Chapter 1: The Mine
“Sam!” Abigail Lancaster yelled for her older brother.
“I’m in my room!” he yelled back.
Abigail walked into Sam’s room and saw him lying on his bed reading a comic. “Where’s dad?”
“And where is that?”
“The old mine shaft just outside of town,” Sam replied. “Why?”
“I think Dad is, or did, cheat on mom.” She walked out of the room.
“Don’t tell me you believe those stupid bloggers again.” Sam followed her.
“I didn’t, until this came in the mail today.” She held up a letter.
Sam took the letter from her and opened it. “It’s a hospital bill.”
“Look at who it’s for.”
“Someone named Rachel Johnson, labeled as…daughter?”
“Abby, anyone could have put that there.” He gave her back the letter. “Where are you going?”
“The mine.” She quickly walked to the front door and left. Sam walked to the window and watched her get into a taxi.
When she arrived at the mine, she told the driver to wait for her. Everywhere she looked, she saw trucks full of dynamite and at least two hundred workers. She walked in the mine and saw what they were mining for on the walls: Rainbow Crystal. She went about forty feet in and didn’t see her dad.
She walked up to the closest worker. “Do you know where I can find Mark Lancaster?”
“Sorry, you just missed him,” he told her.
“Okay, thanks.” She turned to walk away, thinking that she should’ve seen her dad leaving. The worker walked up behind her, grabbed her hands, and started taping them together.
“What are you doing?”
“Sorry, miss, but you’re not going anywhere. Come on!” He led her to the back of the mine, where no one else was.
“Okay, what is going on?”
He made her sit. “Consider this a favor.” He taped her ankles together. “Believe me kid, there are a lot worse ways to die.”
“Well,” she scoffed. “Thank you for being open with me.”
“As soon as I’m clear, I’ll push this button…and I think you can figure the rest out.” He turned to walk way.
“So, who told you to kill a twelve year old girl?”
He turned and looked at her.
“I’m going to die, anyway.”
“Whitney.” He turned and left. Abigail quickly started trying to undo the tape. She pulled on the tape, twisting her wrists back and forth. When that didn’t work, she scooted back, closer to the wall. She found a sharp edge, then repositioned to rube the tape against it.
The worker walked outside and held up the button. “You’ve got ten seconds to clear out!” Everyone started running away from the mine.
The workers were almost clear when the manager, Todd Jarrett, heard someone yelling for help. “Hey, wait! Someone’s in there!”
As they started running toward the mine, the worker pressed the button. One-by-one, three bombs blew. The first explosion closed the entrance to the mine, the second blew in the back, and the third blew in the middle.
A few of the workers were blown back by the blast, including Todd. He stood up and looked around for the man that set off the dynamite, and didn’t see him. He looked back at the mine and knew someone was trapped, and most likely, dead.
“You,” he pointed at a worker. “Call 911!”
A car pulled up to the side of the road, across the street from the mine. A girl named Rebbeca Stone got out of the back seat. She walked around the open door and to the driver’s window. “Thanks for the ride, John.”
“Anytime,” he replied, as his son climbed out of the backseat.
“Don’t worry, Dad, I’ll be home before midnight,” he said, closing the door. They watched as John drove away.
“Before midnight?” Rebbeca asked. “Really?”
“Hey, it’s not my fault you won’t let me tell my dad what we really do at night.”
“That’s gross, Drake.”
They crossed the road.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t supposed to sound like that.”
Rebbeca tossed her back pack over her shoulder and grabbed Drake’s hand. “Follow me.” She led him through the crowds of fire fighters and officers, until they got to the sheriff’s car. “Dad.”
“I was wondering when you two would get here,” he said. “Where’s Samson?”
“At home.” She tossed her bag through the open window of her dad’s car.
“And why is that?”
“John dropped us off.”
He gave her a blank stare.
“I couldn’t say, ‘Hey, John, can you take me home? I need to pick up my dog’.”
“Point taken,” Frank sighed. “Just bring him next time. That dog should only be away from you when you’re at school.” He turned to talk to another officer. A few minutes later, he looked back at them. “Rebbeca, you know Officer Kelley.”
“Yes, I do,” she smirked.
“I want you to go with Kelley and talk to the Lancasters.”
