Winter Flower, Chapter 3-3. Cole.

As soon as they got out the door, Erin turned on Sam. “Sam! Why didn’t you tell me Brenna said that about going away? Are you keeping her secrets? Why didn’t you tell me?” Her voice sounded strained, high-pitched like wind blowing through reeds.

Sam recoiled. Shock spread across his still-childlike features. “I didn’t know… I didn’t…” With that, he sobbed and buried his face in his hands.

“Erin,” I said. “It’s not Sam’s fault.”

Erin turned on me. “No, damn it! It’s your fault. She wasn’t running around with twenty-year-olds before you screwed our family up. She wasn’t getting in trouble in school before then. She wasn’t—”

“Stop!” Sam cried out, tears running down his cheeks. “Why do you think she always wanted to be out of the house? Because you two never stop fighting!”…

Winter Flower Chapter 3-2. Sam.

Hunt looked up at one of the other officers. Then back to me. “Sam, it’s important you tell me the exact words she used. What did she say?”

I looked down at the table. Then I said the words in a near whisper. “She said, What are you going to do when I’m gone?”

Hunt’s response was quiet. “Okay. Thank you, Sam.” He sighed. “For the time being, we’re going to treat this as a runaway situation.”

“WHAT?” Mom screeched. “What does that mean? You’re not going to take it seriously?”…

Winter Flower Chapter 3-1: Vanished

Chase’s voice was high-pitched. Panicky. Was he afraid we would find out something? Had he done something to her? “Mrs. Roberts, I don’t know where she is! If she didn’t come home, you need to call the police right now!”

For a second or five or a hundred I stood there, with my heartbeat whooshing in my ears. But then it hit me. He’d said they’d had a fight and that she’d left at midnight. Either he was lying, and he done something to her… or he wasn’t lying… and something had happened to her. My daughter.

Cole’s name came out in a shriek.

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