Friday, August 24, 2007

Day 6: The Angel Takes Another Victim

They reached the site just as the last light of day disappeared.
“We’ll never find her alone. Jack let me call for help. We might be able to save her if we have enough people combing the area.”
“You’re right, we can’t do this alone. Okay, call it in,” Dan returned to the car while Jack and Megan headed toward the barn some fifty feet away.
“Megan, I hope to God you’re sure about this.”
“She’s here, Jack. I can feel her here.”
He took Megan’s hand as they made their way inside the dark barn. From the beam of Jack’s flashlight, the shadows of the barn stretched out around them. The place was covered in years of dust and abandonment.
“Do you feel anything?”
Megan clutched the earring and moved instinctively toward the place where she felt Joy’s presence the strongest. Her fear and pain continued to grow. Joy was terrified.
“God, he’s here with her, Jack. Eddie’s here!” Megan whispered urgently and watched as Jack drew his weapon. She did the same.
The voice of the killer and victim warred with each other. Joy tried to scream but he was there preventing her. “He’s laughing. God, he’s laughing at her pain.”
“Where is she, Megan? Can you tell me where she is?”
“This way!” She moved to the side entrance of the barn and Joy’s fear became more pronounced. Megan tried to focus on the girl alone but suddenly she went silent. She could still hear his laughter though.
Outside, a short distance from the house, the previous owners had built a small root cellar.
“The door’s open.” Megan pointed to the entrance where a weathered door stood ajar.
“Someone had the damn thing locked. Look,” Jack’s light hit the lock that lay open on the ground.
“Jack!” They could hear Dan calling to them from inside the barn.
“We’re out here, Dan! We’ve found something! Dan’s hurried footsteps rounded the corner of the building then stopped when he spotted them.
“Jeez…” Fresh blood covered the doorpost of the place.
“Megan, stay here.” Jack led the way down the stairs with Dan following. But Megan couldn’t stand by and wait. She followed them inside. At the bottom of the stairs, the light caught something. Joy. Joy’s warm body lay positioned in the Angel of Death’s standard pose.
“Dammit,” Jack knelt close to her searching for a pulse. Her throat had been slashed. He’d taken his time with her. She’d been tortured for days. “Call an ambulance!” Jack yelled out to Dan.
“Jack, she’s dead,” Megan told him quietly.
“Do it, dammit!” She knelt next to him as he began to perform CPR. The blood pulsed from Joy’s body with each compression.
“Jack. She’s gone. You can’t help her now.” Megan somehow managed to pull him away from Joy’s body.
Within a matter of minutes, the small room filled with agents. They descended on the crime scene and began analyzing everything, asking dozens of questions. It seemed like hours before the team finished examining Joy’s body and released her to the coroner.
Jack and Megan stood a little ways away from the bustle watching.
“I need to tell her parents. Dear God, I don’t know how to tell them this.”
“Let someone else do it, Jack.”
“No, I owe it to Joy to be the one.”
“Then I’m coming with you.” He turned to Megan and smiled wearily.
“Thank you. I need you, Megan. I need you with me. I’m so glad you’re here.”
The drive to the Youngblood’s house felt as if it took forever. Just getting out of the crime scene clogged with emergency vehicles seemed endless.
“Have they been told she’s missing?” Megan asked as they stopped in front of the house and someone obviously watching through the window, stepped outside.
“Yes, they were told. I told them. Dear God, Megan, how am I going to tell them their only child is dead?”

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