Chapter 3: Chapter 3

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 77

Alex stared at the cell phone as if she could will it to come to life. Yet, as it sat lifeless in the palm of her hand she began to grow more agitated. For the last month, she and Kate had been using the burner phones to text each other how they were doing, but when Kate actually called and said she felt like she had been watched and followed for a while, it was alarming. The call went against everything Kate had insisted on as they navigated the unknown waters that the incident at the dock had brought. Alex had initially tried to blow it off as reasonable paranoia, but as the night drew on she couldn’t ignore the possible severity of Kate’s concerns. Through the day and evening, Alex had continually texted her and even called, but Kate didn’t even respond with a simple ‘I’m okay.’ It took all her self-control to not call Kate’s actual cell phone. Alex drew in a deep breath and with its exhale rapped her fingers across the steering wheel. As her eyes moved and zeroed in on the house in front of her, she debated on putting her key back in the ignition and taking off. She knew she shouldn’t be there, for her safety, for Katelynn and Tyler’s, but in the end, she would rather deal with Kate’s wrath than something be wrong. 

With the decision made she pushed the door open and got out. Alex paused and looked around the sleepy neighborhood. The sun had not yet cracked its way through the night; the moon and scattered stars held strong and bright overhead. A sudden shiver ran through her and in reaction, Alex curled into her jacket. She jogged towards the house and bypassed the path that led to the small front porch. Instead, she cut around to the side door. 

The breeze picked up slightly and ran through the chimes that hung over the porch’s railing. As impatient as she felt Alex couldn’t help but smile at the dance they created in the flowing air and the calming melody made from the metal tubes gently colliding. Alex looked towards the golden light that emanated past the curtains covering the kitchen's windows, but it was a shadowed movement that caught her attention. 

She didn’t bother to knock; instead, she twisted the knob and pushed the door inward speaking to her friend, “I still think you’re insane to run this early, but at least I know you’re up.”

The light clicked off before she could finish her breath. Alex blinked in the sudden darkness and instinctively reached for her gun. Her thumb had barely touched the buckle’s release when a force violently propelled her forward. Her head slammed into the edge of the counter and her next realization was that she was on the floor. Her head spun and her hand immediately went to the pain. She rolled over to see the large form silhouetted above her and didn’t move as the glint of a knife caught her attention. All she could do was lift her arm in protest and try to get her gun. 

Sirens echoing around them had her attacker fleeing. She doubted they were headed her way, but grateful for the distraction. With him gone she slowly turned over to her stomach to make the effort to get up. She pushed to her knees and used the edge of the counter to pull herself up. With a sudden lightness in her head, she leaned against the smooth tile to adjust to the new position. As she took uneven steps towards the doorway she unholstered her gun and mentally worked to shake the dizziness and nausea that wracked her.

Beyond an almost silent whine that caught her attention, there wasn’t a sign of anyone, but she let her gun lead the way. She had to find Kate and Tyler.

Alex felt the warm blood that began to matte her hair and flow down her cheeks. Her head throbbed and her vision was slightly blurred, but the adrenaline and fear pushed her to search each room. Once around the corner, her heart stopped. There lay Kate’s dog. Blood pooled beneath him and a small whimper clung to each shallow breath. Alex pressed her body against the wall and slowly made her way towards him, but her eyes were on the slightly ajar door of the master bedroom. No light escape. Only the glow from Tyler’s room lit her way. She had to pass it before she could get to the dog. She stopped and slowly pressed the door open with the toe of her boot. After clearing the room she could see that nothing was out of place except for the covers of the bed. Jumbled in a heap from where Tyler should have been. 

She wanted to call out, but Alex knew better. She couldn’t get to Kate’s room fast enough. But, she had to do it safely, the intruder that attacked her had left, but she didn't trust the possibility that there was no-one else. After clearing the hall bathroom she made it to the large grey dog and knelt next to him. Slowly she ran her hand through his fur and he reacted to her touch by lifting his head slightly. 

“It’ll be okay,” she whispered. Alex carefully parted his fur to see the damage. The gaping hole in his stomach bled freely. She hastily tore off her jacket and wrapped it tightly around his midsection hoping it made a difference, but she couldn’t linger to help more.

She rose and looked behind her, there was still nothing. With the muzzle of the gun, Alex pressed the master bedroom's door open. It scrapped silently along the carpet and with it, the light swam across the floor revealing a sight that made Alex's throat constrict. She stepped in and quickly checked the dark corners. There was no one except Katelynn and Tyler wrapped tightly within her. In any other circumstance, it would almost appear that Kate had simply fallen asleep with her son in her arms. Neither of them moved. She tried not to look at the blood blinding her vision and swallow the dread that continued to choke her. 

"Kate?" she exhaled, the name stuck in her throat. No response. In two steps Alex dropped to her knees. Slowly she tried to separate the two to get a better look; To see if one of them was alive. With her gentle force, Kate suddenly came to life. Her breath was raspy, shallow, and filled with pain. She weakly tried to tighten her hold while her eyes became wide and pleading.

"Kate, it's me, Alex. It's okay." A lie. How was it okay? Words were meaningless, but she'd continued to try anything, even if it was just for herself.

Tentatively she touched Tyler. His skin was warm. She placed her index finger on his Carotid Artery. There was nothing, or was there? She closed her eyes almost willing at least a flutter to reveal itself and give her hope that it wasn't too late.

Alex gingerly lifted and moved Kate’s arm that encircled Tyler and worked him away. She laid him flat and stared at his chest to see if it would rise. When it didn’t, she immediately placed one hand on his chest to start compressions. As she worked she looked over at Kate. Her shirt had been ripped apart and exposed pale skin that was covered in various shades of reds and pinks. Dried and fresh blood seeped from an unknown number of what she could only assume were stab wounds. She was reluctantly watching her best friend bleed out but knew she had to kick start Tyler's heart. It tore at her, but Tyler’s condition took precedence.

"Kate.” No response, but she kept trying, “Kate, can you hear me?"

Alex studied Tyler's face as she compressed his chest in rhythm. Twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine. Her mind screamed at the reality. She had lost count to the number of times she had performed CPR in the field, but clearly remembered the handful that had been successful. She tilted his head back and gave a breath. His chest rose with her effort but nothing beyond. Another breath, a pause, nothing. She rose back over his still body; his only movement was her hand on his chest pressing down begging for his heart to wake back up and do its job.

"Kate, answer me!” She had responded earlier, now her head had fallen to the side and her eyes shut.

For the first time, Alex glanced around the space to see what story it told. A clear struggle had flipped the room on its end, but beyond that, her own concussion wasn't helping her see or even think clearly. The one thing she couldn't miss was the blood.

She looked back to her dying friend. "Katelynn Quinn, open your goddamn eyes!"

Blue and red lights flashed past the drawn curtains and into the room. Voices filled the air.

"In here!" she choked out, but quickly cleared her throat and turned her head to the open door. “Officer down!"

 

 


Submitted: September 28, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Kathrynmp. All rights reserved.

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