Once Charles was safely aboard the carriage, Marta addressed the captain. “My assistant, Missy McCallen, has disappeared. I believe she’s been kidnapped, and I fear she might have been brought here.” She gestured towards Chinatown.
“That’s not likely,” he replied with an edge of skepticism in his voice. “There’s an unwritten law that white folk aren’t to be mistreated here. The tongs are careful not to violate that agreement.” He teased his mustache with one hand as he spoke.
“But there’s a man who is hypnotizing young women from the tenements. I believe he’s the one who has Missy.” A note of irritation rose in Marta’s voice, and she forced it down. She couldn’t afford to alienate this officer if she expected his help.
“Sounds like the tenements are the place to look, then,” he concluded. “Have you filed a police report?”
“About the hypnotist, yes, but not Missy. She just disappeared today.” She knew her worries probably sounded trivial. “My office door was wide open when I arrived this morning, and things were a mess,” she hastily added. “I’m certain something is wrong.”
The captain rubbed his forehead in thought. “Better give it a day or two. If she doesn’t show up by then, go back and file a new report. My bet is she’ll return with some explanation.”
Marta had hoped the captain would take some immediate action, but she had to admit there was little to go on. Her fears were mostly driven by instinct. She heaved a sigh of frustration but said nothing further. Police wanted facts, not women’s intuition.
The captain bid them goodbye and Byron directed his driver to take them home. Marta couldn’t help contrasting the differences between the netherworld of opium dens, thieves, and murderers she had just visited, and the world of carriages clip clopping along sunlit avenues to homes the size of ships. It was as if she had just visited a foreign country and in a way, she supposed she had, for there had been nothing familiar about Chinatown.
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