the end credits rolled, Mart glanced at his watch.
9:15. Brian should
be calling any time. He
looked over to where Trixie sat next to Dan.
She was curled up beside him with her head on his shoulder.
Mart frowned at Dan.
mouthed the words, “Sound asleep.”
Di went to the VCR to put in the other movie they had rented, Honey
leaned over and whispered to Mart, “Just let her rest.”
nodded and grabbed the portable phone.
“I’ll be in the kitchen if anyone needs me.”
twenty minutes of restless pacing and idle straightening-up of the
already neat kitchen, the phone finally rang.
Mart answered immediately, hoping to prevent the sound from
penetrating Trixie’s slumber.
was more than a little surprised to hear his brother’s voice. “Hey, Mart. What
are you doing home on a Friday night?”
be glad I’m here,” Mart answered, a bit brusquely.
aback by his brother’s tone, Brian paused.
“That bad, huh?”
took a deep breath, then exhaled slowly.
“She’s just not right, Brian.
Yeah, okay, she got upset about having an argument with Jim.
Which she blew out of proportion, by the way.
She was convinced he’d never speak to her again.”
chuckled. “Jim said the
same thing about her.”
a wry grin, Mart continued. “And
we all know they’re crazy, and by tomorrow all will be well between
them. Or at least by next
Friday. But she sat here on
the kitchen floor and CRIED, Brian.
Real tears, genuine sobs. And
she’s been doing that all week. It’s
bothering her. Moms,
mostly. But then there’s
Beth, the Queen of all Bitches, who I’d like to strangle with my bare
on. I got the impression
that you guys had a handle on the Beth thing.”
Brian was growing frustrated with being away when his sister
needed him, and Mart could hear it in his voice.
“Mart, tell me what’s really going on with Beth.”
proceeded to explain, in great detail, the events of Wednesday afternoon
and Trixie’s subsequent confession to Dan.
He went on to catalogue how many students at school were now
aware of the situation, how they were all furious on Trixie’s behalf,
and how the entire school was conspiring against Beth.
Mart talked for well over an hour, and by the time he was finished, Brian was both impressed and
I don’t want to discount the notion of revenge.
Personally, I’d like to throw Beth in some boiling oil.
But the key here is to make her stop.
If the only thing that happens is that she gets mad, life will be
worse for Trixie.”
nodded. “I know.
We’ve got the whole school on guard to make sure Beth can’t
get near her.”
furrowed his brow in thought as he paced the length of his small dorm
room. “It’s more than
that, Mart. Based on her
reaction to both the EMT and Beth’s comments, this all centers on
Luke’s death. Between that and the crying, it sounds like she’s suffering
from post-traumatic stress. She
leaned his weary head against a kitchen cabinet.
“And who am I supposed to say that to
– Moms? You’re
the bridge of his nose, Brian sighed.
“How are things with Moms?”
knows?” Mart huffed.
“She’s barely been here all week.
She went into the City on Tuesday, and again yesterday, and
didn’t come back until we were all in bed. Tonight,
she and Dad are at Manor House, and I got the distinct impression
something major was up. And when she is here, she avoids Trixie as much as
possible. I can’t get any
help from her.”
go to Dad, or maybe Mrs. Wheeler. Find
somebody. Trixie needs
a deep sigh, Mart promised, “I will.
I’ll work on it tomorrow while the girls are shopping for their
Brian said, relieved. He
checked his watch and realized it was eleven o’clock already.
“If she’s still asleep, don’t wake her.
I’ll check back in tomorrow or Sunday.
And, Mart… you get some rest, too.
Worrying yourself sick isn’t going to help her.”
responded with sardonic amusement.
“I wonder where I learned to do that?”
tightened his arms around his wife.
He couldn’t believe the way the evening had turned out.
His mind was reeling from the shock of Helen’s revelations
regarding her inner anguish and her psychiatric counseling.
No matter how disturbing things had been in his home lately, he
had never imagined this.
had honestly assumed Helen was going through menopause.
Obviously, that had been a stupid, overly male assumption.
But at least he had dealt with a hormonal Helen before – she’d been
relatively unstable every time she’d been pregnant.
It had been difficult, because she had always had such a calming
effect on everyone around her. She
was his rock. So, on those occasions, it had been really rough, but the
mood swings had been temporary. Life
had eventually returned to normal.
was completely different. A
hormonal Helen he could handle. But
a woman who truly believed she was losing her mind?
in God’s name could he help her?
hurt the most, however, was her fear of telling him.
