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Authors: Sherrie Weynand

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BOOK: Dancing In Darkness
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“You bitch. Yes, I care for her, we all did and we all still do. Yes I gave her a job so she wouldn’t end up on the street the next morning because her rent was late and her pervert of a landlord only wanted to fuck her to pay off her debt, and no, I wasn’t providing her with a life of luxury. That would have been Adam there.” Nina stood up to the woman.

Adam could feel the blood drain from his face. Nina had unceremoniously pulled him into the middle of this confrontation. Not something that he wanted to be a part of, but he would definitely have Priscilla and Nina’s backs. He knew the resentment that Priscilla had towards this woman and he wasn’t about to stand here and idly let her pick away at Nina.

“You two both need to calm down. Right now, we all have bigger issues than who was the better mother. Yes all of what Nina said is true. Everyone is trying to find Priscilla.” Adam stepped in to play referee between the women.

Nancy was the first to speak up. “Let’s try this again. I apologize for getting upset, however being that I was told my daughter is missing and may or may not be alive, it caught me off guard.”

“Agreed, my apologies as well. I am tired and scared.” Nina smiled at the woman for the first time.

As Adam began to tell Nancy the entire story, she felt her heart sink. It never had occurred to her that she wouldn’t have a chance to talk with Priscilla. He went on to explain that the police were doing everything they could do and the FBI was performing searches of all outlying areas.

“All we can do now is wait.” He finished up.

Nancy and Nina both were in tears. They had to find a way to come to terms with all of this. They hadn’t heard from Det. Tony in several hours and they were completely in the dark. All Nina could think about was Priscilla somewhere alone. Nancy was thinking about how she had affected every one of Priscilla’s life choices and how in the end, this was her fault. The guilt was incredibly heavy. She had no intention on being part of any new drama, but she would accept responsibility for her part.

Adam was contemplating the arrival of Nancy Barnes. He and Priscilla had talked at length about the woman. She was a far cry from a good mother, but at a time like this it wasn’t appropriate to drudge up old demons. There were plenty of the current real ones to deal with. Planning on finding her alive, he also thought it would be a good idea for her not to be there when they do or at least not be wherever they bring her after finding her. These were not going to be easy topics and he would have to handle them delicately. Everyone was like a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. Their main concern as of now should not be any of them. Only Priscilla. That was the only thing he could think of. He would hold her again and this time she would never leave.

As they sat at the bar discussing what to do next, Mike Ward had finally reached the cabin. From the outside, everything looked as he left it. When he opened the door to go in, he let out a long howl of anger.

 

 

CHAPTER TWENTY

Storming into the cabin, Ward could instantly see that the knife he had on the makeshift countertop was gone. That meant that she was gone. “How the fuck did she get out of here?” He questioned himself. Checking the small room that had held her, he found remnants of the rope. A fit of rage enveloped him and he punched his fist through the wall. Now he had to find her. He had to track her down and hunt her, like the lowly animal he considered her to be.

The only weapon he had was his service revolver. The bitch had taken his knife. None of this was supposed to turn into this. He should have killed her when he had the chance, but no, she had deserved to suffer and he had to play good cop. “Fuck!” He screamed. Knowing he had been gone for hours was going to make it difficult to find her. He had to. Even if he didn’t he was sure that she was injured severely enough that she would die out in the elements. Too much movement and she would bleed. Not enough movement and he would find her. He would start at the cabin and circle it, expanding out each trip around. It didn’t matter how long it took him he would find her or her cold, dead body.

Darkness had set in and he was going to have to work by flashlight. Knowing she didn’t have any light gave him the upper hand. He set out on his search. “You can come out any time now, it will be easier on you and on me.” He called out to the dark woods around him. Walking slowly and deliberately like he was searching for evidence, he examined everything around him. She had to have left footprints in the soft dirt and the dried, dead leaves. Finding no trace in his first circle, he widened out by fifteen feet or so. He was nothing but methodical in his actions.

From her hiding place in the hill she could barely make out the faint sounds of a man’s voice. It was still very far away and she knew then that she made it further than she originally thought. That made her feel better, yet she knew that he was out looking for her. She had the knife for some type of protection but didn’t know what he had. Did she have the strength to fight with him? The doubts set in and she tried to fight it off. She needed sleep but was afraid to close her eyes.

He was on his fourth circle around the cabin and still called out to her. He wanted her to know that he was going to find her. His steps approximately the same stride length each and every time. He wasn’t worried about being quiet and let the twigs beneath him crack. The more she could possibly hear and the more fear it instilled the more enjoyment he was going to get.

