Chapter 10: Never Safe
Greg pulls up to see a patrol car sitting in the driveway. What’s happened now? He asks, nervously looking around. Getting closer he realizes that his entire front yard is filled with officers. The massive presence terrifies Greg even more. Skidding to a stop at the edge of the yard, he runs to the first officer he sees.
“What happened? Where’s my wife and kids? Are they alright,” he anxiously blurts out. Seeing an ambulance parked alongside the house, Greg falls to his knees.
“Oh my god, something did happen to them. Where are they? What’s happened? I’ve got to go see them,” Greg blubbers through his tears.
“You need to calm down, sir.” The officer orders, grabbing a hold of the trembling man’s shoulders.
“How can I be calm when my wife and kids are hurt?” he yells.
“No one is hurt, sir. Your wife is really shaken up, but other than that she’s fine.”
“What about my kids? Are Lilly and Adam alright?”
“Your kids are fine too.”
“Where are they? I’ve got to go see them.”
“There in the house, sir but I...” Pushing the officer away, Greg sprints across the yard. Another officer tries to stop him, Greg pushes him away too.
“Oh Abby, you’re alright,” he blubbers, plopping down beside her.
“He snatched the baby out of his crib,” she bawls, holding the child closer.
“He could’ve killed them, Greg. He could have killed our babies,” she cries.
“It’s alright; everything is going to be alright, now,” he sooths, wrapping his arms around her trembling body.
“They could be dead,” she sobs in his arms. Looking up, Greg sees several officers chatting in the corner.
“Why don’t you guys go out and find the moron who’ terrorizing my family instead of standing around with your hands in your pockets!” Greg suggests.
“You need to calm down, sir,” Rachel says, walking over to him.
“Calm down? How can I be calm? A maniac came into the house and grabbed my baby from his room and you have the nerve to tell me to calm down!” he screams, springing off of the couch. Seeing the commotion, her two partners run up beside her.
“I got this,” she says, waving them away.
“I understand you’re upset, sir but...”
“You better believe I’m upset! Where was your fancy watchman when all of this was going on, huh?”
“We’re looking into that now, sir.”
“I bet you are. Some police force you are; allowing intruders to come into my home in broad daylight under your watchful eye. No wonder your damn crime rate is so high,” he grumbles, plopping back down on the couch.
“Lilly gave us a good description of the perp. She said he was a large guy dressed in a cop’s uniform and that he has brown hair and brown eyes,” Rachel informs him.
“I’m the only one in the precinct that fits that description and I know it wasn’t me,” Jerry says, stepping up beside her again.
“No daddy it wasn’t him. This guy was older, and a lot uglier,” Lilly says, walking into the room.
“Could it have been your rent a cop? The one who was supposed to be watching the house?”
“No, he’s an older gentleman with gray hair,” Rachel says.
“Can I see you for a minute, Sergeant?”
“What is it, Kirk?” Rachel asks, walking towards the back door.
“We found Harold lying dead in the field a few feet from his car.”
“Dead?” she gasps.
“I’m sorry, Sergeant.”
“How did he die?” she asks, trying to hold back the tears.
“The ME is working on that now.”
“Get forensics to process the scene and make sure they know this is top priority.”
“Yes, ma’me.” Walking into the house, Rachel starts thinking about her dear friend’s death. If I hadn’t asked him to do me a favor he’d still be alive, she sniffles. She thinks back to all the happy times she and Joe had spent with his family. The picnics, backyard BBQ, all the fun times in the park with their kids. She then recalled their last pre-holiday celebrations. That was so much fun, she smiles. Wiping the tears out of her eye, she walks back towards the Jenkins.
“You guys need to leave right now before someone else is killed.”
“Before someone else is killed?” Abby questions.
“Yes, the officer that was watching your house was found dead a few feet from his car.”
“She’s right Greg, we’ve got to pack up and go,” Abby agrees, turning towards her husband.
“I’ll lose everything if I leave now.”
“I think our lives are worth more than a few measly dollars, Greg.”
“I have enough pensions to pay the house off twice over,” he quickly corrects.
“It’s that much?”
“I’ve worked there since I was eighteen. If you and the kids can go somewhere safe for the night, I’ll finish up and then we can leave.”
“Just for the night, huh?” Rachel asks, trying to come up with a solution.
“That’s all the time I’d need,” Greg replies, hoping they can come up with a plan.
“Let me call the captain and see what I can do.”
