Autumn fell into a deep depression when Maylee went missing, obsessed with the case.  The only time she would leave the house was to go to the police station. Her life’s purpose became nothing more than to pester Detective Chance, or just Chance as everyone called him.  His full name and title was III Detective Chance Rupert Lizhalia. Clearly, the comfort of being referred to so casually by his first name, was developed very early on in his career. The details and progress of Maylee’s case was poked at and prodded by Autumn daily. It was a repetitive process until about five months after Maylee was gone.  At this point, Chance put Maylee’s folder on an over-stuffed shelf to collect dust.

“We have done everything we can.” He told Autumn on that bizarrely hot fall afternoon as he slowly wiped the sweat from his full, perfectly squared hairline.

“So you’re going to throw her away?  Just like that, you’re done?” Autumn demanded, tears welling.

“Every police station in the country has her picture.” Chance reminded. “If anyone finds her or comes across anything that we can link to, then I assure you Autumn, you’ll be the first to know.”

The short conversation had rendered Autumn mute. She stood frozen in shock as he told her to move on with her life. Chance apologized for the loss in such a way that it was clear — Maylee would never be found. Then he brushed past her in the hallway of an over-lit police station, and went about his day as if nothing had changed.

Autumn recalled it now as she ran, remembering the cold emptiness in Chance’s expression. The excruciating heat of that day hadn’t even touched the icy daggers he sent jabbing into her chest. He wore a dark gray suit, complimenting his tan, and an orange tie.

There was no denying it,  Chance was a very attractive man for his age. The stress of the job was surly the culprit of an unmistakable cluster of wrinkles in the corners of his eyes, although they only added to his enticing facade. Chance was the kind of man who you could take one look at and just know, without a doubt, that he could defend himself. His build was strong enough to be noticed, with broad shoulders and a flat stomach, but his eyes were key.  They were sharp, light gray in color, and deeply piercing – like an eagle, ready to swoop.

The afternoon Maylee’s case was practically declared unsolvable and doomed for a cold shelf life, all hope drained from Autumn. Her car was left in the parking lot, and slow dragging feet carried her home, she moved in a blurry haze. Amidst the draining three mile walk to her front porch, the heat transformed into gloom, and before Autumn knew it she was engulfed in rain. The weather as unforgettably odd.

The door swung open, and she collapsed onto the floor unable to take in air.  Anxiety was surging through her body in waves, and salty tears streamed down her face.  After God only knows how long she lay paralyzed on the floor, she got up and ran out the door.  Pushing herself through the stinging over-sized drops of rain, she rounded a corner and made her way to the beach. Giant deadly ocean swells had never looked so inviting, but she refused stop, continuing to run faster.  Step after painful step in the sand she pushed forward.

Oxygen finally quit pulling to her lungs, and her legs gave out. Several times Autumn collapsed to her knees and stared into the water while she wheezed and struggled for breath. Each time the crunch of wet sand sounded beneath her fallen body, she would pick herself back up and continue to run.  By the time she returned home, blackness had consumed the sky, there were no stars to be seen. Autumn was completely surrounded by darkness, a perfect match to the way she felt inside.

Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee?  It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be.  Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do what ever it takes.  Stay tuned!

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