Tuesday, April 23rd 2013, 6:30 p.m.
“Rach, it’s me!” Chloe said to the voicemail as she anxiously paced her bedroom. “This is my ninth time trying to call you time trying to call you. If I did something to piss you off, please just tell me. Please just respond to this and let me know you’re okay.”
Chloe hung up the phone and begin tapping her blue nails against the back of the phone. She didn’t think she has ever gone this long without hearing from Rachel. Text, calls, postcards, social media, but this time there was nothing, almost like Rachel had simply vanished.
Chloe sat down on her bed with her eyes glued to the phone as her thumbs swiped and tapped at the glass touchscreen. She searched every form of contact she had for Rachel, from messenger apps to social media. All of Chloe’s efforts had led to the same, disappointing result; an offline symbol and text that read “Last Active: 1 day ago.”
“Where the hell are you, Rachel?” Chloe said, tossing the phone onto the bed. She tried to think of any positive scenario, but none of her social medias being active was very unusual.
The message alert sound on Chloe’s laptop was a quick reminder of the many messages she had sent to Blackwell students and friends in an attempt to locate Rachel. Her heart sunk as all the replies had the same conclusion. Rachel wasn’t with any of them and none had heard from here.
“Damn it!” Chloe growled as she slammed her laptop shut. Something was very wrong, no matter how much she tried to convince herself otherwise, she knew something was wrong. The last scenario she could think of was maybe Rachel was at home, her parents look away all forms of technology.
Chloe grabbed her car keys and quickly left her room.
After cutting several stop lights and possibly breaking the speed limit, Chloe had finally made it to Rachel’s house. After parking her truck beside the curb, Chloe turned off the engine and got out of the truck. She made her way up the concrete path that was aligned with a row of flowers on both sides. Chloe glanced at the front, upstairs window where Rachel’s bedroom was located, in hopes that she may stop Rachel. When she didn’t see anything, Chloe went to the front door, hitting the doorbell several seconds at a time.
“Alright, I’m coming.” Chloe heard before the door opened and she was greeted by the woman who looked just like Rachel, only older and with a short haircut. She gave Chloe a surprised, yet confused look. “Chloe…What brings you here?”
“I’m sorry to bother you, Mrs Amber.” Chloe said, she noticed the apron Rachel’s mother was wearing and realised she was probably in the middle of preparing dinner. “Is Rachel here?”
“Rachel?” She said, her tone of voice and facial expression changing from surprised to concerned. “Rachel hasn’t been here since yesterday afternoon. She said she was meeting up with friends before she left, I thought she spent the night at your house.”
Chloe shock her head, trying not to panic now that her best case scenario has been crushed. “Mrs Amber, I think there is something very wrong. I haven’t heard from Rachel, she hasn’t been online and all of our friends haven’t seen her.”
“Oh, and you’re sure she’s not with anyone outside of Blackwell.” Mrs Amber asked, Chloe shook her head. It was normal for Rachel to leave and end up staying with friends for the night. There was always an explanation if she didn’t make contacts or come one, but she had never gone over a day without some kind of contact.
“Mrs Amber, has Rachel made any contact at all?” Chloe begged. “This is very out of character.”
“She hasn’t, Chloe.” Mrs Amber said in a calm yet unsure voice. “Rachel would normally contact us if she isn’t home, that’s what she always does. Chloe, let me call around and I’ll tell her to contact your when I find her.”
“Thanks.” Chloe nodded, before heading back to her truck. She let out a frustrated sigh as she slammed the truck door shut. Before putting her keys in the ignition, Chloe took out her phone and scrolled through any messenger or social media installed on her phone. There was still no activity on any of Rachel’s accounts. Chloe tossed her phone onto the passenger seat before resting her head on the steering wheel.
