The Disappearance (part 4 – A short story by Mark Brady)
“Captain, I found a pile of clothes behind the Piggly Wiggly. They looked familiar, but I pulled out the wallet to verify. Sure enough, it’s old man Trout. Ya know how he always wears that denim apron? He probably was taking out the trash but didn’t quite make it because the bag is next to his clothes.”
“I’ll be right there. Don’t touch anything else,” ordered the Captain.
Captain Peamont arrived in the alley behind the grocery store as quickly as possible without raising suspicions. That meant no lights flashing, no siren blaring, and no speeding through town. He didn’t need panic to set in. They were already getting questions phoned in about Mr. Baily’s disappearance as well as Tamera’s.
“Rogers, grab an evidence bag. Put on some gloves and put Mr. Trout’s clothes in it. There may be some evidence or DNA on them other than yours.” He started looking around the scene. He didn’t find anything suspicious outside the store, so he looked inside. He knew the store closed on Sundays at 6 PM. He looked at his watch, which now read 6:37. Again, the Captain found no evidence of a crime being committed.
“Rogers, take the clothes to the station, and put another pin in the board.” The store phone rang. “Don’t answer that. It’s probably his wife. I’m heading over there now to give her the news.”
“Evening Mrs. Trout. May we come in?” said Captain Peamont.
“Sure. Come in, Captain and Pastor Scott. Have a seat here in the living room. Would either of you like something to drink?”
“No, thank you, ma’am,” both said almost in perfect harmony as they sat on the plastic-covered sofa. Mrs. Trout sat in her baby blue La-Z-boy.
“Pastor Scott, I am so sorry to hear about your daughter’s disappearance. I just can’t imagine what is going on here in Seneca. Then I got a call this afternoon from Betty Freeman, who told me Mr. Baily had also disappeared. My goodness, gracious. What are these days coming to?”
“Mrs. Trout, we’re here to inform you that your husband, Wilbur, has become another person to disappear. Officer Rogers found his clothes behind the store.”
“What?” she replied with her left hand covering her mouth. “No. Not my Wilbur,” she said while reaching over to the Queen Anne coffee table for a tissue. Pastor Scott moved over and took her hand.
“Remember, Martha, that God is with us in dark times. His Spirit is here with you and me as well to comfort us. I know Captain Peamont and his officers are doing everything possible to figure this out.”
Captain Peamont’s radio went off. He jumped and headed out the door while pulling it off his belt.
“Captain, we just got a call from Bill Russell, the janitor down at the First Baptist Church, and he says he found a pile of clothes in the sanctuary.”
“10-4 dispatch. I’ve got Pastor Scott with me. We’ll head over there now. Tell Bill not to touch anything.”
Back inside Mrs. Trout’s home, “I’m so sorry, Martha, but I got a call about an incident I need to go investigate. It’s at the First Baptist Church, so I need to take Pastor Scott with me.” Pastor Scott stood and looked at the Captain with bewilderment but didn’t ask any questions.
“Is there anyone we can call to come over and be with you, Martha?” asked Pastor Scott.
“No. Thank you, though. I’ll be okay…I think.”
“All right. If there’s anything we can do for you, call me at home day or night. Remember, my number is in your church bulletin,” Pastor Scott said while he hugged her.
Once in the Captain’s car, “What happened at the church?”
“Bill Russell called the station and said he found a pile of clothes in the sanctuary.”
“Who is it this time?”
…To be continued…
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