She ran to the entrance of the mine. The kid’s footsteps could be heard disappearing down the tunnel. She shook her head.
Mines had darkness. She hated the dark.
Her brothers had loved to scare her by throwing her in the basement and making the oohing sounds of ghosts while she screamed how much she’d kill them when she got out.
She checked the bars on her cell phone. Nothing. Bernadette sighed, turned on her powerful police-issue flashlight and entered the mine. The entrance smelled of pungent decay, rotting timbers and wet rock. It assailed her senses. She’d chased a suspect down rat-infested alleys and experienced better odors.
It was the darkness. It chilled her, floating its cloak of fear with it. She shook her head, trying not to cloud her vision with fear.
How far could the kid have gone?
She called out, “This is Corporal Callahan. Come out here with your hands over your head, now.” Her voice echoed down the mine until it died somewhere far below.
A chill of cold air enveloped her. Where had it come from? Her feet moved forward. She was sure she hadn’t willed herself forward. Something drew her deeper into the mine. Every fiber of her body was screaming at her to turn back. Outside was safe, dry, and warm. Each step farther was dangerous, dark, and cold.
How far had she gone? The cold was getting worse. The mineshaft was going downward. The timbers closed in. The shaft narrowed. How much farther would she go before she’d turn around? There had to be a limit. If the boy didn’t want to be captured, if he wanted the mine to be his final resting place, why did she care?
Her movement forward told her she did care. She couldn’t leave the kid here. He needed to be captured and brought out for his own safety. She yelled down the mine again and listened.
She heard some rustling down below. Was it the kid? Was it an animal? She hated the last thought. The towns people said bears made their home in the mine, and wolves too.
“Damn it, Bernadette, pull yourself together. If it’s a bear, he’s as scared as you are,” she said. Raising her flashlight higher, she stepped forward.
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