The continuing fictional story of a town in crisis...
by John L. Harmon
Sheriff Benjamin Straker stands, yearbook in hand, in shock and awe at the chaos spread out before him. It is something akin to a science fiction film, and Joe, the dispatcher, is correct…it is a madhouse.
Cars, trucks, and vehicles of every shape and size line both sides of the street in front of Sturgeons Police Headquarters. All creeping along, moving in the same direction, as motorcycles zip in between and around with flagrant ease. Honking, revving of engines and profanity-laced shouting add an urgent and terrifying ambiance to the unbelievable sight.
He quickly assesses that he will need protection amidst the crowds. Shutting the solid door and walking determinedly to his office, Ben gives Joe a, “What the hell is going on out there?”
Joe follows, answering the best he can with what information he has gathered from emergency calls and overheard conversations. “The disappearances are getting to people, so they are fleeing Sturgeons.”
“Fleeing Sturgeons,” Ben mutters in contemplation as he sets the yearbook on the desk and unlocks the cabinet in a corner of the Sheriff’s Office. His thoughts turn to Miranda, Ned, and Sheriff Lester Lawrence. They all fled Sturgeons, leaving him to pick up the pieces. Now, more than ever, he understands what his mother must have felt when his father abandoned them…overwhelmed, helpless and alone.
Just like his mother, Ben is neither helpless nor alone. Shutting and locking the cabinet, he turns to Joe with an order. “I’m needed out there, Joe. Stay at your post and try to soothe the fears of anyone who may call.”
“Will do, Sheriff.”
“You’re a good man, Joe.”
Sheriff and Dispatcher leave the office and part ways at the enormous front counter. Before Ben ventures away from the safety of indoors, he whips out his cell and calls Chief Deputy Woodhouse.
“What is your location, Clyde?”
“I was just getting ready to report in,” Clyde mentions for no particular reason. “I tracked the white van to Gordon’s. A man and a woman just entered the bar in that odd way Ms. Minch described.”
Ben pauses for a beat, deciding the best course of action. “Stay put, Clyde. Don’t engage. I’ll be there a-sap.”
“Careful, Ben. Sturgeons is a hotbed mess right now.”
Sheriff Benjamin Straker shoves the cell in his pocket and grabs the handle of the gun of Lawrence holstered at his side. He doesn’t want to use it, but he finds comfort in the fact he can if the need should arise. Mentally prepared as possible in such a confusing situation, he opens the solid door and steps out into vehicular bedlam.
Click CHAPTER THIRTEEN to continue.
Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,