Kevin hopped out of his car in the hospital parking lot, noticing that Sharptwig had exited his own vehicle and was quickly making his way towards the entrance. Their paths converged as they reached the sliding glass doors, but neither spoke as they entered and strode into the lobby. They didn’t need to. Only one thing was on their minds: keeping Heather safe.
Just as they turned the corner into the hallway leading to the elevators, they ran into Jeanetta, who was coming from the cafeteria. She was holding two purses, one in each hand while her face was awash with alarm.
“Kevin, Logan . . . did either of you see Heather come this way?” she asked in a quavering voice.
Kevin exchanged glances with the police detective and felt his mouth go dry.
“What do you mean, Jeannie?” he asked.
“I left her at a table in the back of the cafeteria a little bit ago to change my bandage. When I got back, she wasn’t there, but her purse was still on the table that we’d been sitting at. I asked some people sitting nearby if they had seen her, and one said he’d seen a girl walk out the emergency exit. I looked out the exit and couldn’t see anything, so I came this way to see if she had come out here for some reason.”
Jeannie’s unbandaged eye welled up as she clutched at Kevin’s arm. “Where is she, Kevin? She wouldn’t have left her purse behind. Why did I leave her? Oh, God, please.” She began to cry hysterically as she clung to her brother, her face pressed against his shoulder.
“Jeannie,” said Sharptwig, reaching out a hand and placing it on her back. “We’re going to find her. She’s going to be okay. I promise. We have to trust God with this.” She nodded wordlessly in response, growing a little quieter.
Sharptwig stepped away and walked quickly towards the cafeteria. He disappeared from view, leaving Kevin awkwardly trying to comfort Jeannie, who continued her quiet weeping.
“Oh, God,” she whispered hoarsely into Kevin’s shoulder. “Please help her.”
As Kevin held her, feeling wretchedly helpless, he found himself also praying. Silently, his heart reached up to Heaven. “God, if You’re up there and if Heather really is your child, keep her safe and bring her back home. Please. Help us to know what to do.”
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