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"Your daughter sent letters to these youngsters, we want to know where she is," Chief Clark said.
The house looked simple and classic inside. Walls were painted with cream white and pale blue. Some frames are nailed on the wall. Theo didn't bother to check on each photo. He and Emma were settled on the sofa while the two officers sat on the wooden chair across them.
"I was told that. And I will be answering you the same thing. She is not here. May I get you something to drink, everyone?" Theo felt annoyed when Chris mentions a word with R. He could imagine his voice; his accent, while forcing Rose to shut up.
"Why do you think would she write such?"
"You know that kid, she had been kept here in this town all her life, kids these days tend to be so... aggressive."
In front of them lies a wooden center table, on top of it were three matcha-colored ceramic jar that served as the centerpiece. Theo eyed the stairs that led on the second floor of the house.
"Let me just get you something at least," Chris insisted.
"Chris, we have to—"
Chris ignored Chief Clark then started walking towards another curtained door that seemed to be the kitchen.
When Chris was finally out of sight, Theo stood then cautiously walked around. The officers were staring at him with warning when he looked back, but he was already standing at the bottom of the stairs.
Footsteps lit up an alarming feeling inside him. He stared at the officers and Emma who was waiving her hand, signalling him to sit back, but he noticed something that caught his attention. A crumpled paper just below the small center table.
With big steps, he went back into the sofa, picked up the paper then slid it on his pocket even before Chris came back with a tray of juices.
"May I use the restroom, please," he excused. Chris pointed the door behind the stairs, he sat on the wooden chair beside Chief Clark.
Theo walked towards the restroom, he looked back on Emma whose eyes are glued on him. He raised his phone at Emma for a clue then closed the door. He heaved a sigh, brushing his hand through his hair then took the paper out of his pocket, he tried to smoothen it with both of his hands then started reading.
Before anything else, Hi.
I don't know how long will it take before someone or you, yourself, will find...
Theo clenched his jaw. He wanted to scream and go out to beat Chris until he couldn't breathe anymore. He inhaled deeply then texted Emma.
He's got the first letter.
Before he could even open the door, he heard a gunshot, followed by another and another. He froze in shock.
Emma's loud yell draw him back to reality. He harshly opened the door, he's sure his heart stopped beating as he stepped out, time seemed to stop.
Chris was lying on the flor grunting, both of his leg has blood, his gun threwn just above his head. Dave was immobile on the chair. Theo's sweat felt sticky, Chief Clark's gun pointed at Chris.
"You are one big, fat, pedophile Chris!" shouted Chief Clark.
Theo didn't had to ask. He knew they were able to confirm what's written inside Rose's letters. Emma ran towards Chris then kicked his gun out of reach, Chief Clark picked his right arm, still pointing a gun on him.
"Go! Find Rose!" Emma screamed then helped Chief Clark sit Chris up to cuff him.
Theo ran up the stairs. The light was dim and he could only see three doors. He opened the first door on his left; bathroom, he ran to open the next door but it was locked. It took him four strong kicks to open the door, he breathed hard when he got in, Rose's room! He touched the snow globe on the bedside table, behind it are pile of books.
"Rose." He couldn't help but whisper her name. The other door was open, inside was a Master's bed and an indication that it was the couple's room. He went back and fourth but never found any stairs going up on the attic.
Was Rose lying? Had we been wrong all these time? He doubted, looking up. He exhaled stressfully then noticed a short tie on the roof, he looked at it intently.
Emma's screamed jerked him up followed by three loud gunshots. His heart felt like it wants to get off of his chest. Not wasting a minute, he pulled the tie down, a pulldown ladder slipped out as he stepped back.
A scurrying footsteps distracted him for a second. "Rosie!" An angry voice of a woman called. Theo quickly climbed up the ladder.
Another shot was released before he took the last step up. The lady missed.
He closed the sliding bolt that served as the ladder's lock inside the attic, blocking all the lights off that came from the second floor. He waited for his sight to adjust in the dark, he could hear pounding from below, he knew the lady was trying to pull down the ladder. He sat on the floor, feeling drained and hopeless. He didn't know what happened to Emma and the officers, he have no idea if they are still alive. They all risked something, just for his mysterious writer, and no one was to blame except him.
For once, I tried to do something right, he thought heartbreakingly, but it still turned out wrong. A tear fell from his eyes for the first time since he was ten, he wanted his heart to just blow up so the pain would cease.
That's was what he never liked about crying. Once the tears started falling, it won't stop, no matter how much you try, sobs would still slip in and the tears will still fall, freely. He bit his own arm to stop his sobs. Below he could hear the lady's gunshots and uncleared murmurs.