The food was delicious. The fish and shellfish were succulent tasty, cooked with care to perfection. Because it was a slow night, the cook came out to join them to inquire about the grub.
“It’s delicious,” they cried.
“Good, it’s supposed to be.” He bantered for a bit suggesting sites to entertain, indicating little shops they might enjoy then a smile wide turned to walk back to the kitchen.
Paul paid the bill and Eilea left a tip. The distance between the restaurant and their cabins was minimal and they could have walked, but Paul suggested they stay together until after they checked in.
Stopping at the office to pick up their keys, the manager directed them toward their set of cabins and they headed off. Paul, Brandon, and Cliff shared one cabin, while Eilea’s family and Theresa shared the other.
Hearing a clamor of voices outside their cabin, Eilea teased, “I think they’ve arrived, don’t you?”
“Anyone else up for a walk?” An immediate chorus of agreement met her suggestion. The kids walked in front, at a distance ensuring their conversation couldn’t be overheard. Andrew hurried to catch up. That left Eilea and Paul to follow.
“Alright, now that the kids aren’t around, tell me what’s really going on.”
“What do you mean?”
“You know what I mean. It certainly didn’t take you long to get the ball rolling, so I can only assume that while that officer back there was on one phone, you were on the other. What did you come up with?”
“I told them I expected another officer assigned to watch our back because we have a lot of kids to keep our eyes on.”
“I’m prepared to turn around and head directly home and I mean it. If there is one more incident, we’re out of here. I won’t take chances with the kid’s lives, especially Brandon and Cliff. I don’t know what their parents will say when they hear about this as is.”
“That’s why I asked to have another officer assigned.”
“What do I say to allay their fears?”
“We face this together. Once they realize they aren’t alone, this isn’t about them, that it’s just one sick puppy acting out his fantasies, they’ll realize that we can overcome this problem.”
“I hope so.”
“I want them to understand that they have the greatest gift possible inside each and every one of them! The gift of fear.”
“I’m not completely sure I understand what you’re saying.”
“In every example of every attack, beating, robbery or otherwise, when I talked with the victims, they all had one thing in common. They each mentioned there was a point a moment during which their basic instincts kicked in and told them to get the hell out of there. And, in almost every instance, the problems that occurred, happened as a result of their failure to listen to themselves.”
“It’s amazingly true! When we talk to the kids, I’d like to give them some examples to think about so they can absorb the idea and prepare for it.”
“I feel more comfortable already.”
“Eilea, it’s not a matter of feeling comfortable, it’s a matter of being aware of your inner warning system. We all have it. If it goes off, then listen to it. Respond to it.”