Ayden’s week started off very strangely. He should have taken this as a clue of what was to come, he supposed, in retrospect. Beginning to feel his age, he was aware he was slowing down. When he brought his fears to his ghostly father, Erik advised him to try the Youth Potion, which he did. He also did his best to keep active.
Working hard at cracking cases, working out from time to time. Mostly keeping his brain alive, that was key. So he made sure he was focused whenever it was time for work. One evening he was invited out to a bar for Singles Night. He went. There were some very nice people there, but he was in a bit of a relationship already. Ayden wasn’t one to fool around. So, after a time, when his body told him he needed sleep, he bid the group farewell and headed home. The hour was very late.
That’s when it happened. As he was walking up the drive in front of his house, he was suddenly frozen stiff. Bright light bathed the entire front yard. Eerie sounds filled the otherwise quiet night. Before he knew it, a beam of light shown right in his face, engulfing him. Slowly, ever so slowly, he could feel himself being pulled upward. Suddenly, his feet were no longer on the ground. Above him was a saucer shaped, shiny, metal object.
“What the heck?” Ayden gasped, although he was really only thinking it, unable to cry out or so much as utter a noise. Nor could he move at all. He had read a few reports, some articles in the Police Stories magazine put out by some obscure county department, of such events. Ayden really didn’t give them much credence. Scoffing at them, really. He supposed that’s how some looked at his ghostly visions, too. He did discover he was working with an alien in disguise, so that’s when his thoughts turned around and he began to wonder just how real aliens were. He was soon to find out.
If Ayden had any notion of sharing his abduction experience it was literally knocked out of his head. The movie, Sims In Black came to mind. By the time he was returned, hours later, or so he guessed, all he could remember was a bright light and that saucer-like glowing thing in the sky. Everything else had been strategically washed from his memories.
When he returned to work the next day, he felt tired, achy and full of foreboding. Just last week, said alien cleverly-disguised-as-a-police officer had passed away at the station.
They had lost so many here, he was beginning to lose count. Was it six or seven? As he went about his duties, filing the last of his paperwork and getting his next case file, he became aware that the Chief, Angie Sizemore, was having some difficulties. He got up from the desk and ran into her office, just as she collapsed to the floor.
Dashing over to her, “Chief, Chief, what is it? Somebody call 9-1-1! We need an ambulance.” He shouted over his shoulder. The Chief lay still. Suddenly the room was full of people. Ayden spied the Grim Reaper, who was no longer a shocking sight for him, out of the corner of his eye. Getting the Reaper’s attention, he took a moment to plead for the Chief’s life to no avail. Remorse settled hard on Colonel Ayden Cantrell. Before he even realized it, another officer, Derek Huston lay unconscious in the other corner of the Chief’s office. Two coffee cups, barely touched, sat on the Chief’s desk as if the two were sharing coffee and conversation. Ayden made a mental note of this as he snapped into rescue mode. He listened for any sign of breathing and then began CPR. “Come on, Derek, come on! Somebody make that call and get an ambulance here. On the double!”
Knowing that once he started the compressions, he couldn’t stop, Ayden hollered at the Reaper, pleading with it to save Officer Huston. This time, his pleas were heard as the Grim Reaper levitated Derek’s lifeless form and the man regained consciousness. Sadly, it wasn’t for long. Derek showed up at Ayden’s latest crime scene and again collapsed on the concrete beside the pool outside while busy collecting evidence. This time there was just no saving him. It was over.
Ayden was overcome with sadness. He tried to get Derek to go with the Paramedics to the hospital to get checked out, but the old man refused to go. In retrospect, Ayden should have pulled rank on the fellow. Another regret to add to his ever-growing tally of regrets. Finishing up with his new crime scene, he called for the Wagon to pick up what ended up being the fifth body at this site. Since Derek wasn’t part of the crime itself, there was no need to lay down any tape.
What was going on? So much death. Willow Creek seemed like such a lovely place to live and raise children. Ayden finished up his work for the day and hurried home. The only redeeming point of today was the fact it was Nathaniel’s birthday. He quickly made a few calls and got a party underway. For a time, he forgot his troubles. Put his aching heart on a shelf and tried to unwind.
His children were grown. He had a sweetheart, at least part time. He was one promotion away from that proverbial top rung in his career. All he needed to do was solve this last crime, figure out what killed both the Chief and Officer Huston, which would require he analyze both coffee mugs and the coffee carafe, for good measure. Then get to writing that biography of Erik Cantrell. Did he have enough days left? He had to try. That’s all any Sim can do, or so Erik was fond of saying.
Heading into work again the very next day, at least he was focused. Otherwise he was completely exhausted. There was a person in the Chief’s office who greeted him right away. “You’re Colonel Ayden Cantrell,” she said.
“Yes, I am.” he smiled and shook her hand.
“At the end of your shift, please come see me.” She promptly returned to the Chief’s office and settled in behind Angie’s desk.
Ayden got to work, analyzing evidence, adding clues to the board. At one point he went back to the crime scene feeling as if he missed something. At the end of his shift the temporary Chief called him to her office. “This just came down from the Commissioner’s office,” she said, handing him a large packet. “Congratulations, you’re the new Chief.”
Ayden was stunned, guessing that all of the hard work he put into his career had finally paid off. He excused himself and went into the restroom. Tearing open the large packet, he found a new uniform inside. He dressed quickly. Shaking the hand of the temporary chief, he left the precinct to share his triumph with his family.