The Ticking Clock

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The fact that there wasn’t a single word coming out of my mouth that was penetrating through anyones sad little brains was enough to make my own want to explode. I couldn’t take the blatant disrespect any longer. It felt as if i were in a room full of children, that at this point, I would even consider eradicating.

“Shut the fuck up, all of you!” I don’t know when the last time was that I yelled quite so fiercely but damn did it feel good. 

All of my little peons finally took notice and did as I asked. You would think that in a room full of adults it wouldnt have required such time and demeaner on my part to accomplish that. I swear. Everyone’s just a fucking moron these days. Not even the state police department is exempt from them apparently. 

“I’m too damn old to deal with all of this shit and every single one of you are too old to be acting like shit. There are lives on the line right now so all of you better get your fucking selves together. The only thing that matters are those little girls, leave the rest somewhere else.” I paused to allow my frustrations sink into their heads. They needed to realize that our emotions towards the situation was not going to bring anyone back. In fact, they would do nothing but stifle the investigation. If my men couldn’t put their obvious disgust aside, those girls would never make it home… alive. 

“Are you all done now?” I saw a few heads shake within the crowded room and officers began to calmly sit at the tables. “Good. Now let’s get started going over all of the information we have at hand. We now have a 15 hour window left before our odds detrimentally begin to lower. A few profilers from the FBI have come in to help handle the case.” I waved for their team to emerge to the front of the room as I stepped back to give them space to take control.  

I knew the FBI would step in sooner or later. This had been the fourth known abduction within the last two weeks and it seemed like our abductor’s time frame was getting smaller and smaller for keeping the girls he was taking alive. The first girl was taken on a Wednesday and was found dead on Friday. The next taken Sunday, found Tuesday, and then the other taken on Thursday and found early Saturday morning. This time, 2 girls have went missing, presumably both by our guy, on Sunday night. Our suspect seems to be escalating at a rapid pace and with it being Monday morning already, the entire department fears there isn’t much time left. He seems to be acting within a 48 hour period mostly but something has changed that has caused him to up his game. We cant take anything for granted or waste any time. Our 48 hour ticking clock has just been made a 24 hour one. Two missing girls but half of the time to find them.

~~

We officially had our profile and it seemed liked everyone finally had their heads on straight and were actually ready to do their jobs. I knew this meant a lot to every one of them. Its not easy dealing with murder. Even worse when its multiple murders because we have already previously failed to catch our suspect. We couldnt let this go on any longer. We would find these girls alive and we would take this son of a bitch down. At least thats what I kept telling myself. It was either that, or I would succumb to the fears held deep within my soul. Fears that we would find two more bodies to add to our list. Fears of this sadistic human being, if you could even call him a human, continuing on his rampage. Fear that it would be all of my fault. 

I guess thats what it all came down to after all. It wasn’t just more lives on the line. It was ultimately my job as well. That shouldn’t matter but I would be lying if I said I hadn’t at least thought about it once. Twice even. I guess that kind of makes me a bit of scumbag. I shouldn’t have any alterior motivives regarding this case. It should be about catching a killer and not keeping a job. I mean, it is about that, but man does this shit make me look bad. It’s hard not to let selfish thoughts creep within your mind occasionally. When you’re surrounded by mayhem and death on a daily basis you kind of have to advert your mind to other problems when possible. 

Right now though, it really shouldn’t be possible. I had to get my mind back in the game with everyone else’s until we caught this bastard. 24 hours is a small window and there is no leeway of time to advert my mind now. We had to start looking. Following leads. If we didn’t make progress, those girls would not survive. 

“Captain Schroder, sir. ” detective Ratchet called for my attention, breaking me out of my detrimental thoughts. 

“Detective Ratchet, what is it?”

“We’ve already received feedback on the BOLO placed regarding our profile, sir.” Ratchet paused momentarily and drew in a long breath. Exhaling heavily he continued to speak “We finally have a lead.”

My heart felt like it skipped a beat and I began to hear it thumping from inside of my chest. I couldnt believe it. A lead. Finally. All it took was for the damn FBI to show up and take over. I loved those guys right now but at the end of the day, man I hated those fuckers. All they did was make the local police departments seem inadequate at their jobs. If we had half the money they had access to then we could be just as good. Our resources are limited leaving us crawling for help when crimes can’t be solved. 

I’ll praise them now, for this means hope for those girls, but afterwards they will go back on my least favorite people list. 

“Son of a bitch. Those ass clowns actually accomplished something with that bullshit profiling. Well hallelujah. Let’s get moving then.”

Every spare officer suited up with their bullet proof vests and headed toward the coordinates of the possible location of our suspect. All sirens off, we approached an abandoned old barn 10 miles outside of the abduction sites. The land looked as if it hasn’t been touched in years with the grass growing uncontrollably, masking half of the barn beneath it’s brush. Could this really be it? 

The men and women of the FBI began to file out of their SUVs simultaneously, signaling for the rest of us to follow their lead. We all creeped around the perimeter of the barn and began clearing the area. 

I could hear my heart beating once again and nearly felt it in my throat as I rounded my first corner. Being captain, it’s not often I’m in the field anymore, but this right here, this needed all available badges present. So here I was, and it’s not like I was nervous, or scared of the situation or anything though. I think I was just excited for finally being able to catch this guy but I know I was also terrified of finding the girls, but finding them too late. My mixed emotions were causing my heart to act erratically and at the worse times. 

I shook my head slightly and signaled for the men behind me to continue on as I doubled back towards the entrance of the barn. I watched the FBI agents skulk through the open doors and begin clearing the inside. I followed in behind noticing that It seemed so quiet and untouched within. I was beginning to believe that we had been sent on a wild goose chase. 

Mere seconds after that thought had crossed my mind, I heard yelling, screaming, and then bullets being fired from the loft of the barn. This was it. He was here. 

“The girls aren’t up here!” An agent yelled down. “Search the grounds!”

That was my cue. As I continued to hear bullets being popped off, I began to search below, for anything. I called out to the other officers to search every where they could think of. The girls had to be some where on this property. I only hoped that within the midst of all those bullets flying that they managed to keep that bastard alive. If this search didn’t prove fruitful we would unfortunately need him.  

I scoured every inch inside of that barn but came up empty handed. Not even a trace. How could that be? Silence began to fill the barn and I knew then that the fight was over and that those girls would never be found. 
I walked out towards the vehicles with my head hung low. Even within the 24 hour period, we still lost. The guy was taken down and yet we still lost. I just couldnt wrap my head around it. I didn’t even care about my job at this point like I so selfishly let my mind wander to earlier. I didn’t even want this fucking job any longer. There was no justice here. Even as I watched our suspect’s dead body being carried out of the barn, it still wasn’t finished. Our ticking clock meant nothing this time around and there would be no relief or sastifaction because even in death, he still won.

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