Was she overreacting? The concern on Mrs Ambers face told Chloe wasn’t overthinking this situation. Last time Chloe had spoken to Rachel was early afternoon the previous day, Rachel had spent the night with Chloe and left early that morning, they had been texting on and off for several hours before Rachel had stopped replying to her messages. The following morning when Chloe tried to call, there was no response at all.
After a few moments of thinking of what to do next, Chloe knew all she could really do was go home and wait, even though waiting was unbearable. Chloe held her breath for a moment before starting the truck, she just hoped she would now get a result.
An hour later
Chloe had basically pulled into her driveway when she got a call from Mrs Amber, asking her if she could go to the police station to give a statement about Rachel. It took a few moments for Chloe to take it in, she knew Rachel’s mother going to the police was a very bad sign. Without wasting a second, Chloe was on the road again, on route to the police station.
Chloe parked her truck in the first parking space she could find, being mindful of her driving now that she was in distance of the police station, last she needed was to be in trouble with the police now.
Chloe rushed into the lobby of police station, which was deserted expect for one police officer sitting at the front desk. The dark haired officer glanced up at Chloe before resuming his work.
“Miss Price, are you here because of another traffic offence?” He said, dropping the pen he was holding on the desk. “Speeding or parking?”
“Neither.” Chloe answered before approaching the desk and resting both of her arms on the surface. “My friend is missing. Her mom asked me to come here and give a statement?”
“Oh…” He responded, quickly scanning the files on the desk. “Is this is Maia Amber’s daughter?”
“Yes, Rachel is her daughter. I haven’t heard from her in over twenty-four hours, there is no activity on her social media and no one I’ve spoken to has heard from her.” Chloe blurted out, her mind going into panic mode.
“Okay, okay, let me call Officer Berry. He is the officer handling this case.” The Officer explained as he picked up the receiver of the phone and began hitting the buttons. Chloe zoned out for a moment, her eyes inspecting her surroundings. The waiting area located on front of the desk was completely empty, Chloe wasn’t even sure if she had seen the police station this empty before.
“Chloe?” She snapped out of her thoughts and turned around to see Officer Berry, who was now standing next to her. The quietness of the police station and the current situation she was in made Chloe feel very jumpy. “Come with me please. I have a few questions about your friend.”
“Where’s Rachel’s mom?” Chloe asked as she followed the officer down the hallway.
“She has already given a statement to us.” He answered. Despite having a jacket on, Chloe still felt cold chills going through her body. She followed the officer into the office and sat down on the chair facing the desk. The small room felt so empty and cold. Despite the framed photos on the walls and desk, Chloe felt as if she was sitting in on an interrogation.
“Chloe, Rachel’s mother told us that you were one of the last to see Rachel.” Officer Berry said while writing on his notepad. “Can you tell me about that?”
“She spent the night at my house on Sunday night and left at about ten-thirty on Monday. We spoke for the rest of the day through text messages and she stopped responding at around four.” Chloe explained as she rang her fingers through her hair that was hanging from her beanie.
“Did Rachel ever talk about issues at home or problems that would make her leave home?” Officer Berry asked. Chloe shook her head, giving the officer a confused look. The officer cleared his throat before explaining further. “It’s important to ensure there wasn’t any reason why Rachel would leave.”
“Rachel would never run away!” Chloe quickly cut in. “If there was something wrong for would talk to me!”
“I understand, Chloe. But we need to look at every possibility. Did Rachel mention if she was going to meet anyone or who she would be with when she left your house?”
“No.” Chloe answered. “No one. She never mentioned any names or said where she was going.”
“No suspicious messages? Anyone threaten to hurt her?”
“Nothing. Do you think someone had hurt her?” Chloe asked anxiously.
“As I said, we are looking at every possibility. Since we don’t have any evidence as of yet that Rachel is in serious danger, we have to consider the possibility that she chose to leave.” Officer Berry explained.
“So what are you going to do? How are you going to find her?” Chloe asked, her only want is to find Rachel.
“We’ll interview anyone who may have spoken to Rachel in the past few days and issue a missing persons appeal to try and get leads from the public. We’ll also check security footage near Rachel’s home.”
