Sally McGinnis had disappeared from Providence Park in July during an Independence Day festival. She’d been playing frisbee with her older sister and had ran into the woods to retrieve the disk after a wild throw. She never came out. A pink tennis shoe had shown up in the search of the woods off the hiking trail. It had been identified by the mother. Rayne held it in her hands as she wandered through the woods.
Hurry up, Sally. Echoes of the past. Mommy, tell Sally to hurry up. A mother’s desperate search. Panicked voices. The 911 call. Rayne heard it all, but nothing from Sally or who took her. She wandered deeper into the woods, sat down and leaned against a tree. She felt Sally’s presence there. Her shoe had come untied. She’d just learned to tie laces and struggled with it. Her blonde hair flopped in her face as she bent over. A man appeared, but Rayne could only see his hands. Need help? Here, let me tie it for you. Sally shook her head. Mommy said I should be a big girl now and tie my own laces. The man crouched down. Rayne could see his bent, jean-covered knees. I’m sure Mommy won’t mind just this once. His hand, rough and calloused with small burn scars, grabbed the girl’s shoe and threw it into the brush. He picked Sally up, cupping her mouth with his hand and ran through the woods.
Rayne jumped up and ran in the same direction. She came to a clearing with a set of picnic tables on the left and a small parking lot to the right. She saw the back of the man as he ran – slicked-back black hair, a blue uniform shirt, jeans, and black utility boots. He fished keys out of his pocket, clicked a button and opened the trunk of a white sedan. He stuffed Sally inside and slammed the trunk down. Rayne struggled to see the make and model of the car, but all she could make out was a Ford logo. He backed out of the parking space. The window was tinted and Rayne couldn’t see his face. In a flash, he and Sally were gone.
Rayne collapsed onto the grass as nausea washed over her and a sharp stab hit her in the stomach. Rick ran out into the clearing and sat down beside her. Jenna had been taking notes on the new iPad of every place Rayne had been and every word she’d uttered until she ran away through the woods. When Jenna finally made it to the clearing, Rick held Rayne in his arms, cradling her.
“He parked in the furthest lot of the park. He knew it would be deserted,” Rayne said through clenched teeth. She related everything she’d seen at the clearing and Jenna made detailed notes.
“What about the shirt? Any writing or logos on the back of it?” Rick asked.
Rayne squinted her eyes. “All I can make out is the letter A, followed by the and-sign.”
Jenna sat down across from Rayne and Rick. “Was there anything else unusual about the car besides it being white and a Ford?”
She’d only seen the back of it and the driver’s side. Rayne closed her eyes and tried to recall if there was anything different about the car besides the tinted windows. “The front driver’s side tire had a missing hubcap and when he backed up, one of his parking lights was out. Other than that, just a normal looking white sedan.”
Jenna flashed her an encouraging smile. “You did good. I will send the notes to Cranston. Maybe he can send me a file of Ford sedans for you to look at before we get back to the field office.”
With the stylus in hand, Jenna began typing away on the iPad. She sent the notes to Trip and updated Troy on their progress. She enjoyed the proficiency of her new tablet. It was much more efficient than the notebooks she carried around. She got so caught up with the new gadget, that she completely blocked out her companions.
Rick watched Jenna play with her iPad for a few minutes and then crinkled up his nose. He doubted he would have as much fun with his. He hated gadgets, including his cellphone. He suddenly felt old and glanced down at the young woman in his arms. He also felt uncomfortable, so he released his hold on her. He coughed nervously and stood up, dusted off his slacks, and tossed a concerned question at Rayne. “How’s the pain?”
“It’s easing up. It seems to only be severe and last a while when I have direct contact with him in real time.”
Rick grimaced. “Honestly, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes. I don’t know how you endure all that pain.”
“I’d like to say that I am used to it, but most of this is uncharted territory.”
Jenna lifted her head up from the tablet and glanced at Rayne. “Troy wants to know if you feel up to visiting the other site today.”
“What time is it?”
Rick looked down at his watch. “Nearing noon.”
“I don’t mind, if you two aren’t needed back at the office.”
