The New ProblemKaren peeked up at the little boy Connor was helping. Now that he wasn’t screaming his head off, Silas didn’t seem like a bad sort. She wondered how anyone could hurt him. Searching her feelings, Karen’s heart seized painfully when the possibility of somebody kidnapping Ellie again sprang to mind.
What would mom do?
That was an easy question: freak out.
What would dad do?
That one was almost as easy: hunt down the jerk and give him a fistful of knuckles.
Karen tried to stop the flow of thoughts, but it didn’t work. In all honesty, the chances of somebody walking away with Ellie were better than good. Kids with Down syndrome could be far too trusting.
Is there such a thing as too trusting?
Before Karen could answer the question, a hand fell across her mouth, slamming her head back hard against the tree trunk.
A man’s voice whispered, “Come with me quietly or I’ll shoot your boyfriend from the tree.”
He’s not my boyfriend, she thought through the haze of pain piercing her skull. Though technically true at the moment, it didn’t mean she could just let the man shoot Connor.
“Nod if you understand me.”
Karen breathed hard, almost hyperventilating.
Don’t faint! Faint! He can’t hurt you then! The conflicting thoughts got tangled in her mind.
The man cursed. “Stop that. If you faint, I’ll shoot you! Come quietly or die here. Those are your options!”
Karen hesitated, torn between screaming for the help that walked mere feet away and heeding the man’s threats. She struggled to pull away, but he tightened his grip, pressing her head painfully against the tree.
“I know where your sister lives.”
That made up Karen’s mind. She ceased her struggles. Tears stinging her eyes, she nodded.