March 16, 2009
“Agent Reed, do you have a visual on the target?” The masculine voice said coming into my ear piece.
"Negative sir, will advise when I have a clear shot."
It was a hectic night at Santa Clara. My partner and I have been working on this case for two long months. It was finally getting to the point where we thought we’d hit a dead end. As luck would have it, we received a tip today and had enough probable cause to bring the subject in. However, it seemed like he had a different scheme in mind.
So I wouldn’t call it lucky anymore. When we came to make our big arrest, the subject went bonkers and pulled a gun on his children, holding them captive in their own home. After several hours of negotiating with the subject, he refused to listen to a word we had to say, so we were ordered to try another approach. The ‘last resort’ as we called it.
I could hear my phone buzzing constantly in my breast pocket of my vest, but there was no time to check the incoming call or even move from my spot. I had to keep my eyes trained on the target and wait for that split second he’ll drop his guard so I could take my shot, the one shot that would end this horrific event.
14 hours ago:
"Hailey, baby it’s time for breakfast!" I shouted up the stairs.
"Coming mom!" She yelled.
I smiled when I heard her little feet patter down the stairs as she made her way towards the table. “Morning baby, did you sleep well?” I asked as I placed her plate gently in front of her. She looked up at me and gave me the most breath taking smile that always made my heart stop.
"Mmmph." She said with her mouth full.
I giggled at her and took a seat down in front of her and started to eat. Breakfast was always Hailey's favorite meal of the day, the smell of freshly made pancakes, scrambled eggs and bacon always seemed to make her happy. So every morning, I would get up and make them for her.
Glancing at the clock on the wall, I noticed the babysitter was running late. Sighing, I got up from the kitchen table and made my way over the counter and placed my plate in the sink. Then there was a sudden knocking on the door. Sighing in relief, knowing the babysitter made it. I opened the door and let her in.
"You're late Sarah" I said in disappointment.
"Yeah sorry, traffic was crazy this morning, seemed like there was an accident on the interstate." She said.
Glancing at the clock once more, I decided I needed to get a move on or I would never hear the end of it from Miller. "Hailey, baby, don't forget I'm working late tonight okay. There’s left over’s in the fridge or money in the jar if you want to order out.”
Hailey nodded and I quickly gave her a kiss on the forehead and made my way to the door, but before exiting, I turned to Sarah. "I left all my work numbers on the fridge, if you need me give me a call okay, I'll make sure to answer." I said.
"I'm pretty sure we won't need to bother you while you’re at work. Don't worry, if we need anything we'll give you a holler.”
Biting my lip and sneaking one more glance at Hailey, I made my way out the door and off to work.
A small gasp escaped my lips as the subject came into view, pointing his gun at one of his children and started yelling. "Boss, I have a visual on the target, permission to fire?"
"10-4 take him out Reed."
Smirking, I readied my rifle and took my shot. He fell to the floor in a thump in a matter of seconds and Law Enforcement swooped inside the residence and started to release the hostages. I rubbed my eyes, feeling overwhelmed from the tense situation. I stood up and stretched my muscles from a long days work and made my way down the ladder onto solid ground.
"Nice shot as usual Reed. I knew this was the perfect job for you, well with your expertise in sniping and all." The boss said.
I smirked at his remark. "Thanks, but it took longer than usual though. How are the kids?”
"Shaken up, but they'll be fine. Good job on the case by the way.” He said, slapping me on the back. "Go home and get some rest, we'll see you back in a couple days."
“Boss, I still need to go back to office and finish filling out my report.” I said in disbelief.
"Don’t worry about it right now. Work on it when you come back from your days off.” He said. “You and Miller have been working on this case non-stop for a couple months. Take a break. Go home and get some sleep and spend some time with Hailey, okay. That’s an order.”
Pursing my lips, I turned around and waved him a farewell. "Alright, if you say so boss, call me if you need me."
