‘All I want is for you to do your job, Sheriff! I yelled in exasperation, seeing red everytime he addressed her as a criminal that didn’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. ‘Hunter, no one forced their entry in your home, there’s no signs of a struggle. There’s little I can do, since all you’ve got is a note she left…’ which I squeezed tightly in a fist in an attempt to find some solace in a time where I felt like someone had pierced through my heart with a spear. ‘Are you saying she just left? Why would she leave a note about finding her if she didn’t want to actually be found?’ I argued since his theory didn’t make any sense but nor did mine at this point. Why hadn’t she fought? Why hadn’t she tried to defend herself? She’d even taken the time to lock the dogs out as if she knew she was going to be taken and somehow managed to leave me a note asking me to find her. ‘I’m saying her disappearance is too clean to be an abduction, but the FBI are on their way to investigate things further since she’s a wanted criminal after all.’ I eyed him angrily at the sound of those last words and wanted to actually punch him the minute he suggested I pretend I didn’t know anything about James’ murder because, ‘We wouldn’t want you to be accused of harbouring a criminal’.
‘She didn’t kill him, John. I know she didn’t.’ I insisted, hoping he would see what I saw when I looked at the situation. She’d been scared for her life since I’d met her, not because the police would find her but because those people would. She couldn’t sleep at night from the horror of seeing James being dragged out of that lake and she had nightmares every time she went to sleep, taunted by her own potential death. ‘How do you know, Hunter?’ He asked and I gave him the lamest answer I could, one that I would kick my clients’ asses for giving me, ‘I just do. I just know she didn’t do it.’
He looked at me intently and nodded, reading between the lines, ‘You have feelings for this woman.’ he acknowledged not even questioning me about it. ‘Is that a problem?’ I enquired, grinding my teeth in annoyance ‘Does that change that she was kidnapped?’ I insisted, feeling myself getting worked up again because it seemed he kept focusing on the wrong things instead of trying to find her. ‘It’s clouding your judgement. You are not looking at all the evidence against her. How many clients have come to you in tears saying I didn’t do it, and how many did you actually believe?’. He made a good point. Many had tried to lie to me even when I was their council, resorting to so many methods of convincing me that their only achievement was convincing themselves that they hadn’t done what they were being accused of doing. Evidence didn’t lie but evidence could also be fabricated by people who were powerful enough. ‘My gut is telling me she didn’t do it and I trust it. These people have her and I can’t do a damn thing to help her. They’re going to kill her, John! and you’re letting it happen.’
‘Hunter, we’ve known each other since we were kids-…’ he began trying to soften the situation but I wasn’t in the mood to reminisce childhood memories, ‘and have I ever been wrong? Have you ever known my gut to be wrong?’ knowing very well that the answer was ‘no’ since that was one of the attributes that made me become a lawyer in the first place. ‘I might’ve stopped being a lawyer but my sixth sense still works just fine.’
‘Then how can your gut explain this whole situation?’ he asked, eyeing me like a psychiatrist would a disturbed person, with empathy but also concern that I was losing sight of things. ‘I can’t. At least not yet. I need you to trust me and help me find her. I need to find her.’ because if I didn’t and she died, I would never forgive myself. Seeing the desperation in my eyes he nodded and accepted to help me make sense of some things before the FBI got here and took away all of our evidence. I walked him through every moment I thought to be relevant since I’d met Mia, all the research she and I had done together and everything I’d found on my own. I told him about our morning which had been just like any other since she’d moved in with me, her preparing breakfast, the dogs playing around in the garden and me having a feeling I should stay at home with her to spend more time together. As I told him about our morning, I noticed my voice starting to crack -something John wasn’t used to seeing since I’d never cried in front of him. He put his hand on the back of my head to comfort me and I managed to utter, ‘She wouldn’t leave without Loki. She wouldn’t lock both of them outside unless she thought she was protecting them…’. He agreed and said ‘Then maybe the person that took her tricked her into getting into the house and by the time she figured out who they were she only had time for the note and getting the dogs out.’ she’d probably known it was too late and she couldn’t run anywhere else, so she accepted her fate and went willingly.
‘I should’ve been there, damn it!’ I scolded myself, ‘I could’ve protected her!’ I continued, but John immediately shut me down ‘And they would have killed you in front of her, Hunter! It’s clear that they want her alive and you would’ve been just an obstacle in all this. You should be glad you weren’t there because at least now you can help in finding her.’.Perplexed, I looked at him hopeful, unable to speak anymore without feeling like I’ll burst into tears. He looked at me with a seriousness he rarely allowed himself to show and finally said, ‘We will find her, Hunter. I promise.’
Dead or alive?
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