3 - Day Two

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The morale within the two musical groups and their crew was steadily declining as the search parties failed to find any signs of their friends' whereabouts. All of the band members, except Howie, had gone out to search as soon as the sun had risen, but had been called back after eight hours of searching. A large trailer had been set up at the side of the road near the police satellite van where the two bands could rest and get some privacy from the press.

The sound of barking could be heard as two police vehicles parked next to the van, providing more of a barrier between the press and the two bands. Two police officers exited the vehicles with a German shepherd and a golden retriever pulling excitedly against their leashes.

"Why are they bringing dogs?" Emma asked tearfully as she stopped next to Mel and Geri.

"They're going to use them to find Melanie and the boys," Mel replied, taking Emma's hand and squeezing it tightly.

The K9 unit approached a few other police officers before making their way over to the band members. "Hi, I'm Louis and this is Kent," said one of the officers.

"I'm really sorry about your friends," said Kent. "If they're out there, Rocky and Zio will find them. They're the best trackers we have in the state."

"Melanie's allergic to dogs," said Emma, sounding distant. She was staring at the dogs and picking at a loose thread on her jumper. Shock was finally starting to hit her as the scene in front of her became more real.

"Come here, Em," said Victoria, pulling Emma close. "Melanie's going to be fine, ok? The nice policemen are going to find her and bring her and the boys back safe and sound." She could feel Emma shaking, but got no response from her. Victoria sighed and gently ran her fingers through Emma's hair with one hand while she rubbed her back with the other.

The two officers let the dogs off of their leashes and followed them as they raced over to where the bus had been and sniffed around. The dogs had been given articles of Melanie, Brian, and AJ's clothes to sniff when they'd first arrived and they were eager to search around. Zio, the German shepherd, immediately ran into the ditch where the search party had gone while Rocky, the golden retriever, continued to sniff the road a moment longer. Zio raced into the trees and barked, alerting Louis that he had found something. The group watched Louis run into the ditch after Zio and pick up one of Melanie's trainers. Zio took off running back up to the road toward the bus with Louis in tow.

Everyone watched as the two dogs continued to sniff around, slowly making their way toward the edge of the road. They raced back into the ditch, clearly on a trail. Geri broke away from the group, running in the direction of the dogs. She had been exhausted from her search earlier that morning, but adrenaline had suddenly kicked in and primal instinct took over. She ran past the search party and continued to sprint until she reached Kent and Zio.

The dog pulled excitedly on his leash, wanting to go faster than the pace of his partner. They both glanced at Geri momentarily before continuing their trek through the woods. Geri remained quiet and slowed to the pace of Kent and the dog. She scanned the woods, desperate for any sign of Melanie or the boys. Zio stopped momentarily, his ears perking at the sound of Rocky barking in the distance.

Kent's radio crackled and Louis' voice could be heard within the static of the radio. "Rocky's found a bit of blood," Louis announced. "We're near the road. I'm thinking this is where one of them ended up after falling. Rocky's heading through a possible trail. There are some broken branches... Wait! I've got a bit of clothing here."

Kent pulled the radio from his belt and pressed the "talk" button with his thumb. "Are you thinking animal attack?" he asked.

"Caught on a branch," Louis replied. "Most likely torn while passing through here. No sign of a struggle."

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