The Possession of Tyra Dove
The Possession of Tyra Dove
Passing an abandoned old brick mill, slowing at the four-way, and then taking the left fork towards the oddly-shaped hill, Tyra Dove was suddenly struck by an uneasy intuition that she should turn back right now. She took her foot off the gas and looked around at the stark countryside. On both sides of the road, the trees seemed to be leaning in towards her and rattling their branches.
This forbidding sensation had struck her as soon as the hill had loomed into view, and now, engine idling, Tyra gazed at it with a sense of apprehension. As its name suggested, Saddle Hill was flat-topped, with a slight dip in the middle, its slopes covered with thick woodlands, and wispy sheets of mist hanging eerily around its base.
Get a grip!
Tyra was not a woman who scared easily, and whenever danger threatened she had trained herself to bite back the fear. She had known true terror only once in her life - and she was determined that she would never experience it again. That fateful night six years earlier when Tyra had been a naïve young coed, had left her with a constant, simmering anger which she could drag up to the surface at will. All she had to do was think of the many subjects she now wrote about for The New England Crucible - rape, human trafficking, domestic violence, sexual objectification, discrimination in the workplace - and if she dwelled upon them long enough, she would soon be spitting proverbial fire. Her passionate feminist views were almost an obsession, and combined with her unerring nose for a good story, had also helped her to become one of the Crucible's most popular investigative journalists, as well as one of Boston's most prominent activists.
Now, as Tyra advanced once more along the empty country road, she thought back to the lunch date with her old college friend, Susan Arquette, which had resulted in her being out here in rural Massachusetts on this chilly Friday afternoon.
Susan had contacted Tyra because her younger sister, Paige, a smart and attractive girl who was embarking on a promising career in television, had gone missing whilst on route to visit their parents' house in the Berkshires.
"We have a traditional family Sunday lunch once a month," Susan had explained. "I was already there when Paige called in to say she was running a little late and that she was on I-90, just west of Springfield. Then her signal started to break up and she didn't call back. Since then, we've tried calling her several times a day, but her cell is off the grid. It's been four days now, Tyra, and I'm really worried. Paige isn't the sort of person to just drop everything and run off. She loves her job and has a good circle of friends. I'm afraid something has happened to her."
"What about the police?" Tyra had asked.
"We filed a report and they said they would circulate her picture, but they also told us that as Paige is an adult, there is a standard waiting period before they will conduct a more widespread search."
Tyra had nodded thoughtfully. "And you think I might be able to trace her when the authorities can't?"
"I read your columns, Tyra," Susan had replied. "I know how you love to get your teeth into this type of thing."
Tyra had to admit that she was intrigued, and Susan was right - Tyra had successfully managed to track down an abducted girl once before. In this case though, there wasn't much to go on, and apart from Susan's concerns, no evidence of foul play.
After promising Susan she would do what she could to help, she had called her good friend Laurie Bass, a postgraduate student at Boston College, and in Tyra's view, the most efficient and resourceful researcher in the city.