Mike was frantically pacing up and down this wretched cabin. All he could smell was damp, and all he could picture was that wardrobe’s contents. An overwhelming sense of illness seemed to be gripping his insides. He had never had to investigate anything like this before; a missing girl in the prime of her life. That sickened him enough, but now there were obviously others. Perhaps they were future targets, or even worse, past achievements. Everything was rushing around his head, so fast that he couldn’t concentrate, he started to feel dizzy. “How could this be happening?” He asked himself this question a few times before realising he wasn’t going to stumble upon the answer; he needed to search for it.
He ran outside of the cabin, thankful for the fresh air, and took a moment to compose himself. Removing his phone from his pocket, he thought about who to call first. “Jack, that’s who I need right now, Jack!” If anyone could have heard him, they would have assumed he wasn’t well. He was frantic in his speech, and his actions were to be described as scatty. The phone rang three times before Jack answered. “Hello, Jack Hoskins speaking.” Mike hesitated to answer for a moment. The gruff voice came back, “Hello? Who is this?” Mike had no choice; he had to involve his brother. “Jacky, I need your help. I know you probably don’t want to give me the time of day after what happened, but it’s important.” Jack paused. “It’s about that girl you’re searching for isn’t it?” “How’d you know?” Mike seemed almost suspicious. “Well, I’ve been doing some digging on this case. I know it’s not my case, but I can’t just sit back while parents lose their little girl. Not after…” Jack was interrupted, “Yeah, and have you found anything?” Annoyed at this diversion, Jack responded, “No, but I know you have. You went to look in the woods today didn’t you? You have found something, and you don’t know how to react to it!” Mike was astounded; he started to suspect his own brother of being involved with the criminal for one moment. “Jack, why do you know all of this?” “We work for a secret organisation, no one can talk to anyone outside, but they damn sure talk to everyone inside. Most people are saying you’ve finally lost it, but I know you’re onto something.” Mike was reassured. “I’ll tell you what; meet me at the coffee shop. I’ll explain everything.” The phone line went dead and Jack was left waiting for answers.
It was now early hours of the morning, Jack was sat at a table looking into a coffee mug and picking at a blueberry muffin, that if he was honest, tasted like it was about to grow legs and jump off the table. The door swung open, and Mike appeared. He first went to grab himself a coffee, mainly to stay awake. It was then he turned to Jack and said “mind if I sit?” “Of course not, we need to move on eventually.” Mike wouldn’t be drawn on talking about the past. “Right, I followed up on the man she was seen arguing with. I was told he lives in the woods, so I checked it out. Found a cabin. Disgusting cabin. I…I” Mike wasn’t able to bring the words out, speaking in short snappy sentences, and forgetting his words. “It’s okay Mike, you can talk to me about this” This did Mike a world of good, and he felt air entering his lungs for the first time in a few minutes. “I found a file.” The file was dropped onto the table. “It has memoirs of a man, who was made homeless as a child for being aggressive and overly violent. I also found a wardrobe.” Jack laughed, “A wardrobe huh? We need to arrest that man now!” this was followed by a slight chuckle, which was extinguished by Mike’s reaction, “No you fool, the wardrobe had these” The photos then found their way to the table. Jack looked at them and shouted in shock, “There all the missing people from the last few months!” “I know Jack, and that one is Liza.” He poked his finger toward Liza’s picture, but he couldn’t bring his eyes upon it.
Jack’s reaction was somewhere between shock and awe. Mike was frantically looking around him as though he was expecting a hit-man to suddenly jump up and blast a thousand bullets into his chest. “Well, you gotta’ catch this guy Mike…before he hurts anyone else.” “I know, but that’s easier said than done…where is he?” Jack had never seen his brother look more puzzled. Mike was an intelligent guy, and had been throughout his life. Jack was always the joker who hid his real potential while Mike flourished. “Mike, I know I’m not always the best person, but let me help you with this. You look so stressed and…” There was a pause that seemed so eerie… “Mike! That man there! He…” Jack couldn’t speak, for the first time in his life. Mike turned to see a man who looked like death. This man was in clothes blackened by dirt with his hair wild and greasy, no signs of washing, with scars on his face that looked like wounds from fighting. Mike stared for a while. In this whole time that Mike was analysing him, he didn’t even realise the man was staring at him. Jack got up from his seat and started to walk toward the door. The man quickly fled the scene. “That was him” Jack said with a sense of sadness, hinted with resolution.
It was then that Mike said “you don’t know that… we have never had any sighting of him”. Jack turned toward his brother looking paler than paper. “What’s wrong? Jack?” the sentence trailed off as Jack kept thinking. Eventually, Jack exclaimed “He took my baby girl Mike! That was him” It was at this point that Mike’s internal organs all seemed to drop at the same time. “You mean… That’s the man who kidnapped Hayley?” Jack could only bring himself to nod, his lips were quivering and tears were being produced by the second. Mike hadn’t spoken to his brother properly since his niece went missing. It ruined Jack’s life; he lost his job, his wife and in the end his brother. Jack blamed Mike for what happened. They were working on a case together, and there was a killer on the loose, Jack got too involved and when he thought he’d gotten the best of the masked killer, his daughter was missing. Jack had one face off with the guy who was responsible for the killings, and that was the man he had just seen again. “I should have just killed him when I had the chance, then I wouldn’t have all this regret and anger built up inside” Mike knew nothing else to do, than hug his brother.
Jack had calmed down, but was set on helping Mike. “I’m willing to bet my life that it’s the same man” “We don’t know…” Before mike could finish the sentence Jack shouted “YES WE FUCKING DO KNOW THAT! It’s the same crimes Mike” The second sentence went straight from anger to reasoning, as though he regretted shouting, and wanted to convince Mike that he was right. Mike thought for a couple of seconds. “The photos!” Jack looked very confused, and asked “what about them.” Mike gave no response, but just kept rummaging through the pictures he had collected earlier. It was at a point where Jack had given up trying to talk to Mike that he was suddenly disturbed by an almighty yelling. “OH MY FUCKING GOD!” Mike seemed in a state of shock, like someone had just come up to him with a cattle rod. “What is it Mike? What have you found?” “The proof you’re right, and some good news “, replied Mike.
Mike had a photo is his hand, and was waving it frantically. “It’s been two years since Hayley went missing” Jack looked upset “don’t remind me Mike”. Mike looked like he had discovered something amazing, like he was a genius. “Hayley was about 14 when she went missing right? Mike was trying to prompt an answer. “Yeah… Well she was nearly 15 actually.” Jack looked as though he was in a state of reminiscence. “Well, look at this photo.” Mike shook the photo in Jack’s face. Jack was astonished. Words couldn’t describe how he was feeling at that time. “It’s her Mike… It’s really her. That’s what she would look like now.” It hit Jack that she might still be alive and there might be a chance of saving his little girl. Jack and Mike both threw on their coats and disappeared out of the door.
© Copyright 2016 Ashley I Read. All rights reserved.
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