Between Here and the Horizon

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Authors: Callie Hart
interaction with me. She looked surprised and uncomfortable at the fact that I’d picked her up and I was mothering her.  
    “Why have you been crying?” she asked, frowning.  
    “Oh, I burned my finger on a hot pan, sweetie. It’s all better now, though, I promise.”
    “Your feet are dirty.”
    “I know, I know, I made a mess, didn’t I? I’ll be able to clean it all up after breakfast, though. Won’t take me long. Why don’t you sit down at the table, and I’ll get you some of those pancakes, huh?”
    Don’t let the children see.  
    Keep the children calm.
    Keep the children safe.
    Amie seemed appeased by the thought of food. I got her settled at the table and served up two pancakes on a plate for her, hastily cutting them into small pieces and drizzling maple syrup over them. Her eyes lit up when she saw how much food I’d heaped onto her plate. “Stay here for a second okay, honey? I just have to make a quick phone call.”
    Amie nodded, cheeks bulging.  
    My fingers were sticky with syrup when I dialed the other number on Ronan’s letter. The phone buzzed eight times before a groggy sounding woman picked up. “Hello?”
    “Hi. I’m looking for…Robert Linneman,” I said, checking the letter. “Ronan Fletcher asked me to call.”
    “I’m afraid Mr. Linneman’s office hours aren’t until nine.” The woman, who’d sounded half-asleep a second ago, now sounded angry instead. “Mr. Fletcher is really going to have to learn that people aren’t at his beck and call twenty-four seven.” In the background, I heard a low, deep voice asking who it was. “Someone from Fletcher’s office. Damn people need to learn to check the time before they start making calls at the crack of dawn. This isn’t New York. We’re not all up and working at five in the morning.”
    “I’m…I’m not in New York. I’m on Causeway Island. I’m afraid there’s been some sort of accident over here,” I said quietly, shielding the receiver so Amie couldn’t hear me. “Ronan left a note and asked that I get Mr. Linneman to come as quickly as possible.”
    “Oh. I see.” Whispering on the other end of the phone, and then the sound of the handset creaking as it was handed over to someone else.  
    “Hello, this is Robert. You’re Ophelia?”
    Shock rode over me in another wave. He knew who I was? Well, he was certainly at an advantage because I had no idea who he was. “Yes. There’s an ambulance on its way. I was meant to call you first, but...”
    “It’s okay. I’m on my way. Don’t let the police take anything before I get there. Are you listening, girl?”  
    “Yes. Yes.” I nodded, clutching tightly to the phone, as if the receiver were the only thing keeping me upright. “Please. Hurry .”

    ******
    “And what time was it when you came downstairs, Miss Lang? Was the note already there then?”
    I’d relocated Amie up to her room when the police had arrived. The red and blue flashing lights of their car had cast long, brilliant shadows across the lawns as it sped toward the house, but the sirens had thankfully been silent. Amie had gone upstairs without a peep, taking her breakfast with her, plate gripped tightly in both hands, before the two uniformed officers had even entered the house.  
    Now I stood in the hallway outside Ronan’s office with the cops, feeling very small and very useless as I tried to answer their questions.  
    “I don’t know. I didn’t notice it. I wasn’t paying attention.”
    “Do you have a key to this door?”
    I shook my head. “No. He didn’t want anyone going in there.” I’d already shown them the note.  
    “We’re gonna have to kick it in then. That okay with you?”
    I nodded, throat aching and too swollen to speak unless it was absolutely necessary.  
    “Stand back then.” The tallest, broadest guy got the job done in one swift movement, slamming the sole of his boot into the door just below the handle. The door sprang open, hitting the

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