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Old 02-28-18, 12:12 PM
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Re: Witness Protection (a story)

Since I don't take my cell phone with me on walks, I decided to try the house. Assuming that it was the residents that were in the barn, I checked the front door, which wasn't locked. I found myself in the kitchen, and looked around for a phone, but there didn't seem to be one there. I noticed a small backpack, clearly for a young child. A glance at the fridge confirmed my suspicion that indeed a young child lived in the house. This alerted me to the concern of the child's safety. I thought about going to check the barn again, but decided to look around the house first.

I called out gently as I searched each room of the house. I wondered whether this child was a victim or a witness. Ensuring whoever may have been listening that it was safe to come out, I heard a soft shuffle coming from behind the couch in the living room.

“It's all right,” I said, approaching. “I'm here to help you. You're safe now.” I pulled back the couch, revealing a young boy cowering against the wall. It was clear by his face and his wet pants that he was quite traumatized. There was no telling how long he had been hiding behind there. He backed away from me as I knelt down on the floor. “It's okay, “ I ensured him again. “I'm not going to hurt you. I'm here to help.” I reached out my hand. The boy took it, hesitantly, and I helped him up. I gave him a sincere smile. “Do you know where the phone is?” He nodded and pointed upstairs. Still holding my hand, he lead me up.

He brought me to a door, and stopped in front of it. Then he looked up at me uneasily. This must have been the old people's room. Too old to be his parents, I gathered they were his grandparents. Perhaps he was spending some time with them, or maybe he lived with them. “Is your room up here?” I asked him, to which he gave me a nod. “Why don't you go change your clothes while I make a phone call?” The boy gave another nervous glance at the door before starting down the hall to one of the other rooms.

Entering the room, I surmised that it was not the victims' room. It was clear by the beer cans and the shotgun mounted on the wall that this was a single male's room. So it was either an older brother, or the father. My concern for the boy grew. I saw the phone on the end table next to the bed. Reaching for the receiver, I noticed something in the drawer which was ajar. Opening the drawer all the way, I saw a gun, which I picked up. Underneath it, lay a police badge. I gathered that the boy's father must work in local law enforcement. As far as I knew, the only local police was the County Sheriff.

I picked up the receiver, and started to dial 9-1-1, when I heard a car door close followed by some undistinguished cussing. Stepping quickly to the window, which happened to be facing the out the front of the house, I saw a red pickup in the driveway. It was the same one which had driven past me earlier that morning. Fate graced me with a glimpse of the driver as he stormed towards the house. Blood stained his shirt.
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