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"Mom," called out Abby, as she walked down the hall to her parents' bedroom. "Jake should have been back by now."

"What time does the last bus arrive?" asked Izumi, setting down the pregnancy book she had been reading on the bed.

"About fifteen minutes," replied Abby, impatiently shifting her weight from one foot to the other.

"Jake probably just decided to spend the day in Chaumont, instead of coming back on an earlier bus," proposed Izumi.

"I wish Dad and Uncle Terry were here," muttered Abby, checking the time on her parents' clock.

"They'll be home tomorrow," assured Izumi, for the two men were on a small business trip in Alexandria Bay to meet one of their clients.

Just then, a brilliant white flash of light lit up the bedroom curtain. Seconds later, it was followed by a rolling clap of thunder. Abby jumped in spite of herself.

"Do you want to sleep with me tonight?" asked the mother, seeing the apprehension in her daughter's face. "Do remember when you were three years old? You'd climb into bed with us whenever you had a bad dream."

"I haven't done that in a long time, Mom," resisted Abby, checking the time once more.

"Well," sighed Izumi, sadly, "there's room on the bed if you change your mind."

Abby paced back to her bedroom and sat down again in front of her computer.

"Why am I concerned?" she wondered to herself. "Jake's an adult. He knows what he's doing. He can take care of himse-- " here Abby stopped short.

Another crack of thunder rattled her window pane. She pulled back the curtains and looked out. The last bus from Chaumont was now due. Abby kept vigil at the window until finally returning to her parents' room.

"Mom, I'm driving to Chaumont," she announced.

"What?" cried Izumi.

"He should have been on that bus," reasoned Abby, going back to her room to fetch a coat and the keys to her jeep.

"Maybe, the bus is just running late," Izumi reasoned. "Sweetheart, it's getting dark, and the roads will be wet!"

"Mom, Jake is several hours late! He should have been back well before dinner!" fought Abby, quickly kissing her Mom on the cheek and going to the front door.

"Wait!" called out Izumi. "You'll need this," she said, handing her daughter an umbrella. "Maybe, I should come with you."

"I can handle this," responded Abby, her voice full of confidence.

Izumi watched helplessly as Abby's form disappeared into the garage behind the little yellow house. The torrent of rain poured unceasingly from the heavens, pounding the garage roof so that Abby could barely hear herself think. She removed the canoe from her jeep, and put on the hard top. After starting the engine, the jeep pulled out of the garage. When Abby got out to close the garage doors, another flash of lightning lit up the night sky.

As she drove down the highway into Chaumont, the jeep's headlights shone brightly ahead, making the rainfall visible in the two beams of light. What had happened to Jake? Abby didn't know what to expect, or if she was simply overreacting to absolutely nothing. Of course, she much preferred the "absolutely nothing," but something deep in her heart, told her that Jake was in trouble.

The jeep sped along, until Abby noticed more and more vehicles on the road. It was unusual for this time of night, for rush hour traffic usually occurred earlier in the day. The traffic crept along, until it came to a complete stop. Abby nervously drummed her fingers on the steering wheel, anxious to get into Chaumont. Just then, she heard the loud blaring sound of an ambulance siren as it screamed by her vehicle, hurrying up the road in the one empty lane that had been sectioned off by orange cones.

"What's going on?" she muttered to herself.
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