maybe they were all bad, and their Mommies are punishing them down here. Maybe they’ve been down here for years and years!

Why wont any of them talk to us? Do you think they’re shy?” Just then one of the mannequins crashed loudly to the floor beside them. Its smooth, pretty pink head rolled slowly across the floor. Hillary walked over and picked up the strangely lifelike object. She looked deeply into the cold, painted blue eyes on the rounded head. Hillary had an idea. “Digby, we should try and save these girls! Maybe we can find somebody who can fix them!” Her companion nodded enthusiastically. “I think that’s a good idea! Who do you think could do it?” Hillary pondered the difficult question for a moment. “I think maybe the Wizard of Oz, or maybe Mother Goose, or maybe God. If we can just find out where they live, then we can do it!” Digby concurred with the clever girl’s analysis. “It might be right here in the basement. Maybe that’s how these girls got here in the first place.” Hillary began to look around the dimly lit basement. She saw one of the mannequins propped up precariously by an elevator. She and Digby walked over to her. The lifeless figure wore a benignly peaceful smile as she looked down at the two intruders. Hillary smiled up at the hairless, armless body. “Is this the way to go?”, she asked politely. Hillary thought that she noticed an almost imperceptible nod of the figure’s head. She looked over at Digby and grabbed his hand. “Here, climb up 26

on my shoulders and press the button. I’ve seen my mother do this. It’s easy!” Digby followed her instructions and soon the elevator doors opened up wide to them. They walked in to find another mannequin standing straight against the wall of the elevator. This particular one was markedly different than the others. She sported a complete set of limbs and a full head of long black, lustrous hair. Her painted on brown dead eyes stared straight ahead. Hillary smiled expectantly up at the motionless body. “Which way do we go?” Hillary listened carefully for a moment and then pointed at the panel inside. “See Digby? There’s an up arrow and a down arrow. She says to push the down one.” Digby again jumped up on Hillary’s shoulders to push the black button. Immediately the doors shut close and the elevator lurched into a slow downward motion.

Charles and Carolyn Penrose watched the noisy congregation of police vehicles gathered at the entrance to the shopping mall. They joined the two detectives they had met at the house by a police van. Two different officers were holding a pair of expertly scent-trained Alsatians. Around them was a confusion of flashing red and blue lights. Detective Gardner walked up quickly to the harried couple. “We’ve got the scent dogs here ready, and we have your daughter’s bear.

We’re going to go into the mall now and try and find the last place your daughter 27

was seen.” The gentleman walked briskly into the now dark and cavernous shopping gallery. A teenaged, sallow faced security guard was standing close by to open the glass doors for them. The small procession of investigators followed, including the highly agitated canines. Carolyn walked beside the detective and pointed directions hurriedly. “There! That glove counter over there…that’s where I was holding onto her last.” The detective nodded and steered the group in that direction. They made their way to the glass counter that contained the leather gloves. The dogs were brought to the last known whereabouts of Hillary. They sniffed hard at the ragged teddy bear and immediately turned to follow the scent.

Carolyn had known that Hillary had been seen standing by the store bakery, but the detective wished to follow the girl’s path from the very start of her wayward journey. The dogs strained against their leashes as they barked loudly through the eerily vacant store. A few dim lights had been turned on for the search. As expected, the dogs made their way down the escalator and through to the ground level to the bakery counter. The dogs were held in place as all in attendance caught up. Detective Gardner looked over to Mrs. Penrose. “We spoke with the girl that was selling the cookies here at the time of your daughter’s disappearance. She stated that she definitely spoke with her, and that she thought that your daughter went over to those escalators there.” He pointed towards the far exit. The dogs again continued their frenetic charge through the aisles. Rather than heading in the 28

expected direction, they suddenly veered off towards the furniture department.

They came finally to a stately large oak kitchen cabinet. Sergeant Hancock opened the doors of the cabinet hoping to see the young girl nestled inside. The mother had by now crouched down and was peering desperately inside. Detective Gardner kneeled down and shone his flashlight inside. A small Scottish bonnet and a red cape were crumpled up in the corner. He spied a small collection of crumbs littering the cabinet bottom. With a latex gloved hand, he carefully removed several of them and placed them carefully inside a small plastic bag. He looked over at the downcast face of Mrs. Penrose. “It looks like she was hiding in here at some point…who can say why.” Carolyn nodded knowingly. “It does make sense. When we played hide and seek, it was always her favourite spot…right inside the kitchen cabinet. I always told her never to get under there, but she just wouldn’t listen.” The officer nodded and stood up quickly.

Just then the middle aged assistant store manager appeared on the scene. His expression was animated with grave concern. “Mrs. Penrose. I have something that you and the officers here should see.” Detective Gardner responded quickly to the newcomer. “Who are you? Do you have information concerning the disappearance?” Carolyn nodded to the officer. “This is the man I was speaking to when she disappeared.” The gentleman in question answered. “Yes, I was speaking 29

to Mrs. Penrose, my name is Ronald Boggs. Anyway, I knew you would be checking the security tapes. I found something very interesting…very puzzling really…makes no kind of sense at all…” Mr. Boggs led the parents and the two officers to a small room on the top floor. Sitting inside was a younger man in a dark blue security uniform. Mr. Boggs spoke to him. “Andy, these are the detectives and the parents of the missing girl. Show them the tape from earlier today.” The group proceeded to stare at the small black monitor as the images from the afternoon’s events unfolded on the screen. The guard fast-forwarded the tape until the relevant image was found. “Look here. This is two hours after the store had closed. See, that’s her!” The grainy image showed a small girl waving up at the camera.

Carolyn Penrose immediately spoke up. “Oh my God, that’s her! But…who is that other child? She’s holding his hand…” The security guard slowly let the tape role forward frame by frame. The image of the young red-haired boy was blurred and indistinct. Officer Gardner began to work the controls of the monitor play-back.

“Damn…why is the image of this other kid so blurry? And he never looks in the direction of the camera. All right, at least we can see where she was headed. We’ll take this tape and analyze it, maybe our guys can find out something. He grabbed the tape after it was ejected from the player. He thanked the guard and turned to leave. “By the way, your name is Andy, right?…why didn’t you call this in, when you noticed the girl alone in the store? Didn’t you think it a little odd?” The 30

security guard had anticipated the query beforehand. “Oh…I must have been using the washroom when this happened. By the time I was back, she was gone.” The officer nodded knowingly as he left. “Try and stay awake tonight…okay, pal?”