She had explained that she didn’t want to hurt him, and that
she knew he wouldn’t want to be married to a mad-woman.
Did she think a little emotional upset would be enough to make
him think her crazy, and want to be rid of her?
Did she really have that little faith in his love?
Belden loved his family. He
loved each and every one of his sons.
He adored his daughter. But
his wife was his life, the center of his universe.
Nothing else was more important than she was.
He resolved to concentrate every ounce of energy he had on doing
whatever he had to do to help her.
stroked Helen’s back and kissed the top of her head.
“It’s going to be all right, Helen,” he whispered gently.
“We’ll get through this together, no matter what.”
shuddered with relief and buried her face in her husband’s chest.
She clung to him, thankful that he was standing by her, and
wondered why she had ever doubted him.
She felt a huge weight lift off her shoulders.
Sharing her pain with Peter had been the right thing to do.
They could get through anything, as long as they did it together.
sat outside the small bar where his friends hung out, under the awning,
allowing the rain to reach his face.
Despite the fact that the majority of them were under the legal
drinking age, the college crowd had no trouble with acquiring and
drinking alcohol. Most of them had a couple of drinks when they got together,
and everyone treated it like it was no big deal.
Jim usually set his limit at two beers.
though, he had allowed his friends to supply him with one drink after
another. Since it was
approaching closing time they’d be going soon, but Jim needed some air
first. His head was
spinning, and the wind and rain were refreshing and helping him to clear
his head a little.
was where Chelsea found him. She
stood next to where he sat and, tilting her face to catch the wind in
her hair, inhaled deeply. “I
love a good storm. It’s
shrugged noncommittally. “I
know,” Chelsea started, almost teasing, “some people believe that
alcohol makes you feel good. But
all it really does is intensify whatever mood you were already in.
And you’re awfully morose this evening.”
flashed her a guilty look. “Sorry
I’ve been such a rotten date this evening.”
smiled a warm, open smile that spoke of honesty and friendliness. “You could make it up to me by telling me what’s
stupid, really,” he shrugged. “I
just had a fight with my best friend.”
raised an eyebrow. “Brian?”
shook his head and sighed. “No.
laughed lightly. “Then
obviously you can’t talk to Brian about it.
He can’t possibly be objective.
No man has ever managed to be objective about his sister.”
earned her a small smile, but Jim disagreed.
“Brian’s pretty good, actually.
There’ve been a bunch of times when I expected him to react
like a big brother, but he acted more like my friend.
He’s a really great person.”
perhaps he’s a little too close to the situation.
You might need to seek outside counsel,” Chelsea sagely
groaned. “ ‘Et tu,
grinned. “I take it
you’ve heard that before?”
what the fight was about,” he grumbled.
openly, Chelsea plopped down on the seat beside him. “She knows you pretty well, does she?”
knows me better than anyone,” Jim said, a wistful look washing over
look didn’t escape Chelsea’s notice.
She often had lunch with Jim and Brian, especially since Brian
had started dating her roommate, Ria.
Jim was always friendly, but not very open about himself.
She couldn’t help thinking what a lucky girl this Trixie was.
what’s Trixie like?”
depends on who you ask,” Jim answered with a smile.
“There are those who would call her giving, generous, friendly,
warm, sunny… you know, all the nice adjectives.
Then there are those who think she’s nothing but trouble.
Primarily, our police sergeant.”
looked confused. “She’s
Brian’s sister, she’s your friend, and she’s in trouble with the
in trouble with the law, just troublesome to the
sergeant.” Jim grinned. “Mostly because she solves all his cases for him.”
Chelsea was suitably impressed. “Wow!
She sounds really smart!”
waited to see how long it took Jim to figure out what he’d just
admitted. She didn’t have
to wait long for him to get the message that, if Trixie was such a smart
person, he should probably follow her advice.
narrowed his eyes at Chelsea in irritation.
“That was sneaky.”
shrugged. “I’m not
above being sneaky to make a point.”
want me to spill my guts.”
can do whatever you want,” she said nonchalantly.
“If you choose to spill your guts, I’m available to listen.
shoulders sagged in defeat. “It’s
nothing, really. It’s
may be, or it may not be. The
point is that it’s bothering you.”
She took a deep breath before plunging forward.
“When I was a kid, I watched some movie too late at night, and
I had nightmares about this one part – for years.
They were nonsense and really stupid.
