The next morning, fifteen-hundred miles away, Shannon and Chris were having breakfast at their home. The morning news was airing on the flat screen that was mounted on the wall in a nook in the huge eat-in kitchen. Chris sat a glass of orange juice in front of Shannon, then sat across the table from her.
“You know? I was thinking.” Chris said, “Those fertility treatments finally paid off and Taylor was born. And now, he’s in kindergarten. Time flies so fast at our age.”
“That it does. But being pregnant at forty-three wasn’t as easy as it was with the other kids. And Taylor ended up being a C-section baby because of the age-related complications. Having a baby really took a lot out of me the last time around. But we did it and he was worth it.” Shannon said.
Suddenly, they heard a knock at the door.
“Who is it?” Chris called out.
Shannon and the Bledsoes, Present Day
“It’s Daniel and Miles!” Daniel called out from outside.
Chris walked to the door and answered it. Daniel and Miles were on the doorstep carrying a big, oblong box. Daniel had one end of the box and Miles the other.
“Shannon! Looks like Taylor’s playhouse just arrived.” Chris called back to her.
He held the door open as his two brothers came in with the box. They then sat it down and propped it against the wall.
“You’re welcome to stay for breakfast. We have plenty to eat.” Shannon said with a smile as she stood next to the counter that separated the spacious living room from the huge eat-in kitchen, cradling Whiskers, the new kitten they’d rescued, in her arms.
“Sure. We can stay and eat.” Daniel said with a smile.
As they talked, breaking news aired on the television in the kitchen.
“I’m Gina Hutchins with breaking news. Two prison inmates have escaped from the Bedford-Campbell Federal prison in Bryson, TN. Forty-nine-year-old Johnny Ray Crabtree and forty-eight-year-old Jason Allen Eves broke out of prison just a few days ago…”
Chris paused, then spun around and went back into the kitchen. and Shannon’s mouth dropped open. She then slowly turned around and faced the television. She, Chris, and the brothers continued watching as the news anchor continued speaking.
“…a nationwide manhunt is currently underway as authorities continue to search for the two missing inmates. Tips have been rolling in and a sighting of the two men was confirmed this morning with a tipster claiming to have seen the men just the day before yesterday about twenty miles west of Amarillo, Texas. A previous confirmed sighting was just twelve hours earlier just west of Little Rock, Arkansas.”
Chris turned and looked at Shannon. Daniel and Miles looked at each other, then at Chris.
“Un-freaking-believable!” Miles said in a voice of high concern.
“’You think they’re headed to Mexico?” Daniel asked.
“Through, Amarillo?” Chris asked sarcastically.
“They were seen around Little Rock, then they were seen just west of Amarillo the day before yesterday. ‘Doesn’t sound like they’re going to Mexico!” Miles said.
“I’m going to make some phone calls,” Shannon told them. And she grabbed her smartphone and went down the hall toward the master bedroom.
Brielle Suddenly Becomes Alarmed
Back in Tennessee, Brielle, Grandma Bennett, Raina, and Kim stood in Grandma’s living room, watching the same news broadcast while the teenagers and kids sat at the kitchen table, working diligently on their home school lessons.
“I thought Popeye said that they were headed for Mexico,” Brielle said.
“That’s what I heard too,” Grandma agreed.
“Well, they can’t be headed to Mexico if they were spotted in Amarillo. That’s way up in the Texas panhandle. I came through there coming back home last year. It’s nowhere near the Mexican border,” Brielle said in a tone of concern.
“So, where could they be going?” Raina asked befuddled.
Just then, Brielle paused and got very still. A sobering realization hit her like a mac truck and a look of sheer horror crept across her face.
“Oh, my God! I bet they’re headed to Tucson, Grandma!” she said in a foreboding voice.
“What’s in Tucson that could possibly interest those two creeps?” Kim asked
“It’s not what’s in Tucson. It’s who! Grandma, where’s your computer?”