Written and Read by Montgomery Thompson
As evening settled over Legly, Mim stood at her front door scanning the streets. Spence had returned without the girls and was in serious trouble for ditching them. They weren’t home yet. Worse, no one had seen them and her stomach churned with worry. She had just been out driving around the whole town looking for them and was about to turn and call the police when a group of boys rode by the house on their bikes.
Mim was used to the strange antics of the little gang of boys from the neighborhood, but tonight they were weirder than usual. They had strapped what looked like tin foil covered medieval shields to their handlebars and the bikes were covered completely in the stuff. They glanced nervously at Mim as they whisked past the house.
“Hey! Boys, wait a minute! Boys?”
They sped up and disappeared down the street. Mim, at the height of worry and frustration, went in the house and dialed the police station. Sgt Bemis answered, took some basic information, and promised to send his constable out to get a full description of the girls as soon as possible.
Ten minutes after hanging up the phone, she heard the police car pull up.
Pal Tember fidgeted with his paper pad as he went to the door. He hated ‘missing person’ calls. It meant having to tell someone that they would have to wait, then they would cry. It was all so uncomfortable and disappointing. They just didn’t have the staff to search the town. He reached out to ring the bell, but the door opened before he could. Tember stood slack jawed, staring at Mim. She was lovely.
“Constable, my girls are missing. Maksey is twelve and Shaley is fourteen.” She thrust a framed photograph into his hands. “I’ve been everywhere but no one has seen them. You have to find them for me. It’s getting dark and they’re just little girls—”
“Alright, ma’am, we’ll do everything we can. I just need some information—”
“Information? There’s the picture, what else do you need?” Mim reached behind the door and lifted her coat off the hook. “I’ll go with you. They know my voice. I can call for them from the air. You do have a public address system on the helicopter, don’t you?”
At six-foot four Tember wasn’t used to being bulldozed by anyone, let alone a delicate five-foot five lady, but he just didn’t have the heart to tell her that there were only two policemen in the whole town and they certainly did not have a helicopter.
“Easy there, ma’am, just calm down, I’m sure we’ll find them.”
“That’s easy for you to say! I’ve looked in every corner of Legly, down every street and alley way, and I still couldn’t—”
“Okay, I understand, but we have to follow protocol to give us the best chance of finding them.” Tember took the coat and held Mim’s trembling hands. He really felt for her; she was frantic. He looked her in the eyes to show his sincerity. “Just come in and sit down, it will only take a few minutes to get the search started. Please, ma’am, help me help you.”
Something in the constable’s eyes eased her frayed nerves. She took a deep breath and conceded. “Yes, maybe that’s best. Thank you. I’m Mim.”
“Tember, Constable…just call me Pal.” She was even more beautiful when she wasn’t panicked.
She sat him on the couch and told him what she knew, but had to admit that they could have gone anywhere. Tember was at a loss. He wanted to help her more than anything.
“Is there anything else you can tell me?” He shrugged. “Maybe anything unusual around the neighborhood or…?”
“Yes, now that I think of it there is one thing.” Mim told him about the boys and their odd behavior. “When I hear myself tell it, it sounds like it’s just boys being boys, but this was different. They were scared and, odd as it sounds, looked like they were on patrol or something.”
“Right. We’ll start there. I’ll talk to them and see if they know anything. I’m sure they won’t be hard to find. And your son, Spence is it? You’re sure he’s not holding something back to keep from getting into more trouble?”
“No, he’s definitely been forthcoming. He may be a typical teenage older brother, but he loves his sisters and would never do anything to jeopardize their safety.” She thought of her little girls all alone in the dark night somewhere and burst into tears.
Tember had known it was coming, but he didn’t mind as she reached out and took his hand.
“Please Constable…find them. They’re just children.”
“Don’t you worry, I’m on the job. I’m going to find those boys right now.”
