Susan must leave the house she grew up on.
Susan looked around the room for some place to hide. Would she still fit under the bed? She hadn’t hidden under there since she was a kid, hiding from her brother.
“Sue, you in here?” Brad poked his head into the door.
“Oh, Brad. It’s only you.” Susan was kneeling by the bed when he came in and so stood back up. “You had me scared to death.”
“I’ve never seen you so jumpy. What’s up?” Brad came in and sat on Susan’s bed.
Susan explained about the man she had seen in the washroom and the large boot print she had seen in the milk. Brad was surprised to learn about the mess downstairs. He had tried to avoid getting caught by sneaking upstairs as soon as he got in the door and so he hadn’t looked around downstairs.
“So you think Mom has been kidnapped? Have you called Dad yet?” Brad looked around the room and then moved toward the phone on the dresser.
“No, I was just about to call when I heard you coming up the stairs. I thought you were that strange man coming back to get me.” Susan grabbed the phone a second before Brad could get it. “This is my phone. I’ll call Dad. You can look around and make sure nothing was taken.”
“You mean besides our mother?” Brad laughed.
“Hey, this is serious. Our mother could be in serious trouble.” Susan punched in the phone number for the local RCMP office.
“Or she could be next door, waiting for Dad to get here. Although, it is strange she wasn’t waiting for us outside. Maybe I should look around.” Brad headed out the door.
“Hello,” came the voice over the phone, “Wolfville RCMP Headquarters, Officer Bailey speaking.”
“Hello, is officer Maxwell there?” Susan waited for the reply.
“He’s not available right now, can you leave a message?”
“This is his daughter, Susan. It’s very important that I speak to him right away.”
“Oh, hi Susan. I remember you from when I used to go over to your house to watch the hockey game. That was a few years ago. Before John got a wide screen TV.
“I don’t know if I should tell you this,” continued the officer, “but your father left on a case early this afternoon and hasn’t returned yet. No one seems to know where he is.”
My father’s missing as well, Susan thought. What else can happen today? Are the dikes going to break and flood me out of house and home?
“Can I speak with your mother?” Officer Bailey’s voice interrupted Susan’s thoughts. “There’s something I need to tell her.”
“One of the reasons I’m calling is because I think my mother has been kidnapped.” Susan went on explain about the spilt milk and the broken window.
“We’ll send a car over right away. You should lock yourself in the washroom until we get there.” Officer Bailey hung up the phone.
Susan put down the phone and went out to look for her brother. She found him looking at the footprint in the milk. “Did you find anything missing?”
Brad turned to look at her. “The TV and VCR are still here. I think whoever searched the place was looking for something specific.”
“What could we have that anyone would want? Unless this has something to do with the case Dad was working on.” Susan paused to think.
“What did Dad say?” asked Brad. “Is he coming home right away?”
“Actually, he’s missing as well. They say he went on a case and never came back. Do you think Dad’s disappearance could be connected to the break in?”
“It’s possible. Maybe we should try to find some clues.” Brad scanned the room, carefully looking for anything unusual.
Susan knew Brad wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an officer of the law but now was not the time to play ‘cop.’ “The officer said we should lock ourselves in the washroom until they get here. It’s not safe to be wandering around the house with the backdoor broken. What if the kidnapper returns?”
“I doubt he will be back. Besides, I don’t want to be locked in a washroom with you.” Brad jumped back as his sister took a swing at him. “You’ll have to be faster than that.”
“You’re not worth the effort.” Susan sat in a chair next to the kitchen table. “I’ve been thinking. Maybe we should call our grandparents and let them know what happened. We may have to stay with them tonight if Dad doesn’t come home.”
“No way, I’m not spending a whole night in that place. I’m lucky I survived one evening there. You know they don’t have a TV. I don’t know how they can live like that.”
“Brad,” Susan stood up and looked him straight in the eyes. “The whole world does not revolve around television. I think grandfather tells some wonderful stories. You should listen to them sometime instead of moping around.”
“I’m older than you, remember. I’ve already heard his stories a dozen times. They were fun at first, but they get a little old after a while.” Brad sat in a chair, across from Susan. “I would rather spend the night here alone then spend a night with our grandparents.”
As Susan was trying to think of a good reply, she heard a siren and saw the walls flash red and blue. “The RCMP is here. We better open the door and let them in.”
Susan moves toward the front door and Brad followed. Susan opened the door just as the two officers reach it.
“Good evening,” said the clean-shaven officer, who was around 35 years old. “I’m Frank, we spoke on the phone, and this is John, my partner.” He pointed to a moustached man, who looked to be about forty.
Susan looked at their nametags. “Good evening Officer Bailey and Officer McNeal. Come in.”
The older man laughed. “You can just call us John and Frank. No need to be so formal, we’re both friends of your father.”
“Sorry, my sister can be a little foolish sometimes.” Brad stepped in front of his sister. “Follow me and I’ll show you the crime scene.” Brad led the men to the kitchen.
“Did you disturb anything?” asked Frank, looking at the evidence.
“Just a couple of chairs.” Susan noticed that one of the chairs had left a trail of milk on the floor. “I hope we didn’t destroy any evidence.”
“It should be alright.” John went over to get a closer look at the large footprint. “You didn’t see a strange man sneaking around, did you?”
“Actually, I did,” said Susan. “I saw a large man sneaking around the girl’s washroom at school. He was probably large enough to fit that footprint but I didn’t get a good look at him so I’m not really sure.”
“It might not be safe for you to stay here, tonight.” Frank turned to John. “Doesn’t Jim’s step-parents live in town?”
“I think so.” John turned to the two children. “Where do your grandparents live?”
“They live on the east side,” said Susan.
“Well, I think we should take you over there,” replied John. “Frank, call another car and have them watch the house while we’re gone.”
“I don’t want to go to my grandparents house.” Brad looked from John to Frank. “Isn’t there any way I can stay here?”
“It’s much too dangerous to stay around here. You’ll be safer with your grandparents.”
“Is my mother in danger? Do you think she might be,” Susan had a hard time saying the word, “dead?”
“Now, don’t start worrying about things like that,” said John. “I’m sure she’s safe. By tomorrow morning everything will be back to normal.”
“I hope so.” Susan turned to Brad. “We better pack if we’re going to stay at our grandparents’ place over night.” She headed upstairs and Brad slowly followed.
Before long, another RCMP car showed up and the two teens were on their way to their grandparents. Brad sat with his arms crossed and didn’t say a word the whole trip. Sulking already, thought Susan, and we aren’t even there yet.
The car pulled into a long driveway and parked beside the old, Victorian era house. Normally, Susan enjoyed visiting her grandparents but something about the shadows on the doorstep made her nervous. This day is not over yet, thought Susan. Her heart beat a little faster.
Continued in "The Tree on the Dike - chapter 5"