During his latest trip around, which was becoming exceptionally large, the batteries started to drain in his flashlight. “Son of a bitch!” He yelled. “Can anything go right?” Without the light, the hunt for his prey was useless. He knew that if he couldn’t hunt her, she wouldn’t be able to escape him. Anger exploding from him he yelled at the top of his lungs, “You bitch, when I find you, I promise you will wish that you had never been born!” Wherever she had made it to, she had heard that.

Listening to him scream through the dead of the night sent chills up her spine. She was more terrified than she had ever been and yet she was holding on to that last gleam of hope that she would survive. He was still far away and the sound didn’t reverberate any closer to her. After a short time she noticed that it had become quiet again. No voice interspersed with the sounds of the night. She knew that even in the dark she was going to have to continue on her way. She had to make her move now before sunrise. Once the sun was up she would again be the prey.

Beth Tony was frantically searching for people and places that could possibly be connected to Ward. He had her somewhere that was familiar to him. When he left in the manner he did, it spoke volumes to her. “That woman is still alive.” She told her Chief. “I know it in my gut. She’s alive and we have to find her before it is too late.” The FBI was conducting searches at Ward’s home and places that he would frequent. When they learned that he had attended Adam Linston’s parties, they requested the member list. At this point no one’s confidentiality was more important than the imminent danger this woman and the community were in.

Det. Tony gave the list to the agent in charge. Every person named on this list needs to be contacted straightaway. There was no time to lose. One by one Tony started to call in alphabetical order. It was taking far too long for one person. She gave half of the list to a uniformed officer and told him to start calling. “Find out if any of these people are familiar with Michael Ward, if so, get any information they might have on where he goes, where he hangs out, what his hobbies are. Anything that will help us find this bastard.” She told him.

“Yes, Ma’am.” He replied. Without hesitation he began dialing numbers.

More than fifty names into this list, the officer finally had a possible connection. He had known Ward several years ago but he had to cut any ties with him. He had a horrible disposition towards women and one night after some party, Ward attacked his wife verbally. Other than that, he had been hunting with him a few times and had went fishing on a couple of occasions.

“Where did they go? Was there a particular place that they were hunting? Fishing? Get me those answers right now.” She barked orders.

Continuing on her list she only had four name’s remaining. The next to last name was also a possible connection. He basically had the same story, mistreatment of females in general. He too had hunted with Ward, years ago. “Do you remember where you were hunting? This could save someone’s life.” She asked the man.

“It was off of I-95 pretty far back in the woods. I can’t remember exactly.” He told her.

“Thank you, if you can think of anything else please call me right away. I’ll leave my number with you.” She said.

Looking at the officer that was helping her, she asked him, “What were you able to get?”

“He had went to an old hunting cabin. One bedroom, no utilities. He said it was off of I-95 but he couldn’t remember exactly where. He said there was a small pond that sits to the side of it and he remember a small waterfall that fell next to the road before the pull in.” The officer told her.

Running to find a map of the area along 95, she was searching for every small pond that she could find. Thankful for technology she used her smartphone with satellite view of the area. Zooming in and searching wherever she found water. Yelling out different areas that needed to be searched immediately, dark or not.

She was confident that they were going to find him, being in time to save Priscilla Barnes’ life was the concern.

Updating the FBI team with the new information she had found a new surge of energy. Informing the lead agent that she was going to gather her team and search one of the areas, she waited for his approval and then jumped into action.

“We have to search this area right here she showed her team on the map. Someone had printed out the screen of the questionable area so we have that to go on. This woman is out there somewhere. We have to find him and find her before she dies.” She explained.

They climbed into the police van and she followed behind them. Using the coordinates from the map, they were able to easily locate the precise area they needed to search. Leaving the van and her vehicle on the main road, they were going to have to hike in. There was no point in risking the headlights being seen.

“Listen up,” She called. “He is armed and dangerous, he knows our routines and how we would perform a search. Keep your flashlights pointed to the ground and above all else, remain silent. Radios turned down and on channel two. No traffic unless it’s an emergency situation. Am I clear?”

The steady replies of “Yes Ma’am,” came back. They spread out in a line pattern until they were ten wide, five feet apart. Then proceeded to walk forward, slowly and repetitively. Walking for approximately five minutes, they ran into swamp. The next step they took gave them the first indication that they were exactly where they needed to be. Hidden in the weeds they found a black Honda half submerged. The officer that located it quietly picked up his radio and informed Det. Tony.