The interview process was a nightmare. While Chloe was helping paint a clearer picture for the police, she felt as if she was doing nothing. She knew these statements was important but she felt she should be out there looking for Rachel and spreading the word.
After giving names of Rachel’s friend who may be able to help, Chloe was finally allowed leave. She got into the truck as tears welled up in her eyes, blurring her vision. The statement made Chloe realise that this nightmare was in fact reality.
Chloe cried into the steering wheel for several minutes before starting the engine and heading home. By the time she walked through her front door, her eyes were puffy and red. She looked into the living room and the kitchen to see that no one was home.
Chloe ran upstairs and to her room and tore off her beanie, tossing it among the pile of clothing on her bedroom floor. She climbed onto her bed and pulled her knees to her chest. She reached over to her bedside table and picked up a photo of herself and Rachel. A photo taken only two weeks beforehand, Rachel looked a model while Chloe flipped of the camera.
Chloe couldn’t get her head around the fact that someone could have hurt Rachel. Arcadia Bay was a small town with a small population. It was a kind of town were most people knew and looked out for each other. Besides from a few crimes, nothing horrifically bad had every happened in Arcadia. Chloe still had precious memories of herself and Max, running around her street in their pirate costumes. While they both knew the stranger danger rules, other residents living on the street would lookout for them, along with the other children playing on the street.
They did everything together, beach parties, clubs and hanging out with the skaters. Chloe loved her. There was no way Rachel would just leave without a word. Chloe had already gone through so much loss, and Rachel knew that. Chloe couldn’t understand why Rachel would leave and put her through that pain all over again.
Chloe got up and pulled a small box from under bed. She rummaged through the box until she found of photo of her and Max, taken on Max’s tenth birthday. Chloe remembered her last day with Max. How they had just had their final sleepover together, and the tears and hugs before Max got into the back of her parent’s car and left.
Chloe remember waiting for the contact that never came. She would run to the mailbox every morning, excepting a letter from Max. Whenever the phone would ring, Chloe would run to answer it, only to be left disappointed when the call wasn’t for her. Eventually she stopped checking, and stopped expecting any contact from Max.
Chloe had isolated herself for months after Max had left. After losing her dad and best friend only a few weeks apart had made it difficult for Chloe built up her trust in others around her in school. Chloe would spend her days in school alone, until she met Rachel.
Rachel was the one to approach Chloe, they had met through Justin and the skater group while they were hanging out by the Blackwell parking lot. For the first time since Max left, Chloe felt she had finally found a friend she could connect with.
Chloe put the photo down and picked her phone up once again, scrolling through the social media apps on her phone. There was still no activity from Rachel’s profiles. What hurt the most was knowing that in the next few hours, her status would change to “Last Active: Two days ago.” Chloe knew the situation will become all too real when that happened.
Chloe couldn’t understand why anyone would hurt Rachel, it was hard to imagine how something like that could happen in Arcadia Bay, it wasn’t common to hear of residents of Acadia Bay.
Chloe got off the bed and went over to her desk, picking up the cigarette pack that was placed beside her laptop. She pushed the items on her desk to the side and sat on the wooden surface, resting back against the wall. She put the cigarette between her lips and inhaled as she looked out window at the street.
Chloe hoped that Rachel had left to start a new life, it if meant that she was safe…and alive. At the same time, the thought of her best friend abandoning her hurt, felt like her heart was being pulled from her chest. Chloe had a gut feeling that something had happened, this whole situation was completely of character.
Rachel brought Chloe back from the hardest time of her life. After losing her dad and her childhood best friend and the struggles of having her mom start a new relationship, Rachel was the first good thing that happened to her. Rachel knew that. That’s why Chloe knew something was seriously wrong, she knew that Rachel wouldn’t put her through all that again. She couldn’t understand why Rachel would.
For the first in such a long time, Chloe felt completely alone.