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Far From Grace - Eye Opener

Two weeks after the conclusion of Caged Up

Three nights of this already, three nights of following trails, analyzing crime scenes, questioning people and it feels like I've gone in circles. Six people reported kidnaped I got the hit on the site and now seven, all female, all under the age of sixteen. Got to work harder, got to save those girls. I can't believe that between me and the local police that we can't get a single solid lead to whoever's doing this. It's almost as if... that's it! I turn on my heels so hard I can hear scuff marks rubbing off on the sidewalk under me. Running as fast as I can, everything falls into place, only thing that makes sense. I remember talking to the police when this started, the detective in charge, Khan Pewter, the chief said he practically jumped at the chance to lead the investigation on these kidnapings. And why not, best way to cover up your tracks is to be the one in charge of following them. It's a big risk, I got nothing else to tie him to this but I'm running as fast as I can like it's a sure bet. I have to, because if I'm right, I might have a chance to stop this before victim number eight.

Three in the morning, Ron's asleep back in Middleton, I told him to go. I think about having Wade call him but I can handle this alone, just investigating, nothing serious. He deserves his rest, finally got accepted in the same college as me, so happy he nearly twisted his ankle from clicking his heels so hard. Ron, so loveable, I can almost picture what life would be like with him. A house, a family, kids, a daughter, daughters... like the ones I'm trying to find. Snap out of it Possible, mission first, fantasy life later.

I check his parking spot, empty, strange time for a leisurely drive. Still, can't leave anything to chance, I sneak into his apartment through the window. Been here before, once, with him. A warm man, readily shared anything he had on the case with me. Polite, professional, helpful... and one hell of a liar. Should've seen it sooner, never dealt with cops this friendly, they all resent me, think they don't need a teenager to help do their job. Not him, he was happy to listen to what I had to say. Smart bastard, strung me along by the ego.

Empty, no one home, but his cell phone is still on his desk. Strange thing to do when you're out unless you don't want to be disturbed. Question is, what is he doing at three in the morning with seven kidnaped girls that he doesn't want any interruptions. It's not hard to think up an answer for that, none of them sit well in my stomach. If I'm right about him... he better pray I'm wrong. I check the regular stuff; personal organizer, garbage cans, any scrap paper lying around. Nothing incriminating in the organizer, a few appointments to meet witnesses, I was there for some of them. Garbage can turned up clean, literally. Garbage must've been cleaned out this afternoon. He's covering his tracks, leaving nothing to chance, nothing in this place has any connection to the kidnapings until I find something under his monitor. A card, I think it's a business card, no, it's an embassy I think. I don't recognize the name, number's area code is another state, but I recognize the country's symbol. It's the only lead to go on, it's the most out of place thing in this room, there has to be a connection. I pull out the Kimmunicator and hope Wade's not a heavy sleeper. "Wade, I need help."

It takes a few seconds but he comes on, groggy, barely awake. "Kim? Do you know what time it is? Are you still on that kidnaping case?"

"Wade, I need you to do a quick search. Tell me anything you find relating to this city and Kazakhstan. Restaurants, delivery companies, flights, incoming, outgoing, anything."

It takes him only a few seconds but he finds something. Dependable Wade, how I can do this without you? "Only connection is a ship at the docks. Manifest says that they're hauling five shipping containers bound for an airfield in the Ukraine and from their it'll go to Kazakhstan. Electronics mostly, some antiques. Ship leaves in five a.m. today."

Hearing the deadline, my finger pushes a button without me giving a second thought. Hopefully my car will get here before I reach street level. "Thanks Wade, that doesn't give me much time. Contact the police, tell them to meet me their."

"And Ron?"

Ron... don't know if he'll make it in time, but I like the idea of him being here. "Can you can get him here fast enough?" I ask this while descending down the fire escape.

"I can get him there in under an hour if you want."

"Please and thank you."

My feet hit the pavement and I can hear the tires screech to a halt. Cutting it close, two hours before the ship sails off. If I'm right, there's seven girls in a cargo container, on their way to God knows what fate, thousands of miles from home. If I'm wrong, then I wasted everyone's time and probably put those girls in even greater danger. I can't be wrong, not tonight. Going to save every last one of them. I swear it.