After verifying that it was the car they were searching for Tony radioed in for more backup and additional SWAT members, this night was about to take a rocky turn. Indicating to her team to back out of their current position, they made their way back out to the main road. In a matter of minutes the main road was littered with various police and FBI vehicles, no lights on and loading up on ammo like they were going to war. Without knowing what weapons he had available to him other than his service weapon, they had to be prepared for anything. It was dark, he knew that they were on to him, he would be ready for them.

While they were getting ready to try to save her, Priscilla was trying to put as much distance between her and him as she could. She was walking slowly now, but still moving. There wasn’t any way for her to try and find shelter right now, she had no choice but to keep going. Her footing faltering considerably, she began to cry. The tears came in torrents and she made no effort to stop them. Her dad’s voice broke through loud and clear. “Keep moving baby, you are going to be okay.” She knew she wasn’t hearing it in reality, but she held onto it like it was the last thing that would keep her alive.

As they were preparing to start their sweep of the area and head back to the only place the cabin could be located, Det. Tony reminded them all, “We do not know if Ms. Barnes is alive or dead. We do know that Ward has her. At least he did have her. There is nothing that shows us otherwise. The car he was driving was hidden in the swamp and when he knew that we were onto him, he left in a hurry. That leaves me with the hope that this is not going to become a body recovery for a homicide victim.”

The team was making last minute preparations and adding everything that they might need. SWAT members had flash grenades along with all of their other ammo. They had to have the element of surprise on their side if they were going to take him alive without any of them being injured or killed. The coming hours were going to be very telling of the outcome of this crisis.

Across town, Adam was unaware of the events being played out in the swampland on the far side of the freeway. All he could think about was trying to make a life with this woman and growing from here. “How do you know she will even want you after this?” He questioned himself. “Ah, we don’t but if there is a chance isn’t it better to take it than leave it behind?” So many things that he could question about all of this. How did he fall in love with someone so quickly? Why did he care all of a sudden if he had an actual partner and not a sub? What if she was scared of him after this? What if she wasn’t alive? That question was the one that burned his heart to ash. He would rather her be alive and not want him than to not have her at all. Wanting to take any suffering from her was killing him. There was nothing that he could do except wait for the detective to contact them.

Now he had Nina, who was becoming more and more volatile the longer this ensued. She was a bundle of nerves and there was nothing that would calm her. He was thinking more and more about calling a doctor friend who could write her a prescription for something to either relax or sleep. The poor woman hadn’t eaten nor slept. Nothing he could do had convinced her that she needed to keep herself strong as well. If she lost it before the conclusion of this travesty, it was going to be the equivalent of a nuclear bomb. Especially since the arrival of Nancy Barnes.

She was yet another crucial piece of the puzzle he had before him. Priscilla didn’t have a relationship with her since childhood and now she shows up unannounced while her estranged daughter is missing. “What the hell else can go wrong, Linston?” He asked himself out loud.

“Don’t ask that very loud.” Nina said in a half-hearted attempt at humor. “It’s like tempting fate.”

“Can’t hurt if you don’t believe in fate.” He replied.

“Why don’t you believe in it?” She questioned him.

“For the same reason I don’t believe in a god.” He said openly. “If there were a god, would he or she permit all of this to happen? Would Priscilla be out there somewhere in the hands of a deranged killer? Same with fate. What, it was her fate to die somewhere alone?”

“I see where you are coming from.” She replied. “I guess I just had it instilled in me from such a young age.”

“That’s where people need to open their eyes and think for themselves.” He told her. “That’s just my opinion and people are welcome to believe as they choose.”

It was a relief to be talking about something else, even if it was religion or lack thereof, but at least it wasn’t about Priscilla missing or Ward on the loose. They had to catch this guy so everyone could have a little peace of mind.

“I agree, I don’t look at you any differently because of that. I know Priscilla doesn’t believe either. Although it makes me wonder who she is praying to or talking with while she’s alone or before she…” Nina said.

“Stop, I don’t think she’s gone. I have a really strong gut feeling that they are going to find her.” He told her.

“I hope you are right.” She answered. “I told you it was this bastard and I told you that Tony had suspected him.”

He knew that she was coming to an “I told you so” spot, but he was not going to let her get this one. Priscilla was coming home alive.

“I’ve never wanted to truly kill someone until Mike Ward.” Adam told her. “I mean literally eviscerate him. I hate feeling this way it’s a heavy load, but I could end that man’s world in a heartbeat.”

“Don’t feel alone in that club, I’m right there with you and I would not feel one miniscule amount of guilt for doing it.” She replied.

BOOK: Dancing In Darkness
13.49Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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