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hat a commotion!

First LaTonya ran in, pulling Cora into a corner in some intense and supposedly “secret” conversation.

Then LaTonya’s big blowhard son, the minister one who claimed to be a man of God — ha! — stormed in, demanding that he be in charge of the search and investigation.

At least both of the women ignored him, Jimmie Sue would give them that, but then Cora insisted on calling the police, which upset LaTonya no end.  She was going on about how Cora didn’t understand, the police treated a black boy different than they did a white girl, and that Darrell hadn’t done anything wrong but the police had it in for him, she knew they did.

LaTonya kept casting glances in Jimmie Sue’s direction, and Jimmie Sue knew what that was all about: LaTonya was wondering whether Jimmie Sue knew that Darrell was involved in the fire at her place.  Well, of course Jimmie Sue knew.  Even if she hadn’t seen him and Cora’s little French girl there that night, she would know.

How could these people come to her, ask her to read the cards about their most intimate fears and wishes, and then think her ignorant about what was really in their hearts, and in her own?

But she kept sitting there, Senior snoring on her shoulder, shuffling her cards and then slowly turning them over one by one, seeing what she could see.  They might have asked her.  She would have told them.  But they were too caught up in their own illusions of control.

Senior was startled awake when the police showed up, a tall Irish-looking kid and his somewhat-rotund Latina partner, way too relaxed about the whole thing for Cora’s taste.  They took down the descriptions of the two “youth,” as they called them; listened to Dwayne’s rant about Darrell and Juliette’s “blasphemy,” as he called it; listened with sympathetic expressions on their faces to the mothers’ worries.  Then they politely said that they would wait 24 hours until they filed an official missing persons report and commenced a search, that there was no evidence of kidnapping or other foul play, and that the adolescents would undoubtedly return home safe as soon as they got hungry and tired.

“This is totally ridiculous,” spat Cora.

“What’s the matter?” asked Senior foggily.

“Nothing, darlin’,” Jimmie Sue told him.  She wasn’t sure he’d even registered fully that Cora and Juliette were in the house, so there was no point in telling him that his granddaughter had gone missing.  ”Go back to sleep.”

As the police got ready to leave, Cora pointed to Dwayne.  ”Take him with you,” she told the police.

They looked surprised, shuffled their feet, mumbled prevaricating protests.

“You might be able to convince me you have some ridiculous rule about not going to look for my missing daughter,” she told them, “but I know my rights as a private property owner and I want this man out of my house.  Now.”

Dwayne harrumphed and declaimed, but finally left ahead of the two cops.  When they were all finally gone, LaTonya said to Cora, “I think we should go talk to my other son, DaShawn.  At the GoGo.  They might be hiding out with him.”

Cora looked alarmed at that, though Jimmie Sue could have told her, if she asked, that she had nothing to worry about from DaShawn.  Not yet, anyway.

“I better call Juliette’s father in France,” Cora said.  ”He needs to know what’s going on, in case she gets in touch with him.  And Hugo, that boy she left over there.”

“Oh, God,” LaTonya said, looking as if she might faint.

Jimmie Sue knew that Darrell and Juliette were somewhere outdoors, somewhere they could not be easily found.  She saw tall trees around them, dark shadows, saw their faces in moonlight.  That was all.

“They’re safe,” Jimmie Sue said.

Both women turned to her, their faces frozen.

“They’re all right,” Jimmie Sue said.  ”I can see them.  They’re fine.”

Cora rushed over to her.  ”Where are they?” she said.  ”We have to go to them, right now.”

“I…..”  Jimmie Sue turned over more cards.  She didn’t like being pressured like this.  She could only see what she could see, and nothing else was coming up.  Not about Darrell and Juliette, anyway.

“There’s water,” Jimmie Sue said.

“Are they out by the lake?”

“No, not them.  Someone blonde.  I see a T.  I think it’s Taryn, George’s wife.  She’s cold.  I see her surrounded by water.”

“I don’t care about Taryn!” Cora cried.  ”I need to find my daughter!  Where is my daughter?”

A black curtain came down in Jimmie Sue’s mind.  It wasn’t anything she did on purpose, though she might have, if her gift was something she could turn on and off depending on her feelings.  She didn’t like being talked to like that.

“I’m sorry,” Jimmie Sue said.  ”You’ll find her, but not tonight.  All I can tell you is that she’s safe.  Except….”

“Except what?” Cora yelled, grabbing Jimmie Sue’s shoulders and shaking her.  ”What, you old fool?”

Jimmie Sue should really not say anything at all.  But she’d come this far.

“It’s your brother, Jamie,” she told Cora.  She’d been having visions of him all day, somewhere in a field, with two other people, strangers.  There were guns involved, and chemicals, animals, something treacherous and violent.  ”Your brother is in terrible danger.”

See what else Jimmie Sue predicts.

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