“Seems to me I asked you that question twice and you never answered me. If you claim you need help, why aren’t you telling me who you are?” My body suddenly felt warm as I stood there staring at the shed, becoming increasingly annoyed.
“You know who I am,” the voice inside replied.
“What kind of stupid answer is that?” I gritted my teeth. Okay, I was insane. No two ways about it. I was hearing voices and now, arguing with them and nothing at all made one bit of sense.
I mounted the fence, pulled myself up and thrust myself over in a fit of rage. Even though I twisted my ankle when I dropped down in an effort to avoid a small bush, I focused on getting back to my car, hopefully filtering out any further pleas from the voice in the shed, or as I was beginning to worry, the voice in my head.
Moving stealthily alongside the neat row of planks, I searched my pockets for my keys. As I moved from one to the next, not finding them, my heart began to skip around like a novice firewalker on his first day. Had I dropped them back in the yard? Had I left them in the car? Did I lock them in? I jumped up and down listening for any sounds of the keys jingling. Nothing.
Think, Lisa, think. When did you last have them?
I got out of the car, pushed my cell phone in my back pocket, tucked my water bottle inside my jacket but what did I do with the keys? I pulled off my gloves and began fingering the edges of my coat pockets. There was something there. I reached in. Crap, it was a couple of coins. Breast pocket –nothing; jeans pockets came up empty save the cell phone. I worked my hand under the snow jacket and felt around the sweatshirt pockets. That’s when I remembered the “secret” zippered pocket inside my snowsuit and practically ripped it open, pulling out the keys. Thank God, I breathed and bent to unlock the car just as a pair of headlights swept down the road. I glanced up and swallowed. It was a cop car.
My feet moved, I jerked after them most unwilling. What the hell was I doing? Why was I drawing attention to myself, especially seeing I just committed a crime – a small tiny one, but a crime nonetheless.
The cruiser slowed and the window slid down. The car’s brake lights glowed in the predawn darkness.
“Officer, I was checking on a report from one of our carriers about a house he claimed wasn’t on his route – I work for the local newspaper – when I heard some strange noises,” I lied profusely.
“What kind of noises?” He asked, his brows lined up into a straight line over his dark eyes.
“Someone calling for help.”
“Where?” He looked around, past my shoulders.
“Down there,” I pointed to the point in the grass where I’d fallen just moments ago and could still see the indentations of my feet, although they probably couldn’t be seen by the casual onlooker. Ho! Except he was anything but a casual observer. Still, that wasn’t exactly criminal.
“Male or female?”
“Hard telling, it was faint, but I thought it sounded like a guy.” I knew it was a guy, but could I have been able to figure that out if I had stayed on the other side of the fence? I wasn’t sure.
“And you’re sure it was from there?”
“Positive. At first I wasn’t, but when I walked over closer, I was certain.”
He frowned then told me to step to the curb. Once I had, he moved the cruiser up ahead of my car, put it into gear and then shut it off. I waited patiently, but he didn’t get out, so I wandered up. He had been on the radio. I hung back, not really sure if I should stay or move on. My ears pricked in the direction of the shed, hoping whoever was in there would say or do something… anything.
He got out of the car and pushed his nightstick into a loop in his belt, then drew out a huge daddy of a flashlight and turned it on. I flinched, suddenly remembering my face covered in grass, hoping I wiped it clean enough. Luckily he flicked it away and shined it alongside the fence. “Hey mister, there’s someone here to help you,” I called out. Nothing. Crap. “You there?”
We craned our necks, turned our ears toward the fence. I heard the metal clank again and looked to see if the cop heard it too. If he had, he didn’t seem to show it.
“Well, maybe I was wrong,” I said sheepishly. The cop held up his hand, silencing me. He turned his ear to the fence for a second then motioned for me to go on. “I’m really sorry…” he nodded, carefully stepping towards me. “…For taking your time…” closer to the fence. “I feel pretty silly.”
“Hello?” The voice said. I stared at him. He nodded. “Is someone there?”
“Yes, Bayou Police. Do you need assistance?”
“Please, you must get me out. If you don’t, she’ll kill me,” the voice repeated what I heard earlier. My eyes bugged out of my head.
“Where are you?” The officer asked.
“In here, in the shed.”
“Hang on, buddy, we’ll get you out,” the cop said firmly then keyed the mike on his shoulder.