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At the Heart of the Missing is a psychological thriller about a woman’s fierce struggle to flee her abductor and a PI’s frantic search to locate her. It is a heart-wrenching tale about the ties that bind and the tragedies that break families.
(Scroll down for prologue.)
April 5 – April 12, 2017.
Friday, May 6
Rose stands in the center of the living room, staring at the opaque, indestructible glass of the window nearest the fire escape. She smirks. Escape. There is no escape: the window is painted shut. She fingers her breakout tools—a pair of manicure scissors and a jagged cuticle pusher: scrape paint, raise window, crawl through. But her legs are leaden. It is all she can do to raise an arm to wipe her brow. A whiff of sweat triggers a wave of nausea. Swallowing hard, she glances toward the door.
Time is limited. Yes, he is gone overnight, but at dawn, a jangle of keys will assault her eardrums. She has gotten away with a few tiny deviations from his set of rules, from his idea of perfectionism. But this? This will not go unnoticed. What if she fails? She flinches as she flashes on yesterday: the setting of the table, the misplacement of a water goblet, and the blow to her ribcage.
A sob explodes from Rose’s throat. How the hell did she end up here? In this situation? Anxious, she thrusts forward, first one foot, then the other. She is making headway now, inching toward the window, almost there. At the window, she stalls again. What the hell is she waiting for? There is no time for hesitation, no time to question how she got here. But she has to think things through. All her life, she’s been completely in control, spiraling upward. All her life, she’s maintained independence. Needing no one. Accessorizing with and then casting aside lovers and friends. Her only true allies were blood: her sister and her mother.
But three years ago, her sister Margo vanished. Not a word, not a trace. Gone.
Three months ago, Rose’s mother died. Her body battered by cancer, her heart shattered by grief, Violet Harrington just gave up.
The losses left Rose out of touch, alone. Just Rose. A solo, independent woman. Now, imprisoned in front of the opaque window with her makeshift tools in hand, reality knifes her. What she created was not independence; it was vulnerability. Without a support system, she was a target. She was prey. With her porthole of time eroding, with every nerve stretched taut, Rose stares at the window.
How long had he hunted her?
My best to you,