Autumn moved her feet at an excruciating pace until she passed them, and Craig’s house. Speedy legs rounded the corner at a stop sign at the end of the block. It was just two houses down from the rambunctious crowd, but at least she was now hidden by some shrubs and out of sight of the men. She bent over, clutching her knees.
Autumn looked around and held back the threatening tears of fear and confusion. She grabbed the back of her head with both hands and pinched her face up tight. She wanted nothing more than to scream at the top of her lungs and go home to her condo in California, but she couldn’t. Autumn needed to think, and fast. She’d had enough running around in circles getting nowhere. After shaking the nerves from her fingers she forced a slow release of air through tight lips.
Autumn decided to use the anxious feeling in her favor. She was stuck in Denver on that very street at that very moment for a reason. Already being scared to the point of no return, she decided that she might as well make the most of it. Craig’s house seemed to be just as quiet at night as it had been every morning leading up to this point. Since the only men that seemed to be out in this oddly quiet street happened to be busy playing cards, she concluded it might be her only chance to look into the windows of Craig’s house undetected.
There was only one extremely small home between her and Craig’s house, and there were shrubs all the way around it. Autumn ducked down behind the greens and crept into the yard of Craig’s neighbor. There was a light on and noises coming from inside. I have to make this fast, she thought. She moved as quietly and quickly as possible through the yard and past the shrubs to the other side. There was a small space between the unforgiving bushes and the cracked bricks of Craig’s house, Autumn wedged herself there.
Her alert ears listened carefully, but she heard nothing close. There were weeds to her waist and no space to move around. The rowdy men still playing cards and drinking beer was a faint sound in the distance. She strained her ears as hard as she could, but was unable to make out what they were saying. With a stomach sucked in tightly, and breath held, Autumn inched her way around the side of Craig’s house and to the tiny dirt yard behind it.
The first filthy window she snuck by was hard to see through. Nothing was visible except an abundance of garbage that covered an old battered couch and coffee table. Finally, she made it to the back door and ever so slowly she reached for its handle. Her eyes were wide and searched in every direction. She prayed that the house was empty. The metal was warm in her hand, a scorching reminder that she was in fact trespassing in a very dangerous place. Several deep breaths filled Autumns lungs as she mentally pep-talked herself into twisting her wrist to open the door.
The hinges creaked allowing the door to open, and for some inexplicable reason she pictured Chance. A clear image of his piercing eyes and the angry words of caution he’d be spitting in her direction right now, barged into her thoughts. Had he known what she was about to do, he’d likely have a heart attack.
Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her.
It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead, and travels across the country to find more clues about Maylee’s disappearance.
But will she be able to pry Maylee’s case back open, and what will she uncover in the process of searching for Maylee?
It’s a cold, dark world we live in, and Autumn is about to find out just how cruel it can be. But strength and determination are on her side, and she will do whatever it takes to deliver justice.