Ten years ago, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor Remy watched helplessly as Sam's little sister was kidnapped. Later, Remy and Sam identified the man and he was sent to prison. Now, Sam's shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. But as long-buried memories begin to surface, she and Remy wonder—could they have been wrong about what they saw?
From the moment I came unfrozen after Turtle was carried off into the cold night, I cried without stopping. Even when I was silent and otherwise seemed calm, the tears continued, and there didn’t seem to be any point in trying to hold them back— not that I wanted to. None of it felt real. It was like we all had been actors in a pleasant but uneventful long- running play—Childhood: Nota Musical— but to night we’d somehow wandered onto the wrong stage and picked up the wrong scripts. To night, the part of Terrified Mother Who Cannot Stop Screaming will be played by SharonMyers. This is a big change for Ms. Myers, whose previous role asPretty Suburban House wife did not require much screaming.
While our fathers searched, Susan Mitchell walked down the street to retrieve Gretchen from Abby Tickle’s house. My mother stayed by the front door and prayed the Rosary, which I’d never seen her do until that night. Remy and I sat at the kitchen table with a friendly cop— he told us to call him Officer Bert— who took notes on a small yellow legal pad as we talked.
“The man you saw tonight— can you tell me what he looked like?”
“He looked like Santa Claus, except he was skinny. I already told you.” Beside me, Remy nodded in silent agreement. I thought he’d been asleep while it happened, but now he insisted he’d been faking.
“Okay, we know that. But other than his costume, did you see what he looked like?”
“Oh. Well, yeah.” My voice was soft and hesitant. All I wanted was for my sister to come home. I didn’t want to get anybody in trouble. You have to understand that my world was so small and safe back then; the idea that someone whom Turtle knew and trusted would hurt my sister seemed impossible. “He looked like Steven.”
Officer Bert stopped taking notes and put down his pen. “Who’s Steven?”
“And who’s Gretchen?”
“My big sister.”
“I see.” A single strand of tinsel, probably from what ever party he’d been called away from, clung to the front of Officer Bert’s sweater. “Did he only look like Steven, or was it actually him?”