Tember left the house and circled the neighborhood in his cruiser. He didn’t have to go far before he saw the tin foil covered bikes outside of a small, ramshackle house. Light spilled from the seams of the garage door. As he approached, he could hear the kids’ voices inside the garage.
“Excuse me, boys, do you mind coming out here for a minute?”
He was answered by a sudden rustling on the other side of the door as the light in the garage went out. He shook his head and sighed.
“It’s all right, you’re not in any trouble. I was just hoping that maybe you could help me solve a special case I’ve been working on.”
The garage stayed quiet. He could hear them breathing.
“It’s hero kind of work. I could sure use the help of a few heroes to help make one of our citizens very happy.”
A small shuffling noise, then the garage door lifted open as the boys came out one by one.
“Quite a clubhouse you’ve got there. Much better than the one I had when I was your age. Now, tell me, have you seen two little girls today?”
“They were in the tunnel of trees by the farm up on Namarin Road.”
“When was that, do you remember?”
“It was around two, but we just passed them, we don’t let girls ride with us.”
“I see, anything else?”
The boys exchanged worried glances. “Nope.”
“Alright then. Thanks for your help. If you think of anything else you can call the station.”
The boys were clearly relieved that the meeting was at an end. Tember drove straight to Mim’s and told her what he had learned.
“That’s the Townes’ farm. Mister Townes might have seen them.” The frantic look had returned to Mim’s eyes and she grabbed her coat and pushed Tember out the door.
“Heck, maybe they’re over there having pie or something,” Tember offered as they climbed into the cruiser and sped out toward the farm.
Mim had never been in a police car before. It smelled official and, considering the circumstances, a bit frightening. She attempted some small talk to pass the time and distract her nerves.
“So, how long have you been a policeman?”
“About five years.” He cleared his throat. “Mim, can I ask you a personal question?”
She was hoping he would. “Sure, why not.”
“How is it an attractive woman like yourself, with three fine children, ends up alone?”
“Oh. Well, my husband died.”
“I’m sorry, I—”
“No, it’s okay. I haven’t spoken to anyone about it for so long. Rale was a logger. One day he went to work and they say…he just wasn’t paying attention and…well, logging is a very dangerous job. That was five years ago.”
“Well, I’m going to do everything in my power, both professionally and personally, to find your girls.”
Mim wondered what he meant by ‘personally’. He was a nice man; nice smile, nice demeanor, and…she blushed a bit, nice to look at, but right now all she wanted was her girls safely back at home.
Mortimer’s driveway came into view and Tember parked the cruiser. It took a few minutes for the old man to answer the door and then a bit of shouting as they explained the situation to him. Mortimer told them that he had indeed seen the girls. He gave them a large flashlight and told them that they were welcome to search anywhere they wanted. He would help by checking any of the outbuildings on the property.
Mim and Tember went across the fields and into the woods, calling the kids’ names. It took over ten minutes, but finally the girls came bounding through the trees toward them.
“Mom! Mom! Here! We’re here!”
After a joyous reunion of hugs and tears, Mim asked them, “What in the world are you doing all the way out here?”
“Maksey ran into the woods after we saw the boys go by. They were really scared!”
Tember looked at Mim, perplexed.
“That’s Maksey,” Mim told him. “She has no concept of fear and runs straight into danger. Her curiosity gets the better of her.”
“But, Mom, I saw him, the snake-man! He went up to the sky like WOOOSH! Didn’t he, Shaley? Shaley saw him too!”
“What is she talking about, Shaley?”
“Nothing, I don’t know. She just ran into the woods and I tried to keep her out of trouble, but she got us lost. She just kept running around everywhere like a nut case.”
“That’s not true! You saw him! I know you did! There was slime in the tree and everything! Mom…” Maksey burst into tears but Shaley refused to admit that she had seen anything out of the ordinary.
Mim was siding with Shaley, but Tember was sure the older girl wasn’t telling the whole story. He decided to stay out of it. All that mattered was that the girls were safe.
© 2015 Copyright Montgomery Thompson
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