Alone In The Darkness is a novel I wrote in early 2016. I will be releasing a new chapter every Monday and Friday, starting on July 18th 2016. If you enjoy the book and would like to support me please click the link and purchase my book through Amazon. You can also find my book on the mobile reading apps: Wattpad, Jukepop, and Inkitt.

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Chapter Nineteen

 

Conners’ hand rested on the coffee machine as he stared across to the wall on the far side of the room. A large image of a shield sat like a sentry guarding the rows of cubicles that spanned the police office. His mind drifted to the video from the bar, the shadowed image replaying before him. He floated out of the camera’s vision and down just over Jennifer’s shoulder as she walked back into the bar. He could hear the noise of the bar rise and fall behind his ears, his eyes forward as he moved down the sidewalk. Ahead of him was the blackness of the road and to his left a shadow rapidly approached him, his feet shuffling across the asphalt. The shadow was faceless as it crossed in front of Conners. He turned his head and followed the shape around the corner of the bar. It walked up to the unlocked vehicle, opened the door, and climbed into the back seat. A short head poked up from the backseat, staring out with white eyes piercing through Conners. From behind, the bar door opened and Jennifer left the bar with the noises chasing her out. She rounded the corner and walked through Conners. He could see the head in the back of the vehicle dip down as Jennifer fumbled with her keys, her phone in her left hand. She opened the door and a moment later the car roared to life making a quick turn and left Conners standing on the corner. From behind he could hear a faint voice calling out.

“Conners…Conners,” the voice called out.

A hand was placed on his shoulder and his head shook, “Yes?”

“Your coffee has been done for a few minutes.” The hand lowered from his shoulder. He saw the face of the janitor. Behind the man was a push cart containing supplies, brooms, and buckets.

Conners looked at the cup under the machine. The cup was still steaming. He reached out and pulled the coffee out of the housing and lifted it to his lips. He took a sip, “It’s been a long day.”

“Well, I figured you were either getting a good start to the morning or you’ve been here too long.” The janitor began to walk away, his voice lifting over his shoulder, “Regardless, you look tired and you should probably go home.”

“Thanks, duly noted.” Conners spun around and walked back to his desk, sat down and stared at the blinking cursor on his report. He took a long breath and pulled up to the keyboard and continued writing. He detailed the current state of the investigation. Inside his mind he regretted stopping for the night. He knew there was a woman out there and she needed their help. The statistics are always right. As time goes by their chances of finding her alive drop. They had pressed this evening trying to find her. Conners knew that officers were still out looking for Jennifer, but the police had failed to find any new leads.

He finished the report by dropping it into the network drive. He slowly lifted himself out of the chair and arched his back. Soft cracks could be heard emanating from his lower back and knees. He locked his computer and pressed the power button on his monitor.

The evening was cool and cloudy as he exited out into the gated parking lot. He pulled out his phone from his jacket pocket and saw the stream of missed messages from his wife. He couldn’t remember the last time he ate anything that wasn’t a cup of coffee, and from the context of the messages, there wouldn’t be anything at home either.

The car pulled into the lit parking lot of the all-night burger restaurant. The building included wrap-around glass and Conners could see that he would be sharing his evening meal with a pack of strung out individuals. Their wide eyes followed him as he approached the building. A string connected to a bell signaled his entry. He walked up to the counter and a young man asked him what he would like. Conners ordered the same thing he always ordered, a double cheeseburger with light ketchup. The young man rang up the bill and let Conners know that it would be two minutes.

He nodded and walked back to an empty table. He fell into the seat and tried to avoid the sets of eyes staring. Conners pulled out his small pocketbook in an effort to seem uninterested in the situation. He pulled out a pen and began to annotate his notes from earlier in the day. He ran through the entire evening, looking for anything he missed that could help locate Steven. Officers had already been to his house and found two less than sober individuals drooling on themselves. His brother was missing and Steven’s car was impounded. He felt there was still a chance to find Jennifer since Steven hadn’t yet surfaced. He circled Jennifer’s name multiple times.

From over the notebook Conners saw a figure move and walk towards him. He continued focusing down as the man walked by and entered the bathroom. He was wearing a long trench coat and a small backpack across his shoulder. The man’s step was irregular either from a limp or glazed coordination. He could still feel the eyes on him from the opposite table.

His burger was delivered to his table and he thanked the young man and took the opportunity to shoot a glance at the table. The group was talking softly amongst themselves as they gathered their rolling luggage and began to stand up and quickly exit out the side door. The bathroom door opened and the coated man exited still carrying the backpack. Conners glanced at the bag and saw it struggling under a new-found weight. He pulled on the strap with both hands as it hung low across his back. Conners’ eyes followed the man as he left out the door in the opposite direction to the group. He looked down at his burger. He could see the cheese falling gently down the side, grease was forming a small pool beneath the bun. He took a deep breath and pulled out his phone. He quickly dialed the number for dispatch.

“Yes, this is Officer Conners. I believe there is a male suspect walking down 23rd Street North carrying a backpack that may contain drugs.”

“Can you describe the man?”

“He is about six foot tall, wearing a trench coat, and carrying a dark green bag that is straining under some weight.”

“Thank you, sir. I’ve alerted the local unit in the area and they will check it out. Late night for you?”

“I’m almost done, just getting some food and heading home. You have a good night.”

“Same to you.” The phone clicked and Conners put it away. The restaurant was quiet. From behind the counter the two employees talked softly and above Conners’ head, indistinguishable rock music was playing. He reached down and pulled off the top of his hamburger bun and carefully placed fries horizontally. He replaced the top and began to quickly eat his meal.

 

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