Chad by Kayla Kelly

 

Prologue: Chad

I didn’t think it would be possible—my buddy, Rob, on the cusp of asking the woman of his dreams to marry him. We have grown up together, we got into Police Academy together and we have served together for close to six years. I know this guy. Rob has never been the type to settle down and get married, but here he is now, more happy than he has ever been before.

The book reading and signing event has gone off like a breeze. This is going to bring a lot of attention to our town, tourists are going to flock to Springs County and boost our economy.

All of this has been possible because of Daisy’s vision and Rob’s support. I thought this stuff was for movies. I didn’t think it could happen in real life. I don’t predict it happening in my life, anyway.

We are in the after-party of the event, but I’m on duty. I’m standing outside the doors of the bookstore looking in, keeping an eye on things.

The place is buzzing with people. There are drinks and snacks in people’s hands. Photographs are being taken, reporters are interviewing the ‘locals’. There’s a giddy smile on everyone’s faces.

I’m not expecting anything to go wrong and I’m starting to relax until my receiver buzzes. I respond to it immediately, expecting nothing but a false alarm.

I’m wrong because the voice I hear over the radio tells me that someone has reported an illegal break-in and possible vandalism in Sylvan Park.

I’m surprised to hear it. On a night like this? When the whole town is celebrating?

I rush to my car and get in, confirming over the radio that I’m responding to the call.

“Teenagers?” I ask the operator, hoping it’s going to be just a quick job. Maybe I’ll have to call their parents at most.

“Apparently not,” the woman says. “You better get your partner. The civilian on the phone said they looked dangerous and could be armed.”

I press down hard on the accelerator. I thank her and end the call.

Why would armed criminals enter Sylvan Park at this time of night, just to vandalize? It doesn’t make sense. While I’m driving, the realization dawns on me. I’d forgotten about the marble sculpture of the love birds in the middle of the park.

It’s something our town holds dear, but it has been valued at several hundred-thousand dollars. It is possible that some art-thieves have caught wind of it and hatched a plan to rob it. If they’re armed, this could be more problematic than I thought.

Maybe the operator was right. Maybe I should have buzzed my partner for back-up.

As I pull up to the park I hear gunshots being fired. A girl shrieks loudly.