Jenny looked at the white cloth and suddenly realized what it was. Gretchen was holding Kevin's favorite shirt, the one with the red rings around the neck and the ends of the sleeves and the picture of the dinosaur on the front. He wanted to wear that shirt every day and sometimes even got away with it. He would never take that shirt off if he could get away with it except to go swimming or to go to bed. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong.
"I looked everywhere for them," Gretchen said. As she spoke, tears began streaming down her cheeks. "I searched the house. I searched the yard. It's like they just disappeared." She sniffed. "I thought maybe they ran away, but I can't understand why they would have taken their clothes of, first."
"They wouldn't," Jenny went cold as realization struck. "Someone must have kidnapped them." The thought seemed to rise up in to her mind and seep away the panic. She couldn’t afford to lose control. Not now, not when Kevin was in trouble.
"How? They were in Jimmy's room."
"Maybe he came through the window or something," Jenny shuddered at the thought of some sicko crawling out of a window, carrying two naked, squirming six year-old boys.
"Oh, Jenny, I'm so, so sorry. I should have kept a closer watch on the boys. I'm...I'm a horrible mother. It's all my fault."
Jenny opened the door and pulled her friend in to the house. She wrapped her arms around the other woman and held her tight. "Don't say that, Gretchen. It's not your fault. We'll get the boys back. They'll be fine."
Gretchen went limp. "What should we do?"
"We'll call the cops. They'll know what to do."
"Okay." Gretchen pulled away, sniffed loudly and wiped her nose. "Let's do that."
Jenny led her in to the kitchen. She pulled a tissue out of a box sitting on the counter and handed it to Gretchen. "Here, you need this," she said as she picked up the phone and dialed 911.
The phone rang for an eternity. Finally, on the eighth ring, the line picked up. "Nine-one-one," a strained male voice said, "What's your emergency?"
"My son has disappeared. I think he's been kidnapped," Jenny said. "My neighbor is here and her son is gone, too."
The emergency operator sighed heavily. "Yours and everyone else's, ma'am."
"What?" Jenny practically shouted as white anger exploded behind her eyes. "My son is gone. How dare you...you..."
"Um, ah," the operator audibly backpedaled, "I'm sorry, ma'am, I didn't mean to say that. This is the fiftieth missing person call we've gotten in the last hour. That's on top of nearly a hundred emergency calls. We have no idea what's going on and we're already falling behind. I'll transfer you to someone to take your information. I'm sorry. I really am."
"Just let me talk to someone," Jenny commanded, aware of the icy edge in her voice.
Some Women I Love
3 weeks ago