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Ad Populum

Author's note: I want people to question what they've grown up with and what is deemed by society, or...  Show full author's note »
Author's note:

I want people to question what they've grown up with and what is deemed by society, or more specifically, their communities, as right. I grew up attending a private Catholic school, as well as a Luthern school, public schooling, and online schooling--I've been exposed to a wide range of ideas and want to convey that living narrow-minded or persuaded by tradition can be detrimental.

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Part 3

The door of Thorpe’s Chevy creaked open on its rusty hinges. Exhausted from searching four hours for clues in the thick Sioux Forest, the detective slumped into the driver-side’s vinyl seat.
His weary eyes wandered towards the rear-view- mirror. A row of peony pink houses and a frost-covered field stared back at him. Thorpe watched lazily as a lonely brown blur shimmered in the field. Probably a rabbit. He was too tired to care-- he’d been up all night caking a seven foot map with an amalgam of pictures, records, and newspaper headlines. At 1 AM, he’d gone through four rolls of yarn and seven handfuls of tacks, in which he pierced into the layers of documents creating a spider web of leads. Ironically, they led nowhere.
It can’t be the gas station clerk; the camera’s showed him working. It’s not her sister; she was in Vermont. Hell, it’s not even Harry Thompson; he was in St. Jullian hours before the death.
Thorpe bent over the center console and shuffled through a mess of clothes, issues of Law Weekly, and old fast food packaging on his dashboard. He picked out a water bottle filled with day-old coffee. Looking back towards the mirror, Thorpe grimaced. His hair broke through the blanket of gel and now protruded in thick, mangled curls. Behind him, the brown blur suddenly became clearer. He gasped, feeling his breath stab his lungs with a sudden sting. The coffee mug spilled in a whoosh over his lap.
Unheeded, he choked,“Why, why, it can’t be!” Wrenching his head at the mirror’s reflection, then at the window behind him, he crawled between the two seats and towards the back window. His nose pressed against its cold glass.
    “It is her! It’s the dog!”
    Outside, Bella limped between two of the houses and down a sidewalk leading towards the gas station. Using her front two legs to heave her injured body forward, her hind legs buckled in a nauseating pattern across the concrete. Her fur was matted in dirt-ridden tufts, except for a patch of scabbed, bare skin that oozed, dripping down her fur as she violently shivered in the cold. Making a sudden stop, the dog teetered on three limbs, shaking in the vigorous wind. She faced Thorpe’s car, angling her ears towards the road following a stretch of houses. Thorpe turned his head, pressing his right cheek against the now foggy window. What is she doing? He tried to find what she was listening for, but the only movement was the crinkle of a plastic bag as it lashed through the air and tumbled down the pavement. Tearing into the breast pocket of his coffee-stained shirt, the detective heaved back into the front seat. He rolled down his window, feeling an icy gust hit his body.
    Thorpe cooed, “Bella. Bellllllllaaaaaa.”
The dog didn’t budge. Not seeing any cars he shouted, “Come here doggie. Come on. It’s alright.” But, she just stared at him downcast. Her eyes were different; the skin below them sagged, revealing a strained, dark pink sclera-- much like the aftermath of a long cry. They were distant and seemed hazed over, as if she were somewhere else in a land he didn’t know about. Still gazing at him, Bella’s ears suddenly perked up. The hood of a silver BMW sped into view. Thundering up a steep hill, the car’s roar reverberated through the dense air, making his insides churn. Something suspicious about this car and Bella made him queasy. The vehicle’s wheels tore through the avenue faster and faster, belting as billows of exhaust, ice, and dirt jetted behind it. Milliseconds slipped away. The driver came into view behind the steady swoosh swoosh of black windshield wipers. Hunched over the seat belt she fiddled with her radio. Aloof to the stop sign ahead, she whipped through an intersection before the row of houses.
    Thorpe projected his body forward. He stumbled over his oxford shoes falling hand first against the curb. Rising to his knees, he jerked his head upward and shrieked.
“BELLA NO. NOOOOOOO!” he exclaimed. Conscious of the coming car, Bella looked at the dark grey mass racing towards her. Ignoring Thorpe’s cries, she paced to the middle of the street and flattened her chest against its surface. Oh my god! Oh my god! That dog’s gonna kill herself! Still trying to find a station, the car’s speedometer ticked; 60 mph, 64 mph, 71, 79, 86. In a desperate attempt, Thorpe pushed himself off his now bruised knees and ripped pants legs and raced to Bella. His hands grasped her body, trying to lever her body towards the curb. She clawed the pavement and pressed harder against its cold surface. Finally lifting her up, Bella growled at him and leapt from his arms, using her hind legs to push him to the ground.
    Flailing his arms, his booming voice hollered, “STOP, STOOOOOOPPPPP.”  A deafening screech pierced the air. The girl slammed on her breaks, sending the car’s rear skidding towards the curb. Wheezing for air, the detective went cold. In a crush of broken bones and an ear splitting howl, the car crashed to a halt. The dog was dead.
    The next minutes were foggy. The detective watched the girl pace back and forth. Crying, her hands wrung together as she weaved through the tangled fur, blood, and flesh scattered across the road. A large lump seemed to simmer in his throat, tears peeking beneath his pupils. Something distracted him from the gruesome scene. He looked down at his palm and unfurled his fingers. A patch of oily, dirt-ridden fur rested in his palm. Thropes eyebrows furrowed. Something was odd about it. He picked through each strand and found a strip of white fabric twisted in a patch of dried blood. Straining to keep his eyes from clouding over, he looked closer. The letter “L” was stitched into the cloth. Unfolding it, he found a small chunk of broken rock. What the hell? He recalled seeing a similar fabric in the pocket of--
    “That’s it!” Realizing his suspicions were correct, Detective Thorpe rose to his feet.

    Thirty minutes later, Thorpe sat in his car. His hand choked a cellphone as he forced it closer to his ear.
His jaw clenched as a raspy voice chuckled on the other end. A dry sounding man, whose vocal chords were injured from tobacco smoke, chortled, “Arrest the priest? Ha! Might put Smokey Bear in jail too, huh?” he paused, snickering. “Or Barney! How about you arrest Jesus himself?”
“I’m not saying we’re going to arrest him. All I’m asking for is back up. I’m going to try and find the rest of the cloth,” Thorpe hissed.
“What? Without a search warrant?”
    “There’s not much time. Jake could be in danger.” He took a worried glance at Bella’s picture. “This whole town could be in danger.”
An odd glugging sound washed over the phone. Thorpe rolled his eyes knowing the sergeant must be swigging alcohol.
His thoughts were interrupted. “Lookie here, detective. I don’t believe you and even if I did, I don’t want this town rebelling against the police force for arresting a public figure.” Simon’s voice rasped.
“You’re supposed to be the deputy sergeant, Simon, not the perpetrator! I need you! ” Thorpe’s ears grew red. His car window began to steam as tiny drops of sweat ran down his forehead. “You know what?” Thorpe bit his lip. “If you won’t help me, then forget it. I’ll just do this myself!”

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