He got the call around an hour after work. He was going to let it go to voicemail but decided to answer when he saw who the caller was.
"Hello?" he asked with a stutter that he had suppressed decades ago.
The officer on the end of the line asked if he would be willing to come down to the station and retrieve someone who had listed him as their emergency contact.
The man was a recluse and had little interest in being anyone's emergency contact, so he couldn't imagine anyone feeling the need to make him theirs.
Nevertheless, he got in his car and was off to the station. As he became increasingly lost in thought on the way, his knees weakened and his palms perspired.
He couldn't decide if this was because of anticipation with a slight inflection of excitement or anticipation with a hefty inflection of dreadful anxiety about what he would find at
the police station. Regardless, he drove on. When he arrived he walked towards the building. What started as a rather lethargic gait, became a jog and finally a sprint.
The man had no idea what was compelling him to accelerate but he did, all the same. He pulled open the heavy door to the station and gave his name to the clerk.
After a brief but tedious waiting period they brought her out.
"Daddy!" she exclaimed at a volume one can only reach in a state of pure euphoria. It had been four years since anyone called him that.
Four years since the police declared her missing and called off the manhunt.
Instead of being overcome by a feeling of relief and utter joy that most can't even imagine, he felt a pang of terror in his very core.
It had been four years since he had murdered her in a drunken rage and buried her two states over.