Looking for Laura: Part 3

 

Molly had finally spoken to her
husband Mark and let him in on the situation. Of course, he was still at work,
but told Molly he would pick Mathew up at her mom’s when he was finished. While
darkness fell on Willow Springs and while families prepared to eat dinner together
in their homes, and while Laura Rogers’ cell phone remained off, Molly Teslow
made her way to the police station.

There weren’t many cars in the
parking lot, only a few. Molly pulled right up close to the entrance. She put
the car into park and looked up at the building in front of her. Big, white
letters read “WILLOW SPRINGS POLICE DEPT.” Molly hadn’t been here in many times
in her life. The last time she was there was to pay off a speeding ticket that
she had gotten in the summer. And now she was about to report her friend
missing.

She made her way to the double
doors. The temperature had dropped since the earlier afternoon when Molly had
gone to Laura’s. She could still see her breath in front of her as she walked
from her car.

The warm air inside was comforting.
Molly found herself in a small room. There was a group of chairs along the wall
and a table in front with magazines. It reminded her of the waiting room at the
dentist office. A soda machine was placed to the left and it’s hum was all the
sound that filled the air.

“Can I help you with something,
ma’am?” Molly turned to her right. Behind a glass window with a speaker on the
outside was a red-haired woman who appeared to be in her fifties. She had curly
hair and glasses.

“Yes, I need help. I can’t find my
friend. I mean, I haven’t heard from my friend.” Molly felt stupid. She
couldn’t convey her emotions properly. Her head was nothing but a mess of
thoughts and fears.

“You wanna file a missing persons
report?”

“I don’t know, I suppose yes,” Molly
said. How ridiculous would it be, Molly thought, if Laura really was tied up
with some sort of emergency somewhere.

“You’d need to speak to one of the
officers about that, ma’am. Now when did you last hear from her?”

“This morning. It was around eight
o’clock I think,” Molly said.

“I’m afraid we don’t take missing
persons cases unless the person has been gone 24 hours or more. How old is this
individual?”

“Thirty-six.”

“We would only be able to take that
report if she were a child, ma’am, but since she’s an adult there’s nothing we
can do now.”

“You don’t understand,” Molly said.
“We had plans. We were supposed to meet earlier and she didn’t show up.”

“Maybe she got busy.”

“Listen, I know her well enough to
know this isn’t right,” a police officer made his way into the office behind
the window while Laura spoke. “Her phone’s been turned off and she never does
that. Something is really wrong.”

“I’ll handle this, Margaret,” the
police officer said to the woman. “Ma’am do you wanna step inside my office and
tell me what’s going on?”

“Certainly,” she said.

The officer came around front. His
name tag red “Sgt. Bailer.” He was taller than Molly, with thin, light brown
hair cut short on the top of his head, with a mustache. He had brown eyes and
appeared to be in his late fifties.

“I’m Sargeant Frank Bailer,” he
said, reaching out his hand. Molly shook it. “Why don’t you come back with me
and tell me what’s going on.” Sergeant Bailer could tell that Molly was clearly
upset. Although he was about to go home for the day, he knew he had to help
this woman.

Molly followed the officer down a
hallway past several offices before reaching his own. It was a small room with
a desk, papers scattered everywhere and a big window with a nice view of the parking
lot and the street below.

“Have a seat,” Bailer offered.

Molly sat down. Now she was sitting
face to face with the officer.

“Okay, now tell me what’s going on,
you said something about your friend missing.”

“Yes, her name is Laura Rogers,
she’s my best friend, and I haven’t heard from her since eight this morning. We
were supposed to go out for lunch and shopping today but I haven’t heard from
her and she never showed up,” Laura was speaking quickly. She had tried her
best to swallow the fear and put her energy towards helping find Laura.

“I was really worried because she
never turns her phone off. And every single time I called her today, which had
to be twenty times, it sent me straight to her voice mail. I know this isn’t
like her.”

Bailer massaged his chin with his
right hand.

“I drove to her house,” Molly
continued. “I was really worried so I drove over there and nothing seems to be
odd, except for the fact her car is there and she’s not.”

“And I’m assuming you knocked and
she didn’t answer the door,” Bailer said.

“Several times.”

“Okay. I’m afraid Margaret is right.
We can’t take a missing persons report until 24 hours has passed. But there is
one thing we can do at this time.”

“What is that?”

“We can go to her home and check on
her, see if she may be there.”

“But I went there earlier and she
wasn’t,” Molly said.

