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inspiration for this chapter came from my years living on my boat, a converted
liveaboard that I moored in Deep Cove, B.C. For the four and a half years I
called the boat my home, I saw more natural beauty in the magic of nature than
I ever saw while living on land. I really wanted to let readers see what I had.
I found it very comforting to go back into my memories and create the setting
to this chapter.
The sound was intentional,
unmistakable. I am not alone. I slowly rise from the narrow cot and tiptoe
through the small cabin, overwhelmed with the feeling of impending doom. With
each doorway I pass, my breathing stops and my heart pounds as I anticipate
someone lunging from the darkness. A sliver of light from the crescent moon
casts a dusty blue glow through the grimy windows and illuminates the front
door—freedom. Carefully, I glide forward. I’m almost there. Heart pounding and
legs weak, I reach out and touch the small round doorknob. I’ve made it. Then,
the floor creaks from behind and a wave of terror rushes over me. My back
tightens and I freeze, as though a cold hand has clutched the back of my neck.
Terrified, I turn to face my fate.
* * *
Semi-conscious, I open my eyes and
take a deep breath. The air is thick with ozone. I roll onto my side and look
out the window. Angry clouds churn above the small cove. Electricity fills the
pilothouse and the hair on my arm stands on end. Instinctively, I grab my phone
from the pillow and check for any texts. Nothing from Kara. I get out of bed, struggling
to keep my balance as the boat rocks. The wind whipping across the bay
generates swells that slap hard against the hull as I walk out onto the stern
to check the ropes and set down extra buoys between the dock and the boat. Hard
sprays of sea water sting my face as gusts of wind push against me. 4 Back
inside, I wipe my wet face on my sleeve and sit at the settee to catch my
breath. I glance at the clock and see that it’s 4 AM. Considering the storm
that’s brewing, there’s no way I’m going to get back to sleep.
Since I have to be up at 5:30 for
work, I decide to gather my things and drive to the 24-hour café in the
village, where I’ll hang out until my shift starts. I work as an emergency
dispatcher for the local police station. After thirty-seven calls and a
half-pot of coffee, all before lunch, I’m running on pure adrenaline and
caffeine. I can’t wait for the day to be over when I can climb onto my boat and
into my bed. About an hour before my shift ends, a call comes in from a woman,
requesting to speak with an officer. She sounds panicked. I ask her what the
nature of her complaint is. The woman tells me her teenage daughter, Molly, has
been missing for four days. She says she wasn’t worried until she went into
Molly’s laptop and found a conversation between her and an older man.
I was inspired to write about Molly
after learning about the overwhelming number of girls that are lured away from
the safety of their homes by online predators.
I quickly put her call through to an available
officer. A nauseous feeling forms in the pit of my stomach. I’ve only been
working at the police station for a year and although I never deal with the
people face-to-face, some of the calls stay with me long after my shift ends.
After I’ve signed out, I’m making my way to my locker when I hear my boss
calling my name.