2 - 65 Dry Hollow Road

1 - Beaver Dam Road 3 - Farm Road
Chief knew Derrek didn't like answering house calls. He had applied for a desk job some 2 years ago. "Soon. But first you need to earn your stripes." Chief had said. I'll be retired by the time I get to a desk job this way.
"Destination to the right." The robot female voice told him. Derrek activated his right blinker as he spotted the last house, just before a muddy farm road split off the main road. He stopped in front of the house, number 65, the caller.
There was still some light but it'd be dark within the hour. He grabbed his little notebook and his flashlight as he got out of the car. He attached his flashlight to his belt. After closing his car door, he stood still for a moment, listening. Only some chirping birds getting ready for bed, but no screams. He could see the muddy farm road disappear in a bend between the fields. The farm wasn't visible from here, could be some distance.
At number 65, the porch light went on. Derrek walked toward the house, notebook in hand. The house was a standard older house for this region in the farmlands. It had a heightened front porch, the only thing missing was a rocking chair. Fences closed off the backyard from the side of the house. It could use some paint but was still in good condition. He stepped up the wooden steps as the door already opened into a tiny crack. The porch light was an overkill for this hour but some people like to be sure.
The eye through the crack pinched for a moment, but the woman attached to the eye, opened the door further as she saw his uniform.
"Good evening, ma'am." Derrek said, giving her a warm smile. She returned it but did check to the left and right after opening the door fully, eyes still pinched. She still moved with some speed, even for her age.
"Oh, hello there, officer. Thanks for coming this quickly."
"Not a problem, how are you doing this evening?" Derrek asked, taking out his pen and notebook. The woman released a stressed sigh as she pointed toward the farm road.
"The screams really put a scare into me. I was watching some [insert soap] and I thought to meself, 'Who the hell is screaming in there?', so I rewinded and played it again, but I couldn't find that part again. So I keep watching and what do you know, suddenly someone screams again. So I pause and get up, and again a scream! A long one this time. Went straight to my neck." she said, looking at the farm road again, her hands on her heart. "Like- Like they be murdering someone." She said, her eyes wide.
"I understand your concern, it's smart of you to make the call, miss…?"
"Jocelyn, sir, but everyone calls me Jocy." She said, relaxing a bit.
"Nice to meet you, Jocelyn, Jocy. I'm Derrek and I'll make sure you'll feel safe again this evening." Well, I hope so. "I don't hear any screams anymore, when did they stop?" Jocelyn looked at her watch, still analog, she muttered a few incomprehensible calculations.
"I called about twelve minutes ago and the screaming stopped a few minutes after that. The final one was a very long one." Derrek checked his own watch and noted: screams stopped at 8:33PM
"Do you remember at what time you heard the first scream?"
"Was about eight nineteen." Jocelyn said, pointing at her watch. Derrek noted it down.
"About the screams themselves, do you think it was a woman or a man screaming?" The elderly lady looked him deep in the eye.
"No, it was a child's scream." She said, her eyes growing a bit wet. I don't like where this is going. "Went straight through me. Couldn't say if it was a girl or a boy, they all scream like girls."
"Do you think it was only one or multiple children?" Derrek asked, he could see the pain behind the woman's eyes, she didn't want to think what could've happened out there. "I'm sorry to ask such specific questions, this could help a lot once I head over there." He added, Jocelyn nodded.
"No, I couldn't say if it was one or more, it happened with spaces in between. I only called after I was sure I was hearing it right." Derrek added to his notes: children 1-x.
"You're doing great. About the farm, do you know the owners well?"
"The McClayton's? Yes, I know them. They're always friendly in passing by. Even came to my husband's funeral. Friendly folks them." Derrek wrote down the name. He wanted to ask more about them, but she added: "They've been out of town since three days ago. They always take a break between harvests. I would've called them otherwise, shouldn't be anybody up there this time."
"The McClayton's, how many are they?"
"Four," Jocelyn said, her eyes looking up at the ceiling trying to remember. "You've got the parents, John and Cassidy, and their little ones were,…" She took a few seconds remembering the names. "Teagan and,… the girl, what was it again… My memory these days." She gave him a smile. "It'll come to me in a bit." Derrek noted them down, with a question mark remaining for the daughter.
"Did you see any cars heading up the road? It's really muddy so I don't think a normal car could have passed."
"No cars as far as I've seen. Through the day I sit over there," She pointed inside to a room at the left side of the house. "With the window to my side so I see all traffic down that road. Ain't no other way to reach it by car. Only fields and woods." Derrek cringed a bit at that. Guess I'll be going in on foot then. That's gonna be painful.
The woman saw his expression, she leaned a bit to the right to look past him at his car.
"Yes,-" Derrek began, "I'm not getting through with that one." Derrek looked past the woman, "Anyone else who could've seen or heard anything?"
"No, it's just me these days. My cat, Kinshasa, doesn't bother with anything else." Isn't that a land somewhere? Could have sworn— Derrek blinked away his thoughts.
"How far do you think it is down to the farm?"