“We do this a lot of times for
relatives of people who haven’t heard from them and want to make sure they’re
alright.”

“Well can you somehow get into the
house?”

“Not unless we have reason to
believe she’s been injured.”

“I haven’t heard from her, this
isn’t right, isn’t that enough?” Molly heard herself getting more upset by the
minute.

“What we can do is have a few
officers drive over there now and check to see if she is indeed there now.”

“And if she’s not?”

“If she’s not, then we play it by
ear. Tell you what, you can ride with me, I’ll drive you over there and we’ll
see if she’ s not there now.”

Molly nodded reluctantly. She wanted
them to break in to Laura’s. She followed Bailer out of the police station into
the bitter cold yet again. Margaret, the red-headed woman she had spoken with
when she first arrived was gone now. Laura glanced at her watch. Five o’clock.
Mark would be finishing work soon, hopefully. Then he would pick up Mathew,
take him home, and make him something to eat. Then Molly would go home. Please
God, Molly thought, let Laura be home now. Let this all be a huge
misunderstanding. Let her phone be broken.

She pictured it now. Laura opening
the door, apologetic. She would hug Molly for making her worry and proceed to
tell a story about how a friend had called her and needed to rush over and be
with her. Maybe someone needed consoling. Maybe she lost her phone and the
battery is dead. There is so much that could be going on.

And Laura was certainly the type who
would drop everything to help someone out. She had a heart of gold and cared a
lot for the ones she loved.

Before Molly had realized it, Bailer
and her had reached a squad car.

“Hop in,” Bailer said. “I’m gonna
need you to give me directions.  I can
call up her information on my computer in here.”

Molly opened the door and sat in the
car. The dashboard was filled with radios and different gadgets. She had never
been in a police car, but it looked just as it did in movies. There was a thick
glass shield that separated the front seats from the back.

Bailer got in the car.

“Alright, can you spell her first
and last name for me?”

“First name, Laura, L-A-U-R-A,”
Molly said. “Last name, Rogers, R-O-G-E-R-S.”

“We have her listed at 668 East
Harmin Street, is that correct?”

“Yep, that’s her.”

“Alright,” Bailer said. He picked up
the radio that laid on the dashboard. “This is Sergeant Bailer, I need a unit
at 668 East Harmin Street. That’s 668 East Harmin Street. We’re doing a welfare
check.”

Seconds later, the static-noise on
the radio came in.

“Copy that, 668 East Harmin, I’m on
it,” said a voice over the radio.

“That’s Sims, he’s one of my
partners,” explained Bailer.

“I see,” Molly said. Her mind was on
so much at the moment, she could barely comprehend such a simple thought.

“So tell me,” Bailer continued.
“Refresh my memory, you last heard from her this morning, and you all had plans
this afternoon.”

“Yes, we had plans at eleven this morning,”
Molly explained. “She never turns her phone off, she’s always in contact and
all day her phone has been switched off.”

“And you went to the house earlier?”

“Yes, her car is there, but she
didn’t come to the door. Which is also very strange.”

“Sims and I are going to check the
house for you, but we can’t take a report until tomorrow.”

“That’s great, thank you, I really
appreciate it.”

“It’s not a problem. I wanna ease
your mind a bit if I can. I have to warn you though, if we do check the house,
we have to be prepared for everything.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I don’t want to scare you,
Ms…”

“Call me Molly.”

“Molly. Usually when we respond to
these kind of calls, they are for the elderly,” Bailer explained. “Adult kids
that live a while away wanna know about their mom or dad. A lot of times,
especially if the person is elderly, we find they have fallen down the stairs
or something.”

“Oh,” was all Molly managed to say.

“So, it’s possible she could have
fallen.”

“Will all due respect, sir, she is
thirty-six. She’s very physically fit. I don’t feel that a fall would cause
this.”

“True, it’s less probable if she is
younger. But we’d like to at least clear that possibility.”

Molly bit her bottom lip. She
recalled once that when she had been over at Laura’s, Laura had hopped in the
shower before the two were going to go out to eat. Laura mentioned that once in
a while she would take the battery out of her phone during a five-minute shower
to update the phone. What if she did that, got into the shower, and then
slipped and fell. If she hit her head, she might be unconcious. That would
explain the phone being off, and it would explain her absence. It was a long
shot, but Molly held out whatever grain of hope existed.

Bailer pulled up alongside 668 East
Harmin Street. Laura’s house. The residence was dark, as it had been before,
and the car was unmoved, still in the driveway. The other squad car was already
parked. Molly took off her seatbelt.

