Disclaimer: I don't own Without a Trace or Barney the dinosaur.
It was 6am. His alarm was due to go off in an hour, but he hadn't been to sleep yet. Instead, he had spent the last seven hours lying in bed staring at the ceiling.
April 7th was always hard for him. But this year it was worse. This year, the thought of it made him physically ill. He wished that he could just sleep through, wake up on the 8th and carry on as normal. But he couldn't even get a regular nights sleep, let alone hibernate for 24 hours.
He pulled himself out of bed and went to the window. The sun was rising. The city was waking up. He envied all the other New Yorkers. To them, today was just another day.
He sighed and flopped back onto his bed. Even if, by some miracle, he managed to go to sleep now, an hour's sleep wouldn't be any use. If anything, it would just make him more tired. Finally accepting the fact that sleep would not come, he switched on the television. Not even a tedious children's show about a giant purple dinosaur helped clear his mind. He turned it off and threw the remote in frustration when Barney started singing about the joys of family.
If he wasn't going to sleep, then he needed to wake up completely. He went into the kitchen and made some strong coffee. After three cups, none of which had any effect, he got dressed.
He had had a nagging feeling for a long time now that something was missing from his life. Once upon a time, he knew exactly how that void could be filled. Now, though, he was too strong to give in. He could resist.
He sat on the couch, holding his head in his hands, rocking. He was feeling claustrophobic. He needed to get out, needed to find a way to get rid of the thoughts that wouldn't go away on their own.
He was too close to giving in to the one thing that would help him right now. The magical cure for everything that made him hurt. At the same time as craving it, he knew that it was not good for him. It was self-destructive. He had been down that path before but had managed to come back before the head on collision. If he gave in this time, would he make it back?
Sometimes, when it got really bad, he would have what could only be described as a panic attack. He would find it difficult to breathe and it felt like the room was closing in on him. The sign that one was coming, a sudden wave of nausea, hit him and he had to get out.
He left his apartment and jumped into his car. He wasn't sure where he was driving. He just needed to get there.
Anywhere but here.
It was 12noon. He was supposed to have been in work for three hours, but he hadn't shown up yet. And his colleagues were worried about him.
Even if he was running as little as 10 minutes late, he rang ahead to let them know. But today, they had heard nothing from him. Yesterday had been his day off and he usually rang at least one of them out sheer boredom, but they heard nothing off him then, either.
Every 15 minutes, one of them tried his cell phone and another tried the phone in his apartment. And every time there was no answer.
There had been three visits to his apartment, each time with ten minutes spent banging loudly on the door. The door was never opened.
Their concern was turning into panic. Especially when one of them mentioned that she was supposed to have had dinner with him the previous evening but he hadn't shown up.
This wasn't like him at all. If he wasn't there when he should have been, then something must have happened.
They all came to the conclusion that there was only one thing they could do for now; file a missing persons report.
Danny Taylor was officially missing.