Friday, June 10, 2011

36 hours, a red tackle box, and an accident

The sheriff was quite pleased with himself. As he turned out of the parking lot and head into town he could not help but smile at himself in the mirror at the sheer brilliance of the way he had played his hand back there with Mrs. Morgan. It could not have gone any better even if he had planned this himself! Oh wait, he had planned this and that was why he was smiling.

On his way to the office he began to think about all the things he had to take care of before he met with the Morgans tomorrow night. It would not be an easy task to convince the Morgans that he was a fly fisherman. Heck he hated fishing! Every type of fishing. As a matter of fact he did no even like eating fish!....Suddenly the sheriff's smile began to fade as he realized what a problem he had created for himself. Luckily, he had actually been fly fishing. He had been going with his father ever since he was old enough to stand on his own in the stream. The sheriff never liked it though. All he ever wanted to do was play and explore and all his father ever wanted him to do was to stand still and be quiet....Needless to say the sheriff grew up hating those outings...But now they were his only hope for this plan to work. He looked at his watch. He had 36 hours to learn everything there was to know about fly fishing. "Shoot" he thought, "In only 48 hours I managed to learn what I needed to get myself invited to the Morgan's home how hard could this be?" he would soon find out!

Sheriff Doe walked in to his office and sat down at his desk. He quickly sorted through a stack of notes that his secretary had left for him from the previous days phone calls. It looked like several more cases of missing dogs had occured and one case of a homeless couple living out of there car being chased off of The Companies property. He would look into the to missing dog call himself on his way home and would turn over the homeless call for a follow up with one of his deputies. With that out of the way he picked up the phone and called his top deputy in to his office.

Deputy Turner....Amy Turner...was his best officer. She had grown up in Dry Springs and had a way with the people. The Sheriff trusted her. When she entered the office the sheriff was already gathering the things he needed from his office and was stuffing them into a duffle bag.

"Are you going somewhere Bob?" asked Deputy Turner.

The sheriff turned to the Deputy "You would not believe me if I told you!" replied the sheriff as he zipped  the up duffel bag.

"Try me..." replied the deputy as she stood in the doorway half blocking his exit. The sheriff smiled and said, "Well Amy, I am going fishing for a few days and need you to hold this place together while I am gone." He was almost able to get it all out before the deputy burst out laughing! " You! Fishing! Now I know the world is coming to an end!" and she laughed and laughed until tears filled her eyes! The sheriff stood there and let her laugh her self out before he started to talk aging.

"Amy, this is just between us...I am going fooling...but let's just say I am going fishing for a wild goose. If you know what I mean?" With that the deputy took a deep breath and straightened herself up. "Well then sheriff how can I help?"

The sheriff told her that he needed her to just run the office like nothing was going on and to not contact him unless it was a major emergency. Deputy Turner agreed and promised that she would not let him down. Despite the ribbing he knew she would not disappoint him. Now it was up to him to catch a wild goose.

On his way to the house the sheriff stopped by the two homes that had called in about the missing pets. Again both were dogs. The owners both worked for the Company and both owners had backyard kennels which had been broken into and their dogs had been taken. The sheriff filled out the necessary paper worked and reported the information back to Deputy Turner at which point he signed off for the next 48 hours with orders to not be disturbed for any reason. With that behind him he headed home to master fly fishing.

Once home him began to formulate a study plan for learning as much as he could about fly fishing. He spent several hours multitasking on his laptop and his IPod doing article research and using YouTube to bring meaning to what he was reading. It really amazed him that something that he hated so much as a child was now the very key to his plan. If he had only paid attention to his dad during those long winter days when he would sit and try to teach him the art of tying a fly..."tying a fly" he thought..."that's it! Dad's flies....those would hold an evenings conversation for sure!" now he just had to find them.

