This is going to be a tad longer than a normal Sunday Snippet. Sorry, but I need a few last-minute set of eyes.
Fire in the Woods is days from being done, and I decided I needed to add a little something, and I don’t want to send the work out to query without another few opinions on this.
I am adding a phone call/message from Dad. A beta mentioned that if their daughter were missing that they would be ringing her cell phone off the hook. I added a ringing phone, but I now decided to add a message, and I need to know if it’s believable.
Here’s the set-up: You are a Dad, and a Major in the Army. Your daughter just took off with Public Enemy Number One. There is a huge manhunt going on. She’s not answering her phone. Does this sound like a believable message to leave on her cell phone? (From Jess’s point of view)
My fingers tightened on my phone as I began to slip it into my pocket. The thought of the message from unavailable tightened my chest. What if it was Dad?
“David, hold on for a second.”
I leaned against the back of the building and turned on my phone. David propped himself beside me and grabbed a banana from the bag. He perused each end, and I quickly opened it for him.
He smiled. “Thanks.”
I moved past Maggie’s message, touched unavailable, and brought my phone to my ear.
My father’s sigh tore my soul in two.
“I guess I can’t blame you for not answering.” A slight hum vibrated the casing against my cheek. “I saw the surveillance footage, and it’s pretty obvious you’re not a hostage. I can only imagine what he told you to make you trust him.” I glanced at David as he chewed his banana. Dad’s voice quavered. “Sweetheart, you need to understand that he is a soldier, wounded behind enemy lines. He is not above lying to a seventeen-year-old girl to get what he wants.” I could imagine Dad pacing the floor, rubbing his hand across his tightly cropped head. “Jess, you’ve always been like your mother, and I know there’s no changing your mind once you’ve made it up, so I’m not going to bother asking you to turn him in.”
Really? You gotta be kidding me.
“But what I do want is for you to get away from him. Just wait for him to be distracted and run as fast as you can.” I could almost sense him gritting his teeth. “We will find him, Jess. And you know that I’m not going to sleep until you’re safe.” Muffled voices spoke in the background behind my father’s steady breathing. “Please come back. I can’t lose you, too.”
The call ended, and I powered down my phone. I stared at the blank screen as my father’s words bled into me.
I can’t lose you, too.
I’d never considered the possibility of anything bad actually happening to me. I was safe with David, wasn’t I?
David popped the last of the banana into his mouth and tossed the rest into the trash beside a loading dock. What would happen if the Army cornered us? Would there be shooting? Would David protect me, or use me as a shield?
David slipped his hands into his pockets as he strolled back to me, his smile easing any uncertainty.
My conscience fought to call Dad— to let him know everything would be all right, but I knew he’d just try to convince me to come home. I slipped the phone into my pocket.
“Are you all right?” David asked.
I nodded, biting my lip as Dad’s voice haunted me. You know that I’m not going to sleep until you’re safe.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath. Sorry, Dad.
“We need to find a place to hide for the night.”
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