“If it was unplanned, they may be new to this, and that will work to our advantage,” the woman assured me.
It didn’t allay my worries one bit. The phone rang and I literally jumped off the sofa. The agents motioned for me to answer it and the man whispered, “Remember, try to keep them talking.”
I nodded nervously, my heart nearly pounding out of my chest. “Hello?” I squeaked as my voice broke.
“Liz, have Chris and Daniel shown up yet?” my Aunt Angie’s voice filtered through the room.
I let out a deep breath, “No, Angie, I’m sorry I haven’t called you back. We’re afraid something may have happened to them. The police are here. Can I call you back later?”
“The police?” my aunt cried. “What’s happened?”
“We don’t know, Angie. I’m sorry but I have to get off the phone now,” I said as I saw the male FBI agent signal frantically for me to end the call. I understood. The line needed to be kept free if the kidnappers decided to call. I abruptly told Angie goodbye and hung up the phone. My hands were still shaking.
“Can you call my mother and ask her to come here?” I asked the woman FBI agent. I wrote down the phone number. “I don’t want to tie up my cell phone just in case.”
I looked into her face and saw sympathy for the first time. She was actually quite pretty. Her blonde hair was bobbed and her eyes were a clear, striking blue. “What did you say your name was?” I asked, as if finally seeing her as a person instead of a nameless officer.
“Emily Stratton,” she replied. “Let me make that call.”
My mom came rushing through the door fifteen minutes later. She hugged me tight and whispered, “It will be okay.”
I nodded back at her even though I doubted anything would ever be okay again.
“I’m surprised there aren’t a team of police outside,” she said. “What are they doing?”
“They’re trying to keep a low profile,” I answered. “The search parties didn’t find anything. They want to make it look like all law enforcement has left.”
“They don’t want to scare the kidnappers off,” I added. If someone was watching the house, they wanted to give them every reason to make contact. “The FBI thinks they’re novices and it will help make them feel safe enough to call.” next page