Rude Awakenings - Part One
By: Tom Fowler

1.

Allie Hayes didn't notice anything out of the ordinary when she first woke up, except for an uncharacteristic slight grogginess. Then, the dull ache in her head disguised, for a short time, the sharper pain in her right foot. Allie lay on her back, attempting to will away the dry mouth and sour nausea of her stomach. Flu, she thought, unhappily, as she turned to swing her shapely 20–year old legs out of bed. Pain and shock exploded within her temples when she attempted to stand.

Only after falling backward, back onto the mattress she had slept on since a small child, did she notice her feet. One of them was missing.

Ed Hayes heard his daughter moaning. Fortunately, he was home that morning. A morning he would never forget. Nor would he forget the sight of his oldest daughter staring dully at the neatly bandaged ankle, which contrasted sharply with the shapely, smoothly contoured foot, which remained on her opposite leg.

"What happened," he asked, stupidly, to no one in particular.

"Don't know," Allie answered, dully. Both father and daughter stared in shocked silence at the ankle that, only a few hours before, supported a perfectly healthy foot.

After a long silence, Ed asked, "You don't know?"

"No." Allie felt as if she would be sick to her stomach, but realized that she would be unable to run to the bathroom. The thought of that served as a cruel reinforcement of the horrible reality. Panicked, she burst into tears. "Daddy, what happened?"

Ed stood by bedroom window, bathed in bright morning sunlight. Later he would ponder the contrast to the horrific events of that unforgettable morning. For now, all he could do was hold his oldest daughter in his arms and comfort her as best he could. Weakly, he replied, "I don't know."

Within the hour, an emergency medical team was in the house examining Allie's ankle, and the police were standing by, watching intently. Audrey Hayes was in the den with her husband, having returned from her job at the bank a few minutes earlier. She, as her unfortunate daughter, was in a state of shock. Ed, a former U.S. Army Ranger, had kept himself together for the sake of his loved ones, but an extreme sadness was setting in on top of the morning's bizarre event. He was grateful their other daughter, 16–year old Toni, was safely at school. Ed had made certain of that just after dialing 911.

Officer Clyde Beauchamp was anxious to question Ed, but had graciously given him and his wife time to compose. As if reading the officer's mind, Ed finally said, "Guess you have some questions."

"Yes, I do," answered Beauchamp, softly. "Can you tell me what happened?

"Wish to God I could. I heard moaning and went to her room to see what was the matter. I found her…like she is now. Says she doesn't know what happened. I believe her, but can't see how that can be." Beauchamp noticed sadness and anger clouded the poor man's eyes.

Beauchamp, a large, ruddy man who looked like the veteran cop of 28 years that he was, drew his long legs up from the low standing easy chair and stood. "Let me check on the medics."

They had just finished examining Allie and had given her a powerful sedative. "It'll be awhile before you can talk to her. She's been through enough for today," Beauchamp was told. The medic continued, "It looks like a professionally done amputation. Clean all the way. Clean removal, no tear marks in the bone or flesh. There was a fresh, sterile bandage and very little blood, just a speck on the bottom. No blood on the sheet or anywhere in the bedroom. This was evidently done somewhere else."

Beauchamp began to feel a little faint, and he was a man who had seen much in his time. From what Ed Hayes had told him, Allie was shocked into incoherence when she discovered her foot missing. He had heard her come in last night about midnight and bound up the stairs like she always did, her feet a little heavier on the steps than her mother's or sister's. Ed had been trained to notice these things when an army ranger. "The thought of an intruder doing such a thing as quietly and skillfully as this puzzles and horrifies me, although I was sleeping heavier than normal last night," Ed had said, and Ed Hayes was neither a man who would have missed unknown or unwanted sounds in his home nor one who spooked easily. Officer Beauchamp was as disturbed by this aspect of the early morning events in the Hayes household as he was the crime itself.

The family would not have to wait long before the mysterious assailant would strike again and, this time, would strike right under the noses of a family very much on its guard.

2.

Allie had lost her foot in January, just before she was to return for spring classes at Glenn Junior College, where she was to get her associate's degree at the end of term. "I'm going to get that degree, therapy or no therapy," she told her parents soon after experiencing the event that would change her life forever. Very much her father's daughter, Ed and Audrey were very proud of her, and of younger daughter Toni, also, who had experienced the fear and horror with remarkable poise.

By the time spring break came around, the Hayes family was just beginning to come to terms with what happened. That they could cope at all was a miracle in itself, as the bizarre plight of Allison (Allie) Hayes had become national news overnight. In early 1999, The Hayes mystery had become America's no.1 entertainment tragedy.

Glenn is a quiet town of 100,000 people out in west Texas. Detective Sgt. Clyde Beauchamp had lived in Glenn all of his life and had absolutely no desire to live anywhere else, even after the long awaited retirement which crept closer with each passing year. A tough, no–nonsense Texas lawman to his very core, Beauchamp felt great sympathy and admiration for the Hayes family. He respected Ed's Vietnam service record, but admired the Hayes women even more. "Before I retire," he would tell his wife repeatedly, "I want to find who maimed the Hayes girl." That Allison was bright and beautiful and reminded him of his niece, Pam, only added to his resolve.

"So, how's it going?" his boss asked one morning in mid–March. Jim Miller and Clyde could have been twins. The similarities in temperament and demeanor were striking.

"Not so good. It's not helping that all those reporters keep bothering the Hayes family. Wish there was something we could do about them." Beauchamp made no effort to hide his disdain.

"There isn't," Lieutenant Miller said, bluntly. "Do you have anything, anything at all? It's as if a ghost cut Allison Hayes's foot off."

"No fingerprints. No blood. No footprints. No DNA. No hair. No noise. No knife. No nothing," was his equally blunt reply. "We've come up with absolutely nothing. Sometimes I think it WAS a ghost." Miller nodded. He knew his old friend was right. Family members, neighbors, business associates, church friends, sales clerks in the neighborhood shops where the Hayes family lived; in short, anyone vaguely connected in any way to Allie Hayes and her family had been or were in the process of being researched thoroughly. The Glenn Police Dept., now in the national spotlight, had done an enormous amount of good, quality work in the two months since the crime was committed, and had zero leads or suspects to show for it.

As the original crime was bizarre enough, the second one was even more so, because Glenn, TX, and the Hayes family was one of the most observed in the country. Still, happen again it did, this time to Ed Hayes's beloved wife of 22 years, Audrey.

In late March, Audrey became the second Hayes woman to be maimed at the hands of an unknown madman.

To be continued…

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