This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental
- Dear Ellie - Part 28
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
From Part 28
Before continuing with this installment, I'd like to say a big thank you to all of you who have so faithfully followed along. At this point, I'm going to skip ahead a few chapters and begin to bring the online story to a close. Hopefully, there will be continuity and you'll still be able to follow. Shall we continue?
We last left Stella at Cal's lab as he was testing a piece of evidence for DNA and other clues.
Stella was anxious to hear the results. "Okay, so what do ya got, Cal?"
"First of all, Larson's gone for the day. I was supposed to tell him first. So you don't know anything about this, right?"
"Okay, so it goes like this. Fingerprints - I lifted two sets. One from Scott Branson. One from Larson. Larson's was the freshest. After all, he touched it last. Of course, Branson gave it to you, so it's logical his prints would show, too. We know at least two who touched the note, but it doesn't prove anything.
"Handwriting analysis - matches the other two samples. That would be Larson and Alexander.
"DNA - you're going to love this, Stel. All the DNA I could get came from a dog. There was dried saliva all over the paper."
Stella laughed and then took time to think. "Okay, Give Larson the results jus' as you gave 'em to me, but don't tell him about Scott's fingerprints. I know they can be 'splained away, but he's out to hang Scott. This much I know. Scott is innocent. My gut tells me. Good work, Cal. And thanks."
December 12th found Scott spending extra time at the gym, or at least, that’s what Ellie thought. Stella couldn’t be reached, and Scott couldn’t resist the temptation to visit the Brownsville Nursing Home. After all, someone had to check it out. Deals were to be made.
No, there was nothing set in stone. Scott was just taking a chance on finding some action at the old, abandoned building. It might be a wasted night. Then again, maybe he could reel in some strong evidence for the case. He justified his actions by telling himself Stella was out of town. Someone had to stand guard. The Brownsville police? "Why bother them?" was Scott's thinking. He'd handle it himself.
Arriving at the nursing home about midnight, He watched from an apartment building entrance across the street. It wasn't long until he saw the familiar second story light flash on. He waited but a moment before he made his move.
Finding the old, rusted door partially opened made for an easy entry into the empty building. Not wanting to be known, he quietly tip-toed to the stairs. Even if the elevator worked, its loud creaking would certainly alert somebody of his presence.
He brushed a cobweb from his face as he began his ascent to the second floor. Without extra caution, the steps would be as loud as the elevator. Either way, if he was found out, he knew it would no doubt cost him more jail time.
Scenarios of what might take place were constantly playing in Scott's head. What would he say if he came face to face with Larson? Or maybe David Martin? As he stood in the second-floor hall, the hairs on the back of his neck told him he was standing in forbidden territory. This was a do or die moment, and frankly, Scott knew it might mean death.
Trying to be as quiet as possible, Scott continued softly down the hall.Turning left, he remained quiet as he continued. In the distance, he could hear voices coming from room 235. How many, he couldn't tell. Behind him, he could hear footsteps. It didn't take more than a second for him to peel off into a room on his left until the footsteps passed by. Scott tried to get an ID on the man, but he didn't recognize him. He would have liked to have gotten a better look at him in the light. Maybe that would have made a difference.
What he did notice was that the man was carrying a young female child. She appeared to be asleep, but Scott knew she was no doubt drugged to keep her compliant. He edged closer to the room and took up temporary residence in the room across the hall. Scott felt safe in the blackened room. He couldn't see into room 235, but he could see the door clearly. Hopefully, he might see a familiar face as the meeting was dismissed. He could hear what was being said rather clearly. Although the voices sounded somewhat familiar, Scott couldn't place them. He listened.
"This is what you ordered - a caucasian female, six to ten years old. She's right in the middle at eight. We agreed to a selling price of $27,500 payable by cashier's check upon delivery. Do you have the money?"
"Yes, it's right here."
"Wonderful! Now, take her and get out of here."
Scott watched as a man and a woman exited the room with their new purchase, Waiting as the couple turned the corner at the end of the hall, Scott jumped from his hiding place and followed them but yet kept his distance. Once outside, Scott began to tail them through the streets of Brownsville. He followed them up to West Middlefield Road until at last, they came to a house. Scott pulled over about a block and a half away and began to run. He watched as the couple took the still-sleeping child into the house.
This had to be Scott's lucky day - or maybe more like it, God was using him to save the child. He immediately called the Brownsville police and made an anonymous report. He watched from the Range Rover to see what would happen next. It wasn't long until two police cars, each with two cops, whizzed past him and pulled directly in front of the house. Two men took the front door while the other two covered the back. Within minutes, the arrest was made, and the little girl was rescued.