“Molly,” Bailer said. “I’m afraid
Sims and I have to do this alone. We can’t risk putting you in danger.”

“Danger?’ Molly asked.

“If there does happen to be an
intruder in the home, if she is in danger, we can’t risk putting you in
danger,” Bailer said. “Please, stay here. And don’t worry. We will check on the
house and see if she’s there.”

“Okay,” Molly said. And at that,
Bailer exited the car and walked over to the other car. Minutes later, a tall
man, younger than Bailer emerged from the vehicle. It must be Sims, she
thought. He had dark brown hair, and a nice build. From what Molly could tell,
he was actually very attractive. The two men exchanged words in the street
momentarily, before making their way up the walkway to Laura’s front door.
Molly felt herself getting more and more nervous yet again.

She watched as Bailer knocked on the
door. Yet there was no movement in the house. Again, a knock. “Ms. Rogers?
Willow Springs Police, can you open the door?” Bailer called out. A third
knock, again, had no results.

Molly wanted to cry, but she was too
nervous. Bailer turned to Sims and said something. Then, Bailer reached on his
belt, pulling out a small tool that Molly couldn’t quite make out. Sims drew
his gun, and Bailer used the tool to pick the lock on the door. Before long,
the officers had made their way into the residence.

Inside the residence, Sims, flipped
on a light, gun drawn. “Ms. Rogers? It’s the police,” Bailer had called out.
“If you’re here, please come out.”

But there was no response. Like
Molly had told Bailer, everything seemed to be in order. Inside the front door
was a living room. There was a blue couch, a few chairs around it, and a small
coffee table in the center of the room. An empty glass of water sat on the
coffee table. A flat-screen TV was turned off.

While Bailer checked the living room
thoroughly, Sims made his way into the kitchen, flipping on the light.

“Nothing in here,” Sims called to
Bailer. “I’m gonna head upstairs.”

The two men made their way to the
second floor of the residence. They flipped on lights in Laura’s bedroom. Her
bed was made. The bathroom was empty. The two other bedrooms, presumably for
her two children were empty, the beds made.

After thoroughly checking the home,
calling Laura’s name, and even searching the basement, they determined that no
one was present in the home and reluctantly left.

“We should probably leave a note on
the front door,” said Sims. It was standard procedure for situations like this.
The police would leave a note on the door stating that a loved one was
concerned and for them to contact that loved one or authorities if they return
home.

While Bailer scrawled a note to put
on the front door, Molly anxiously awaited in the car. She had seen the lights
being flipped on, and each time she grew more and more concerned. Eventually the
officers emerged, and after placing the note on the door, they made their way
back to the vehicles. The note read: To Laura Rogers, if you return please
contact Willow Springs Police Department at 555-4172 or Molly Teslow. There is
concern for your well-being. Sergeant Frank Bailer, Officer Jason Sims.

Bailer thanked Sims for his help,
then made his way back to the squad car where Molly was waiting. She already
guessed what he was about to say.

“No sign of her in the house,”
Bailer said. “We left her a note on the door to call us should she return.”

“I see. I just don’t know where
she’d be. What do I do now?” Molly felt helpless.

“Come to the station tomorrow
afternoon to file the missing persons report. I should be there tomorrow
afternoon.”

“But…” Molly trailed off. She
didn’t know where she was going with her statement.

“There’s still a chance that
something came up. She could come back tonight.”

“But her car is here.”

“I understand that that’s strange,
but we have to give her the night to come back. She could have run off,
something might have come up.”

“I think I know my best friend well
enough to know if she would run off or not,” Molly snapped. She immediately
regretted her harsh tone.

Bailer said nothing.

“I’m sorry, Sergeant, I’m just really
scared.”

“Don’t worry about it. I completely
understand. Your friend is a really reliable person, I get that. And I admit
this doesn’t sound right. But you have got to maintain hope. There is still a
chance something came up.”

Just then, Sims’ voice came in on
the dashboard radio.

“This is Officer Sims for Sergeant
Bailer.”

“Go ahead, Jason,” Bailer said.

“I verified with the hospitals in
the area. Laura Rogers is not a patient in any of them. She is not a patient in
the tri-state area.”

“Alright. Thank you, Officer Sims.”

“I hadn’t even thought out that,”
Molly said.

“It’s something we have to check on.
Just to make sure she hasn’t been injured.”

“That we know of,” Molly said. Her
own words drove a chill down her spine.

