Daddy's Home
down their names. One said that they wanted to stop by, but since Shannon had the week off, she assumed she’d taken Sara up to Napa early. The woman on the machine, named Judy, jokingly said that she was a little peeved at Shannon for not letting her know that she was going away, and that she would’ve gladly looked after Petie. Holly wrote down the names “Judy” and “Petie.”
    “Any trace of a kitty or dog?”
    “There’s a dog bowl, but no dog. He must’ve taken off.”
    “Any photos of the dog?”
    “One over there.” Chad pointed to a side table next to the sofa.
    Holly walked over and picked it up. Another snapshot of Shannon and Sara at Christmas time. A Yorkie Terrier with a small Santa hat on its head sat on Sara’s lap. “I need to get the vet’s number. I better check those records. If she was as organized with her records as she was this house, we might find something. Maybe our man has the dog. We know he likes to take things.”
    Holly slowly crept through the house. She drowned out the voices and activity going on around her as best she could. She would probably have to come back once the chaos died down, but maybe she would get something now.
    The house was small, a two bedroom with one bath. She came to Sara’s room first and swallowed hard at the sight of Barbie’s Townhouse, the same one Chloe had. This was a little girl like most little girls—like her little girl. An emotional surge rushed through her, and she fought hard to hold it back. Holly wanted to catch this fucker, now more than anything she had ever wanted. She needed to wipe him off the face of the earth, because he killed children. She knew in her gut and mind, down to her soul in fact, that he wouldn’t hesitate to kill her own child if given the chance.
    Chloe’s face flashed through Holly’s mind. She had no choice but to go forward and dedicate herself to tracking and killing this monster herself. This was more than a murder case. Equating Sara McKay with her own daughter made this a personal quest.
    Sara liked Barbies, and she liked to draw and paint, which was evident by the various illustrations throughout the house. Some of them were taped on the walls, some in frames. All put up, Holly was certain, by a proud mother. It reminded her of her own home, which, too, had some charm and definite age to it. It was in the Loma Portal area of town where there remained some Old Spanish style homes and a few scattered Craftsman houses—very similar to this part of town. Holly was known to decorate with Chloe’s artwork, and seeing the pictures that adorned the walls of a dead little girl’s house tugged at her hard. The reaction alarmed her. Distant. Stay distant . You can’t get involved like this. Emotions had to be shut down. She was good at that. But it was hard to do in this situation.
    Holly walked into the room. A canopy bed with floral duvet was the first thing she noticed. It looked expensive, handmade, nothing like what you might buy at a department store or outlet. I don’t think Shannon had a lot of money, but she definitely wanted the best for this child.
    She bent down and glanced inside the Barbie case. Everything was organized to a tee. Like mother, like daughter. Something was missing—out of place—and it took Holly a few minutes to figure out what that was. There was Doctor Barbie, wearing her white doctor’s coat, Mermaid Barbie in her getup, and a few others. But there was a set of Barbie clothes to the side of the case, which was odd since everything else was clearly in place, and each Barbie was inside her own compartment except for one—Beach Barbie. Holly recognized the sunglasses and pink high-heeled sandals that Beach Barbie wore. But Beach Barbie was nowhere to be found, and one of the compartments in the doll case was missing its doll. Holly was pretty sure that Sara had had enough Barbies to fill the case. He let her take a doll with her. He took them to his place. But how? Shannon

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