You leap across the final section of rushing river and reach the opposite shore, scrambling up the bank to higher ground. You take off back down river, hoping that you’re on the right track. As your eyes scan through the darkness, you can’t help but reach to your hip for a service weapon that hasn’t been issued yet. Lowell is long gone and you pray there’s nothing lurking in the shadows waiting for you. The girl’s screams have faded, but there’s no reason for you to think that whoever took her isn’t watching, ready to make a swift and fatal attack.
The fear of finding the girl too late drives you forward, though, and you plow ahead through the dense woods. The storm continues to beat down, the river roaring and swelling, and all you have is a small circle of light beaming against the trees with the occasional flash of lighting to illuminate your surroundings. It’ll have to do.
Looking back across the river, you try to tell how far you’ve come, but it all looks the same. Thinking back, you picture Lowell reaching down to grab that piece of red fabric from the riverside. Why did it make him take off like that? It was just a torn and muddy piece of cloth wasn’t it? Was there a pattern in the fabric or something written on it too? And the look in his eyes when he came back to himself was the same as when he bulldozed you in the office for moving around his files. Could those oddly dated folders be connected to all of this? There’s no way to know, so you try to put it out of your mind.
A sudden crash of lightning hits close by and you dive for the ground, skidding through the mud and rocks. Catching your breath for a moment and checking yourself for injury, you notice a small structure sitting just past the tree line. You train your light on it just as another lightning strike exposes the scene. The rundown building, no more than a large shed, is covered in rough scrawling. This has got to be it. Slowly now, you circle the building, checking for one of those lurking shadows. There’s a window on the far side, but it’s too dark to see anything inside.
You come around to the front and find a combination lock keeping the door shut. The rusted hasp connecting the locked door to the frame has a few symbols etched into it, similar to the ones you’ve seen all over the exterior walls. The ground is too slippery to get your footing, so kicking it down is out of the question. You’ll need to find another way to open this lock. Calling out, you try to reassure whoever is behind this door, and desperately try to think of a way in.