But they bothered me. They
didn’t go away until I talked to someone about it.
Holding it in made it worse.”
seemed to be pondering her words. Chelsea
waited patiently, until she heard a large group of their friends
gathering near the door. Then
she nudged him. “Look,
I’m not going to think any less of you.
If it’s stupid, it’s stupid.
A lot of things in life are.”
finally met her eyes. “Can
we go somewhere and talk?”
nodded, trying not to be mesmerized by those amazing green eyes.
“Luckily for you, I drove myself here.
I have my car, and I haven’t had anything to
drink. Let’s go before
the crowd comes looking for us.”
She grabbed his hand and pulled him up, leading the way towards
her little black Ford Mustang.
rode in silence as Chelsea made her way to a nice, quiet parking area
overlooking the Charles River. She
turned the car off and swiveled in her seat so she was facing Jim. He stared straight ahead, watching the raindrops pelting the
a very long silence, Chelsea finally prodded him.
He sighed. “I’m
just obsessing over the fact that tomorrow is my father’s birthday.
See? I told you it
studied him for several moments before speaking, taking in the tension
along his jaw and the lines of stress around his eyes.
“Everyone on the entire campus knows you’re Matthew
Wheeler’s adopted son. And
I wasted way too much time in high school reading gossip rags, so I know
Matt Wheeler’s birthday is in April.
I take it, then, that you mean your real father.”
nodded slowly, concentrating hard on the patterns the rain was making on
the glass in front of him.
old were you when he died?” she asked gently.
he answered, nearly choking on the lump in his throat.
was the last time you visited the cemetery where he’s buried?”
Her voice was quiet and gentle, as if she could use it to soothe
away the pain her questions were causing him.
funeral.” There was no
mistaking the raw ache in his voice, or the agony of the open wound.
mind whirled, seeking a way to comfort the distraught young man before
her. “Maybe that’s how
you should mark the day this year.”
a shuddering sigh, he shook his head.
“I can’t. He’s
buried in Rochester.”
finally looked at her, mostly to indicate that he thought she was
We’re in Boston!”
shrugged. “Look, I’m
from Buffalo. I live there
with my mom and stepdad, but my father and stepmother live in Boston.
I’ve done the Boston-to-Buffalo commute at least one weekend a
month for most of my life. I
can even do it in my sleep. It’s
no big deal, really, and Rochester is right on the way.
If we leave now, we can be there by nine in the morning.”
are we going to do? Drive
seven hours there to stand by a grave for a few minutes, then drive all
the way back?”
not? I love a good road
shook his head, amazed by this offer from this girl who barely even knew
him. “Has anyone ever
told you you’re impulsive and crazy?”
the time!” Chelsea grinned. “Come
on; you know you want to. I’m
a total night owl, so I’m fresh as a daisy.
You sleep, I’ll drive, and we’ll be there before you know
a rueful grin, Jim finally nodded.
“Let’s go before I sober up and change my mind.”
looked gleeful. “WOOOHOOO!!
Road trip!!! Buckle up, buddy!”
away they went.
October 28, 1995
woke suddenly, sweat pouring off her body, her heart pounding in fright.
Her head was spinning, and she gripped her temples, trying to
crush the pain. As the last
vestiges of the nightmare faded away, she attempted to latch onto
herself to breathe slowly, she focused on the LED numbers across the
room. As Trixie
concentrated on the time, 4:55 a.m., the back of her mind recognized
that the floating numbers were actually the clock on the VCR.
She was comforted to realize she was on the couch in the family
room of her own home. Focusing
on the sound of deep breathing, she found Mart asleep in the recliner.
must have wanted to keep an eye on me, she thought, causing tears to
well in her eyes. No matter
how much they argued, Mart really loved her and would do anything to
protect her or help her. I
wish you could protect me from this…
rose slowly, fighting the waves of dizziness, and made her way to the
kitchen. She got herself a
glass of water, then reached into the cupboard over the sink for some
pain relievers. When she
fumbled with the childproof lid, a warm hand covered hers, and the pills
were gently lifted away. Trixie
looked up into Mart’s worried blue eyes.
wanly, she said, “I just have a headache.”
opened the bottle and poured two pills into her hand, watching her
closely the entire time. Once
she had taken the medicine and returned her glass to the sink, she
turned to him.
you for taking care of me,” Trixie whispered, her voice quavering.
reached out to hug her brother, and Mart wrapped his strong arms around
her. He held her,
unconsciously rocking a bit, as if comforting a small child.
