picture11. THE VICTIM
Fourteen year-old, Nicole Anderson bounded down the stairs with her light, sand-colored hair dancing off her shoulders. Mark and John, her two brothers, were busy playing a video game on the family’s large 55-inch Smart TV.
“I’ll be home for dinner,” Nicole called to them.
Engrossed in their intense competition, Mark half-heartedly yelled back, “Okay,” which was the response she anticipated.
Once out the door, Nicole briskly, but comfortably, walked towards her destination in a pair of shaker bow flat shoes. Only a quarter mile from her five bedroom, two-story home on Birnam Wood Drive, she arrived at the corner of Old Falls and Swinks Mill Road within five minutes. Since her brightly patterned spring dress hung three inches above her knees, Nicole used her hand frequently to restrain its natural rise with the breeze.
Between glances at the virtual phone attached to her wrist and the cars moving past her, Nicole assured herself, everything is going to be okay. Approximately ten minutes later, a sleek black Sports Sedan pulled up to the curb and a twenty-one year-old, striking man with dark hair poked his head out the window. He lowered his mirrored sunglasses and with a charming smile, said, “Hey gorgeous, there you are. Get in, hurry.”
Nicole did a double take before entering quickly and sliding into the passenger seat. “Wow Chad, where did you get this car? It looks brand new!”
“It is new–a 2025 Saab. Good to see you.”
“Well, don’t forget, I need to be home before five,” she giggly added while surveying the plush interior.
“You won’t have to worry about that baby. Here, taste some of this.”
The manner in which he replied escaped her attention. “What is it?”
“Some really good stuff I made. Go on, it won’t hurt you. It’s really good!”
“Does it have alcohol? I can’t…”
“Of course not. Come on, you don’t think I would give you something like, would you?”
Nicole looked at the drink and then at Chad who was smiling pleasantly. Then, hesitantly, she drank from the cup. “It’s a little sweet but not too bad,” she added nervously.”
“See, I told you it was good. Sometimes takes a little getting used to. Go ahead and finish it up. We’ll chase it with our espresso’s later.”
With a not so convincing smile, she finished its contents. In minutes, drowsiness started to overcome her. “I–I’m feeling really sheleepy. You–you didn’t put shomthing in my drink, did you?” she asked slurring her words.
Chad looked at her with a smile. “Everything okay baby?” as she slumped over against him. The dashing man she had met only the day before reacted by shoving her towards the passenger door as he swerved to miss an oncoming bus. She slammed against the window with a thud and remained sleeping against the door.
Nicole never made it to her café date with the flamboyant, European-accented, man who lavished his charm on her the previous afternoon. Thanks to the drink containing gamma hydroxybutyric acid, the colorless, odorless liquid used to knock out an unsuspecting victim, Nicole was sound asleep, oblivious to the drive transporting her to an undisclosed and very private, airport

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