“Nah. We are at your beck and call, ma’am,” Rick said with a fake southern drawl. “But maybe we should have some lunch first.”
“That will work out great,” Jenna said. “Troy wants to call ahead and warn the Haskell family that we will be stopping by.”
“We’re going to Gina’s house?”
Rick nodded. “She was snatched from the front yard as she played with her puppy.”
Rayne suddenly felt ill. She didn’t know if she could face Gina’s parents, especially since she knew how sick the little girl was. “I don’t think that is such a good idea.”
Jenna narrowed her eyes. “Why not?”
“After what I’ve seen… How do I tell her mother? What do I tell her mother?”
Rick squatted down and placed an arm around her shoulder. “You won’t be in contact with the parents. The warning is so they can leave their house while we are there.”
Rayne clutched her chest and blew out a long breath. “Thank god.”
Rick gave her a gentle squeeze and stood back up.
Jenna hoisted herself up off the ground and walked over to Rayne with a frown on her face. “I am so sorry. I know how stressful all of this is for you. I should have worded that better.”
“It’s okay. I should have known you two wouldn’t put me in that kind of position.” She reached for Jenna’s hand. “Can you help me up? My feet feel like boulders.”
Jenna took her hand and with a quick heave, Rayne stood upright. She gave Jenna a quick hug and then dusted off her pants. She glanced over at Rick, who was walking in a circle with his hands in his pockets. “What’s for lunch?” she asked him.
Rick stopped and shrugged his shoulders. “Soup and a sandwich? There’s a Panera Bread just up the road.”
“Soup sounds good. How about you, Jenna?”
She had her nose in the iPad again. “Huh? Oh, soup? Sounds good. Troy says the Haskells will give us an hour around two o’clock”
“I hope that will be enough time,” Rayne said as the three of them walked back through the woods and toward the car.
# # #
Lunch had been better than Rayne expected. She’d ordered a roasted pumpkin soup and had been delighted with the flavor. Jenna had settled on chicken noodle soup and Rick decided to just have a tuna salad sandwich. She and Jenna drank iced black currant tea, while Rick sucked down several cups of black coffee. They’d kept the conversation on the light-humored side, avoiding the case altogether. By the time they left the restaurant, Rayne felt completely at ease once again.
They arrived at the Haskell house at two pm. The driveway was empty, but Jenna knocked on the front door out of caution. When there was no answer, she gave Rayne the go-ahead.
Rayne walked around the large, fenced-in yard. As she approached the fence, she heard laughter and barking. She smiled from the echo. She watched Gina scurry around the yard as the puppy nipped at her heels, her long brown hair whipping about in the early October wind. They were both bathed in sunlight. Suddenly, a darkness fell over them. A man was at the gate. Rayne couldn’t see his face because he had a hoodie covering it. As he tapped on the metal, a clinking noise overshadowed the laughter. Gina stopped and stared at him. Cute puppy. What’s his name? The puppy wagged his tail and ran to the fence. Jasper. She joined the puppy by the gate. May I pet him? She nodded. Can you open the gate? My hands won’t fit through these small holes. Gina opened the gate and the man snatched her up, covered her mouth and took off down the street. Rayne tried to follow, but fell to the ground instead. She looked up and down the road, but couldn’t tell which direction he’d fled. She heard a diesel engine and then the shadow of a dark-colored van off in the distance.
Jenna and Rick had been on the porch. Jenna saw Rayne go down first and tapped Rick on the shoulder. By the time they joined her, Rayne sat rocking on the grass, repeating the same words – “Grey hoodie. Blue lion.”
Seeing You (a working title) is the story of Rayne Fallon, a witch with the power to see into the past and future, although not always accurately. She gets tangled up with FBI’s SA Rick Harris and SA Jenna Styles as they search for an 8 year old missing girl, thought to have been kidnapped by a Serial Killer.
Seeing You ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.
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I am participating in NaNoWriMo. Each day I will try to write at least 1667 words for a total of 50,000 by the end of November. Today’s total: 1592 words. Total words so far: 23,457