If the sheriff thought the hours at the computer had been hard and tedious work than sorting through all of the boxes of his father's belongings was nothing short of a nightmare! After his father's death he had all of his Dad's stuff boxed up and moved to his garage. He had not had time to sort through it. With the death of there mother only a year before and now their father the sheriff was left with taking care of his sister who was just starting college and he himself had just started the new job in Dry Springs. Had it really already been 4 did not seem like it could be right... but Emily was in her senior year now...this fishing trip was getting harder by the moment.

The sheriff spent a sleepless night sorting through the boxes and many memories... both good and bad. He realized he had never gotten to know his father as a person. He would need to correct that when he had more time. For know he needed to find his Dad's tackle box. If he remembered right it was an old dark red tool box with an Ale Eight sticker on the front. He lifted a few more boxes of books and slide an old leather recliner out of his way so he could get a look at the set of shelves on the far wall. There it was! On the bottom shelf in the far corner. It would take some climbing but he was sure he could get it with out risking lif or limb. Amazingly the sheriff was able to stretch over two rows of boxes and several of his Mother's breakable figurines and snatch the box from the shelf. With a sense of victory the sheriff left behind the boxed up memories with a promise to return soon to make peace with his father and headed back into the house.

Once inside the sheriff headed for the kitchen table where he planned on studying the contents of the tackle box with the hope of appearing as if each of the lures inside were a close and personal friend. But, as he sat down he realized that it was al ready noon and that he had been up all night researching fly fishing and struggling with family memories. If he had any hope of pulling this off he had to get some food and take a nap before heading to the Morgans for dinner. So the sheriff rose from the table made himself a sandwich and headed to bed. He set his alarm for 3:30 allowing himself plenty of time to get ready and to preview the contents of his father's tackle box.

The sheriff did not sleep easily. It seems the rummaging through the boxes of his father's belongings had stirred up some family memories. Unfortunately for the sheriff his dreams came as screaming from unseen faces hidden by torturous flames. He tried to call back to them to lead them out of the flame but it did not help...the roar of the flames grew louder and the screaming was replaced by unrelenting laughter.

The sheriff sat up...shaking and in a cold sweat...where was he? Had it been a dream? The sheriff shook himself awake and realized it had only been a dream. He started to lay back down when he looked at the was already 4:30! Stupid alarm clock had not gone off. The sheriff jumped out of bed and into the shower. He was going to be late!

The sheriff managed to shower, shave and dress in record time and was out the door by 4:50! He would be cutting it close but he would make it if nothing went wrong. Of course anyone who knows Murphey and his laws knows that the sheriff was not going to be on time...

As the sheriff left his house and tuned out on to main street his radio came to life like all heck was breaking loose in town. The sheriff reached for the mic but instead grabbed the volume and switched it off sure that what ever was going on that Deputy Turner would handle it without him needing to get involved. And so he headed to the Morgan's in silence.

The sheriff had managed to actually pull up to the Mogan's house at 4:59 and was ringing the doorbell at exactly 5:00. As the sheriff stood at the door with his tackle box in hand Dr. Morgan opened the door and was in the middle of welcoming the sheriff to their home when the sheriff's cell phone began to ring. There were only two people that had his personal number. One was his sister and the other was Deputy Turner. Both had been told to only use this number in extreme emergencies. Therefore the sheriff cut off Dr. Morgan and said "I am very sorry...but I have to take this!" Dr. Morgan stared in disbelief never having been cut off while welcoming a guest in to his home. All he could do was stand there and stare.

"This is Robert"

"Slow down deputy.."

"An accident? Where?"

"How many where involved?"

"Where there any injuries?"

"Is she still alive?"

Tthe other one?"

"I see..yes of course...I will be there in fifteen not let anyone else in or out..yes, including Mr. Herman himself!"

