Author’s Note: So… A bit of panic never hurt anyone, right?
“Have you seen your brother? He wandered off after we got back, and I thought he was going for air-conditioning, but he doesn’t seem to be anywhere that I can see. It’s getting close to time for the parade,” Mackenna said, giving each of the others a look. Carson had been a little off after he went to the shore, quiet all the way back into town, but she hadn’t thought anything was wrong. He needed to cool off, and she’d gotten caught talking to a couple of other owners while his brothers went their own way as well.
She hadn’t been worried until she’d gone in the Legion and not seen him anywhere. She supposed he could be other places, too, but that didn’t reassure her much. She didn’t want to lose track of Carson now, not when he was recovering memories and could be in some kind of fugue or something. She didn’t want him hurting himself somehow.
“No, sorry. We wandered off to find the people selling the shirts,” Larry said, tugging on his new purchase. “Figured we’d do better being a bit official-like since we were taking up space in your car. Carrie still thinks we’re nuts, but we’ve been having a blast, so why not support the cause a little?”
Mackenna smiled. “I’m not entirely sure you’re contributing to the cost of anything except the printing of the shirts, but I think they’re great to have. If you feel like spending more money, you could always do the raffle. That goes to the nursing home, I think.”
“Already did. Carrie liked the blanket a lot, so we bought a few tickets. Not expecting to win, but that’s okay. If the money helps the nursing home, I’m all for it,” Nick said, wrapping an arm around his wife’s waist. She rolled her eyes, but her annoyance faded when he kissed her cheek. They were a cute couple, Mackenna couldn’t help thinking, and she had to wonder if that ran in the family. Maybe, after what Carson had said about Larry and his ex.
“Will you do me a favor and check the bathroom for Carson? There’s more than one in the Legion, and just in case he was in there when I checked the rest of the place, I’d appreciate it. We’re going to need to drive Shadow down to the nursing home in a bit, and he should be back by now.”
“He probably just lost track of time,” Larry told her, putting a hand on her arm. “No need to panic just yet.”
She tried to smile. “I wish I could, but that’s not—that’s not me. I’ve been more worried about him than I should have been pretty much from the moment that we met. I don’t want to be, but that’s how it goes sometimes.”
“We’ll check. Anywhere else you want us to look? I mean, it is possible that he already headed over to the nursing home, isn’t it?”
“Unlikely that he walked that far, but yeah, I guess it is,” Mackenna said. She didn’t like this. The longer it went without her seeing Carson, the more upset she got. She was starting to think something had happened to him, and she didn’t want to think that.
What if those eyes he’d felt the other day weren’t just his paranoia? What if someone here really was watching him?
“Did you tell your uncle about coming down here?”
Nick frowned. “Um, no. Why?”
“I was just… thinking.”
“Thinking about Uncle Tim? Why?”
“Because she thinks he might have killed Dad, that’s why, stupid,” Larry said, and Nick glared back at him. He shrugged before turning to Mackenna. “We all have our issues with our uncle, though it’s true he’s got some kind of weird vendetta against Carson, made worse by Carson getting what was in the barn. I don’t know if that was because of the car or because he was thinking the livestock went to baby brother, but Carson already told him he wasn’t taking any of the cows. He put the scrap metal aside to sell and only took the car. Tim hated Dad, yeah, but I don’t know that he could have killed him. He wouldn’t be down here, though. He’d have no way of knowing that’s where we were because we didn’t tell him.”
“Someone else could have, though.” Mackenna heard herself say. “Everyone at the Legion back home knew we were going. We talked about it Sunday night when we met with Mac’s friends, and even if they didn’t mention it, Chambers might have.”
“Chambers is still alive? Amazing. I’d have thought he’d have been pounded for good by now. He was always asking for it when we were younger.”
“Believe me, he’s still asking for it now.”
“We can make sure he stops.”
She almost laughed. “No, don’t, I don’t need you to pick any fights for me. It’s okay. I handle him just fine. Let’s just find your brother.”