He wanted to make sure she knew he was there for her.
He needn’t have worried – that was one of the few things she
knew for certain right now.
he finally broke the silence, he asked, “Do you think you can get back
to sleep, or would you rather talk?”
first instinct was to tell him she’d be fine.
However, then he’d expect her to go back to sleep, and she knew
that wasn’t going to happen.
Besides, after all her ranting and raving at Jim, it was about
time she took her own advice. Although
she didn’t want to worry her brother, maybe talking to him would help
a small, hesitant voice, Trixie asked, “Can I tell you about my
heart ached to hear her sound so much like a frightened little child.
“You can tell me anything, Princess.”
returned to the family room and settled themselves comfortably
side-by-side on the sofa. Trixie
held on tightly to her brother’s hand, sometimes nearly crushing it,
as she proceeded to spend the next hour explaining her nightmares in
great detail. She trembled often and frequently had to wipe away tears.
Mart listened patiently, never interrupting.
By the time Trixie finished, she was so tired and emotionally
drained she could hardly keep her eyes open.
placed an arm around her, and she rested her head on his shoulder.
He grabbed the bright red and yellow knitted afghan Aunt Alicia
had made last Christmas and wrapped it around Trixie.
Once she was settled comfortably, he whispered, “Get some sleep
now, Trix. I’m here, and
I won’t let anyone hurt you.”
listened to the sound of her breathing as she drifted off.
Mart would be a vigilant protector this early morning, because
the Lord knew he wasn’t going to sleep anytime soon.
Just listening to her story would keep him awake for days.
had been more right than he had realized.
They just had to get Trixie some help.
Wheeler was frowning at the business news in his New York Post
when Honey sat down to breakfast. Biding
her time, she waited patiently for her father to move on to another part
of the paper that would be less captivating to him.
He finally folded the business section just as his wife entered
the room. Madeleine placed
a kiss on his cheek as she passed him on her way to her place at the
Matt had a chance to become engrossed in the local news, Honey cleared
her throat. “Daddy, is
there anything special about today?”
at her with a twinkle in his eyes, Matt inquired, “Is that a hint
about your Homecoming dress?”
a steady tone, Honey pointedly redirected his thoughts.
“Not that, Daddy. The
question puzzled Matt, almost as much as Honey’s intense, serious
expression. He frowned,
mentally reviewing various people’s birthdays and anniversaries.
“Nothing I can…” His
voice trailed off as his eyes focused on the date on the newspaper.
noticed the troubled look on her husband’s face and looked bemusedly
back and forth between him and Honey.
“What is it, Matt?”
birthday,” he choked.
eyebrows shot up as she turned back to her daughter. “You knew this?”
nodded, never taking her eyes off her father.
is no way your brother told you that,” Maddie stated
shook her head. She suddenly became fascinated with her eggs, toying with
them with her fork.
happened?” Maddie demanded.
a slight shrug, Honey sighed. “He’s
repressing. Trixie prodded.
There were fireworks. It
groaned. “She’s in no
shape to take on his temper or his issues.”
raised his head, meeting his wife’s eyes across the table. “Taking on his issues shouldn’t be her job.
Maddie corrected, holding her husband’s gaze until he nodded his
this case, Mom,” Honey said gently, “I really think it has to be
Dad’s.” She turned to
her father. “Who else
does Jim have in his life that even knew his father?”
call him,” Matt stated with a firm nod of his head.
Then he glanced at his watch and gave a rueful grin.
“Well, I’ll call him later… at an hour that’s more decent
for a college student on a Saturday morning.”
That decided, he regarded his daughter curiously.
“When did you get to be so wise?”
smiled softly at both of her parents.
“I think I inherited it.”
surreptitiously wiped away a tear.
Matt looked at Honey and Maddie, and gave them a grin filled with
love and pride. What a
wonderful daughter they had!
could hear his parents moving about in the kitchen, silently preparing
breakfast. It bothered him
that there was nary a word spoken between them.
Tense silence was becoming the norm at Crabapple Farm.
He hardly recognized this place as home any more.
It surely wasn’t the warm, loving, happy home of his childhood.
His mother’s problems, whatever they might be, were dragging
the entire family down.
his parents, and the accompanying Saturday morning tension, as long as
possible sounded like a good plan today.