And with that the sheriff excused himself and took his red tackle box and left Dr. Morgan standing in the open doorway.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Opportunity Knocks

It had been several days since the sheriff had made the decision to visit the Morgan's and he had been working very diligently to weasel his way into their lives in what seemed to be a very natural way...but natural it was not. The sheriff had spent the last 48 hours watching their every move and establishing their daily routine. He had learned everything about the Morgans that could be learned by an outside observer. But that was not good enough. He needed a connection. The sheriff returned to his home office and pulled an external hard drive out of a lock box hidden in the floor. He grabbed his laptop and made his way to the couch. In short order he had the hard drive pulled up on the laptop and was typing in his encrypted password. As it ran through it's start up and verification programs the sheriff sat back and thought that it was a good thing that he was really bad at taking orders. The head of the Company himself Hynrich Herman had given him specific orders to personally remove all traces of the background checks and interviews of all the scientist. The sheriff chuckled to himself as he clicked on the file named BACKGROUNDS. It seems that somehow those deleted files had just popped up on his laptop. He would need to take a serious look at this security issue at a later date.

As the files opened the sheriff crossed the room to the fridge and returned with an ice cold Ale Eight. With drink in hand he plopped down in the recliner and began to dissect the files before him. He was not sure what he was looking for but knew that when he saw it it would be waving like Old Glory on the 4th of July. It was just a matter of sorting it all out.

Most of the information was stuff he already knew. They both were younger than he was...just about his sister Emily's age. They had met at Oxford University. Married while still in college and the both went to graduate school to study...there it was....behavioral genetics? Whatever that was....He found their grades, comments from teachers, reviews from their internships, published papers that he had no idea what they were talking about....the sheriff was just about sure that there was no connection when suddenly Old Glory herself started to was just a scanned picture from their Oxford annuals with the different clubs they had belonged to....medical this club, research that club...but there in the bottom corner was what he was looking for....Dr. Morgan and his wife holding fly rods as they posed for the fly fishing club picture! Who knew!? But this was the connection that the sheriff needed!

The next morning....quite on accident...he bumped into Mrs. Morgan as she was coming out of the grocery store. He happened to be parked right next to her with his trunk open. It seemed that he was in the middle of changing his tire and had his trunk emptied out with the contents spread out directly behind her car.

"Oh, sorry Mrs. Morgan....I am trying to get this dag gone tire changed. I did not mean to get in your way!"

"Oh that's okay sheriff.", replied Mrs Morgan.

The sheriff stopped working on the tire and opened his back door to start moving his stuff out of her way. In order to put his belongings which were once in his trunk from into the back seat of his car he had to place his fly rod on the roof of the car. With his rod out of harms way he began to chuck the belongings of his trunk in the back seat.

" you fly fish?" inquired Mrs. Morgan at the sight of the rod.

"Not as often as I used to or as often as I would like too..." came a light hearted reply from the sheriff followed by an equally light "It's not the way people fish around here and I don't enjoy going alone that much..."

"Well" replied Mrs. Morgan "I had no idea there was any place around here to even wet a line, let alone actually fish! Would it be to personal for me to ask you where you fly fish?"

The sheriff turned to Mrs. Morgan with the look of a man who had just hooked the first trout of the season. "Do you fly fish Mrs. Morgan?"

"Not in a long while sheriff but Alexus and I used to love to spend our spring days throwing flies..why Alexus still uses tying flies as a way to unwind from our work for the Company! You really must come over and see his work...It is quite good!"

The sheriff began to real in the fish. " You just name the time and place and I will be there!"

Mrs. Morgan was as giddy as a school girl. "How about tomorrow night. You can come out to the house for dinner with Alexus and I and after dinner we will discuss when we all can go fishing!"