"Say hello to Hailey for me!" He shouted
I pulled out my keys and pressed the clicker to my car opening the trunk. Smiling, I placed my beloved rifle back in its rightful home in the black case and shut the trunk door. When I got in the car I turned on the ignition and switched the heater on to warm me up from this cold and rainy night.
Exhausted, I leaned back in my seat and closed my eyes. Suddenly I remember I received several calls while I was on the roof. Reaching into my breast pocket, I pulled out my phone and noticed I had four missed calls and one voice mail. It was never like Hailey to call me this much while I was at work. It was usually the other way around. Worried, I called her back to see what was wrong, but received no answer.
My eyebrows knitted in confusion and I redialed her number, only to receive no answer once again. Why wasn't she answering the phone? Was she already in bed? Several questions raced through my mind, so I decided to check the voicemail. What was on that message was enough to change my life forever.
“You have one new message”
"Mommy, I'm scared! I don't know what to do, there's a man trying to knock down the door!" She cried.
There was a loud noise of wood splintering and then a loud thud as though a door was knocked down.
"Hailey run upstairs, now! Call 9-1-1, lock your door and don't come out till I tell you too." said Sarah in a panicked and urgent voice. “Please, please don’t do this!”
I jumped when I heard a gunshot go off on the other end and Hailey’s high pitched scream. I could also hear her panting as she ran up the stairs and slammed her door shut.
"Mommy! Mommy! He's coming! He's trying to break down the door!"
I could hear her crying hysterically on the other end. Tears were flowing down my cheeks, its felt as if all the air was sucked right out of me.
"Mommy, I'm scared" she wept.
I could hear Hailey screaming as the door broke down and a man laughing as he fired three gunshots.
“End of new message”
I dropped my phone and quickly opened the car door screaming for my boss, causing several heads to turn in my direction.
"Cassidy, what's wrong?" My boss asked running up to me.
"Hailey! We have to get to my house now! Someone broke in and I heard gunshots!" I cried hysterically.
The other agents didn't hesitate for a moment. They all got into their assigned units and made their way over to my house.
The drive from the other side of town usually took thirty minutes, twice that at rush hour. But my boss kept his foot jammed on the gas, blasting through stop signs and red lights, screaming around traffic. In the passenger seat I desperately dialed and redialed my daughter’s number, but every call went direct to voice mail.
The car screamed to the curb and my boss and I leapt out, tearing up the walkway to the front door. Once I was inside I saw Sarah face down in a pool of blood.
"Hailey!" I shouted
Sympathetic looks, that’s the first thing I noticed, I knew that look too well, the look when we had to tell a family member a loved one had passed away. I bolted up the stairs to her bedroom.
"Hailey" I shouted once again
When I finally made it to the top of the stairway, I was stopped by Agent Miller who just came from inside Hailey’s room.
“Cass, you don’t want to go in there.” He said with a sorrow filled voice.
There was that look again, I hated that look. “Move aside Miller, I need to see Hailey!” I shouted.
I shoved Miller aside and ran into her room. As soon as I stepped into the room I was hit with the scent of blood, all the air left my body and I went pale at the sight. Hailey, my baby girl, my angel, my life, was murdered. And I wasn't even here to protect her.
“Oh, please god no.” I cried as I kneeled down and picked up her lifeless body. “Baby, wake up. Don’t do this to me, don’t leave me!” I pleaded, as I sobbed into the crook of her neck, rocking her in my arms.
My angel was gone and she was never coming back. I sat there crying for hours while they blocked off the house and started their investigation. Agents, neighbors were trying to comfort me as best as they could, but all they would get in return was a glare that would make even the coldest of criminals shake in their boots.
Two weeks later they said they couldn’t find any leads on their murder. No fingerprints, not even a strand of DNA, not one damn thing. I lost count how many times I snapped at the chief for not trying hard enough. I begged for him to let me in on Hailey and Sarah’s case, but I was denied each time.
Months past, and nothing was done. It was a cold case. I had enough and couldn’t take it anymore. I did the only think I could think of, run.