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Bologna


(Catch up on the story, here)

I saw a TV show once, about people who did extreme things because they were addicted to the adrenaline. There was this kayaker who paddled over waterfalls. For fun. My heart about stopped when I watched that. Right now, I’m that kayaker going over the falls. The roaring rush of the water fills my ears. My breath catches in my throat. My heart pounds without mercy against the cage of my chest. Grampy is missing. But right now, I’m more angry than scared. “Balogna?! You gave him bologna?” I run my hands through my hair, pushing it away from my face in a tangled nest of dark red. I let it drop. Grampy always says pushing it back like that makes me look too harsh. I start to think that’s what I need when the male nurse standing in front of me doesn’t look as concerned as he should. Barrett. Grampy’s told me about him. I turn to Emerald Isle’s administrator. “Your staff does read the files on the patients they’re in charge of, correct?” “Yes of course, but—” “So the nurse knew of my grandfather’s abhorrence towards bologna.” “Irrational fear,” the male nurse mutters. I take a deep breath and focus on what’s important—finding Grampy, not kneeing Barrett in the gut. I squeeze my eyes shut and pinch the bridge of my nose. I had to cut out of class early for this, and I’d already missed too many college courses this semester. I have to find Grampy before the week’s out. “Did anyone see him?” I ask when I open my eyes. “Miss Sequim,” the administrator says in a small voice. No doubt she’s afraid of a lawsuit, or whatever it is normal people do in this type of situation. But she’ll learn quickly enough, my family is far from normal. I look at her expectantly. She clears her throat and continues. “She said he threatened to kill her.” “He’d never—” I start. “Let me clarify, Miss Sequim said he slid his finger across is throat. Scared her to death.” I nodded. That did sound like my grandfather. He thought he was tougher than he was. Always told my brother and I stories about being in some secret organization back in Ireland. Jack and I knew they were only stories. But now, it seems Grampy thinks they’re reality. My fear ebbs and I know we’ll find him; I just want it to be soon. “We’re doing everything we can,” the administrator says, still strained. “He’s a senile old man with reality issues.” Barrett’s words are sharp with irritation. I step forward so fast, I’m a little surprised, the tips of my toes resting on the tops of his white sneakers. This is the fire Grampy always talks about. My voice is almost a growl when it rolls out between my lips. “You. Do not. Want to go there. Trust me.” His Adam’s apple bobs with his swallow. If he wants space, he’ll have to take the step back, not me. And he does. I knew he would. “Let’s go, Barrett,” I say as I walk towards the door. “You’re going to help me find him.” “No way, I’m not—” “You’re the reason he’s missing,” I say. The administrator looks apologetic. “You’re the best one for the job, Barrett; you’ve been his nurse for over a year.” “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he says. I can’t help but let a small smile spread its way across my face.



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