Author’s Note: This connects with Night Life and AMI 2. It’s not necessary to read to understand, but for those who have read them, this is an addition to the whole story.
Two hard taps bounce off an oak door. Sara, still in her night robe, s***s on her cigarette while staring at the floor. She slowly rises to her feet and shuffles to the front, stepping over her broken television. She creaks the door open to see a man wearing a chocolate-checkered suit. The sunlight hit her face like a blast of steam, she had been in the dark since the day before.
“Help you?” She whispers in a hoarse tone. Her throat was raw from the excessive crying and screaming.
“Hello, ma’am. I’m Detective Harland,” he pulls out his badge, flashing her proof. “I’m sorry to disturb you, especially in your time of-”
“What is it that you want?”
Clearing his throat he responds, “I’m sorry to disturb you, but I’m here on behalf of your daught-”
The door closes on him mid sentence as she turns away bundling her robe tighter. Harland knocks once more and shouts, “She wasn’t on the bus!”
Sara perks her head up and shuffles back to the front. Upon opening the door she sees him standing there fanning himself with his hat. She could smell the liquor on his breath, still she took him serious.
“What do you mean she wasn’t on the bus?”
“Autopsy reports showed twelve kids and two adults. Everyone has been identified. That is except for Amy Hall and Becky Bolster. They’re both unaccounted for.”
Sara’s eyes shine with a glimmer of hope. “You mean my baby could still be alive?”
“Right now all we know is that she wasn’t on the bus.”
Sara nods her head, shaking now, but from excitement. “Please, come in.”
As she walks to a couch, Harland turns and takes a swig of his flask. Rot-gut liquor dances down to his belly as he sits down on a couch, after Sara makes a hand gesture towards it.
“If I may be forward, where do you think she is? If she’s even..” She pauses to wipe her eyes and continues, “if she’s even alive?”
Harland locks his hands together while looking over at the broken television. “We have a search team out right now, they’re exploring the woods nearby. They’re covering as much land-”
“A search team? I need to be a part of this, why didn’t you say that first?”
He sighs and rubs his shoulder, the scar aching underneath his layers of clothing. “Because they’re not gonna find them. But I can.”
Sara narrows her eyes and sits in silence for a moment. “I’m sorry, I’m confused. What do you mean by that?”
He pulls out his flask and takes another drink, hissing with the burn he looks over towards her. She extends her hand and joins him. He sighs and rubs his hands across his knees. “What I’m about to tell you won’t sound real. But if you want to see Becky again, I need you to take me very seriously.” Sje stays silent and leans forward giving him her full attention.
“In 1987, I was a rookie cop. Blue under the collar and bright eyed, didn’t know what to expect in a small town called Mooncrest. First month on the job I assisted with a back up on a call of a man who killed his wife, and tried to go after his daughter next. When he came out of the house, he wasn’t..human. We took it down, and the case was swept under the rug and others refused to talk about it. They sent this man to a place called Arbatian Mental Institution. Before they took him in he yelled like a mad man, warning us of a full moon. I’m not superstitious, but I know what I saw that night. And became a full blown believer three years later.”
“What did you see, Harland. What does this have to do with Becky?”
He slides up his sleeve exposing his scar, thick and calloused looking. Sara covers her mouth accidentally and shyly puts it back down. “I had just gotten married and had a little girl. Things were great, I was rising at the station and had dreams of forever calling that place home. One day while leaving work I was headed to my car, absent minded of my surroundings. I heard the growl come from behind, I wasn’t quick up to grab my gun. It slid its claws down my chest and flung me backwards. As it prepared to pounce, I got three shots off. The first one missed. The second and third went through a paw, it roared and ran away. On the floor next to me were two fingers, twisting and molting into human ones. I packed our stuff and got out, I didn’t even attend the hospital. I picked up work at another town, but the nightmares became worse. I started drinking, heavy. It took a toll on my marriage, my wife began to do drugs just to keep the edge off of our rocky marriage. One day she left me, at that point she was strung out and we had another daughter. I never saw them again. I’ve been hunting this “thing” down, hoping to kill what ruined my life. Things were quiet, for years things were quiet, until now.”
Sara reaches over and places her hand on his. “I believe you. For f***s-sake this story sounds so unreal, but I believe you. The look on your face tells me it’s true. You can bring my baby home?”
“If she’s out there, then yes. When the beast attacked me, I wasn’t infected with his curse. But I have a sharper perception, almost animal like. If she made it to the woods, I can track her. I’ll find her, understand if you choose to come with me, that this is a fools errand.”
Sara stands up dropping her robe to reveal a black muscle shirt and no bra. She wore skimpy shorts that revealed her thighs. Heading over to her bedroom she comes back in with sneakers. “My daughter needs me. Please, take me with you.”
Harland nods his head and begins to head to the door. Stepping out Sara leaves her house unlocked and asks, “I’m sorry to hear of your daughters. What were their names?”
Without looking back he responds, “Jenny and Shawna.”