The calls begin over the radio while Detectives Wade and Date were still in route to the Grant home in Topock, Arizona. A teenaged girl had called from Royal Road while being chased by a man who she had said had kidnapped her. All Detective Wade had to do now was get there as fast as he could and he would be able get this son of a bitch.
The cloud of smoke could be seen as soon as the Crown Vic left the paved road. To their left was a large black eighties model Ford Bronco with a man in his late thirties or early forties and a girl of maybe sixteen. A uniformed officer was talking casually to the two of them and Wade assumed this was who had helped the girl in her escape. Reports that the father had been the one in the car would broadcast over the radio seconds later.
Detective Wade followed the smoke to the Grant property where he found the old grey Plymouth fully engulfed in flames. Patrol cars were parked a safe distance to the left and right sides of the house and he could make out the sound of a fire truck somewhere in the distance. He pulled the Crown Vic beside the black and white on the left side using it partially as a shield from the heat of the blaze.
“Is he in there?” He shouted to one of the officers.
“Not sure, we haven’t seen any movement and the car that’s on fire fits the description of the one he was driving. The father of the girl said he slammed it into a ditch so the suspect may be injured.”
“So we have no idea if this jackass is even in there?” Wade looked around at the massive collection of dilapidated vehicles then stepped out from the Vic. The fire truck pulled up and two firemen already fully suited up sprang from the rear of it, quickly grabbing a hose and approaching the vehicle.
The detective walked slowly towards the left of the house first spotting the open basement door and then seeing the path that the jeep left. He quickened his pace so that he was standing directly on top of the tire marks. He pulled his gun from the holster, clicked the safety off and headed toward the back door of the residence.
“He’s not here, but I’m clearing the house just in case.” He shouted in the direction of the uniformed officers and Date.
“Terry go and stand outside the front door and put a bullet in anything that comes out.” Date nodded and walked over toward the front door. He could tell by Ted’s demeanor there was nothing to worry about but he unbuttoned his holster and clicked the safety off just in case.
Wade stood outside the back door, stopped for one moment and double checked the officers on each of his sides then reached for the handle. Unlocked, just as he thought. He pushed the door gently open and looked inside. The house was filthy and it looked like someone had ransacked it. There was a knocked over china cabinet and dishes and other fresh debris covered the floor.
“Is there anybody in here?” He knew the kidnapper would not be inside but he had not considered until now that there may be someone else living in the house or even worse there may be someone else dying in the house. After surveying the damage in the living room, he proceeded to the small hallway at the opposite end of the home. It consisted of two small bedrooms separated by a small filthy bathroom. The bedroom to the left was very bare, having only one full sized bed that was covered with light tan sheets and a mid-seventies era dresser. The bathroom was decorated in a powder blue floral pattern and bore mildew stains on every hard surface. The tub, toilet and even the sink had not been cleaned in many years. The bedroom to the right was slightly larger, decorated in oversized all wood furniture that did not fit in with any other area of the house. There were two large dressers and an armoire that was crammed into what may have once been a closet with double sliding doors. The bed was a four post and had at least five comforters on it and from what Wade could make out, the mummified corpse of a woman lay beneath them with only her head sticking out. Wade approached the bed slowly and pushed the covers back slightly to make sure what he was seeing was real and not some sick Halloween decoration. It had definitely been there for a long time and showed all the usual signs of a left for years corpse. The detective stepped away from the bed and back out of the bedroom and turned to face the front door, Date was standing in it with a quizzical look waiting for the next direction they would go.
“All clear Teddy?”
“Well except for his girlfriend, but I don’t think she’ll be bothering anyone. There are fresh tracks out back from some kind of jeep or short wheel based SUV I say we try to follow them.”
Outside of the house it seemed as if every available officer in Arizona was making their way down the dirt road to the little house in the middle of the cluttered property. Wade found Charlie Walsh, another old school detective, standing outside of his identical black Crown Victoria crushing a cigarette into the dirt under his black wingtips.
“Looks like this asshole slipped out the back. Charlie you mind if I try to follow him while you check out the scene?” He knew there was no way Walsh was going to go on anything close to a hot pursuit. Not to mention the old bastard would probably get a kick out of any weird shit they would find from this psycho’s work.
Wade’s Crown Vic’s interior had risen to well over a hundred degrees in the time that it had been sitting out in the Arizona heat. The detectives were already drenched in sweat and now they looked like they had been doused by a bucket. Wade removed a cigarette from the pack in his shirt pocket and lit it, offered one to Date and then put the car in park. The trail of the old Jeep led them a back way to Highway 10 and then disappeared on the road. No obvious signs of where dirt had been flung on the highway to give them any clue as to where the vehicle may have gone. The detective sat for a full minute in silence staring at the highway wanting to scream and hit the steering wheel, just completely lose it and pitch a fit like a spoiled child who was not getting his way.
“We’ve got nothing Terry. We don’t know what this piece of shit is driving or where he’s going. Fuck he could be loaded up with gear and going to his favorite camping spot for all we know.”
“Look at the bright sides, now we’re sure of who the asshole is and we can plaster his mug everywhere, that little girl is safe and the liquor store that’s on the way back to the station always gives me a discount. That’s like a bright sided frickin’ triangle right there.” Terry smiled at Wade as if too ask if that was enough to talk him down at least temporarily and then motioned for another cigarette.