The vintage aircraft made of metal tubes and aged fabric, its mahogany propeller slicing the salted sea air, flew past the last sliver of Fire Island on its way to the darkness of the Atlantic Ocean. Roy Higgins sat comfortably in the open cockpit of his Boeing-Stearman, a plane he bought sixty years before. His wedding photograph, framed in oak and shaped by his hands from the tree where they first kissed, lay in his lap.
Sarah Higgins was gone.
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One year earlier.
Three, two, one. At the end of every school day, like clockwork, Jeremy watched the red hand of the school clock trail toward due north and then bolted out the door of English class before the bell fell silent. It was a game that he played with himself. The type of game that only a single child could create, and laugh about, as if he had a make-believe friend to share in the laughter.
Jeremy was a loner who took refuge in himself. With no siblings and a father who had abandoned him long before he could remember, he trusted no one. Not even his mother, or so he thought.
Amid a cadre of social misfits, Jeremy and Big Mac sat silently in the school cafeteria. The smell of ammonia and floor wax signaled that the day was over even for the school janitor. Not, however, for the unruly.
Clare had kept her word and called Principal Young, but as happened many times before, both were found equally guilty and sentenced to a week’s worth of detention. Knowing their history, Principal Young interviewed both and warned of serious consequences if this happened again.