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“What’s that smell?”

The search warrant was approved, and police were sent out by the dozens. Harold was ordered to stay behind, but he protested until it was impossible to leave him behind. He road along with Kevin, and they tracked down the shack within hours. It was old, and falling apart, a stench wafted from inside, and flies surrounded the premises. They did the same procedure as all breakthroughs, guns pointed towards the door. “This is the police,” and then the kick down, when they entered, they searched everywhere the reason they were so frantic with the search, was because of the extravaganza of broken plates at the door. One cop found a small girls room just up the main hall, another found a boys room right beside it, and the third found a master bedroom, right across from the two rooms. They were all furnished, there was a bathroom with yellow walls, a tub, a toilet, and a sink. Down the hall the other way, was a kitchen with orange drapes, but no window. Harold was in the living room, across from the kitchen. Beside him, Harold had his eyes glued on the small cellar door, a million thoughts raced through his mind, none of which were good. A stench pierced his nose, and watered his eyes. The rank smell charged down the hall, but was strongest from this room. A couple officers noticed Harold's zoned out expression, “what did you find?” They asked cautiously, Harold just stared for a minute or two, then shook his head, and gulped. “Umm, the door, it smells” was all he could get out, Harold was nearly out of breath from the putrid smell, when he said it. Then he sat down on the nearest couch, afraid of fainting, it smelled like a dead body. The police smelled it, but not as much as Harold they stared at him, then at the door, then at each other. They tried the knob, but it was locked, so the got the battering ram ready, and knocked it down. It took a few tries before the police could achieve breaking it down, the door was made out of titanium, and it took at least ten guys to break. When they finally entered, it was completely dark, there was no light, it was freezing, and the entire room was cement even the walls. The smell was so powerful, it made all the grown men in the room cringe, they shut the door, and called for a hazmat team. While they were waiting, the police blocked off the entire perimeter with caution tape, and stationed men at all four corners to guard it. Kevin walked over to Harold “are you alright?” He questioned “what if its her?” Harold jolted away from Kevin's outstretched arm “what if he killed her?” “We’ll know that when the hazmat team gets here, until then just have hope. Okay?” Kevin was trying to be as sympathetic as he could, while still stating the facts, but his sympathy didn’t come across that well. Harold jumped to his feet, “stop acting like, like” “a lawyer?” Kevin cut in, Harold looked annoyed at the comment. “Get it?” Kevin laughed, “cause your a lawyer” Harold burst “that was, how do I put this? Terrible” Kevin saw a little light shine back into Harold’s grim eyes, as he laughed at the excruciatingly bad attempt at a joke. They each turned their separate ways, and started walking, but Kevin was just happy he saved Harold from either complete depression, or destruction.

The hazmat team pulled up, and men in big suits, with gas masks hopped out. They were lead to the cellar room, and the door was opened, after clearing everyone away, the body was found. The paramedic was called, Charlie was a John Doe since Dave had taken all ID from him, he was pronounced dead, and taken to the coroner’s office, where they would try to find out more about him.

Harold was relieved it wasn’t Amelia, but scared when they found out that she wasn’t there. Where did he take her this time? The police put out an identification notice on the news, but didn’t get any responses. That day at the coroner’s office, the coroner performed the autopsy on Charlie the results wouldn’t be back until the next day, and there was still no one who knew that the John Doe was Charlie. Except of course, Dave and Amelia which was ultimately kind of useless, but they still needed to store the body somewhere. In this situation the law was to keep Charlie for two weeks at most, to wait until someone identified the body. When the two weeks was up Charlie would either be Charlie Andrews, loving brother, and son, or John Doe for eternity. The law was there ensuring the possibility that, if there was a family out there missing a friend, son, brother, maybe even father. They would want a funeral, but if there was no family then there would be no funeral, for a person nobody knew, it would be even more depressing than it already was, because no one would show up.

