His father barely acknowledged his mother’s comment, his focus completely on the news report. You couldn’t really blame him, it wasn’t every day that you had a serial killer running around your neighborhood. Jacob certainly didn’t blame his father. His attention was focused on the TV as well but for a different reason. One of his classmates had disappeared two days ago. Natalie Wallace had left the school library late one afternoon and never made it home. Her parents were sick with worry and the school was in a panic over the call for increased security.
“Dear, turn it off. I don’t want Jacob to see that. It’s not appropriate, he’s only 12.”
“Stop coddling the boy, Beatrice. There’s a killer loose in our town. We should be making sure he knows what’s going on.”
Giving her husband a long-suffering look, his mother motioned for Jacob to gather up his books. He quickly complied, keen to be out of the room before they started arguing again. He had made it to the end of the hall before the raised voices of his parents reached him. Firmly closing the door behind him blocked most of the noise and let him pretend it wasn’t happening. All of the adults were on edge so it wasn’t a surprise that his parents were as well.
His classmates were all on edge too. Out of the five people that had gone missing two of them were children, Natalie and an upperclassman named Josh. Both were fairly popular students and their loss was felt by everyone, whether they were friends or not. It still puzzled Jacob to see people who hadn’t acknowledged or had openly disliked Natalie and Josh express worry and grief at their disappearances.
Stacking his books on his desk, the ticking of the clock on his bedside table reminded him that he had a choice to make that night. Opening his backpack he pulled out the folded piece of paper he had found in his locker before he had left school that day. Unfolding it he slowly read the contents out loud.
“For the friends of Josh and Natalie. Meet outside the old church at the end of Hill Street at nine o’clock tonight. We’re getting our friends back.”
He hadn’t recognized the handwriting but looking around the hallway he had seen a few others reading similar pieces of paper. Chewing on his lower lip, he walked over to his window and looked out on the street. There was currently a sunset curfew for anyone under eighteen and a strong advisory for anyone else going out at night to not be alone. The police had come to the school to make sure everyone understood. How much trouble would he get into if he got caught? Could he even consider staying home if there was the chance he could do something to help?