Greg arrived in the neonatal unit as the small, frail form of his grandson was being resuscitated. Shon stopped short of running into him. Both stared as the doctors worked to save their grandson. The small weak cry was a welcome sound to their ears as they let their lungs resume breathing. Grabbing a nurse by the arm as she passed by Greg asked
Shaking him off the nurse hurried towards one of the doctors. Whispering and pointing at them the doctor finally nodded as he approached them “are you relatives?”
“Grandparents” Shon told him not taking his eyes from the infant boy being hooked up to tubes and machines.
Following their combined gaze the doctor suggested “perhaps we should go over here and talk.” Once they were seated the doctor looked at their stunned expressions he explained “your grandson is suffering from RDS or respiratory distress syndrome. When he was born his lungs weren’t fully developed yet. We were prepared for this and we were able to move quickly when he started to show distress.”
“But he’s breathing now” Greg turned shocked eyes towards the doctor. Greg had the look of someone who had been through one too many battles in a short span of time.
Shon watched the young doctor nod. There was something in the man’s demeanor, in his eyes that alerted Shon that there was something else the doctor hadn’t mentioned yet. Something that they weren’t going to like. “Brain damage” Shon said into the silence “lack of oxygen can cause brain damage.” He turned grief filled eyes towards the doctor hoping he was wrong.
“That’s a possibility,” the doctor leaned forward steepling his fingers as he contemplated his next words “we won’t know to what extent until the infant grows and starts to develop. He may be perfectly healthy…”
“You don’t really think so,” Shon blurted.
“No I don’t, ” he shook his head stifling a yawn “more than likely if he lives….”
“If” the word exploded from Greg’s mouth. He leaned forward running shaky hands through his hair.
Shon watched the tremors pulsing through the other man. He wondered how much more Greg would be able to withstand. He reached out and patted the mans’ shoulder before turning his attention back to the doctor “you were saying…” he prompted.
“Err” eyes darted towards the obviously distraught man in the chair opposite him before clearing his throat “he’ll um more than likely have some developmental and intellectual delays…”
“Your saying my grandson will be mentally handicapped,” anger swept through Greg prompting him to lift his head and glare at the man in front of him as if he were responsible.
“No I mean it’s a possibility. He could be slow, have some speech problems, we simply don’t know until the symptoms develop.” The younger man stammered eyes shifting from Greg to Shon who gave the appearance of a simmering volcano. Under their baleful gazes he continued “there’s a small chance he’ll have some vision problems may be even blindness. I’m sorry…” He stood as a nurse motioned to him “if you’ll excuse me.”
Greg muttered half to himself as the doctor walked away “this nightmare just keeps getting worse. Not only does Robbie have the possibility of brain damage now the baby too.” Rubbing his temples he mumbled “it’s just too much.”
Shaking him Shon attempted to get his attention. When Greg lifted his eyes he blinked as if remembering he wasn’t alone.” Shon shook his head at him “we cant lose ourselves to what we can’t change or do anything about. We to need to focus on what we can do…”
“What can we do?” Greg almost shouted at him getting to his feet ready to confront the bigger more physically fit man.
Despite his misgivings of how much more stress Greggory could handle Shon sat back giving the appearance of relaxing. “We find Miranda.”
Greg blinked hands going limp and hanging listless at his side he slowly shook his head from side to side “how?” he asked “what can we do that the police haven’t?”
“Have you confirmed with your bank if Naomi transferred funds to another account?” Shon asked keeping his voice calm, relaxed, steady, free from accusation.
“I’ll do that now,” with jerky movements Greg brought his phone out “hey Rose Marie I need to check to see if there has been any unusual transactions on any of my accounts…Oh I see Naomi transferred some funds to our nephew Sam’s account…No no problem. Thank you for checking. She forgot to mention the transfer to me… Afraid I wouldn’t approve. The boy has no money sense and is always in some sort of trouble.” He turned to Shon putting his phone away “there was a 25 thousand dollar transfer to a Sam Reynolds on Monday two weeks ago.”
“Now we’re getting somewhere,” Shon stood up and walked purposefully into the neonatal unit. Flagged down a pretty nurse after a few minute of flirting he returned to Greg’s side beaming.
“You look like the cat who ate the canary,” he shook his head in wonder “does your wife know you flirt to get information?”
