God, I do not think I can do this. Please save me, God. Please protect me. I am not strong enough without you. I want so desperately to get out. Please, Lord, guard my mind, heart and body from the evil snares of the devil. God, I give you all that I am for you to fulfill your will. You always said ask and you shall receive. Lord, I'm asking—no, I'm begging—please help me. I need you. I cannot do this. I believe you can, God. Please do so, according to your will.
Tom called 911 again.
"911 what are you reporting?" said an operator who didn't sound familiar.
"My wife has been missing for three days now," Tom said. "I've called the jails, hospitals, family, State Patrol and the morgues. I've checked all of our accounts. She hasn't accessed any money. The only thing I can't check is her Nordstrom Visa because I'm not on that account, so they won't tell me anything. All her bankcards are at home. She has two checks that aren't cashed on the railing upstairs and..."
"Can I have her name and date of birth?"
"Tanya, that's T-A-N-Y-A, Rider, that's R-I-D-E-R. Her date of birth is 6/25/1974."
"And what was she wearing the last time you saw her?"
"Black slacks and a white blouse," Tom said. "I found a tape of her leaving work the day she disappeared. She was leaving from her overnight shift at Fred Meyers."
"Can you tell me what she was driving?"
"A blue Honda Element. Brand new, 2007, with a paper plate in the window."
"Can you tell me anything that can distinguish it from any other car of its kind?"
"Silver running boards and all the upgrades available."
During the interview, the operator gave Tom a case number, 07-284-580, and explained that they would list her and that the listing would go out countywide, statewide and countrywide, so that, if Tanya was found and an agency ran her name—anywhere in the country—they would learn that she was missing.
After they concluded the call, the operator called back, asking for the vehicle identification number (VIN) from Tanya's car. Tom found the number and gave it to the operator, but they had a little mix-up understanding the letters among the digits over the telephone. Finally, the operator found the car's record.
"I got it," the operator said. "2007 Honda. Anyway, I found it. That's great. Okay."
"It'd be better if you found her," Tom said.
"It really would," said the operator. "I think we're gonna go ahead and send an officer out to talk to you about this." Thank God, Tom thought. He felt as if he'd finally reached an operator with a heart. I think God hears my prayers with tears of His own, as I hear a single sound in the brush. A plop. Then, a second later, I hear another. Then another and another and another. In a moment, I feel it—blessed water, sprinkling and then raining down on my tomb. But it doesn't reach me. I reach out my hand toward the broken windshield but can't get my hand out far enough. Some precious drops of moisture splash into the interior of the car and I wipe them with my fingers, raising a smear of moisture to my lips.
When the King County Police officer arrived, Tom met him in the driveway.
"Are you Mr. Rider?" the officer asked.
"Yes, I am," Tom said. "My wife's missing."
"When was the last time you saw her?"
"When she left for work, she called me to see what I was doing," Tom explained. "That's the last I heard from her."
"When was that?"