KILLER ON THE LOOSE
Chapter 14 – Emily Stone
Emily kicked open the front door and quickly stormed the house. Anger and desperation overcame her. The interior was the same as she had left it minutes ago—empty and barely lived in.
She knew in her gut that the girls were close.
“Em,” Rick said breathlessly joining her side. It was obvious that he was stressed and out of constructive suggestions. “We only have minutes.”
“Check everything, I mean everything in the living room and kitchen areas.” She ran down the hall and entered the first bedroom.
Emily stood for a moment in the middle of the empty room. The closet doors were open but the interior was vacant. She gritted her teeth and ran to the other two bedrooms with the same result. Kicking the bathroom door inward, she spun around in frustration.
“It’s clear,” stated Rick as he joined Emily. “There’s no way that they would be stashed in the kitchen cabinets, closets, or anywhere else.”
Emily’s cell phone buzzed, but she ignored it.
Out of extreme frustration and borderline rage, Emily stomp-kicked the wall leaving a crushed in hole behind.
“Em,” Rick said softly.
“The girls are here I know it,” she said softly.
“There’s no basement or crawlspace underneath the manufactured home,” Rick informed.
Emily rubbed her forehead in frustration and felt the beginning of a pounding headache. She suddenly realized. “Wait a minute. How could I have been so stupid…” she ran into the main bedroom. Looking in the closet closely and then craning her neck upward, she saw a small opening to the attic area with two hinges, locked and leaving the pull-down opening sealed. It was a small crawlspace, but it had to be it.
“Hoist me up,” she ordered.
“Wait. We don’t know if there’s some kind of trap.”
“Do it! They may not have much time left.”
Rick didn’t protest as he helped Emily up toward the opening.
She quickly pushed at the door, but it wouldn’t budge. “Give me your flashlight.”
Rick quickly handed it to her.
Emily pounded on the opening, around the sealed areas, and the cheap drywall began to crumble. “Can you hear me?” she yelled and continued to pound at the opening.
“Quiet!” Rick ordered still balancing Emily. “Did you hear that?”
A tiny muffled voice, “Please… please help us…”
“Thank God,” Emily said breathlessly. “We’re here to help you, back away from the opening.” She continued to pound at the entrance until the opening was wide enough for her body to fit through easily.
Emily disappeared into the darkness.
Rick waited nervously glancing at his watch as the minutes ticked down.
Emily took a moment to adjust her eyes to the shadows. Two figures came into view. At first, they resembled ghosts floating toward her.
“It’s okay, we’re here to get you home.”
“Home…” one girl exclaimed and began to cry.
“C’mon we have to hurry,” Emily insisted.
Emily helped the girls to the opening as Rick pulled them to safety. They were shaken and filthy, but didn’t seem to have any visible physical injuries. Emily knew that the damage and horror inflicted on them was hidden from view. They would probably carry it with them forever.
Emily dropped down and fought the urge to cry but refocused her energy.
The girls hugged her tight.
“You have to wait a few minutes longer. Help is on the way,” promised Emily. “The police will get you home.”
The girls clung to her as her heart ached for what they had been through during their ordeal.
Emily and Rick quickly guided them to the front door and instructed them to wait. The girls were hesitant and scared.
Emily softly said, “It’s okay, those men will never hurt you again.”
The girls waited at the front door.
Sirens approached from the distance.
Emily and Rick raced out of the house and around to the path leading away from the property. It was not until they were a safe distance away with a vantage point did Emily glance at her cell phone.
The text message read: The girls are in the attic. Check the master bedroom closet.
Emily quickly sent a message to Nick: They are alive waiting for police. Thank you.
She smiled and squeezed Rick’s hand. No words were spoken between them.
They watched for a few more minutes as the local police, K9 units, and FBI arrived. The cops spread out in a typical military formation to cover the property.
Police radios chattered and loud voices filtered throughout the compound.
During the excitement of the search and seizure, Emily and Rick retreated to their hidden vehicle covertly leaving the investigation behind.