Chapter 4: Sneaking Around

“This isn’t going to work… I’m telling you.” Richard commented as he watched Leo begin to walk to the front door of the Sheffield Police Department, the SPD. “What? We aren’t going to be breaking into the place. At least not yet. We ask them if they will show us the file and if they do, we snap a photo of it and we can head to the library and copy the document and print it out.” Leo answered nonchalantly, stopping at the front door.

Leo leaned against the brick wall next to the door, looking to his friends if they had a better idea and crossing his arms in front of his chest. He had raised his eyebrow and waited for a response.

“And what will we do if that plan doesn’t work? It’s not like they’ll show us the file willingly. Sure they might talk to us about the case and if they found anything, if they tell us anything at all.” Rachel pointed out, her arm going out to point to the front door to the police station.

Richard snapped. “That’s it! If they do talk to us, one of us can say we need to go to the bathroom and look for the file. The other two will keep the officer or detective that talks to us distracted while the other one makes a copy of the file. We take the copy and leave the real one there like nothing happened.”

“Sounds like a good enough plan to me.” Leo said, gesturing off to the door with a nod of his head. “Let’s go and do it. I’ll do the snooping and you guys distract him.” He placed his hand on the door handle, turning it to open it up and walking through with Richard and Rachel following behind.

The police station seemed very desolate and barren at this hour. There weren’t many police officers or detectives working at this time early in the morning. Just a few on the early morning shift before everyone else had shown up. The receptionist desk had a single police officer working at it, one who seemed absolutely bored out of their mind.

The interior decor of the sitting/waiting room was very minimalist with just a set of oak benches alongside the outer walls by the windows leading outside and the receptionist desk that had a pane between the officer and the rest of the room.

The trio made their way to the desk and Richard was the one who had approached the desk in front of Leo and Rachel. “Hello Officer…” His eyes trailed off to the name tag ironed onto the uniform. “…Halloway. I know this may sound like an odd request. But we’d…we…we were childhood friends with Thomas Wilker and we wanted to know if we could talk to the detective who was on the case. To help us get some kind of closure.” He explained, bringing his hands together.

The female officer looked up and down at the trio, deciding and debating whether or not they were lying. They didn’t seem to have any signs of lying; eyes darting, trying to stand still, and a few other small signs with their body language. After a few moments, she determined that the trio were telling the truth. The officer had nodded her head slowly, picking up the landline desk phone to the left. “Let me see if Detective Marshal is in right now and if he is, you three can talk to him.”

“Great! Thank you so much Officer Halloway! We really appreciate it!” Rachel thanked, her tone genuine and warm.

This was really saving their butts if the Detective was in and they’d be able to talk to him, their half-baked plan was something to pursue in the end. Otherwise, they would have to take a different plan of action and that one could end having them arrested. Granted, this plan didn’t guarantee that they would be arrested.

The tension had built up a little as they had waited for the officer to confirm if Detective Marshal was in the building and able to speak with them. It was hard to keep their composure in front of the officer because they were all taught at a young age to respect and not lie to the authorities.

Click. The phone had been set down back on the cradle and Officer Halloway looked at Rachel, Leo, and Richard. A smile had come to her lips. “Looks like Detective Marshal is in. His desk is just passed that door,” She pointed to the door that had led into all of the desks and offices for the detectives and other officers. “His desk will be the third one on the right and you’ll see his name on his desk plaque.”

Richard, Leo, and Rachel had all thanked her and followed her directions over to the detective’s desk.

The man sitting at the oak desk seemed like a regular guy. There was almost a parental figure like look to him with the dark hair with streaks of gray running through it. He had an average build and a small bit of a stomach on him. He wore his glasses down by the end of his nose while he went over some documents in his hands.

Leo had taken the lead in approaching the detective with Rachel behind him and Richard last.

As much as Rachel appreciated the plan that they had in mind to get the file…something about it had felt weird to her. The detective seemed so approachable and friendly going by what he had been wearing with a plain white button-up dress shirt and a pair of dark slacks. Maybe they would be able to get the file if they asked nicely and explained the situation that they had been put into by the Sheffield Snakes? That their best friend had been kidnapped and the ransom was the Thomas Wilker file to get her back. That they had a few days to get it to the small town gang before they may kill Lynn.

As they had stopped at the desk, Richard had noticed that there were two photos framed on his desk. The one closest to them had a little girl standing between her parents and the backdrop had been a large tree in the park just a couple blocks from the elementary school. The father looked like a younger version of Detective Marshal.

The other photo had been of a little boy, Thomas Wilker, standing next to the little girl in the family photo. The boy and girl had been standing in front of the small self push carousel that was in the jungle gym part of the park in the family photo.

Detective Marshal glanced up from his paperwork and saw the three. A small smile had come to his lips. “You must be the three that wanted to see me about the case I’ve been working on despite the Commissioner wanted to call it a cold case. The Thomas Wilker Missing Persons’ case.” He stated, taking off his glasses and setting them down on top of the file.

Rachel stepped forward and clasped her hands together politely in front of herself. “Yes, we are. My name is Rachel Riken. My two friends are Leo Hart and Richard Maynard. We were friends with Thomas when we were kids before he had disappeared. We meaning us three and our good friend Lynn Carmichael who has been…ki-“

“Kind enough to be so worried about him that she decided to go looking for him after she was done with work.” Richard intercepted as he had stepped next to Rachel, giving her a quick glance that told her to stop in her stance and let him take the lead.

Rachel nudged him in the side, glaring daggers at him. She knew that there wasn’t a single reason why they should be lying to the detective about why they were there. The police wanted to take down the Sheffield Snakes as much as everyone else who had been tormented by them. Going by the picture that Detective Marshal had on his desk, he cared about the case and he’d care about a girl’s safety if it depended on getting that file.

But…it was dangerous as well. Since he did have a picture of Thomas on his desk. It meant that he would not like if that file went missing if he was so passionate about that case. If they couldn’t get the case, they couldn’t save their friend and the Sheffield Snakes might kill her.

Richard knew that dangerous fact of the detective being protective over that file and that if they would be discovered stealing a file from the police…they’d most likely be charged with someone and sent to jail. He knew how to play his cards and that his plan would have to work and they’d explain later why they had to do what they did, hoping that the police wouldn’t be pressing charges.

Leo felt something bubbling inside of him, that same passionate rage he had earlier when he had picked a fight with Richard back in Sheffield Read and Watch. He took a deep breath to calm himself and he spoke up to the detective. “Listen, detective. I…We…want to get closure on what happened to our friend is all…and we want to know as much as you guys know about what happened to Thomas. If I can speak for all of us…I’d apologize for not keeping in contact with him…when we were all growing up and deciding what we wanted to do with our lives…he just…fell through the cracks.” He explained while he had taken a seat in one of the empty seats of the adjacent desks. His hands clasped together tightly and his fingers digging into the back of his hand.

Rachel leaned against the desk that Leo sat at and she had placed her hand gently on top of Leo’s hands, clenching his hand lightly. She had a soft look on her face, she knew what he had been going through. He was the one that was the closest to Thomas than any of them were and with everything that had gone on in their childhood, a lot had slipped through the cracks… She was the closest girl-friend that Lynn had and she understood the protective nature of Leo and his lion-like nature. No pun intended.

Detective Marshal looked over the trio as they had explained why they had been there and why they wanted to know about the Thomas Wilker case. They all seemed very genuine and it wasn’t like he couldn’t withhold information from friends or family of Thomas. There were details that he couldn’t give to them, sure. But he could at least tell him what he knew. What he had gathered once the case had been classified as a cold case.

He took a deep breath and a short deep chuckle had rumbled in his throat. “Alright. I get it. You three were friends with Thomas…along with this Lynn girl. You want to know what happened to him. I can’t tell you everything that we’ve found, but I can tell you enough to get some closure.” He empathized, crossing his arms in front of his chest and turning fully to the trio.

He went on to explain all that he knew and what he could let them know. As Thomas had gotten older and he had split from the group of four, he had gotten into some pretty racy stuff. He had gotten into dealing small amounts of Raz, a drug developed and sold in the underbelly of the small town, before upping his shipments and travelling to other towns in the area.

Raz went by a different name on the streets, Daydream. The reason for this was from the hallucinogenic and lethargic properties in the drug. It gave a familiar nostalgic feeling like one was being lifted from the world into a perfect dream.

Thomas had been known to run away, but he always came back. He always came back to Sheffield. But this time, he didn’t. The best that they could come up with was that he had gotten in with the wrong crowd in a small town, but they had no evidence of foul play. The Sheffield Police force had called around all of the small towns to see if they had found any trace of Thomas Wilker in their town. But to no avail. He wasn’t left beaten and left for dead in a ditch in any nearby towns. No one recognized pictures of him as the officers had scouted and scrounged through the town to see if there was a trace of him. The truth was that they hadn’t found anything and they gave up.

“Wow…” Richard exhaled. He was shocked. He never thought that after Thomas had disassociated with them that he would get into drug dealing. Of course there had to be a reason behind it…right? Thomas could have taken the drug and been dealing it too as a way to escape from the small town. He ran his fingers through his blond hair and leaned forward against the detective’s desk, holding himself up by the palms of his hands.

As much as they were planning on putting on a show to get to the file, the plan had fallen flat on its face the moment they found out about what had really happened to Thomas. Or what the police had gathered from his record and the evidence they had collected in the initial investigation. They regretted that they hadn’t seen what was going on with him…that they didn’t try to stop it.

Leo and Rachel had comforted one another with a glance and a quick hug. Rachel had found her cheeks slightly wet from the couple of stray tears that rolled down. She dabbed her eyes with the sleeve of her cardigan and she stood up. “Excuse me Detective Marshal. But I should probably go fix my makeup. Where are the bathrooms?”

Detective Marshal had pointed towards the direction where they had entered in. “Head back where you came in and before you get to the door, head left. At the end of the hall is the bathroom.”

“Thank you Detective Marshal. I’ll be back soon.” She said with a half-smile, bowing her head a little before she followed the directions towards the bathrooms…But she had taken a small detour and slipped into the file closet before the bathrooms at the end of the hall. The door had been left unlocked by the previous person who had been in there last, thankfully for Rachel. She wiped off her tears with her sleeve and glanced down at it as she turned on the light. “Thank you non-smudge makeup for not ruining my clothes.” She commented to herself with a smile. Now it was time for business and major sleek sneaking skills.

The file closet was filled to the brim with file cabinets and those cabinets being stuffed with files from all the cases that the Sheffield Police had worked on. She figured that the file on Detective Marshall’s desk wasn’t the real McCoy. That it was a duplicate of the real file that had been originally made. She glossed over the labels on each cabinet.

Kidnapping. Burglary. Larceny. Embezzlement. Homicide. Suicide. ETC.

She kept looking through the many crimes divided into their categories. Until she finally found it.

Missing Persons.

“There we go.” Rachel whispered to herself. She tried opening up the cabinet only to be stopped by it being locked. She reached into her hair and picked out a bobby pin. Some of her blonde hair falling from her ear. She tucked the fallen strand behind her ear and stuck the bobby pin in the keyhole. Never leave home without your accessories. That was a common of hers and it helped her in this situation.

She wiggled the bobby pin in the lock until she had felt all of the pins move upwards, making the lock let go of its grip on the cabinet. She opened up the cabinet slowly and shuffled through the files until she had reached the W’s, where Thomas’ file was. She slipped the file out of its spot and opened it up, glancing at the contents. An idea had popped into her head as she closed the file in her hands and looked around for a way to cover up her tracks. She walked over to a cabinet that had the label of Office Supplies on it and she opened up the drawer with ease. She took the plain paper and replaced the contents of the file with the blank paper. She folded up the Thomas Wilker papers and placed them in her back pocket before returning the case file to the proper place. The police would be none the wiser, especially with the case being declared as a cold case. No one would touch it and Detective Marshal had a copy of the files. Everything was sneaky clean.

She made her way back to the exit and opened up the door just enough to see if anyone was coming. When the coast was clear, she had snuck off into the bathroom to fix up her look like she said that she would.

It wasn’t long after Rachel had finished touching up a few things, that she had returned to her friends and Detective Marshal. She had walked up behind Richard and placed her hand gently on his back. “I’m sorry about leaving like that. You know how we girls are, having to fix up our makeup after it being ruined because of tears. We should get going though. We should be getting some rest and doing our homework in the morning. Thank you so much for talking to us. It’s been an amazing help.” Rachel said sincerely with a smile on her lips.

“Yes, thank you Detective Marshal.” Richard said as he had straightened himself up and looked at the detective. “We appreciate it.” He had picked up on the subtle emphasis on the word homework and knew that she was able to get the file, having it on her.

Leo nodded his head and went to shake the detective’s hand, who he had obliged in returning the handshake. “Thanks, again.” He said, happy to know at least a little something than what he had on Thomas after he had split from their group.

“You’re welcome.” Detective Marshal said with a smile to the trio. “Have a good night now and be safe out there.”

Leo, Rachel, and Richard all nodded and waved goodbye as they had left the police station.

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