on her walkie-talkie. “Dispatch, this is 87219, can you get me the owner of a plate?” “234TWD,” Kasey said. Carpenter repeated it into the walkie-talkie. There was silence on the other end for a few moments. “Plate belongs to a corporation. Dovah Enterprises.” “Where are they located?” “An industrial complex on Corbin Avenue in Bay Shore.” “Copy that,” Carpenter said. She turned her head toward Jack and Kasey for a moment. “I’ll check that out once we’re at the station but I have the feeling that it was a coincidence. Looks like we’re in the clear!” Kasey couldn’t tell for a moment where the blood came from. It was all over her arms and hands. She also felt it on her face. Jack had some on his as well. He looked at her in disbelief as the Jeep turned toward the sidewalk, jumping over the curb and into someone’s front yard. There, it mowed down a few small fences and came to a stop half inside a hedge. Officer Carpenter’s chin rested on her chest. Now Kasey saw that half of the back of her head was missing. The windshield had a hole in it. She didn’t have time to scream. The passenger door was pulled open. Two men appeared. One of them pulled the back of the seat forward and reached for Jack. He tried to resist and moved toward Kasey but the man grabbed his arm and pulled him out of the car. Kasey watched as the other man punched Jack in the face hard several times, then ripped open his shirt. Part of her registered that he was still wearing the amulet. She had completely forgotten all about it until now. Both men pulled Jack around the Jeep and toward the SUV. The door opened from the inside and the men lifted Jack onto the back seat. They walked around the SUV and disappeared behind it. Moments later, it accelerated down the street. Within two seconds it was gone.
Saturday, June 22nd, 09:56 a.m. to 12:18 p.m. There are moments when time slows down. When sight is clearer than usual. When hearing brings out the most subdued sounds. When the air seems to vibrate in a frequency so high, it’s almost palpable. Something in Kasey took over for a moment. Like a bodyguard stepping in front of the protectee and shielding her from a blow. Whatever it was that took hold of her in that instant absorbed the first wave of shock. She felt the pain, the loss, the confusion, but it wasn’t head on. As if it was diverted somehow. She saw the open door, was aware of the blood splatters on the seat around Jack’s shape, where he had been sitting just a minute ago. She saw the blood dripping from her own face onto her bare legs. When she met her eyes in the reflection of the mirror, she saw the white sclera in stark contrast to the blood that covered the rest of her face. The car was still running. It was still in “D,” pushing forward against the resistance of the hedge. Kasey said something into the silence that she couldn’t understand at first. Only when she said it again, did she actually hear herself say it. “Take control.” She had no clue where this came from but it calmed her enough to move to the center of the back seat. From here, Officer Carpenter’s head looked much worse. “Take control.” She climbed up front and onto the passenger seat. There was an engagement ring on Carpenter’s hand. Kasey moved Carpenter’s foot to the side and put her own foot on the brake. She put the car in reverse and slowly let go of the pedal. The car moved backwards and cleared the hedge. She pushed the brake again and this time put the Jeep in park. She got out, walked around the car to the driver’s door. When she opened it, Officer Carpenter’s body fell into her arms. She let out a startled scream but caught her and gently laid her on the grass. She could only handle taking a brief look at her face. It was too deformed. She straightened out the officer’s legs so that she wouldn’t back up over them. Then she took the walkie-talkie and pushed the button. “This… is