The sheriff humbly accepted the invitation and helped Mrs. Morgan place her groceries in her car and waved as she drove off. With a smile on his face the sheriff turned and started to place all of his stuff back in the trunk. With a smile and a half chuckle he picked up his father's old fly rod and thought to himself that it was high time he learned how to fish.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The Beginning

As the door shut and the porch light went dark the sheriff found himself all but alone. His sister was right. He had carried this baggage for along time and it had change him. All because of one choice. No, not the choice to bring Johnny to his sister...that was an easy decision. One that he had known was right. No...the decision that started it all. A simple hand shake between a brand new, wet behind the ears sheriff that had just been elected and the head of the largest employer in the once dead town. The hand shake was an unspoken agreement that the sheriff would protect the interests of the company and there by protect the interests of the town. It seemed like a no brainer at the time. Heck, without Herman Pharmasuticals Research and Development there would not even be a town.

HPR&D had landed in town and set up shop about two years after the last plant had closed in Dry Springs. They had only been there about a month when the sheriff was elected. By that time they had already replaced ninety percent of the jobs that had been lost over the last ten years! The sheriff only saw this business deal as a small way to say thanks to HPR&D for bring life back to his dying town. For the first year and a half everything was great. But then HPR&D opened a new wing of the plant...Alpha Wing. This wing was off limits to everyone in the town. It seemed that what was going on in Alpha Wing was to be kept top secret.

Over the next year the company started to bring in scientist and doctors from all over the world.It seemed that suddenly the sheriff was playing personal baby sitter for the company. He was being "asked" to run them around and to do back ground checks on each and every visiting scientist. But as annoying as that was it all suddenly stopped! By the end of that year they had hired a man to over see the operation...Dr. Alexus Morgan and his assistant Gracie Morgan....his wife. And with their hiring all of the visits came to a stop. The sheriff did not mind the end to the visits. It meant he could go back to being a small town sheriff and spend less time running after the companies visitors.

But the quiet did not last long for the sheriff. Within the next month he had been called out to no less than a half dozen houses to investigate disappearances of family pets. In each situation the animals had been kept outside during the day and when the owners had returned from their shift at the Company the found a cut fence, or a broken lock, or a cut run line and no sign of their pets. over the next six months the sheriff and his men logged another twenty calls that met these same circumstances. The only thing that each of these cases had in common was that there was no evidence left behind and in every case the missing pet was a dog.

It did not take the sheriff long to start putting two and two together. As he spent hours pouring over these cases and back tracking through old records he came to two conclusions. Prior to the opening of the Alpha Wing there had never been a case of any missing pets in the town of Dry Springs and it was up to him to investigate the connection between the Company and the cases of the missing pets.

The problem was how do you walk into the company and ask the man who was saving the town from drying up if he has been running around stealing all the dogs in town? So the sheriff decided he would take a different route. He climbed into his car and headed out of Dr. Morgan's house. During the ride to the house the sheriff thought about the young doctor and his wife. He had spent several days shuffling them around when they first came to Dry Springs. The sheriff seems to recall that they seemed like good people and even remembered a sense of happiness when he heard they would be over seeing the Alpha Wing Project. What was it that Dr. Morgan said he did.....some type of behavioral specialist. Anyway, the sheriff thought maybe a casual visit to the Morgan's might give him more information than the direct approach.

Meet John Doe part 2

Emily was just finishing with the dishes as the sheriff made his way back into the kitchen. As she turned to speak he stopped her and took her by the hand and led her back through the house to the front porch. Emily knew that this meant trouble.

"Sissy, you know why I am here don,t you?" asked the sheriff. Emily raised her trembling hand to her cheek to wipe away a tear. The sheriff pulled a handkerchief from his shirt pocket and offered it to his sister. Then he continued to speak..."You knew...we knew from the beginning that this day would come! It is hard for me to believe that it hasn't happened sooner." said the sheriff while rubbing his eyes as if he were trying to awake from some awful nightmare.

" But, why now...why ...after all these years I thought maybe his parents had given up their rights...that they would have given up..." stuttered Emily as she wiped the tears which were now free flowing down her face. The sheriff took a deep breath and let it out real slow as if contemplating his next words very carefully.

