Lurking outside the police station, Josh Austen, the Neighborhood News’ newest intern kept watch for Chief Grady. He figured that getting a jump on the hottest story in town might lead to a permanent job. Since the chief said he still needed to notify the families; Josh planned to follow him for the rest of the day and get his inside scoop. Twice he’d seen Grady peering though his office window, waiting for the reporters to disperse. Josh did his best to look inconspicuous and eventually Chief Grady exited the station.
As the chief pulled his vehicle out of the lot, Josh carefully tucked aside his newspaper and pulled on a pair of sunglasses before trailing Grady from a safe distance. Each turn presented a challenge and as they wove through the town, both drivers felt pangs of anxiety stabbing into their heart. When Josh’s cell phone rang, he nearly swerved off the road.
“Go for Josh,” he spoke into his Bluetooth while steering back to safety.
“Where are you?” His editor demanded. “You were due back here an hour ago.”
“I’m getting you the names of the first victims so that you’ll have it before anyone else, even those big time papers but, if you want, I’ll come straight to the office.”
“You really are a smug little twerp but if you get me those names before anyone else, and it is one hundred percent accurate then you’ll get a permanent position here.”
“Done!” Josh vowed then hung up.
Chief Grady turned left onto Oceanview Drive and pulled up in front of house number 419, the home of George and Elisabeth Crayburn. His heavy heart ached for them; learning that their only daughter was killed would be devastating. Still, the chief knocked on the door and accepted the invitation to go inside. Once Grady disappeared inside the home, Josh casually strolled down the street paying close attention to the name on the mailbox. Crayburn, his inner voice noted. At the end of the block he turned around, just a guy taking a stroll in the sunshine. As he drew closer to the Crayburn’s home, Grady was just exiting.
“Again, I’m so sorry for your loss. Erin was sweet girl. She’ll be missed.”
Josh’s ears perked up. Erin Crayburn, he thought, she’s victim number one. Resisting the urge to run, he walked slowly, casually, back to his car. Once inside, he dialed his editor and gave him the news.
“So far I’ve got Erin Crayburn,” he said confidently. “Uh huh, Chief Grady just walked out of the Crayburn’s house and I heard him say, ‘sorry for your loss’ and ‘Erin was a sweet girl’. So, yeah, I’m positive. Hey, he’s on the move. I’ll call you back with the second name as soon as I’ve got it.”
“It was most likely Adam Miller then,” the editor replied mournfully. “He and Erin have been together for ages. If the Chief heads straight to 156 Driftwood Lane and goes inside then Adam was victim number two. That’s where his parents live.”
Sure enough, Grady turned left on Bayside and took that all the way out to Driftwood Lane. When he reached house number 156 there was a woman sitting on the front porch, reading. The police chief hadn’t even stepped foot on her property and the old woman was already sobbing.
“Oh no, no, NO!” She cried before slumping back into her chair.
Josh had seen enough. He hightailed it back to the office, wiping an errant tear from his eyes as he sped across town. His new promotion was hard earned and had left him feeling empty instead of elated.