Back at the station, Harold was so sleep deprived that he was starting to see six fingers on one hand. But he couldn’t do it, he couldn’t go to sleep knowing that he was so close to finding her. That he was in the same room as where she had been possibly tortured, or worse. The very thought of it made Harold shiver. The bags under his eyes grew darker with every waking minute, but every time he shut his eyes, all Harold saw was Amelia curled up in a small, dark room, alone, afraid, and traumatized. He was going insane, an insomniac and a maniac, and all he could think about was Milly, sweet little Milly. Rubbing his eyes, and gripping his steaming cup of coffee in his over caffeinated, shaky hands. Harold got up from his chair after thinking for a long time, there was nothing he could search that would help Amelia, so he set down the coffee, and walked out to his car. By this time, it was already dark, walking out of the station he felt an impulse that made him think of nothing but her. All the rage that came from Dave poured into Harold that night, he stomped across the parking lot, and slammed the door to his car. He slammed on the gas, and sped down the road. Harold’s eyes blinked for ten seconds at a time, as he swerved right and left down the road.

All of a sudden everything changed, it was a flash, a simple shadow that jumped out of the woods, right in front of Harold’s dark, black car. At first he thought it was a deer or something but when he got out to see the damage, he caught a glimpse of the bike, and the young unconscious boy, lying in front of the vehicle. Harold couldn’t see anything, but when he saw the tiny figure sprawled out on the road, he panicked, and started to hyperventilate. His first instinct was to check the pulse, but all he could think about was what the sentence would be, if there was none, so he reached his hands behind his head, and took a breath, before reaching down to the young boys neck. The pulse was there, but it was slow, the boy was dying.

Now Harold had one of two choices, and he had to make up his mind quick. He could call 911 and do the right thing, face the charges maybe even jail time. Or he could walk away. “No,” Harold thought, “not an option, he couldn’t let an innocent child die. He had to do something, he reached into his pocket, and pulled out his phone. When he went to turn it on though, it didn’t. The battery was dead Harold’s heart raced a million miles a minute, and he whipped the phone across the road, into a nearby bush. Turning his gaze to the boy, the station was a dot from where he stood, and would take at least twenty minutes to get there, and that’s if he sprinted the entire way. Harold’s thoughts went blank “what is wrong with me I obviously have to do something.” He checked the pulse again, “no, no, no, no, no, no, I didn’t” Harold couldn’t say the words out loud, but he couldn’t hold it in either. There was no pulse, “I killed a child,” the words seeped through his mind, and drowned his eyes in tears. For a moment Harold saw himself as innocent, this was after all, a simple accident, but the hate for himself only grew stronger, as it started to get through to him what had just happened. He started to see himself as a murderer, the guilt broke through as he stared at the lifeless child, and his fugitive instincts kicked in. Harold looked up at the long dark trail, then back at the woods behind him. Then he heard it, the gravel flew, and the light shone brighter, as the car grew closer. With no more time to think, Harold panicked, he got up and ran across the street blending in with the shadows ducking behind the trees. He got a good view of the accident where the red van had pulled over. An older woman got out with an effort, as her legs hardly touched the road. She exhumed the body and was obviously horrified by the reaction she gave, as soon as she saw the body she fainted. Her body lying right beside the boys, Harold cupped his mouth in his hands building up tears in his eyes, blurring his vision, before letting the tears slide down his cheeks, a few moments went by before he turned and ran into the woods. Gone!

(Caleb Reed July 5, 2008 - April 20, 2018)

Caleb rode his bike as fast as he could from that dreadful place. He had finally escaped the clutches of that drunk of a man, the man who had kept him captive for years. The man who made Caleb lie to the social workers, every time they came by the house to checkup on the so called safety, of his so called loving home. Caleb had finally found a way out of that pit, and now he was free. Little did he know that this first day of freedom, would be his last. There was a light out of the woods, he thought were endless, it looked like a street light all Caleb could think was “people! Street lights equal streets, streets equals cars, and cars equals people.” He would finally be able to tell, he would be able to talk to the authorities without having to worry about his foster father. Caleb sped up going faster than he thought possible.

The crash was catastrophic, all Caleb felt was the impact to his chest, he squirmed with pain, but soon he could not feel a thing. A man stepped out of the car “he will save me” Caleb thought, nevertheless Harold stalled until Caleb drew his last breath “are all people this cruel?”

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