"Emily Elizabeth Doe, I knew that when I brought that boy to you.."

"You mean Johnny! His name is Johnny!" interrupted Emily with a look of flushed anger crossing her cheeks.

"Okay...okay then...Johnny" replied the sheriff as he took his sister's hand in his to calm her. " when I brought Johnny to you that I was asking a lot of you...heck you had just got out of college and were so young...but you did not even took that boy...I mean Johnny in like he was family."

The sheriff leaned back as if to collect his thoughts and then continued.

"I had told you that the boy was a ward of the state and that he needed a good home... you never asked any questions and I guess it was better that way. But know you need to know the truth. You see Johnny's parents did not abandon him they were murdered who...who broke in to steal their stuff. Apparently they did not expect to find the family at home and when they did they left no witnesses. Somehow they missed the sleeping baby. I was the responding officer that night and as I searched the house I found Johnny asleep in his crib. I knew then and there that I had to protect this baby. So I bundled him up and snuck him out of the house before any of the other units arrived. After we cleared the scene I drove straight here and the boy...Johnny has been here ever your loving care."

Emily just stared at the sheriff as if seeing her brother for the first time. She had never asked about why the state had given them Johnny. Mostly because she did not want the truth. But now...what her brother was telling made no sense? What did he mean that he had to protect Johnny? Some thing was not right and she said as much. Her brother leaned back and then suddenly rocked forward and began to speak. This time there was no slow collection of thoughts it was more like the confession of a repenting man who has been waiting a life time to be set free. The sheriff talked without interruption and Emily sat and listened. When he finally finished his head was buried between his hands as if he were afraid to see his sister's face. He did not know what to expect but it was not this.

Emily rose from here seat and headed to the front door. As she opened the door she stopped and turned and said, "You know Robert, you said that I took Johnny in like he was family...and now he is! So whatever these ghosts from the past are we will face them family! You just let me know what it is that we need to do!" and with that she turned off the porch light and went upstairs to bed leaving the sheriff in the dark to wrestle with his own demons.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Meet John Doe

The trips seemed to take longer each time and over the last few years they had also become less and less frequent. Was it the guilt or the fear that someone would find out. The sheriff shook the thoughts from his head as he turned between the old stone pillars that marked the entrance to house. Ahead of the sheriff, just visible in the beam of his head lights was the old homestead. The sheriff had spent many summers her with his grandfather. Just the sight of the house brought back so many good memories. But those thoughts were fleeting. Ever since that night six years ago a new set of memories filled this place. Both good and bad. He hoped today's visit would fall in the realm of the good but he feared it would not be so.

He pulled his car to a stop in front of the main doors and exited his car. As the sheriff made his way to the steps of the porch the front door burst open and a blur of dogs poured forth jumping and yelping at the sheriff. In the midst of this blur of fur and drool covered tongues was a small 6 year old child who like the dogs was jumping at the sheriff. "Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob, Uncle Bob!" cried the child as he jumped and danced gleefully around the sheriff. The sheriff stooped down and scooped the lad in to his arms and hugged him tightly as he climbed the steps to the house.

"Robert, do you know what time it is?" came a rather sharp welcome form the lady in the doorway.

"Well of course I do Sis! It is time for some ice cream and a piece of your world famous cheery pie!" replied the sheriff as he leaned over and kissed the lady on the cheek. The sheriff's sister chuckled and turned in the doorway and led the way to the kitchen. The sheriff followed still carrying his nephew in his arms. His sister Emily, turned the light on in the kitchen and headed over to the ice box where she pulled out a tub of rocky road ice cream. The sheriff had set his nephew down in a chair at the table and had crossed to the cupboard to retrieve some bowls and spoons. As he turned around to head to the table Emily asked him "Why are yo here Robert?"

Robert started to answer but paused and looked at Emily and then looked at the boy. He then said, "we will talk about that after the pie and ice cream..."

