Chapter 6: More and more questions

When none of the pieces fit…

This isn’t what he had planned. He hoped to be sitting down with Chambers reviewing the documentation he had on a missing person’s case, but now he is reviewing interview notes on Chambers himself. Sergeant Jackson needed coffee. A lot of coffee.

He naturally assumed the investigation into Chambers disappearance simply because he was first on the scene. It wasn’t until later in the day when he was officially put in charge. Delegating others to handle the interviews and crime scene investigation, Jackson had time on his hand to ponder on tho “why” – why would somebody do this? The initial interviews revealed nothing as to who let alone why. Everyone seemed to have an alibi. They always seem to have an alibi.

Putting the notes aside, Jackson powered up his computer to look at the prior investigations Chambers was working on recently, searching to see if maybe a clue could be found there. The last case he was working on centered around a missing girl named Barbara Jenkins in Kentucky. Barbara had spent the afternoon frolicking in the leaves a month ago when she disappeared. Chambers focused his investigation on the child’s parents and a gentleman named Mark Branson. A search warrant of the Branson house led to the discovery of a secret room in the cellar of the house, large enough to hide a person but small enough to almost miss detection. Inside the room was some knotted rope and a child’s left shoe.

Chambers notes indicated that Mr. Branson later confessed to forcing Barbara to rake up all the leaves in his yard after she messed up all his hard work earlier in the day, and then placed her inside the secret room as punishment for her actions. However, he swore that he did not harm her nor knew where she disappeared to. All he remembered was her whimpering when he closed the door and slid the boxes in front of the wall and then headed up stairs. The fact that Chambers was unable to find the child continued to haunt him even after he was forced to turn the investigation over, causing him to decide on the vacation to clear his mind.

Searching through other open missing person’s files, Jackson came across a report of a wife who disappeared while on vacation in the Denver area. The husband eventually confessed to the crime, but was unable to produce the body. He claimed to have placed her inside the trunk of his car and drove it down to Las Vegas, but when the car was located, the trunk was empty.

Also in Las Vegas, a couple reported that their child disappeared while at College in Georgia. During a holiday weekend, a janitor traumatized and eventually kidnapped the son while the building was empty. He kidnapped him in the middle of the night and locked him inside a faculty supply closet, but some how escaped. The student was never seen again.

After a few hours of reading the numerous reports, Jackson was interrupted with a phone call from Indiana. Sergeant Chambers’s wallet was found along the side of the tracks. Jackson responded, “… but let me guess, no sign of Chambers himself, correct?” Unfortunately, Jackson was right, as he feared. The pattern of many outstanding missing persons cases of late result in the kidnapper being identified, but the victim never surfacing. “Turn that area upside-down,” Jackson demanded before hanging up the phone.

Holding his head in his hands, staring at the computer screen, Jackson struggled with the next course of action. If these cases are actually connected, then how are the victims disappearing? If they managed to escape their captivity, why haven’t they shown up yet? Flipping through the files once again, he identified at least 20 cases where the victim remained at large. It was time to look for a pattern if one existed.

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2 Responses to Chapter 6: More and more questions

  1. ilikeverin says:

    Oooh, I really like the first paragraph of this! It’s a smoother transition. Jackson seems more alive, his thoughts more coherent. At the end of paragraph two, though, he thinks “They always seem to have an alibi,” which conflicts with my previous understanding that he was a new detective. A couple minor (trust me!) quibbles in that paragraph: “prior” is redundant because you have “recently” later (keep “recently”, as it’s more specific), and I think one usually delegates something to someone, you can’t just straight out delegate someone (perhaps in this case “…delegate others the responsibility to handle…”?).

    Huh, I like that you give us more information about Barbara without us seeing the investigation proceed. I really like how the clues discovered in that guy’s house square well with what you wrote from Barbara’s POV in chapter 1, though I presume that that’s going to be misleading. Locking a girl in a room, though, seems like evidence enough to me for the cops to arrest Branson.

    Saying the “janitor traumatized” the college student (Chen?) makes it sound like the janitor went up to Chen when he wasn’t paying attention and went “BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA”, or showed him disturbingly violent movies, or something.

    Let’s see… finally, I think giving Jackson access to Chambers’s files makes some sense, but I’m not sure if 20 outstanding kidnapping investigations is a good thing or a bad thing, and I don’t think your readers will, either. I’m not sure what Chambers’s caseload is like, so for all I know he has hit 980 for 1000 or 10 for 30.

    I’m excited to keep reading! I don’t think it would surprise you if I told you I was thinking about working at my school’s Writing Center… though I’m not sure I can afford the time commitment.

  2. Ethel says:

    Sgt Chambers: He’s local police? He wouldn’t be involved in multi-jurisdictional cases at his pay grade, especially since there doesn’t seem to be any connection to the cases. You may need to promote him to the FBI.

    The college kid: Is this Chen? You may want to mention his name so the reader can make the connection. Use “torment” instead of “traumatize” or maybe go with abducting and torturing (beating on, drugging, etc). Chen was fairly paranoid at the end of Chapter 3. I’m having a hard time believing that the janitor did it. Schools do background checks and usually people just don’t wake up one day and decide it would be a good idea to abduct someone. They usually have some sort of history. Maybe make the kidnapper someone who would have access to the school but not a school employee (carpet cleaning service, electrician, landscaper, etc).

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