"911...What is your emergency?"
Only silence answered.
"911...Do you have an emergency?" She repeated.
Hearing what could have been the sound of muffled breathing or static, Erin Talbot could feel her heart begin to race. "You're going to have to speak up." She continued. "I can't hear you." After waiting several seconds she tried again with a much louder voice. "Hello...Is anyone there?...I cannot hear you...Please speak up if you have an emergency." She pleaded.
At nineteen years old, it was her second week on the job and her first emergency phone call.
Chief of police Mike Wallace graciously walked through the glass double doors into the small police station instantly hearing the distress in Erin's voice.
"Do you have an emergency?" She all but screamed.
"Try to keep them on the line." He ordered.
Sensing trouble, Wallace hurried towards the metal desk where he scurried through a typhoon of paperwork; mentally noting that someone needed to teach this girl organization skills. Surprisingly, he found a pen then grabbed a piece of paper from the rubble and quickly jotted down the address that within seconds displayed across the computer screen. Seconds later and a few strokes on another keyboard he had the directions as well.
"I lost them." She said suddenly.
"It's ok." He reassured. "You kept them on the line long enough to get a trace...You did good." He finally added.
Transferred from Miami six months ago, Mike Wallace was a professional.
"All units in the vicinity of Bittercreek please respond to an unidentified 911 at 26 Rabbit Lane. I repeat all units in the area please respond to 26 Rabbit Lane." Within seconds, Wallace had his 9mm securely in place.
The instant he started his cruiser, he automatically reached over and turned on the beacon of flashing red lights. He then backed out of the parking lot, turned left onto Chestnut and sped into the night.
Although he was only at most fifteen miles away, driving on unfamiliar narrow country roads that were sure to have unexpected dips and bends, had him silently praying he would arrive in a timely manner.
In exactly twenty-seven minutes, fifty-four year old Mike Wallace found what he was looking for and turned right onto Rabbit Lane. He turned on the exterior spotlight and continued driving slowly down the neglected lane carefully maneuvering around a parade of potholes--some of which he thought were large enough to swallow an automobile--until he came across a rickety old mailbox in desperate need of remounting. Glaring in the beam of light he could clearly read the numbers 26 then immediately turned left into the driveway.
Nothing more that a dirt path with two tire treads outlining an overgrowth of weeds, Wallace was fully aware of a continuing parade of neglected holes, as well as the outstretched limbs of ancient trees and jungle of untamed vines that seemed to be violently clawing their way at him. Cautiously inching his way forward and rounding what he hoped was a final 's' shaped curve, Wallace stared straight ahead, utterly stunned at the massive structure several hundred feet ahead of him.
A castle...a goddamn castle!
Bathed in full moonlight, the towering castle he noticed had an oppressive look, immediately sending unwanted chills up his spine.
Maybe it was too many years of being a seasoned officer, or maybe it was just pure chauvinistic instinct he thought. Either way Mike Wallace knew something was wrong.
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