"Not that long, but the mud's going to be a bitch. You could head a bit further down the road and pass through the woods, there's a small path to walk and you'll arrive at the back of the farm." Jocelyn looked beyond him again. "Gonna be dark out soon though."
"Don't worry about that." Derrek said, tapping with his hand on his flashlight. "I came prepared." The woman looked at the flashlight and back at him with doubt in her eyes. She looked at the car again.
"You don't have a second with you? The screaming has stopped, you could call in some help. In the meanwhile I could make you some hot cocoa?" She said, moving aside so he could enter. Damn, that hot cocoa does sound awesome. No no, you're on duty. No one else will be coming any way. It's just you.
"Thanks for your concern, but it'll be fine." He said, trying to man up when he heard another scream coming from far off. The woman's eyes grew wide and her hands went up to her mouth.
"There it is again, like I said, a child." And damn was she right. It sounded like a small girl shouting at the top of her longs, the scream went straight through him. Calm down, you're the police here. Ain't nobody else gonna come and solve this for you. I gotta make grandma proud, it'll be just another story for the collection.
"Thanks for the information, ma'am. I'll go check it out and be sure to let you know on the way back, maybe I'll even take you up on that cup of hot cocoa." He said with a smile he didn't feel. "Is it okay for you if I leave my car in front? I'll leave off my lights so they won't bother you." Jocelyn was looking at him with wide eyes, like he was making a joke.
"Yes,—you can leave it here." She said, looking for more words but Derrek tipped his police hat while giving her a nod and turned back toward his car.
Why did I have to laugh, everything was perfect at the pudding tree. Just an ordinary night cleaning up sugary goodness. But no, no, no. 'Answer the call'. Go alone to an isolated farm, screaming children included. And not even get hot cocoa.
Derrek got to his car and popped the trunk. Inside was his standard gear —Not police standard, but Derrek standard. He couldn't take everything with him, he'd be way too loaded then.
All right, Derrek, what do you need? I can't come back to my car in a rush so I'd better prepare for anything. He took out his hip pouch first and started attaching it to his left leg and belt, opposite his holster. Heavy duty boots are already on, better take my bulletproof vest as well… you never know. He took out the vest and pulled it over his head, attached it around his waist and put in some batteries in the front pocket. Batteries and my extra flashlight can't hurt either. Oh, and I don't want the scene of having no reception in the middle of nowhere. He grabbed the thicker satellite phone and put it down the hip pouch, making sure the front clip remained closed so it wouldn't start any hip calls. He took a look toward the fields ahead of him. The sun was already down, but it wasn't fully dark yet. However, it wouldn't take long now.
Fields have a lot of fences, better take my wire cutters as well. If I take these, screwdrivers can't miss either. He took out a big and small flat screwdriver and put them with the wire cutters, down his pouch. It was already getting filled up. Screams are normally caused by something, or someone… or someones. Better take some precautions there too. Wild animals are scary but wild people are worse. Would be a perfect scenario for a chainsaw man. A shiver ran over his shoulder and he released a strained laugh. Yeah sure, scare yourself up. Great going, Derrek. Possibly a living scarecrow as well? Pumpkin King? Meanwhile, he attached his holstered gun with rubber bullets to his belt as well. He moved his real gun a bit more to the back so he'd take his rubber gun first in reaction. This kind of weapon wasn't allowed, they could have a taser gun but those only had one real shot and no range at all. The rubber gun needed a pressure charge —he put one into the gun and added two to his vest pouches. It fired rubber bullets at a pretty far range, though not as accurate as a real gun. He loaded the gun with 10 bullets and added another 20 into his vest pouches. Hitting someone with these wouldn't knock them, but it hurt like hell.
He took his hand taser out of the trunk as well. Not allowed either but effective in close range. Damn, won't fit in my pouch. But the pepper will. He took out the pepper spray, which was allowed, and added it — with an extra charge— to his pouch. That'll be all I can fit I guess. The flares could always come in handy but they're a bit too bulky on my belt. He put his hand on the top of the trunk, gave its contents another quick glance and slammed it shut. He closed his car and put the keys deep down his left pants pocket, beneath his nose-rag. No one will put his hands on that.
Derrek looked at Jocelyn's house, she was still there in the door opening. Damn, even she's worried. Act though, Derrek. He put up his hand at her and started walking toward the road heading up to the farm.
This is going to be a long night.

The cop was at the start of the farm road, keeping to the side of the mud pools. Jocelyn was worried for the man.
"Hope he gets back in one piece." Jocelyn said to the wind. She turned back inside and closed the door behind her. She walked back to her television, sat down beside the window and pulled the curtain aside. She saw the cop walking toward the farmhouse. Had Derrek turned, he could have seen the lighted room with the curtain pulled aside and the old woman's face looking at him. On the first floor, he would also have seen another curtain pulled aside, hiding another set of eyes.
But he didn't look back.

Continue reading: 3 - Farm Road

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