Vic stared at the two way glass, the fluorescent lighting hurting his eyes, the flickering giving him a headache.
Officer Bram walked into the room, closing the door behind him, he sat opposite Vic. Vic felt awkward and wished he was in handcuffs just so he felt like he was supposed to be there. Bram inspected paperwork in front of him, making guttural noises every so often, he thought that Bram looked like a retired Western movie star with his cowboy hat and greying moustache, without looking at Vic he slid the paper across the table “I need you to check this statement you made, ensure all is correct and that the directions you have are true enough” Vic didn’t look down at the paper, didn’t even move it across the rest of the table, the twang of Brams southern drawl was all Vic needed to listen to
“Listen officer, I’ve looked this over a handful of times”
“Sheriff” Bram seemed the type who thought he had worked hard for the title and people sure as hell should use it.
“Sorry, Sheriff. I’ve looked over this already with your deputies and my statement is correct, one hundred percent, the only thing I’m unsure of are the directions I have given you to my car, I really couldn’t guess all that well, I’m not from round here, as it says in my statement” Vic took a moment and realised he was speaking almost to a shout and thought it not to be the best idea, to scream at the man who can help
“Look I’m sorry Sheriff Bram it’s just/”
“I know son, think nothing of it, I’d raise a lot more than my voice if I was in your shoes, i’d be thinking of raising the sons of bitches from the nearest tree, off the record, think nothing of it”. Both men sat silent
“If I drive you to that gas station, you think you could find your way working backwards?”
“I really couldn’t say, it would be hell of a lot more accurate than my attempt on that statement”
“Alright, grab your sweater it’s cold out, let’s make a move”.
Vic walked outside and it was bitter cold, the sun had almost completely set, it struck him just how long it had been since he woke up in his car. They walked over to a squad car, an officer of Latino blood was leaning against it.
“Get off the car bean eater”
“That’s racist Sheriff, good thing I take pity on you age impaired folks”
“Don’t give me that age impaired shit, shut it and get in, you’re driving. Vic you ride in the passenger seat.”
All three men got into the car, Bram sat directly behind Vic, they buckled up, and drove into the night.
Vic sat parked at the gas station in the cruiser, everything looked so much different in the dark, if they had asked him Vic would have sworn it wasn’t even the garage he was picked up at, between being picked up, taken to the hospital to have his two broken ribs tended and giving his statement to five different officers five different times he would swear his mind decided to play amnesia with him. Bram moved from the rear of the car and leaned into the open passenger window.
“Well you got an idea? You came from down south? Correct?”
“Yes, back that way.”
The officer known affectionately as bean eater was walking out the store with three coffees, Bram moved to the driver’s side and opened the door and deputy bean eater sat down in his seat, trying not to spill the contents in his full hands, he handed a coffee to Bram who took it and then walked to his own door and sat, taking a sip and not seeming to notice it was scolding, bean eater handed one to Vic “thank you officer…?” Hoping he wouldn’t have to resort to officer bean eater
“If you’re both ready now, we can get going!”
Officer Hernandez put his coffee in his cup holder and reversed, he then turned up towards the road and Vic found himself looking for answers in reverse. They drove for just over five minutes when Vic thought he saw where he came out from
Hernandez came to a slow stop, made easier that he was only going about twenty miles per hour so as to make sure he didn’t go past anything before Vic recognised it.
“It’s here, I think”.
“How sure are you?”
“About eighty percent”
“That’s good enough for me, let’s go”.
Hernandez turned off the road and into the dirt, kicking up dust into the headlights, Vic found it slightly amusing that not so long ago he was walking by flashlight and was now traveling in style, seated with two flashlights leading the way.
They drove for fifteen minutes before Bram broke the silence.
“Stupid question but do you recognise anything? Bush? Tumbleweed? Patch of dirt?” he said without confidence or seriousness
Vic forced a smile not that Bram could see, he appreciated the effort of Sheriff Bram to lighten the mood but he was very much focused on finding his family, he looked beyond the headlights, jumping at every bird or shrub that moved in the breeze, he felt his eyes becoming dry from lack of blinking, but he didn’t dare blink in case he missed something
Hernandez put his foot on the brakes sliding slightly in the dirt.
“See something Vic?”
“I’m not sure, could be a big boulder”
Vic pointed to the big object about 60 feet from the passenger side, Hernandez got out of the cruiser and took his flashlight off his belt, he shone it over to the big shadow which eventually took the shape of a car.
“That’s it that’s my car!!” Vic started to get out of the car
“Vic we need you to sit here just in case you disturb the crime scene, Hernandez and myself will check for any evidence before calling in forensics”.
Vic sat on his hands while he watched the two officers trek through the few feet of desert to his car, he tried to see but their bodies blocked where the flashlights shone and the headlights did’nt illuminate the area at all.
Hernandez and Bram came to the edge of the now congealed blood pool, it was now a maroon colour which both men had seen enough times not to think about it too much, they trained their flashlights onto a pair of blood prints, Bram got onto one knee and took a closer look, Hernandez walked around to the rear of the vehicle and saw another set of prints
“More over here Bram!!”
“One set must be Vics, he said he saw a track and made one of his own, gonna have to analyse his shoes to the prints”.
The men continued their check and came to the drivers side
“Man, the door definitely took hell of a hit, don’t know how he made it out all that way”.
Bram took rubber gloves from his breast pocket and snapped them on, he tried to open the door but it wouldn’t budge. Hernandez opened the passenger door and inspected the front seats, Bram opened the backdoor and did likewise both finding nothing.
Vic sat intently, burning a hole into the officer’s backs
“Find something, anything, please.” Vic whispered with hopeful telepathy
The officers came up with nothing inside the car, Hernandez looked over to Bram
“Let’s be honest here Bram, what are the chances that this much blood can be lost and keep going?”
“Depends. three people maybe, two people unlikely depends on how quick the wounds are seen to, one person, no fucking chance”
They continued on to the trunk
“How you gonna get it open? No keys remember, Vic said so”.
Bram ignored Hernandez and walked as light footed as he could over the bloody dust, he shined his light on the trunk with the hopes of locating a bloody fingerprint, but there was none, he reached out and touched the trunk and it moved under his fingers, the trunk door was unlatched, Bram lifted the door slowly so not to disturb any evidence. Inside were the naked bodies of Lucy, Tommy and Andrea Henderson, their skin icy white, their lips blue, they all had knife wounds strewn about their person, Lucy had a bullet wound to the head. “Jesus.”
Vic had travelled looking for his family but his family had been with him this entire time.
Vic looked on, seeing the shadow of Bram turning towards the car, he knew he had found something.
“Hernandez go to Henderson”. No longer Vic, distancing himself from the victim suspect?
Vic got out of the car and trotted over, feeling blisters pop as he did so, Hernandez met him halfway and tried to console him.
Bram looked into the truck at the lifeless mannequins and pulled the door down. Hernandez knew what Bram had found, he’d seen the look a lot over the years. He tried to restrain Vic as he struggled to see what Bram saw. It’s not them, it can’t be.
Vic’s screams echoed out into the desert, during the periodical gaps between a distressed father of none, the radio played Patsy Cline’s I Fall to Pieces right on cue.
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