I gave Morgan a quick glance. It was the first time I'd looked at her that morning. She was breathing faster than she'd been the night before. I put my hand on her forehead. She was still burning up. But she was still alive.
"Be right back, sweetie," I whispered, knowing full well she couldn't hear me.
I raced down the stairs. Haley had been using her coloring books at the base of the stairway, and I had to be careful not to slip on the crayons she'd left scattered everywhere. I opened the front door and ran out onto the porch.
The black SUV was already speeding away.
I stumbled onto the driveway in my socks. For a moment I considered following after it in my car, but that was obviously a stupid idea. There was nothing I could do. I looked back at my parents' old farmhouse. Already I was worried about leaving Morgan alone.
I went back inside. In the entryway, I noticed that there was something stuffed into the pocket of the jacket I'd left hanging on the rack.
It was an envelope, partly crumpled. An unopened credit card offer. I turned the envelope over.
On the back was Ian's handwriting in purple crayon. He must have taken the envelope from the mail piled in the entryway while putting on his shoes. He'd managed to use one of Haley's scattered crayons to scribble out a message:
DO NOT LET ANYONE
TAKE MORGAN AWAY
I found my sister's jacket and rifled through its pockets. Another note, this one written over a post office pink slip, said only:
How could he possibly know that he would be safe? After what I'd overheard that morning, there didn't seem to be any reason to believe I'd see Ian or Shawn any time soon. Or maybe ever.
This fact swept over me slowly as I dialed Shawn's number on my parent's old rotary phone in the entryway.
No answer. His phone was off.
I tried Ian.
No answer on Ian's phone either. . .
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