#52weeks52stories: Week 19
Word prompt: task
Word Count: 876 (Reading time: 1 min, 55 sec.)
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Apprehension hung in the air as Sally Bennett and her children huddled into the small conference room.
Joanie and Carolyn sat side-by-side at the end, clutching hands and watching their mother.
Det. Marks took a seat at the other end of the table.
Darrin stood behind his mother’s chair, curious why the large uniformed officer was standing so close to her.
“Detective, please, what is all this about? Why did you insist I return to the hospital?” Sally’s voice was hoarse from exhaustion and stress.
“Mrs. Bennett, Dr. Lacey updated his report to rename the man we first believed to be your husband John Doe 417.”
Sally held his gaze. “No, it’s not Frankie.”
“Your husband was adopted as an infant, correct?”
“And he had no information about his birth mother? Never went looking for her? Anyone ever come looking for him?”
“All he knew was she was an unwed teen, and he was adopted by an older couple from Maine.” She glanced back at her son then addressed the detective again. “But I remember Darrin telling me no record was found of Frankie’s adoption. How is that possible?”
Gavin stared at his clasped hands, choosing his words carefully.
“Ma’am, I wish I had answers for you, But I promise you, we’re exploring every possibility.”
“What does that mean… exploring every possibility, and why did you demand my mom come here.” Darrin stood behind Sally, his hands clenched in anger.
“Mr. Bennett, we-”
“Enough!” He motioned toward his sisters. “Their nerves are frayed, and hearts broken.” Darrin rested his hand on Sally’s shoulder. “Whether or not you find my dad; whether you find the answers to this case… I have to protect my mother and sisters. If you know something we don’t, tell us. Otherwise, I need to get my family as far from here as possible, so they can rest their bodies… and their minds.”
Gavin Marks saw the fear, anger, and defeat in the faces of Sally and her children.
Swallowing his pride and the rest of his questions, the detective stood and walked toward the door.
Though his face was devoid of expression, he narrowed his eyes at Brian Holland as he passed and knew the uniformed officer understood.
Marks paused at the door and turned to Sally.
“Mrs. Bennett, please come with me… your children too.”
Sally and her daughters left their seats, following the detective without question, but Darrin hesitated.
She paused in the doorway, half-turning to her son.
“What else can we do, Darrin? We need answers.” She left the room with Officer Holland close behind.
Marks stood at a large gray door just down the hall. As the small group caught up to him, he peered through the window and waved his hand. A door release buzzed, and the detective pulled the door open just in time for Carolyn and Joanie to walk through. A glance over her shoulder brought Sally relief when she saw her son was the last person through the door.
A lone nurse sat at the large nurse’s station. She exchanged looks with Det. Marks and placed her hand on a file next to her.
He knew the task was done and motioned for the family follow him again.
Just past the nurse’s station, three men were standing in the hall. Marks stopped when he reached them and turned to Sally.
“Mrs. Bennett, this is detectives Ganson and Hill from Baxter, and this is Dr. Stanley.”
The men all murmured greetings.
Marks nodded for Ganson to continue.
“Ma’am, we answered a call earlier this evening after a lady found her neighbor dead in his apartment.”
Sally gasped, clutching her chest.
Ganson held up his hand. “I apologize for saying it that way but let me finish. The man wasn’t dead but critically wounded. Paramedics got him stabilized enough for transport and due to an emergency at the closest hospital, we ended up here.”
“Detective, what does this have to do with our family?” Carolyn was now showing the same anger as her brother.
“The neighbor and the landlord identified the man as Gary Sievers. Is that name familiar to you?”
Sally glanced at each of her children as they shook their heads, weary and confused. “No, it isn’t, detective. So, what does he have to do with all this?”
Ganson looked to Hill, who spoke up.
“Mrs. Bennett, after the doctors worked on the victim, I went through his clothes looking for a cell phone… business card… anything that could lead us to family or friends. I found a wallet and the driver’s license identified the man as Franklin Bennett.”
His sisters emitted twin screams and Darrin moved to their sides, holding on to them both.
Sally grabbed the detective’s arm. “Where is he? Where is my husband?”
She cut Gavin Marks off with a glare.
“I want to see him now! You should have told me he was here the second I walked in. Where is he? Tell me now or I’ll check every room on this floor!”
Dr. Stanley stepped in her path.
“Ma’am, you don’t know everything yet.”
“I know he’s alive!”
“Yes… he has a pulse and a heartbeat, but it may not be enough to save him.”
©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved