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After passing through town and grabbing a morning coffee, I head to the police station. This has become a daily ritual for me. Even if it produces nothing, it makes me feel like I’m doing something. Apparently Detective Singh has come to expect these visits too. She is waiting just inside the front door when I arrive.
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It has been two weeks and still nothing. There are too many questions that I can’t answer. Too many things are building up in me that I have to get out. I need clarity. I need some peace. My own investigation is just piling on the questions rather than the answers. I feel like I’m balancing on a very sharp edge, about to fall one way or the other and the tension is ripping me apart. My body is beginning to feel better and I figure I can’t do any real harm with just a short run. I need to run.
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Even though Detective Singh has given me her word that I am a top priority for her, I know, in all reality, I am just another case to the police. Mine is not the only child to ever go missing for them and they are treating it as they would any other missing child case. This is, however, my only child to go missing. On top of which, the feeling that I’m being watched continues to grow. And now there is the added mystery of Tucker’s empty email, a possible affair, and our bank account. What the hell is Tucker doing?
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Through the fog of growing sobriety, a thought keeps poking at me. Something Beth had said when she was telling her story about Tucker. Beth, or whatever her name was. Even though her story was bullshit, there may have been an underlying truth there. Was there another woman? Is that why Tucker had left? Was this trip meant to be some sort of sick good-bye gift from Tucker?
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It’s been over a week since the last time I saw Millie. And she is the only one I want to see. As if to commemorate this passage of time, a blizzard sets in. For three days, it snows without stopping. With each layer of snow that falls over Canmore, I worry that another trail, another clue, another possibility of hope, is being covered, lost forever to the frozen land. I have received several worried texts from Sasha, wanting to know how I’m holding up and if there’s been any news. I don’t respond. I also have a reply to the email I sent to Jack, in which he demands that I call him. I don’t.
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I pull up to the address and look out my window at what is decidedly not a luxury apartment complex. The entire block is covered in the concrete blocks of a mega storage facility. This can’t be the right place. Did Beth get the address wrong? Did I read her writing correctly? I change a few of the more illegible letters of the street name on my phone but come up with nothing in the area. This has to be the right street. And there is nothing else on it but industrial buildings. But I’m not willing to let go of this possible lead. Tucker could still have come here. Someone might know something. I park the car just outside the front gate and head towards the small shopfront with the word ‘Sales Office’ stenciled in large block letters above the window.
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I need coffee, and not the stuff offered in the small kitchen nook by reception. I’m pretty sure the instant packets there haven’t been replenished in years and I’m certain Duke does not go out of his way to clean the pot marked ‘Hot Water’. And it’s really just lukewarm. I decide to drag myself into town to get a decent fix at the coffee shop before heading to the police department for my ritual check-in.
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It’s three in the morning and I am awake. But this is my new normal. These hours that used to be spent calming a crying child are now vacant spaces for a childless mother. Here, I am always awake. I try to sleep, hoping to escape this nightmare, knowing that nothing that my unconscious mind could think up would ever be worse than what I am living. But my body and conscious mind won’t cooperate.