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The unknown man, who had tricked Tom into his house, woke up late in the morning. The previous day he drank a lot of beer and had a hangover. With difficulty he dragged himself out off the bed, knocking down the table and spilling the leftover beer in the glass. Walking unsteadily he went into the kitchen and turned off the light which he had forgotten to put off yesterday night. He opened the fridge door. There were not too many food items in it. He made breakfast for himself. As punishment, that Tom was rude, because when defending himself against him scratched his hands and spat in his face, the kidnapper had decided that Tom would not get anything to eat. He splashed water over his sunburnt face above the sink and left the house. Trapped in the basement Tom heard his footsteps, creaking of the wooden floor, and after a while how he slammed the door and turned the key in a lock. Tom did not know what further intentions the unknown man had for him. He was worried about the worst to come. At night he managed to remove the metal buckle from his trousers belt. He decided that the next time the abductor came to visit him in the basement, he would attack him immediately and try to escape. Meanwhile, Eric and Lilly, hidden in the bushes on the opposite side of the road, watched how the stranger got into the jeep and drove away.

  "Can anybody else be still in this house? His partner?", asked Lilly.

  "I do not know. Probably not. Who would like to live with such a bogeyman. Let's not waste the time",  decided Eric.

They got out of the bushes and ran to the front door. Eric pressed on the doorbell. They had waited for a moment, but no one came to open the door. They came to the conclusion that the unknown man was living alone in the big house. Eric walked around the house, wondering how to get inside. All the windows were tightly closed. Eric took off his jacket, and wrapped it around his arm. He ordered his sister to step away on a safe distance and turn her back to him, then he broke the glass of the window. Carefully, avoiding touching the sharp pieces of glass, he slid his hand inside, grabbed the handle and opened the window. Gracefully, he jumped in and then helped his sister to get inside. Bello easily jumped on the windowsill and jumped off on the floor. Once inside they looked around. The kitchen was a mess. Bello immediately lay down near the cupboard with shelves, on which there were standing jars with marinated cucumbers for the winter. Bello lightly scratched the floor, giving them in this way a sign where to search. It was a learned gesture that was telling the dog's guide that he had found the man they were looking for. 

  "Tom is under the floor", said Lilly, and as a reward she gave the dog a sesame toffee, tenderly stroking his head.

Erik took a good look at the floor, but did not notice the possibility of entering the basement by raising a hatch in the floor. He squatted down and examined with his hands if there was a movable plank in the floor behind which there was concealed the entrance to the basement. Desperately they were looking at all the walls, but they did not see anything that would indicate the possibility of getting into the basement. Lilly bent down and knocked on the floor. After a moment they heard knocking. They were terrified. They were not sure whether it was only an auditory hallucination, or there was a real knocking from under the floor. Tom did not know if somebody was really looking for him, or there were just the sounds the kidnapper was making when moving around in the kitchen above. Resigned, Eric leaned against the wall with one hand and moved his other hand over his forehead. At the same moment, the cupboard shuddered and staggered slightly. Suddenly they saw a small door in the wall, hidden exactly behind the cupboard. Eric quickly pushed the cupboard aside, revealing the door which was with its color perfectly blended into the back of the cabinet. Next to it on a hook there was hanging a long, iron, rusty key. Lilly could not believe her own eyes. Bello was scratching with his paws at the bottom of the door. Eric immediately grabbed the key and opened the door. Fearlessly Bello ran down the steps to the little room hidden in the basement and began greeting scared Tom by wagging his tail, whining, and cringing, licking his hands.

  "Tom? Are you there? Tom?", Lilly asked shyly.

  "Is that you? How did you get here?", Tom said when he saw two familiar silhouettes in a sheaf of daylight that fell into the dark basement through the open door. He rubbed his eyes out of surprise. 

  "Tom, Tom, aren't you hurt?",  asked Lilly, carefully watching him.

  "We will talk later", Erick decided firmly, "we have no time to waste. Quick, let's run away from here!", he urged them.

Eric as the first jumped out the window outside, and then helped his sister and his friend to leave the kidnapper's house. On command Bello himself jumped on the windowsill, and then jumped out of the window and joined them. They quickly ran through the garden and hid themselves behind the bushes on the other side of the road. They were walking through the forest, elbowing their way between the bushes, at a safe distance from the road, so as to be invisible to the kidnapper, who any moment could return home. They slowed down only when they reached the first homes. For the first time in a long time they felt safe. Eric took the cell phone out of his pocket, switched it on and dialed an emergency number to contact the police.

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Dilia Vintage
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