“Got it.” She nodded and then left with Officer Kelley. As they walked through the crowds, she looked over at everyone trying to get into the mine.
“So, how have you been?” Kelley asked.
“Oh, you know.” She shrugged. “I see even less of Dad, now.”
“I know, kid. I wish things were different.”
“So do I. But you can’t change what’s happened; you can only change what’s happening.”
“You need to stop repeating your father.”
“Like that’s going to happen,” she said as they reached the Lancasters.
“Mr. Lancaster, this is Junior Officer Rebbeca Stone. She will be answering any and all of your questions,” Kelley said. Rebbeca stepped forward.
“Are you sure it’s my daughter trapped in there?” Mark asked, as he shook Rebbeca’s hand.
“Abigail Lancaster was the only person who was not seen exiting the mine before it caved,” she replied. “But there is a chance your daughter could still be alive.”
“Why are you even talking to us if you know what happened?” Sam asked her.
“We need to make sure someone isn’t targeting your family. Because if they were, you’d all be in protective custody, right now.”
“Why don’t you just go, and leave us alone? You’ve said enough. Besides, I don’t need to tell some kid, stuff about my sister,” Sam spoke in a loud tone of voice. Kelley stepped forward to say something, but Rebbeca pushed him back.
“I’m not some kid…I’m fifteen, and I’m an officer in training. And if you don’t learn how to be respectful when you talk to someone, let alone an officer, I’ll get my father to arrest you.”
“And who’s your dad, Princess?”
“Sheriff Frank Stone. Call me princess one more time, and you’ll regret it!” Rebbeca walked away and left Kelley behind with his mouth on the floor. Not knowing what to say, Kelley gave them a blank look, then followed Rebbeca.
“Kern,” Rebbeca corrected.
“You know how I feel about those words, Ben.”
They walked up to her dad’s car. Rebbeca stood next to Drake. They watched as Kelley started talking to her dad a few feet away.
“How’d it go?” Drake asked, sitting on the hood of the sheriff’s car. “Because it doesn’t look like it went very well.”
“That’s because it didn’t.” She handed him his laptop. “I’m so glad I’m not Abigail.”
“Because she’s trapped in a mine and possibly dead?” He opened his laptop.
“True. But no. Because I would kill myself if Sam was my brother. Anyway, can you do me a favor?”
“Don’t I always?” Drake asked. “Just kidding. What do you need?”
“Any and everything you can find on Mark Lancaster.”
“Can I ask why?”
“I need to see if Mark has any enemies he’s not telling me about.” She noticed that Drake seemed distracted. “You okay?”
Drake looked at the mine. “Do you think she’s still alive?”
“I don’t know. It’s hard to tell from out here,” she said. “But how am I supposed to know? You’re the computer guy. Why don’t you see if it’s possible for someone to be trapped in a mine for four hours and live?”
A few seconds later they heard a voice yell, “We found her!” As soon as they heard that, every available officer ran over to the ambulance to try and help. Rebbeca and Drake stood on top of the car to try and see over the crowd of people.
After Abigail was put in the ambulance, everyone slowly left. About an hour later, a worker covered in dirt was headed their way.
“Excuse me, Sir?” Rebbeca sprang to life, sliding off the hood of the car. “Is she alive?”
“Yep,” he replied. “I pulled her out myself.”
“Rebbeca Stone, sheriff’s daughter.” She shook his hand.
“Todd Jarrett. I need to go, but can you give a message to your father for me?”
“You haven’t given a statement, yet?”
“No, I’ll be in tomorrow. But based on everything that happened here tonight, we think someone was trying to kill her.”
“Did you see who?” Drake asked.
“No. But, I wish I did.”
“I’ll make sure the sheriff knows.”
“It was nice meeting you, Rebbeca, but I must be getting home. My fiancé’s been waiting long enough.”
They watched as he walked up to a blonde woman waiting for him at his car. Rebbeca and Drake looked at each other with puzzled looks on their faces.
“An attempted murder in Kernsville,” Drake said, unbelieving. “We haven’t had one of those in years, let alone on one of the richest people in town.”
“I know.” Rebbeca thought for a minute before glancing around. “Looks like we have our work cut out for us.”
Drake sighed. “And just when I was getting used to boring.”
Rebbeca looked at him with a look he’d seen before.
“What? I mean it. You could almost feel it.”