Emily knew better than to push her brother for information. Robert was a kind man but his job had made him hard over the years and he had developed a cold side that Emily had only seen once....and seeing it once was more than enough for Emily. So, she scooped the ice cream as Robert cut the pie and the three of them sat in silence and ate their pie.

When the sheriff had finished his bowl of ice cream he pushed back in his chair and turned to his nephew. The boy had ice cream all over his face mixed with an ample amount of cherries. The sheriff reached over and tussled the boys hair and they both began to laugh. Emily just sat and stared at the two men in her life and smiled. "You two are a real pair! It is a good thing that you are not here more often Robert or that nephew of yours would never act right!"
Robert just smiled and kept up the horse play until he and his nephew were both out of their chairs and rolling around the kitchen floor. "Okay, since you have got him all wound up you have to get him back to bed!" chied Emily.

"Well then Sis, I will handle the little monkey and you will have to clean up in here!" replied the sheriff through a string of laughter. Emily quickly agreed to that deal and shuffled the boys out of the room! As the sheriff and his nephew reached the stairway the boy turned and ran back to the kitchen where he lept into Emily's lap and gave her a big hug. "good night aunt Emily! Thanks for the pie and ice cream!" with on last hug he was off and running back to the stairs were the sheriff was waiting.

Monday, June 6, 2011


The house was dark and quiet as would be the expectation for any home at 2:00 in the morning. It seems that everyone in the Morgan's home was tucked into bed and settled in on this stormy spring night. As the county sheriff made his way up the long cobble stone drive that led to the house he felt a sudden dread fill his chest. This part of the job never came easy but some how he knew that this time it would even be worse.

The Morgan's were drawn from their peaceful slumber by the sound of a loud knocking coming from the front entrance way. As they shook the sleep from their heads they quickly grabbed their robes and headed down the hall to the stairs towards the front door. On their way they passed the nursery and took a quick peek at their son still asleep in the crib. Amazingly the pounding had not woken the child and for that the Morgan's were thankful. Slipping quietly down the hall the Morgan's quickly made their way to the front foyer where they stopped and looked through the window to see who it was. Seeing the sheriff Dr. Morgan slipped the chain from the door and unlocked the dead bolt.

"Evening Dr. Morgan, Mrs. Morgan....Can I come in?" asked the sheriff as he pushed past Dr. Morgan and in to the sitting room.

"Sheriff, what are you doing here at this hour?" asked Dr. Morgan as he closed the door and followed the sheriff into the parlor.

"Well doc, it seems that there was a mishap down at the lab.', replied the sheriff as he turned and walked over to the fireplace where he picked up the cast iron poker.

"What kind of mishap?", asked the doctor.

The sheriff turned to the doctor and looked him straight in the eyes and said "there was a break-in. Seems 2 local teenagers thought the could score some easy drugs. Somehow they managed to get into the air duct system and worked their way right into the center of the lab."

The doctor seemed to lose all color as he stumbled backwards into a chair. Mrs. Morgan rushed to his side trying to comfort him. But Dr.Morgan brushed her aside. He needed to ask...he had to know. "what was taken?"

The sheriff again locked eyes with him and said "the teens did not get away." Mrs. Morgan turned to the sheriff with relief in her face only to see that the sheriff was not relieved. He spoke one last time. "the teens were killed...torn limbed from limb...and escaped!"

Those were the last words the Morgan's ever heard. The sheriff filed a report about a break in at the Morgan's house. It seems that the intruder had broken in through the patio door and found the Morgan's in the sitting room having a night cap. A struggle ensued and the intruder used  the cast iron fire poker to strike Dr. Morgan across the the temple. According to the report it seems that Mrs. Morgan must have tried to protect her husband because she was struck on the back of her skull and was found lying atop her husband. The sheriff's report listed that silverware, jewelry, and some small electronics were found missing. But the worse news was there was no sign of their son......