Flash Story: The Case of Ray

This is just a quick ditty I wrote up for a 24-hour writing contest on Writing.com.  I thought I would share it with everyone, and I am trying to decide if I want to expand it once the contest is over and “finish” the story because even I want to know what happened to Ray.  LOL

“Now, let me tell you what really happened.”

“It was dark, like you said,” I began, wringing my hands nervously. “But, there was a low fog, so visibility was bad, even with the floodlights.”

The two men standing behind the inspector sitting across from me shifted their positions, preparing themselves defensively.

“Those two weren’t even there yet. Just me and Ray.”

The inspector shuffled through the papers on the table and pulled out a sheet with Ray’s picture on it. “This Ray? Ray Delgano. The same man that these two men behind me claim has been missing for over a week.”

“Betty down at the diner can confirm that he ate dinner with me before we headed out to the woods to do this job, so in truth, he has only been missing for a few hours.”

The inspector pulled the piece of paper back across the table to him and slid it inside the folder. “So, there was fog. What happened after that?”

“We still had a job to do, so we set up the floodlights, got them cranked up, and started cutting the timber into sections that would fit on the trucks coming for it in the morning.”

“So there was a lot of noise. You may not have heard what happened.”

“I didn’t have to hear it. I saw it. Ray was only a few feet away from me when helicopters came out of nowhere, settled in over us and blinded us with their spotlights. Ray threw down his chainsaw–left it running he was so terrified–and he yelled for me to run.”

“And did you?”

I scoffed. “Hell, yeh, I ran. I ain’t done nothing, and suddenly, some Black Ops helicopters are beating down on us, treating us like fugitives. I dropped my shit and high-tailed it into the forest.”

“Was Ray with you when you got into the forest?”

“No, he ran down the length of the tree trunk, using it for cover. Bullets were spraying everywhere by that point.”

“Our forensics unit found no signs of gunfire at the scene. No shells, no holes, nothing.”

My heart stopped. “You shitting me? They were firing what sounded like a large caliber machine gun from the helicopter. It should have ripped holes in the surrounding area.”

“There is nothing there,” the inspector continued, leaning back in his chair confidently. “See for yourself.”

He slid the folder across the table to me, and I opened it. Ray’s profile was on top. I flipped it over onto the other side of the opened manila folder then did the same with the crime report that I had filed. Crime scene photos were piled behind the crime report. I spread them out in front of me.

There was my chainsaw, but Ray’s was missing. My truck was still parked alongside the fallen tree. The next picture showed the interior of my truck, which should have shown Ray’s lunchbox that he kept his “munchables” in, but that was missing as well.

I flipped the photo over, growing warm from the heat building up under my collar. They were making me out like I was crazy.

The next photo was a panorama of the entire area. Aside from my truck, the floodlights, and my chainsaw on the ground, it could have been any scenic forest photo of Washington state. It was pristine, verdant. Large clumps of moss hedged up against the base of the trees. Deep green ferns covered the ground, and in the middle of the whole scene was a fallen tree.

No signs of damage, no signs of gunfire, and no signs of human interference other than my belongings.

I gulped. I was screwed. I had no proof that Ray was there, and I had no proof that these men took him.

“I’m telling you, he was there,” I growled out. I was angry. They were playing the system against me.

“I would believe you, Jake, I would, except for this.”

He slid another piece of paper across the table towards me. Ray’s driver’s license photo glared at me from the top corner, and the word “missing” sprawled across the top of the page in all capital letters and bold-faced writing.

I scanned it quickly. Missing: September 21, 2015. Ten days ago.

My hands shook. It was not possible. Ray and I had been working alongside each other all week, eaten meals together when we had to take a lunch break. He had not been missing until just a few hours ago. I knew it.

I looked up and the men behind the inspector sneered at me. The larger of the two stood up and tucked his hand underneath his jacket to place it on his hip, nonchalantly displaying his sidearm.

I gulped and looked down quickly. I had others to think about. Libby and the girls. I could not stick my neck out for this, even if I knew I was in the right. I sighed hard.

“It’s been a long week, sir. I’ve already pulled sixty hours this week, and I still have two more days to go. I’ve been taking over-the-counter meds to stay awake. I could be getting things confused.”

I slid the paper back towards the inspector, but I kept my eyes on the table so he could not see the lie in my eyes.

“You sure, Jake?  You seemed pretty certain when you came in here.”

“Yeh, I’m sure. That piece of paper says that I am mistaken. I’m probably just confused from lack of sleep.”

The inspector nodded. “Okay. That’s settled then. You want one of the patrolmen to take you home? Otherwise, you have to walk until Libby can drive you out to get your truck.”

I nodded. The inspector stood up and led me out the door of the interrogation room. As I walked out the precinct, I looked over my shoulder to see the two men watching me with great interest.