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When Sara Connely is asked what life is like today, she answers with the simple words, 'life goes on.' The life she and her boys enjoyed the last dozen years is gone. Sara struggles to cope with the death of her husband and doing so with two young boys, and no money, is almost too much to ask.
Life does go on, but when Sara's oldest boy becomes lost in Croatan National Forest, life comes to a stop.
Twelve-year-old Kyle Connely doesn't know the woods. He doesn't know the wildlife. He doesn't know how to get home. Lost in the wilderness, he faces dangers the likes of which he has never seen. Kyle's time is running out. A hurricane is looming, and in its path is the coastal forest he is trying to survive.
Jacob Hanson has a gift. An intuition. An insightfulness. And it has helped him find success. But his gift turns into a curse as he becomes an unwilling participant in Kyle's plight.
What Jacob Hanson doesn't know is he also holds the key to Sara's past and the lifetime she lost with her husband.
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The caw of a black bird cut through the sound of traffic as Sara Connely hurried her two boys across Franklin Street. She pulled up their hands as they walked over a grass median and then stepped between parked cars. Some abandoned. Some dying. Thick clouds spilled rain and marched away from them, leaving behind threads of steam on the cooling blacktop. Kyle, her oldest, kicked at the whispered moisture that strayed untamed and confused across the road. The clouds sounded a guttural rumble that echoed far. Jonnie, her youngest at five years, tightened his grip on his mother’s hand, but then loosened it as the rumble faded. The heavy smell of wet asphalt and city congestion were unfamiliar to Sara. Unwelcome. She confirmed her grip on Kyle and Jonnie’s hands and searched the faces of the old buildings for the address she was looking for. The black bird cawed again as though warning they were in a part of town they’d no rightful place being in. Annoyed, she gave the bird a hard look—it adjusted its feathered overcoat and cawed once more before flying off.
Sara found the address she was looking for. “There it is. Dr. Pada’s office,” she mouthed as relief settled and she took in the sight of the building. It was a stale brownstone with dust settling in place of some of the mortar. The steps leading to the door bore a steep incline that slowed even the youngest of feet. They entered the office where four plain walls met them. Each of the walls held an empty stare. An examining table stood waiting for them in the company of a lonely desk and filing cabinet. Sara sighed as she looked around while Kyle pulled his hand away to wander. “Don’t break anything,” she mumbled to him.
Jonnie glanced once around the room but then resigned to study the floor. She half-hoped he’d follow in a run after his older brother. He used to do that. But now she couldn’t remember when she saw that last. Sara turned her attention back to the Doctor’s office. Missing were the framed diplomas and the receptionist desk to greet you. Missing were the colorful patient room tags above the doorways. Heck, missing were the rooms. The closest thing to an examination room was a shower curtain pulled around an exam table.
This wouldn’t have been her first choice, but it was the best Sara could afford for her boys. The money was gone. The lifestyle they took for granted for the last dozen years evaporated in the blink of an eye—or, as the case may be, the pull of a single gunman’s finger that ended her husband’s life. But Sara needed to have her son seen by someone… anyone. He was getting worse. And time was just not healing the deep wounds inflicted on that nightmare of a day six months earlier.