Handers pushed aside a pile of papers to make room on the small table for a plate of snack cakes he'd brought. The room was so small it was hard to keep it from getting cluttered.
"Good morning. Sorry I'm a little late." He tidied up the rest of the table a bit.
"Emret?" He turned towards the unusually quiet hospital bed.
That's odd, he thought. He didn't remember any scheduled appointments this morning. He made a reactionary glance under the bed. Nothing. Was he really that distracted that he'd forget a doctor's appointment? Emret wouldn't take it well if he did.
He pushed open the bathroom door. Again nothing. Maybe they pulled him out to clean the room or change the bed sheets? He wondered. He stopped at the nurses station down the hall where three plump ladies sat behind a high curved counter top, chatting. "Excuse me," he interrupted.
One of the closest ladies broke from her conversation and looked over at him, obviously annoyed. "Yes?"
"My son Emret isn't in his room. Could you tell me where he might be?"
"Emret? Let me check." She sorted through a stack of folders on the desk, stopped at one and pulled it out. After a quick glance at the pages she added, "his only appointment for today is later this evening. He should be there."
She put the folder back and smiled. As if to say, any other questions?
"Well, he isn't in there." He stared back at her, expecting her to make a little more effort in trying to figure out where he might be.
Instead, she folded her arms. "I'm sorry, I don't know where else he'd be."
"OK, which Nurse is assigned to him right now?"
She looked up at a board on the wall with columns of names. "That would be Moslin, butâ€¦" She paused.
"But?" Raj said, raising his brow.
"She hasn't shown up for her shift yet." The nurse continued.
One of the other nurses sitting further down near the end of the station turned in her chair. "Oh, I was supposed to tell you that she was gonna come in late today. She had a church meeting."
"So who's covering her shift?" The Nurse sitting in front of Hander's asked.
"I told her I would." The nurse at the end answered.
"When was the last time you check in on Emret?" Handers asked her.
She turned toward the board on the wall with the names and giggled. "Oh. I guess I didn't see him on her list."
The nurse in front of Handers suddenly looked confused, then concerned. She turned back to Handers.
"I'm sorry, Mr Handers. Let me find out who saw him last and at what time."
"Did Moslin come in at all today?" Raj asked the Nurse who was covering her shift.
"She did. She came in for a few minutes, just to grab a few things." She answered.
Handers took the card out of his wallet that Moslin had given him earlier. On the back was a schedule of services. Sure enough there was one mentioned this morning. Maybe she took him with her.
"Thank you ladies. I'll be back later."
"But Mr Handersâ€¦" The Nurse in front of him called after him.
He wound through the streets quickly, following the directions on the back of the card. He turned the last corner to find the ancient stone church rising up above him. Then his stomach sank as the realization hit him. Starting on each side of the church, a high stone wall stretched to the end of the block in both direction. The same high stone wall that he'd seen just a few nights before. The school grounds! This church was sitting on the back side of it. A sudden wave of anger flashed over him. What possible connection could this church and this school have with his son? With Moslin?
He wandered past the large stone columns of the Church's foyer and stopped beside the over sized double doors that lead into the chapel. The pews were half filled with a sea of green Botann heads. A quiet, mostly Botann, congregation sat and listened to an elderly Cleric who was offering his sermon.
Handers scanned the back of the crowd for Moslin. It was impossible to tell from behind. Botanns, he thought in contempt, had too much natural camouflage, to many appendages obscuring any recognizable features.
He moved quietly to the back of the congregation and took a seat. His eyes moved over the crowd again. Nothing. Where was she? He thought. She had to be here. There was no were else that made sense.