Stefan had never done anything so quick in his life, running across the room to pick up his phone. He rang the police, quickly telling them as much information as he could about the spot he was thinking of. They seemed skeptical because he didn’t have a lot of information, but he asked them to look into it. “Please call me if you get a lead,” he begged, “Please.” Stefan was surprised he hadn’t thought of it sooner - it was somewhere that George mentioned very briefly to him one night when they were out drinking together. Stefan asked George, in his inebriated state, if he ever felt uncomfortable bringing women home with him when he lived in such a nice house with such expensive things in it. “Fuck no,” George laughed, “I don’t bring slags to my house, I’ve got a place to take them. It’s a room I rent in East London near the market, a bit run down but no neighbors to hear or see anything. You get me?” Stefan remembered. George was likely to not remember telling Stefan that and it sounded like, if he had to guess, the perfect place to bring a sex slave to torture. Stefan felt like a fool not thinking there was something strange about George telling him that before. God knows how many women he’s hurt, Stefan thought to himself, cringing. Stefan was torn away from his thoughts when his phone rang, jumping at the sound. “Hello?” he asked after quickly answering, “You’ve got an area? Are they going to check them all? Yes, thank you — Can I come to the site, in case its the right one? Great, thank you.” Stefan jumped up, making Dru get to his feet as well. Stefan put on his shoes, grabbing a set of clothes from Ashley’s room, just in case.
Dru seemed to understand what was happening even though Stefan had told him next to nothing about the George’s room, what he told the police, what the police said when they called him back with information. They were off to the location they’d given him over the phone, taking the tube to Dru’s before he drove them to the address. None of the officers were there yet when they arrived. They didn’t want to fuck up any sort of operation they had going, so they sat in the car (im)patiently waiting their arrival. “What do you think he’s done, Dru?” Stefan asked softly, near tears, “What if he’s…. you don’t think he’s killed him, do you?” Dru sighed, trying to hide it from him. “I don’t know, Stef. I wish I did.” Stefan nodded, as if saying fair enough, and continued looking out the window. Eventually the police strolled up, undercover cars, undercover clothes. One of them walked up to Dru’s car, knocking at the glass, startling Stefan. “Shit,” he mumbled, rolling the window down. “We’re thinking this is the place. Bad news is we have to check each and every room until we figure out if they’re here. You can step out of the car, but stay close.” Stefan nodded, a dull look on his face. He didn’t know what he would do if they didn’t find him. This felt like his only hope at getting Ashley back.
They followed close behind the officer, going through an alleyway and down a side street a bit before seeing the set of rooms, doors all aligned. Stefan could see others strategically placed around the building as to watch in case George was in fact there and decided to make a run for it. They gave a three minute warning before busting in the first door, finding nothing. “They’ll go to the other end and try there before they try any of the closer ones,” the office explained to them quietly, “Anyone in surrounding rooms are more likely to get scrambled by the noise and try to run, so they try farther away to save a bit of time.” Stefan nodded, not truly caring what the man was telling him. He just wanted it to be over with, for them to find Ashley safe and sound so Stefan could bring him home. They tried one, two, three more rooms, and nothing. They would go in, take about a minute to check around it, then file on back out. Another room, nothing. And another.
Stefan was losing hope. He was close to crying again, despite the fact that he was standing there with a stranger who would think he was mental. They pushed their way into the next room, taking a few seconds to get themselves in before he heard it. “We’ve got something!” he heard one of them shout. Stefan didn’t give anyone time for a reaction of any kind, simply bolted up the stairs to where they were. He’d never moved so fast in his entire life. Surely something was better than nothing, he thought. In the split second before he rounded the corner into the room he worried that something wasn’t him because it was just a body, but he continued on nonetheless. Peaking into the room, he could see the officers surrounding the bed. He couldn’t see, not a thing, not what or who was on the bed, what condition they were in. “Move!” Stefan shouted, trying to get through them. He was hardly ready for what he found, the black and blue, bloody mess of flesh that was Ashley’s body. But yet, he was so relieved. So relieved, he couldn’t believe it.
“Stef?” he mangled out, “Oh god, Stefan…”