Broken Souls ... by Annay Dawson
Jordan checked in the twelfth patient this morning and had fielded at least twenty calls. For some reason today was the day that everyone and their brother thought to call in for an appointment or to change their appointment. The common cold would be the death of her. They were so busy today that she hadn’t had time to start the coffee, thank goodness for Gillian, the physician’s assistant here. She had put it on almost an hour later than normal but at least it had been made. It was still an hour and a half before Jordan had enough time to run over and grab a cup. Leaning for a moment against the wall she finally took a deep breath and a sip of the liquid gold in her cup.
“Hey Jordan,” Dr. McCoy was walking toward her. She stood up ready for the next collection of things that had to be done, after all he had a file in his hand, “Good to see you are finally getting a chance to breath.”
“First cup of the day, and the day is promising to be a four cupper,” he looked up from the file glancing towards her desk and the waiting room.
“Sorry to hear that,” and he looked around, “Have you seen Kari today?”
“Don’t think she’s been in. At least I haven’t seen her. She may be making home visits today,” Jordan didn’t think anything of it. There were usually a couple days each week that Kari spent the whole day out doing visits. She usually called and left a schedule but then Jordan hadn’t had time to check the messages on that line yet.
“Didn’t think so. She said she was going to spend today here because of how busy we were getting with all the new bouts of colds and flus, just incase we needed an extra hand,” she had helped out on busy days and now that the doctor had said this Jordan began to think it was strange she wasn’t here.
“I'll check the messages but if nothing is there want me to try and give her a call?” as Jordan said this Dr. McCoy handed her the file.
“When you have a moment. You can either put this on her desk or give it to her when she gets in. This patient has just been diagnosed with diabetes and will need some extra support,” he took his cup from the shelf and filled it with coffee.
“I’ll get right on,” and before she could finish her sentence the phone began to ring again, “it after I take this call.” Quickly filling her cup Jordan then went back to the phones.
About three hours later and an hour after she should have had lunch she thought about Kari again. She picked up the phone again and checked the messages that would only be from office staff. Nothing there. Making a worried grimace she dialed Kari’s personal number. The phone rang and rang and then went to message machine. That was strange. Normally if she wasn’t in she would answer a call from the office. Maybe she was in a deep conversation with the patient or their family.
“Hey Kari, if you get this give us a call back,” was all she said. Glancing at her watch she had about five minutes before the afternoon group started. No time to have a real lunch so she grabbed a yogurt from the frig and ate it at her desk.
The next time Jordan had a chance to look at the clock was four thirty five. Realized that Kari hadn’t called back she picked up the phone and dialed Kari’s number again, and again she didn’t get an answer. Putting the phone down she quizzically looked at it.
“Problem?” Gillian was looking at her.
“Yah, Kari isn’t answering and that’s just not her,” and she looked up at Gillian. “I think I am going to try stopping by her place when I leave. Maybe she's sick with this stuff.”
“If we get to leave,” and they both looked at the pile of folders still waiting to be put back into the cabinets. It took over an hour before they were done and ready to leave. Jordan wrapped her scarf around her neck and stuffed it inside of her coat before she opened the door. It was already dark, winter was about to settle in for good here. She was going to meet her Dad for supper at the café, a short walk away. Kari’s place was almost on the way so it worked out great. It was just a couple of blocks out of the way.
The first thing she noticed as she approached the apartment was that Kari’s car wasn’t there. There weren’t any lights on in her apartment either. It was strange but she tried knocking anyway. As expected there wasn’t any answer at the door. As she walked down the steps Jordan pulled out her cell phone and dialed Kari again.
“Hey, if you get this give me a call. Just a little concerned that no one has seen you today and you’re not at home either,” she turned and walked in the direction of the café, “Hope all is okay. If you want you can join my Dad and I down at the café for supper.” She slipped the phone back into her jacket pocket and picked up her pace. As she entered the café she waved at her dad.
“Hey Dad,” she called as she walked over to the table. Giving him a kiss on the cheek she flopped down in a chair. “Boy, it’s been a day!”
“Really?” he was still in his uniform. Jordan knew that he was only there for supper and was back on duty after this. This was the day that he had to do double duty because he still needed to hire another officer or two if the budget allowed. He hadn’t found one that he liked enough to hire so here he sat on his second shift for the day.
“The phones and people never stopped today,” she smiled, “There must have been something in the air that made everyone call.”
“Cold and flu season maybe,” and his voice remained calm and level as he smiled at her. That was one thing she loved about him. No matter how dramatic she got or how dire the situation she could always count on him to be calm.