Smiling like the Cheshire cat Shon winked “Evie would approved of any method I use if it helped to find Miranda. So I’ll flash my baby blues to anyone if I think I’ll get information that way.”
“So what did you learn?” Greg asked perking up now that he hand something worthwhile to do.
“I found out that there’s a Sam Reynolds working on temporary assignment at the Mental Hospital right here in Riverview. He’s doing some research for the science lab in Roaring Heights.” Shon put an arm across Greg’s shoulders leading him down the hallway towards the waiting room “tonight I suggest we canvass the mental hospital.”
“What are we looking for?” Greg asked somewhat confused.
“We need an idea of how security works there. How easy is it for someone to come and go undetected. Unusual deliveries. Possible escape routes.” Shon shrugged a little self-consciously.
“I’m glad you’re here,” Greg admitted “I wouldn’t know where to start.”
That night Greg found himself sitting in the passenger seat of his ca. Shon beside him with binoculars pressed to his eye. It would have been funny if it weren’t so serious. Grunting Shon tossed the binoculars over to Greg “take a gander towards the hospital basement area.” Lifting the binoculars to his eyes it took Greg several seconds to find what Shon had been looking at.
“It looks like they’re moving something,” He looked questioningly to Shon who was drumming his fingers on the steering wheel.
“Something or someone,” he muttered “I bet the cops were here earlier and spooked them.”
“You don’t think…” Greg turned horrified eyes toward the hospital.
“There’s only one way to find out,” Shon said easing the car into gear “keep an eye on them and tell me when they leave.”
Nodding Greg lifted the binoculars to his face. Licking his lips in a combination of dread and anticipation. A sudden flash of long blonde hair had him gasping for air “it’s her. They’re moving her.”
“I know my own daughter,” he screamed at Shon within the tight confines of the car.
“Alright alright” Shon made placating motions with his hands. “Tell me when they leave and what direction.”
“They’re in the van….left go left,” Greg cried as he felt the car speed up. He felt the binoculars were an extension of his face so tight he was holding them. He had no doubt that when this was over he would have two black eyes.
“Keep your eyes glued on that van,” Shon advised him as he concentrated on tailing it and keeping enough distance between so as not to alert them.
“Why aren’t you trying to overtake them?” Greg asked.
“I’m out of my jurisdiction to act in the authority of the police. Plus I don’t want them to panic and do anything stupid.”
“There’s something else you’re not telling me,” Greg cast a dark look towards his companion.
Shon thought for a moment before answering “they’re making mistakes. First they’re moving the girl. Obviously the police visit scared them even though the police didn’t find anything. So why move her? They were safe as long as they didn’t give themselves away.” Shon debated telling Greg his biggest concern.
Some of his dread most have seeped over to Greg as he let the binoculars drop into his lap. “You think something happened to Miranda, don’t you?” He turned sad and terrified eyes toward Shon “you think she could be dead. Probably is dead. You think this is a body dump don’t you?” His voice rose as he spoke. He could feel his heart beating in his chest trying to escape. He couldn’t take this. He couldn’t….
“It’s a possibility,” Shon said risking a look in his direction.
“A very real possibility?”
“Yes” Shon grudgingly admitted “I’m sorry. We can’t give up hope though. This clandestine move in the middle of the night could just be hiding their true move. We won’t know until they stop.” He slowed as the van’s brake lights flashed. His heart sank. The only reason to be out here in the middle of a forest was to dump a body. “Watch that van,” he advised Greg.
Greg picked up the binoculars feeling as if he was moving in slow motion. He knew Shon told him to watch the van to keep him occupied. To give him a feeling he was doing something to save his little girl. He knew deep inside that the only way this was going to end was badly. “They’re stopping,” he shouted as his nerves took control.
Shon parked the car in a clump of trees out of sight of the van. He got out of the car saying “stay here,” a command he knew that Greg wouldn’t keep. One he knew he wouldn’t be able to keep if he were in Greg’s shoes and one of his kids were in Miranda’s precarious position. He made his way towards the parked van as he cautiously retrieved his gun from it’s holster. Something he wasn’t sure why he had brought it with him other then the gut feeling that prompted him to bring it.
As he inched forward he cursed himself for not telling Greg to call the police to inform them of what was happening. Keeping his labored breathing in check he heard the sound of shovels scrapping into the earth. Perspiration dotted his forehead as he readied himself to confront the occupants of the van. The worst that could happen was there would be two more bodies lying in that shallow grave they were digging.