Chris = MC, 19 year-old, attending college, and works for Jack
Debbie = 18 year-old daughter of Jack, and Chris’s “girlfriend”
Jack = father of Debbie and Will, and Chris’s boss at the airport
Will = 5 year-old son of Jack, and Debbie’s kid-brother
FLYING SOLO is a story about Chris’s spiritual journey.
“Chris!” Debbie shouted into the phone.
“Debbie. What’s going on?”
“Chris, can you come over right away? Mom and Dad went to a movie and I’m at home with Will . . . except he’s gone!” He heard her gasp, and then expel the air as if in pain. He tried to picture what was going on.
“What do you mean, he’s gone?”
“He was in the family room watching one of the animated movies he likes, and when I checked on him, he wasn’t there! I don’t know where he could be. I’m scared Chris—can you come and help me? PLEASE come help me!” She was sobbing now.
“I’ll be right there. Have you called the police yet?”
“No. All they’ll do is ask a bunch of questions and then tell me they can’t do anything until he’s been missing for a long time. Please, PLEASE, just come and help me!”
“I’ll be right there!” He was thankful again Jeff had fixed his car for him. God, thank you for sending Jeff to help me.
He was driving considerably over the speed limit, but he needed to get there as fast as he could to help Debbie. He kept his eyes moving, looking for any cops.
“Debbie,” he hollered through the open front door, “are you in there?” He could hear her crying. He entered and found her in the family room, standing in the middle of the room. Her hair and fear covered her face.
“Debbie . . .” He put his arm around her shoulder, pulling her to him. She leaned into him, crying all the more. What was he supposed to do now?
He stepped back, brushing the hair away from her face. “Debbie, let’s sit on the sofa. Can I get you something to drink?”
“Water. I . . . I . . .” Her body shook.
He soon returned with two bottles of water.
“Here.” Handing her a bottle, he sat beside her, placing his hand on her arm.
“Okay, let’s start at the beginning. Exactly what has happened?” He rubbed her arm, trying to sooth her.
“After we ate lunch, Mom and Dad decided to go to the new movie. They asked if I would be at home to watch Will, and of course I said yes. I was staying here to study for tomorrow’s exam anyway. After Mom and Dad left, I helped Will choose a couple of videos. Once the choices are made, he likes to take care of the rest of it himself . . . he likes running things like the Blu-ray player. I got started on my studies, and every half-hour or so, I checked on him.” She was relaxing a bit, but still Chris could tell it was far from over.
“Okay. So when did you notice he wasn’t here?” Chris tried to remain calm and not allow his emotions show. He put his arm around her shoulders.
“About thirty or forty minutes ago. I got myself something to drink and stuck my head in the family room, and he wasn’t here.” Her tears started again. “I looked all over the house and around the outside, but he’s just not here.” Her lips and chin quivered as she leaned toward Chris, using a tissue to wipe her tears.
“Why don’t I go outside and look around. Maybe walk around the block too, just to see if there’s any chance he just wandered a bit and found a friend to play with. And in the meantime, you go through the house again—be sure to look in all of the closets, under beds and so forth. Okay?”
“Yes. But I’ve already done it.” Another sob shook her body.
He gave Debbie a reassuring hug, rubbing her back, and then headed out.
Ten minutes later he returned. “Did you see anything in the house?”
“No. Did you outdoors?”
“No. But I did talk to a guy who said he saw a kid riding a small bike in the direction I came from, which, of course, would be toward the airport–”
“Oh NO!” It was forced through her lips more like a wail. “Will has a real fascination with airplanes. It probably is because Dad’s whole life is wrapped up in airplanes, and so Will likes being around ‘em too. He loves to fly in our plane.” She clutched herself, rubbing her arms.
Chris put his arm around her shoulders. “So you think he might have headed out to the airport?”
“Yeah, I do!”
“But would he know how to get there?
“Yes! He would know how to get there! He’s very bright, remembering things right down to the smallest detail.”
“Okay. So if it’s ten minutes by car, it’d take forty, forty-five minutes or so to ride his small bike there. So, if he headed there and it’s now been over an hour since you last saw him, he could be at the airport by now . . . assuming he went directly there. C’mon, let’s go find him,” Chris said in an upbeat tone.
They jumped into his car and drove in the direction of the airport. On the way, they took a detour through some neighborhoods, just to see if they would find Will. Maybe he had found a friend to play with–but no such luck.
Approaching the airport, they saw a sea of red and blue flashing lights. Chris’s heartbeat drummed in his ears. He could only imagine what was happening to Debbie at seeing all of the commotion. He glanced in Debbie’s direction and saw she was very pale and crying. He touched her hand, trying to soothe her.
They were stopped by a cop as they turned into the airport entrance. “There’s an emergency up ahead and I can’t let you go any closer,” the cop said. Just then another cop, a sergeant, came along. He glanced in the car and saw Debbie.
“Aren’t you Jack Harold’s daughter?”
“Yes. Why? What’s happened?” Her voice caught on the words.
“Ms. Harold, I need to ask, don’t you have a younger brother about five or six?”
“Yes, I do. Why? What’s wrong with him? What’s happened?” Debbie and Chris got out of the car. He went to her and she took hold of his hand as more tears flowed. He handed her his handkerchief.
“And can you tell me if that is his bicycle leaning against my car?” the sergeant asked.
Tears welled in her eyes as she said in a low voice, “Yes, it is.”
“I—I have some really bad news, Ms. Harold. Your younger brother was struck by a revolving propeller. The air ambulance just landed and will be taking him to the regional hospital. I’m sorry to have to give you this information—”
Debbie gasped, and then a loud wail came rushing from her. Chris tried to console her, but she was too distraught to allow him be close to her. The sergeant asked her where her parents were.
“They went to a movie this afternoon,” she said with tears streaming down her cheeks, “and I—I haven’t been able to reach them.”
“Do you have a phone number for either your mother or your father? A cell phone number?”