The Captain let the Jenkins stay in one of the safe houses for the night. He figures it’s the least he can do after all they’d been through.
Abby is glad they’re finally out of the horrid house. Feeling refreshed from a nap, she starts picking up the house. She’d just put the last of the toys away when she hears her daughter hopping down the stairs.
“Good morning sleeping beauty.”
“It’s not morning, silly,” Lilly laughs, running over to the cookie jar.
“How about we eat a healthy snack instead?” Abby suggests. She starts to grab a bowl from the fridge when the light starts flickering.
“I think your friends followed us,” Abby laughs, closing the metal door.
“My friends wouldn’t leave their home.”
“Are you sure?”
“That’s what they said,” Lilly replies, grabbing a handful of chopped fruit from the bowl.
“Then how do you explain the lights?”
“I don’t know,” she answers, shoving a piece of apple in her mouth. Hearing a loud bang Abby turns to sees the fallen window shatter. She then sees the aperture’s latch engage. Hearing a metallic click, she turns towards the door. She watches as its locks turn in place. Maybe they’re on a timer, she reasons. Hearing voices coming from the front room, she quickly spins around. She sees an image from the TV reflecting in the mirror.
“Jack, is that you?” Abby asks, nervously looking around.
“It’s not Jack, Mommy,” Lilly stutters, pointing towards a dark figure lurching down the steps.
“Not again,” she cries. Grabbing Adam from his stroller, she runs for the door. She sees the last deadbolt turn in place.
“You’re not going to trap us in here!” she screams, struggling to turn the lock. No matter how hard she tried to spin it around, the brass plating wouldn’t budge.
“The front door mommy, the front door,” Lilly exclaims, tugging on her mommy’s arm. Grabbing a hold of her child’s small hand, Abby starts running through the house. She’d only made it a couple of feet when she realizes the doorway is engulfed in flames. Turning, she runs towards the kitchen. She sees it too is now enveloped in flames. Frightened, Abby glances up the stairs. I’d much rather take a chance with that than with this, she thinks. Scooping Lilly in her arms, she dashes up the steps.
“You can run but you can’t hide,” a deep eerie voice laughs. Screaming, Abby runs to the first windows and quickly pulls it up. She sees heavy bars running lengthwise across its outside surface.
“You’re trapped, Abby, trapped.” The haunting voice says, from somewhere above them. She runs to the second room and then the third, finding each of the windows the same.
“The police can’t save you this time, Abby.” The creepy voice laughs.
Running to the doorway, she glances down the hall; she sees flames shooting up the stairs. Looking down she notices Lilly trembling by her side. Glancing back over, Abby realizes the flames are getting closer.
“Come on,” Abby orders,” dragging Lilly down the hall. Tripping over her daughter’s feet, Abby plummets towards the ground. Adam flies out of her hands, as she hits the floor.
“My baby,” she cries, crawling towards the distressed infant, wildly flailing around.
“Oh honey, I’m so sorry,” she cries, gently rocking him back and forth.
“Mommy, look,” Lilly says, pointing down the hall. Abby sees the flames have made it to the top of the stairs.
“Welcome to Hell Abby,” the frightening voice announces, chuckles louder than before.
“Run, Lilly run!” she orders, pushing her daughter down the hall. Reaching the furthest room in the house, she quickly closes the door.
Greg is on his way back to work, ready to pull an all-nighter. Ten hours of uninterrupted work and we’ll be out of here for good, he thinks, turning the radio on. He starts to change the station when an announcer interrupts the music.
“This just in; there was a residential fire in the Springdale’s historical division. This deadly blaze killed three people that were trapped inside. The cause of the fire is still unknown. The police aren’t releasing any further information until the family’s been notified. How awful, he sighs, sliding around a sharp S curve. I need to slow this bad boy down a bit, he thinks, pressing on his brakes; his foot goes straight to the floor. Panicking, he starts pumping the pedal, hoping that would help. He continues to push on the brakes but the pressure doesn’t build.
“Not now,” he screams, fishtailing it around another sharp curve. He throws the car into second gear, the engine wails in response. Grabbing a hold of the emergency brake, he pulls it up. The handle moves up in his hand, but the car didn’t stop. Realizing he didn’t feel any tension, he glances towards the handle. Greg find’s it to be in the upright position.
“Not you too,” he cries, throwing the car into first gear. Glancing towards the road he realizes the vehicle is flying off the cliff.
“No!” he screams, as he and the car plummets down the steep terrain.