“Yah, you’re right. Didn’t even have time to think today,” she took a deep breath, “Chicken pot pie,” her eyes closed and she smiled blissfully, “Definitely a must have for tonight.”
“Good cause that’s what I ordered for us,” and he glanced toward the kitchen door, “Needed to get the order in so that I can get back to work.”
“Yum, thanks. You really need to find another officer before you work yourself to death,” she said while pulling off her coat, “In fact we were short-staffed today as well,” taking a sip of water she then continued, “Kari didn’t come in today.”
“She’s the new case manager right? The one you've been hanging out with,” He looked expectantly toward the kitchen again as Doris came through holding two plates with steaming pot pies on them and all the fixings, as Doris call them, headed right for their table.
“Yah, and she usually comes into the office when we are busy and lends a hand. I stopped by her place on the way over and no one answered the door. No lights. She’s renting the old Halethorpe apartment. But then again her car wasn’t there either.”
“Nice to see you two here,” Doris was standing right next to Jordan’s Dad. She was just a hair too close but he ignored it. Doris had tried many times to start something with him and each time he had ignored it. He figured it was just a game now, but one he wasn't going to play. “Be careful these things are right out of the oven. Made sure you two got the freshest ones,” smiling right at him now.
“Everything in this place is fresh Doris,” and he smiled right back at her.
“You got that right Billy,” chuckling a bit Doris walked away making sure that her hips swayed just a little more than normal. Jordan stifled a giggle before digging into the creamy center of the pie. For the next forty minutes or so the conversation wandered. They talked and ate, and ate and talked until he looked back at his watch.
“You need a ride home?” he rubbed his stomach as if he could use an extra couple of inches of waistband right now.
“No, to the clinic. Left the car there. Parking is too tight here,” and Jordan stood up as her Dad dropped money on the table. They both waved goodnight to Doris as they walked out.
“You said Kari wasn’t at home and her car was gone,” his mind drifted back to the beginning of their conversation.
“Yah, but she’s probably back now,” Kari picked up her phone and dialed the number as they walked to the patrol car. Her face pinched as the phone just rang and then went to answering machine again.
“No answer,” he said as Jordan shook her head to confirm his suspicion, “Why don’t you tell me the make of her car and I’ll keep an eye out for it tonight.”
“Would you Dad? It would make me feel so much better,” he kissed her cheek as he opened her door for her.
“It won’t hurt to do that,” closing the door and walking around the car. Climbing in and shutting his door, “Give me something to focus on as I drive about.”
Four hours later and almost the end of this grueling day he spotted it. Someone had reported an abandoned car out near the state park. Not thinking anything of it he went to tag it for the towing company to come pick up. It wasn’t legal for it to park there overnight. As his headlights hit the car he sighed. It was the same make and model that Jordan had given him earlier. Running the plates confirmed it, and he suspected it was going to be a much longer day than he had planned.
Getting out of the vehicle he walked up to it making sure to flash his light into all corners of the inside of the car. The backseat was clear, no piles of papers or fast food bags. That was pretty normal, good, but when he looked in the front passenger seat he noticed that on the floor were a pile of tissues, a lipstick, a few pens, and what looked like a compact or change purse strewn about. It looked like someone had tipped out a purse and flung the contents about the car. He wouldn’t be sure until he opened the car up and had a look under the seats. The hair on the back of his neck began to twitch. The rest of the car was too neat. There was definitely something was wrong with this picture. Before he did anything else he had to call for backup. As he put the mic back into the holder he sighed. Radioing in he asked for a search and rescue team to be readied for the morning. They couldn’t go out yet tonight. Walking back to the car he pulled out gloves from the kit, not ready to rule anything out yet.
It was now a little past two in the morning, they had floodlights on the car and it had been dusted for prints. Only two sets had been found. He was sure that one set had to be Kari’s, but didn’t know about the other. They had gotten everything they could from the car. There was no wallet, and nothing of value left in the car. Not good signs. Glancing at his watch he did the only thing he could think of as he signed off for the car being towed. They were finished with it and the search couldn’t start for at least three hours, most likely four, but they couldn't leave yet. He dialed his cell phone and waited.
“Uh,” came the response from the other end of the phone.
“Sorry to wake you hon but it’s kind of important,” he kept that calm and level tone, especially now.
“Dad?” he could hear the sheets rustle as she sat up. He could imagine his little girl rubbing the sleep from her eyes, but what he was about to tell her wouldn’t be for that little girl he raised, it was for the woman she had become.
“When was the last time you talked to Kari?”
“Dad?” she was still half asleep but waking up fast. The silence was stifling. “What did you find?”