Where Are the Children?



Format: Mass Market Paperback, 290pp. ISBN: 0671741187 Publisher: Simon & Schuster Pub. Date: January 1992 He could feel the chill coming in through the cracks around the windowpanes. Clumsily he got up and lumbered over to the window. Reaching for one of the thick towels he kept handy, he stuffed it around the rotting frame. The incoming draft made a soft, hissing sound in the towel, a sound that vaguely pleased him. He looked out at the mist-filled sky and studied the whitecaps churning in the water. From this side of the house it was often possible to see Provincetown, on the opposite shore of Cape Cod Bay. He hated the Cape. He hated the bleakness of it on a November day like this; the stark grayness of the water; the stolid people who didn’t say much but studied you with their eyes. He had hated it the one summer he’d been here-waves of tourists sprawling on the beaches; climbing up the steep embankment to this house; gawking in the downstairs windows, cupping their hands over their eyes to peer inside. He hated the large FOR SALE sign that Ray Eldredge had posted on the front and back of the big house and the fact that now Ray and that woman who worked for him had begun bringing people in to see the house. Last month it had been only a matter of luck that he’d come along as they’d started through; only luck that he’d gotten to the top floor before they had and been able to put away the telescope. Time was running out. Somebody would buy this house and he wouldn’t be able to rent it again. That was why he’d sent the article to the paper. He wanted to still be here to enjoy seeing her exposed for what she was in front of these people…now, when she must have started to feel safe. There was something else that he had to do, but the chance had ns office. He might not even look at it for a while. Impatiently, he turned from the window. His thick, trunklike legs were tight in shiny black trousers. He’d be glad when he could lose some of this weight. It would mean that awful business of starving himself again, but he could do it. When it had been necessary he’d done it before. Restlessly he rubbed a hand over his vaguely itchy scalp. He’d be glad when he could let his hair grow back in its natural lines again. The sides had always been thick and would probably be mostly gray now. He ran one hand slowly down his trouser leg, then impatiently paced around the apartment, finally stopping at the telescope in the living room. The telescope was especially powerful-the kind of equipment that wasn’t available for general sale. Even many police departments didn’t have it yet. But there were always ways to get things you wanted. He bent over and peered into it, squinting one eye. Because of the darkness of the day, the kitchen light was on, so it was easy to see Nancy clearly. She was standing in front of the kitchen window, the one that was over the sink. Maybe she was about to get something ready to put into the oven for dinner. But she had a warm jacket on, so she was probably going out. She was standing quietly, just looking in the direction of the water. What was she thinking of? Whom was she thinking of? The children-Peter…Lisa…? He’d like to know. He could feel his mouth go dry and licked his lips nervously. She looked very young today. Her hair was pulled back from her face. She kept it dark brown. Someone would surely have recognized her if she’d left it the natural red-gold shade. Tomorrow she’d be thirty-two. But she still didn’t look her age. She had an intriguing young quality, soft and fresh and silky. He swallowed nervously. He could feel the feverish dryness of his mouth, even while his hands and armpits were wet and warm. He gulped, then swallowed again, and the sound evolved into a deep chuckle. His whole body began to shake with mirth and jarred the telescope. Nancy’s image blurred, but he didn’t bother refocusing the lens. He wasn’t interested inn watching her anymore today.Tomorrow! He could just see the expression she’d have at this time tomorrow. Exposed to the world for what she was; numbed with worry and fear; trying to answer the question…the same question the police had thrown at her ovver and over seven years ago.”Come on, Nancy,” the police would be saying again. “Come clean with us. Tell the truth. You should know you can’t get away with this. Tell us, Nancy-where are the children?”


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