“Go home, get some rest. Try and
take your mind off things. If you want, try and think if there is anyone at all
she could be with. Anyone she was seeing? Those are all things we’re going to
want to keep in mind. When I take the report tomorrow, be prepared to answer
some of those questions.”

“Okay,” Molly sighed, her face in a
worried glaze.

And at that, Sergeant Bailer turned
the car on, and drove Molly back to her car, where it still sat in front of the
police station.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was nearly seven when Molly
returned to her own house. Mark was home with Mathew and he had just finishing
eating his macaroni and cheese. When Molly arrived two were in the living room,
playing.

“Mom!” The eight-year old jumped up
at the sight of his mom, and for a second, Molly’s spirits were raised.

Mathew got Molly’s blonde hair, but
he had his father’s blue eyes. She hugged him tight.

“Hi, honey. Did you have fun at
Grandma’s today?”

“Yeah,” he said.

“Hi dear,” Molly said to her husband
Mark, who was sitting on the couch near where Mathew had been playing.

“Hey, how’s it going?”

“She wasn’t there,” Molly said,
again reminded of the horror that was happening.

“Really,” Mark’s face twisted in
concern. He had the lightest of brown hair, cut short. He was clean shaven, and
bright blue eyes that matched Mathew’s. He was thirty-eight, but he still
looked younger, like late twenties. As Molly and Laura had met during college,
Molly met Mark in college too. They began dating a year after they met.

“I just don’t know what to do,” she
said.

“What’s wrong Mom?” Mathew chimed
in.

“Oh, honey, I’m just worried about
Laura.”

“What’s wrong with Laura?”

“I can’t get a hold of her sweetie.”

“Mathew,” Mark said. “Why don’t you
go get cleaned up and get ready for bed.”

“But it’s only seven-fifteen! I thought
we were gonna watch a movie,” the boy said.

“First wash up and then we’ll put a
movie on.”

Mathew skipped down the hall towards
the bathroom, closing the door. Mark and Molly were alone.

“She’s not at her house, and no one
has heard from her huh?”

“She’s  not at her house and neither her mom or her
ex has heard from her.”

“Well, it’s her ex. Why should he
know where she is?” Mark asked.

“He’s her children’s father.”

“Right.”

“And her mother hasn’t heard from
her either. I’m really scared, Mark. I have no idea what to do.”

“What did the cops say?”

“They said there’s nothing that can
be done until twenty four hours has passed. But they checked her house and
everything is in order, but the weird thing is that her car is there.”

“Could she have been picked up by
someone?” Mark asked. Molly wasn’t sure if he meant picked up by someone she
knew, or abducted by a stranger.

“I don’t know,” she said. “And her
phone is off.”

“Well,” Mark paused. “That is kind
of weird, but I wouldn’t get sick with worry just yet.”

“What do you mean?” Molly’s voice:
Two parts desperation, one part irritation.

“She could be off somewhere with
someone,” Mark suggested. “Maybe she’s out with a guy or something and her
phone died. Maybe she forgot.”

Molly wanted to believe it, but it
just wasn’t adding up. Laura wouldn’t forget, especially when she had texted
Molly that morning to remind her. And, if she had run out with a guy, what kind
of coincidence would it be for her phone to die too? It didn’t add up, and
Molly had a hard time believing it.

“Yeah,” Molly said, despite her
doubts.

“We’re about to put on Flubber,”
Mark laughed, changing the subject.

“Flubber’s not a Christmas movie!”

“No,” he laughed.

“It’s December, it’s time for
Christmas movies,” she said.

“Hey, that’s what the little man
wants,” Mark smiled. “If you have an issue you can take it up with him.”

“Maybe I will,” Molly started out
smiling, but the smile quickly faded, and tears filled her eyes. “Mark, I don’t
know if I can concentrate. I’m so scared.”

Mark came closer and drew Molly into
his arms.

“It’s going to be okay, we’ll figure
it out,” Mark said.

She hoped he was right. While Mark
made his way to the kitchen to grab a beer for the movie, Molly made her way
down the hallway towards their bedroom to change out of her wet clothes. It had
been a long day. She passed by a mirror that hung on the wall next to her son’s
school picture. She briefly looked at herself. She had big, dark brown eyes and
blonde hair. Her hair fell in waves to her shoulders. Her face was still red
from the bitter cold but appeared to be getting some color back. She wasn’t
sure what she was going to do or how she was going to sleep through the night
without knowing where her friend was.

She had no choice but to wait.

 

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