October 30, 2016
"You said the old Wilberry trail correct? Three miles up? I'll head there right away. Marcy, Sharon will come be with you until I can get back to the office."
"Yes, that's right, thank you Jacob."
"I'm getting dressed and I'll be there as soon as I can. Who is out there already?"
"In addition to Brady and Travis, I also sent the paramedics, Jeremy and Erica, and notified the volunteer fire fighters."
"Good. Listen Marcy, stay calm. Everything is going to be just fine. I'll find out what's going on and I will be in the office as soon as I can."
"Please hurry Jacob."
Walters ended the call and pulled on a pair of faded blue jeans and a pair of white socks.
He buttoned up his green and black flannel shirt, and threw on his brown leather jacket with the faded word Sheriff on the back and a slightly rusted sheriff badge pinned to the front.
He fastened his belt and holster holding his Glock 22 service firearm. As he laced up his worn black leather boots he looked to his wife who was getting dressed to go comfort Marcy.
Her eyes met Jacob's. Sharon stopped with one leg of her sweats on and the other only halfway up her thigh.
Almost immediately her eyes began to fill with tears that she desperately tried to choke back. "Please be careful Jacob, you know I hate this part of your job."
"I know. I will be. Travis and Brady are already on the scene. I have to go. I love you." With this reassurance Jacob kissed his wife on the cheek, hugged her, and walked out the bedroom door.
The hallway was dark but the electronic fireplace in the living room was running giving enough light to navigate.
The sheriff hurried down the hall, stopping for a short moment to view the picture hanging just within the light of the dancing flame.
The picture was of him and Sharon on their wedding day, they were sharing their first kiss as a married couple. Jacob would take a moment every day to look at this picture before going to work.
Has it really been twenty-seven years? My God, I've gotten fat. Walters thought But she is just as beautiful as ever.
This was part of his routine,
but tonight was different; tonight his heart wished to go back twenty-seven years and relive that day if for no other reason than to not have to leave his house tonight.
The sheriff's heart was filled with anxiety that tonight would be the night that he would finally see what nightmares are made of.
His throat twisted and made him swallow what little saliva he had in his dry mouth.
He turned from the picture, walked to the front door, took his keys from the end table, clutched the door knob, and froze.
The sheriff offered a silent prayer; God, let me walk back in this door the same man I am walking out. Amen.
Jacob twisted the handle and pulled the door open, letting the chilled breeze strike against his face. He walked the stone pathway to his car.
The engine of the police cruiser roared to life, he flicked a switch and the familiar strobe of red and blue illuminated the dark road.
This is going to be a long night he thought to himself as the miles of empty road passed endlessly behind him.