It seems that today, I remembered that I haven’t seen Cam in two days. When I asked Jeremy about it he said, “She’s been staying at a friend’s house.”
I asked mom about it. She said the same thing.
“But have you heard from her? Has she called . . . why has she been gone so long?”
She gave me a look. “Since when are you so worried about your sister? You’ve been neglecting her ever since you got back.”
The anger that rose in my chest at what she’d said almost exploded in the nastiest string of words I could ever think of, but I bit my tongue instead.
“Is it a crime to worry about my sister,” I retorted, and then slammed the back door, headed for the animal’s shack. She didn’t follow. I was glad she didn’t.
I got the dogs ready for their walk as they bounced excitedly around my legs, temporarily tangling me in a mess of leashes. After I got them sorted out and we’d left, I decided that I would go look for her. But first . . . I had to get something.
There was a skinny tree in front of our house. I tied the dogs’ leashes to it and ran inside. I hadn’t gone in Cam’s room in forever, but I knew that she kept her cell phone under her pillow. (I’ve helped mom play “Tooth Fairy” on several occasions.)
So the first thing I went for when I got to her room was her bed. Her cell phone was there. For a second, I couldn’t believe it. My fingers began to shake as I pulled it from under the pillow.
It was hers alright. A palm-fit US CELLULAR. A nice, little silver LG camera phone—a flip-phone.
I got dizzy just looking at it. Why I’d thought that it might still be there, when she wasn’t, I don’t know. She never goes without her phone. I mean never ever. It’s her life, basically.
At that point, I wasn’t sure what to do. So I yelled for Jeremy.
“Jeremy!! Get in here!”
There was the sound of pounding feet, a thud, then harsh breathing.
“Geez, man, don’t give me a heart-attack like that again—“
I turned around, still holding the phone. His face ran pale. “Oh my God.”
He grimaced. “Sorry.” His breathing slowed as he leaned against the doorjamb and rubbed his knee. “Tripped on the stairs, dangit.”
“We have to go. Now.” I stuffed the phone in my pocket and pushed past him. “Something’s wrong.”
“But we can’t—“
“Yes we can. Mom won’t do anything about it. We will.”
I took the stairs down two at a time and bounded out the door for the dogs. By the time I had them untied, Jeremy was beside me.
“We’re getting Eliot and Brad too.” I tossed him my phone. “Call em. Then check Cam’s phone for messages.”
We got to Brad’s house before Eliot. Since it was about halfway between our houses, he said it’d be easier for him to meet us there.
Jeremy was just getting through with telling Brad what had happened when Eliot rode up through the yard on his bike. “Hey, where’s the fire?” All Jeremy had told him over the phone was that we needed him. Soon.
“No fire,” I said. “We think Cam . . . ran away.”
He hopped off his bike and dropped it on the lawn. “Sounds like she is the fire.”
Jeremy glared at him. “Try having your sister run away and your mom not even care.”
“You forget,” Eliot said, his index finger in the air as if he were stating a fact. “I have no siblings. And I live with my grandparents.”
I rolled my eyes. “Come on guys, this is serious.”
Brad stood from where he’d been sitting on the step. “Then what are we waiting around here for?"