Once they were all seated, she began relating the story. “Since you spend a great deal of time together with Brandon, Cliff and Theresa, you need to be as aware as Christina and Andrew about what I’m going to say. Andrew and Christina are aware I receive an incredible amount of mail from thank you cards to postcards to gifts from client’s I’ve assisted with holiday or travel plans. It’s been an unexpected pleasure.” She smiled appreciatively, wistfully, then as other thoughts intruded, it disappeared completely.
“For several months now, I’ve garnered some rather unusual cards, letters and lately, phone calls. At first, I wasn’t concerned. Some vindictive type got the wrong box number, there were a number of explanations.”
“In order to explain what’s been happening, I’ll have to take you back to the start of the problem. Please hear me out and then you can ask any questions you might have when I’m finished, ok?” they nodded, mutely.
Their eyes were glued on her face as each listened quietly to her narrative, surprised by her revelations. “That’s just weird!” one of the boys replied.
“Yeah, I think so too. The RCMP detachment in Hardy contacted the office here.” All heads turned in his direction. “Unfortunately, that’s not the end of it.”
Paul took up the narrative, “The officer assigned to your case left a message this morning.” He explained what they knew.
Taking a deep breath, Eilea continued, “Sugar didn’t make it.”
“Oh, mom, no! How did he get in? Sugar never leaves the apartment. Does that mean this whacko was inside our home?” Christina asked, worry clearly evident in her eyes, her voice.
“He’s escalated. Cards and letters aren’t enough any more.”
“The officer that called this morning told Paul he’s worried this weirdo may have learned our whereabouts.”
“Mr. & Mrs. Walsh inadvertently told him.”
“That was stupid,” Christina cried.
“They aren’t to blame. They didn’t know this was happening. When he found out he went a little crazy.”
“Sounds to me like he’s crazy anyway,” Andrew said. “So what are we going to do?” he continued. “Are you in real danger mom?”
“I thought we’d take Paul up on his kind offer, then go on to Long Beach as planned on Sunday. I won’t allow this jerk and his fantasies to ruin our vacation.”
“So you don’t have any idea what this guy looks like?” Brandon asked.
“No, I don’t. I’ll sure recognize his exaggerated breathing,” Eilea said flippantly.
“Mom, how can you joke about this? It’s not funny!”
“Eilea, may I?” At her nod, Paul continued, “Your mom has taken all the appropriate steps to protect your family, particularly when his actions escalated, we’re doing everything we can to ensure your safety.”
“The only evidence we have managed to gather so far are a few smudged fingerprints. In order to bring him out into the open, your mom agreed with a plan that would push his buttons and force his hand so we could catch him. His escalating action in harming your pet shows that he’s angry and his loss of control – he’s anxious since he doesn’t know where your mother is, much like an addict when they can’t get their next fix. He hit back feeling she’s betrayed him by leaving.”
“Although he’s aware you’re down island, it’s a big island, therefore the likelihood of locating you is pretty slim. We believe he has a job in Hardy so he isn’t free to move around until the weekend, that gives us time to coordinate on this end.”
“Your mom is a strong and wonderful woman who has been trying to shoulder this problem alone. She doesn’t have to do that anymore. Not only are the Hardy Police on this, but our detachment has also been notified and will work in conjunction with yours. And you have me too!”
“What do you mean?”