Taken

As she walked down the long alley, she couldn’t help but sense a certain eeriness. “Nobody’s here, nobody’s here,” she quietly muttered to herself, wondering why she even took this shortcut.
********
The officer walks up to her. “We need your name.”
Unsure of herself, she quietly spoke, “my name is Erica Heber.” Based on her past experiences, she didn’t trust the cops, so, she hesitantly told her side of the story. “I was walking down here as a shortcut from work.”
“Where do you work?”
Erica, annoyed by the rude interruption by the officer finally said, “at Mosswood Incorporated two blocks away, I am a journalist. Anyways… on my way back from work I decided to take a shortcut. I was unsure if it was the right decision, because it felt like someone was watching me.”
“Watching you?” The cop said, with concern in his eyes.
“Yes, officer?
“Officer Copen, Kurt Copen.”
“I convinced myself that I was just imagining things. As I walked, I noticed something, something that didn’t belong. Up ahead lying in the alley was a lump, with some distorted shape I couldn’t make out what it was. As I got closer I realized what I was seeing…”
“Is that all that you saw?” asked Officer Copen.
“Yes.”
“Ok, you can go now, but we might need to call you if we need anything else, so stay in town.” As she walked away the officer thought to himself, I wonder if she knows more, or if she is trying to hide something, or someone.

As Erica walked to her car she couldn’t help but wonder about the girl. What if that was me? What if I was in that situation? She deserves justice, I don’t think the police will give her that. I am going to find out who did this and why…
Officer Copen sat in his home, thinking about the crime, racking his brain, trying to figure out the next step. There were no fingerprints. There was no evidence. This person must have really known what he was doing, or he has committed the crime before. He pulled up the database looking for similar crimes. He found a case that matched this crime scene. Just as Kurt reached for his cell phone, he heard a loud crash, as if someone was trying to come in through the window. He dropped the phone and reached for the gun.
“Whoever you are, come out or I WILL shoot you. I am a police officer, so you better come out now!” Suddenly, everything went dark…
*********
The next day Kurt’s neighbor, Katy came by for her morning cup of coffee, this had become their morning ritual since she moved in. Immediately, Katy noticed something was peculiar, usually he would be up. She slowly opened the door, and found him lying on the floor, a bullet in his head and a gun in his hand.
On her way back from work, Erica noticed at one of the homes she walks past every day. Did someone else get killed, is it the same murderer? She decided to take a closer look, and ask a few questions. She went past all of the policemen, looking to see if there was someone she could talk with. Before she realized what was happening, she found herself standing in the doorway. She immediately saw the victim. It was Officer Kurt Copen, the police officer that she met at the crime scene in the alley yesterday. His face flushed white, his eyes open; with pure fear. Something she just couldn’t help notice was the bullet hole in his head, with blood surrounding him. She gasped, not able to comprehend that she actually knew this person, and that there may be a serial killer around. Erica stood there for five minutes just staring at the body. Just as she turned to leave. Someone noticed her, it was a detective.
“Hello, may I ask your name.” Erica’s head was spinning. Déjà Vu. Wasn’t that the same question officer Copen asked me just yesterday? Now that person is dead.
“Oh, sorry my name is Erica, Erica Heber. I was just on my way home from work, and I noticed all of the police here, so I thought I would see what happened.”
“Erica Heber right?”
“Yes, why?”
“You were the key witness at the murder in the alley, am I correct?”
“Yes, he questioned me,” Erica pointed to the police officer lying dead on the floor.
“I see, did you see anything suspicious yesterday when you were coming back from work?”
“Umm, no. I didn’t. I usually don’t take that route home. The only reason why I stopped here, is that when I saw all of the policemen here, I thought I might get information for my paper. I am a journalist at the Mosswood Incorporated. May I ask for your name?”
“My name is Serena Gardini. Detective, Serena Gardini.”

“Ok Detective Gardini, can I go home now? It has been a difficult 24 hours for me.”

“Yes, go ahead”
Erica’s gut instinct kicked in. She remembered her initial impression of Officer Kurt Copen yesterday. He was neat. His uniform, his hair, and his polished shoes reflected a very organized and neat person. Yet, his house was a mess. There were books lying on the floor, drawers were all open, and the telephone was thrown into the sofa. I think someone was looking for something. They must have thought Kurt had ideas about the crime from yesterday. Why am I the only one who noticed this. The crime scene isn’t being treated like a homicide, but like a suicide. I don’t think it was. I think Officer Kopen was murdered. Murdered because of what he found out about the victim in the alley. I NEED to get inside his house to see if there are any clues.
********

After dark Erica arrived at Officer Copens house. She thought it was unusual that there were some lights on. the police probably just left them on. The street was dark and quiet, there was only the crime tape stretched across the front door. She went through the front door surprised that it was unlocked why was the crime scene left unlocked! She wondered. Suddenly, she heard someone inside the house. She ran into a large broom closet in the kitchen, that was just big enough to squeeze in.

Thump, thump, thump!

Oh my God, someone is here and I am not supposed to be here. What if they see me? What if they hear me? What if it is the murderer? Why did I have to come here, why did I have to get involved in this? Now, I am going to be dead! Great! Erica thought to herself.

She heard another voice, “no, I can’t find anything here. No, that girl wasn’t any help at all. Now you want to make me go to HER house! This is your fault. I am in this huge mess!”

Erica realized she was talking on the phone. Wait, wait I recognize the voice. Where have I heard the voice before? As Erica fidgeted in the cabinet, the door slowly swung open.

Creak!

“Hello Erica, we need to have a little chat.”

The person with the mask on blindfolded Erica tied her hands behind her back, and pushed her into the trunk of her car.

Erica thought to herself. Police officers, no. It is a girl. The family, no. Wait, wait it is that detective I was talking to at Officers Copen house. What’s her name? Oh yeah, it’s Detective Gardini! Did she kill Officer Copen, or is she just stuck in the middle of all of this? I can’t believe I forgot my phone.

Suddenly the car stopped moving, the car door opened and Erica is lead off a highway in what seems like a forest.

“What do you know about what happened the last couple of days?” demanded Detective Gardini.

“Nothing really, I was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. What are you going to do to me?” Erica’s lips trembled with fear.

“Nothing, if you listen very carefully to what I say. I have someone you love, someone you care about; I think his name is Brian. If you contact the police is any sort of way, he will be gone. We will be watching you!”

“Wait just let him go, I promise I will not talk to the police just let him go!”

“Bye.” Erica was pushed out of the woods and up onto the highway. Trembling with fear that Brian’s life may be in danger, she realized she had been left alone.
******

As soon as Erica reached home she called Brian. “Brian please answer the phone, it is an emergency. Call me back thanks,” and again. “Answer the phone please, please let me know if you are ok PLEASE,” and again. “I love you, please, please, please call me back it is really really important!” After an hour with no messages from Brian, Erica knew the threat Detective Gardini made was true. Brian had been taken. If she went to the police about Detective Gardini, Brian could end up dead. She had to figure out a way to protect Brian…





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