Bursting through the door Alexander began shouting for his mother, his stunned friends still on his heels. “What is it Alex? What’s wrong?” Sidney’s pulse quickened as she entered the room, to her son’s hysterical shouts, still drying a dinner plate and saw her son’s horrified expression. The plate she held in her hands clattered to the floor just as Duncan entered at a run. “What’s going on? Alex, what did you do?”
“It wasn’t me, I promise!”
“Then what is my boy?”
“Tell us Alex, tell me she’s save.” Sydney’s heart forced itself into her throat.
“I can’t lie to you mother, not now.”
“When?” Her voice was cold, strained even calm.
“Just now. We were coming from football practice when we saw her; she was on her way home when a black van pulled up beside her and – and...”
“You can do it son. Tell us what you saw. Be her voice.” He knew he didn’t really want to hear it and yet without it it was all so unreal.
“They took her in brought day light.”
“He’s back – I knew I’d never be rid of him that easily. So many years have passed. I wonder...” Gently turning her from the untimely news Duncan softly persuaded his wife to follow him.
“Missis C! They left this.” Opening his hand Derik revealed a small piece of folded paper.
“We found it near her phone on the pavement.” Another of Alex’s friends chipped in.
“Thank you boys I’ll take care of it from here.” His voice – soft, clipped, tired and stressed – fell silent as they turned from the boys leaving them in the entrance hall, masks ready to crack as all said goodbye and left. Their vows weighing heavy on their hearts.