Chapter 8: The vision came true

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Tires screeched sharply. A pillar of smoke rose into the sky next from all four cars coming to a grinding halt. A sea of blue quickly disembarked and forged towards a house. The officers reached the front door and shifted their backs to the wall, holding tightly to their shotguns.

"Steven Garner, this is the police," one of them yelled, "come out with your hands up."

Max and Grant watched the action from behind the protection of a vehicle.

"Is this definitely the place?" Max queried.

"This is his last known address," his colleague replied, "it's listed as his primary residence with three different government organisations."

A loud voice harassed the air again, almost like the officer was holding a megaphone.

"This is your last chance. Come out now or we're coming in."

A gust of wind answered the officer's plea, but nothing else registered.

"Okay, let's do this," he yelled.

The men pounded the door once, twice and then a third time, before the wood buckled under the force of the battering ram. It opened wide, allowing the officers to push inside and search the building's confines with ruthless efficiency. Their voices trailed off for the next minute, before the officers re-appeared with their guns lowered.

"There's nothing inside," one of them shouted.

Max shifted from behind the protection of the steel and walked over towards them.

"Was there any sign that he had been there?" he asked anxiously, "a dirty plate or messy sheets? There must be something."

A vexed grin met his words.

"That's what I'm telling you, there's nothing at all inside," the officer answered, "it has been cleaned out. I don't think anyone has been here in a while."

These words fell on deaf ears, like Max was reluctant to believe them, instead he walked past and entered the house. He immediately felt a breathlessness punch him in his lungs. The room was empty and so were the ones surrounding it. He could not even see a couch, side-table, painting or lamp left in any room. The only items in view were a rich brown carpet and white walls.

"Are all of the rooms like this?" Max asked.

An officer nearby nodded his head, before the new DA turned, noticing his colleague enter the room.

"Well, this was a dead end," Grant lamented.

Max's optimism had not yet been completely sapped. He still had a small trickle of positivity flowing through him.

"We still could find something," he revealed, "a receipt, a scribbled phone number, anything. Let's take a look around."

Both men separated and wandered off in opposing directions. Max reached the kitchen, revealing an empty counter. There was not even a spare jar, blender, salt shaker or plate left behind. He rifled through a nearby drawer, but found only a single fork. His hand shifted through three more draws, but they offered nothing, just the pale white décor of the cabinetry. He opened the pantry wide with an angry thrust, but a paleness occupied his vision once again. A few bread crumbs and an empty plastic bag were all that was left. Max looked over a table next, then under it, skimming over every surface and pulling things apart, but nothing appeared.

"Dammit," he growled, slamming the pantry door shut.

The room shook for a second, showing respite for his anger, before Grant appeared besides him.

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