Scott felt a sense of pride mixed with relief. If he couldn't save Carrie, at least he was able to save this one from further harm. Still running high on adrenalin, he headed for home. Then it hit him. What was he going to tell Ellie? He knew she wouldn't be pleased even if another child was saved. It was time to face the music.
"Scott, where have you been? It's 2:00 in the morning. Don't tell me you were at the gym all night. I already called there. Let me guess. You were at Brownsville."
"Yes, but Babe, they made an arrest. Maybe this will lead us to Carrie." He continued to fill in the details, and Ellie softened a little. Trying not to show it, she was filled with pride and relief as well. They waited through the rest of the night for the early morning news. They turned on the TV just in time.
"All is well that ends well," the reporter announced. "A child abduction ended with the return of an eight-year-old girl to her parents just a short time ago. The child apparently was abducted from her school bus stop earlier in the day. The police were tipped off by an anonymous caller. If you, the caller, are listening, please contact the Brownsville police. Your knowledge is needed to help solve other child abductions here in western Pennsylvania. Now, to hear from the parents - John and Hannah Harrison."
Ellie's jaw dropped. Hannah was the mother she spoke to on the phone about her missing child. This was the second Harrison child to be abducted. The first was still missing. Ellie was quick to give her a call of both condolence and congratulations.
And the question in Scott's mind still remained. Should he contact the Brownsville police or remain anonymous?
After talking it over, Ellie and Scott decided to call the Brownsville police. Scott dialed the number. The officer answered and Scott continued the conversation.
"I have some information on last night's abduction and rescue of the Harrison girl. I'm requesting that this information is only used by the Brownsville police and the call remains anonymous."
"Okay, sir. You have my attention."
Frustration could be heard in Scott's voice. "I have your attention. Do I have your promise?"
No new information was given. The couple told the same story, and when pressed further, they refused to talk. No names were mentioned. No contacts given. Scott couldn't believe it.
"What's going on. Officer?" These people have a stolen child in their possession and you let them go! Bribes? Brides, Officer? Is that what this is all about?"
"Sir, I'm not in a position to discuss the details at this time. All I can say is that the couple went to pick up the child for her mother, and the story checks out."
"How can the story check out? You returned the child to the Harrison's. Hannah Harrison. She's the mother of the child."
"Sir, I'm sorry. I can't give . . ."
Scott disconnected the call by smashing the phone against the closest wall.
"They let them go, Babe. They let them go. I can't believe it! These people buy a child for $27.500 and they let them go." We had them. We nailed the culprits, and they let them go. When will Stella be back?"
Ellie could feel Scott's emotional struggle. "She'll be back Monday morning."
"And in the meantime?"
"In the meantime, we'll wait for Stella to return. Remember, we'll let the police handle it."
"We let the police handle it, the Brownsville police, and look where that's got us."
"Slow down. Think this through. The couple was returning the child to the supposed mother, Hannah Harrison. Hannah gave them the money to buy the child for her. Her child is still missing."
"Babe, what are you saying?"
"Think about it. A child was stolen. Hannah hired an unknowing couple to pick up the child to be delivered to her. The cops think she's the mother. She's the one who actually bought the child. The child was brought to her, but the child is still missing from her natural parents. The case hasn't been solved at all."
"Don't you think you're stretching it just a bit? We can't prove any of this. It really doesn't make sense."
"It makes sense if your child was stolen and you think a replacement child will fix the problem. If she's desperate enough, she may just try to pull it off."
Scott added his own thoughts. "What if Hannah bought the child, but the child was really hers. She bought back her own child who went missing months before. Babe, if that's the case, maybe we can buy back Carrie."
"I'm on it."
The night was cold and windy. Scott pulled his coat closer and buried his face in the high collar. After a night at the gym, the raw, winter air pulled Scott's muscles tighter. He hurried to the parking garage. He could hardly wait for the warmth of the Range Rover. The wind was picking up considerably by the time he reached the second deck of the garage. Finally, he was nestled inside the vehicle.
That's when he felt the cold barrel of a gun placed against the base of his skull. Somehow, he was able to remain calm as he uttered a silent prayer for protection.
"Do exactly as I say, Branson, and you won't get hurt." A voice lied. "Rule number one - don't turn around. Rule number two - don't say a word. Just drive where I tell you and just do what I say."
- Dear Ellie - Part 30
Scott Branson is on a path to self-destruction, and Ellie will pay the price
© 2017 William Kovacic