Instead, Mart chose to remain in his place on the sofa, cradling
his sleeping sister in his arms. He
was grateful that Bobby’s weekly sleepover at the Lynches’ provided
him an escape from the expected upcoming ugliness.
began to twitch and whimper in her sleep.
Correctly assuming she was having another nightmare, Mart
hastened to wake her from the dream.
Her eyes flew open in fright until she focused on her brother’s
face, then she sagged against him in relief.
He held and soothed her until her trembling stopped.
she finally felt she could breathe well enough to speak, Trixie said,
issued a frustrated sigh. “You
have nothing to be sorry for! Please,
stop feeling guilty. Just
let me help.”
listlessly, Trixie snuggled deeper into his embrace, as if her big
brother’s arms could protect her from the dark and frightening corners
of her mind. This radical
departure from her normal behavior was really starting to bother Mart,
especially since his mother was so unavailable.
if called by his thoughts, Helen poked her head into the room. “Breakfast is ready,” she said and left again.
happened to a simple “Good morning”? Mart wondered.
He felt himself get angry and tried to push his own feelings
aside. Right now, all he
wanted to do was concentrate on his sister.
sure sounded like an order,” Trixie grumbled.
did; didn’t it?” Mart asked casually.
not hungry,” Trixie muttered.
you don’t feel like eating, or because you don’t feel like going in
at it this way… you didn’t do your usual Saturday morning routine
that bugs her so much. Maybe
she’ll be civil.”
earned an inelegant snort.
a quick kiss on her forehead, Mart pushed Trixie up off the couch before
rising himself. “Come on,
Princess. Let’s just get
this over with quickly, then go find some chores to do.”
stared at him for a minute, as if she were trying to find the words to
express something important. She
finally gave up, merely nodding and heading toward the kitchen. Mart followed and silently slipped into his seat across the
table from his sister.
and Helen sat on opposite ends of the table, watching their children and
each other. Food was
passed, dishes were filled, and food was eaten in eerie silence,
punctuated by the howling wind and pounding rain outside.
The blackened sky only exaggerated the dreary atmosphere.
When he could no longer stand the quiet, Peter cleared his throat
mother and I wanted to discuss something with you,” he said to his
middle two children. He
looked from one to the other before fixing his gaze firmly on his
wife’s troubled blue eyes. “It’s
about some problems she’s been having lately… health problems.”
and Trixie both froze. Mart
could feel his throat constricting, making breathing difficult.
He didn’t want to hear this… he didn’t want to know… he
didn’t want to think. Looking
at either of his parents right now didn’t seem like a good idea.
He finally raised his eyes from his plate to stare at his sister.
He would do the one thing he thought he could do… he would play the
big brother role. He would
concentrate on helping Trixie through what was about to come, because
she was sure as hell not strong enough to take whatever was being thrown
at her next.
very carefully and deliberately laid her fork down beside her plate and
folded her hands tightly in her lap.
She pulled her cloak of control about her, forcibly hiding her
desperate battle to quell the violent churnings in her head and stomach.
There was a cannonball blasting her behind each eye, pounding so
hard she expected her skull to shatter into thousands of little bits any
second. If she considered
even touching her fork, the tsunami crashing through her stomach would
cause her breakfast to immediately return to the plate from whence it
had come moments ago. The
hurricane raging outside their window had nothing on the forces of
nature Trixie was struggling to contain.
not sure ‘health problems’ is accurate,” Helen countered,
flustered. She floundered
nervously before continuing. “Well,
I suppose it is… mental health, that is.”
heart stopped beating. A
nanosecond seemed to last a lifetime, and she analyzed the experience
with detached interest. The
lack of heartbeat actually felt good, because the pulsing, pounding rush
of blood was gone. The blood couldn’t surge through her veins if there was
nothing to push it, could it? And
then her heart beat again. Once.
That single beat was like a 50-megaton bomb, detonating inside
her chest and coursing throughout her body, exploding in her brain with
a cloud of thunder.
felt the need to physically remind her heart to beat again and her lungs
to draw breath. At the same
time, she felt the overwhelming desire not to bother.
Couldn’t she just die now?
It would be so much simpler.
focused on Peter. She could
feel the familiar terror building.
There was a darkness in the room, threatening to envelope her,
and it was emanating from Trixie. Once
again, her daughter’s mere presence was more than she could bear.
The fact that she could sense an imminent explosion from the
young woman only made matters worse.
Trixie was not going to take this well.
Helen couldn’t even force herself to look at her.
I’ve been having some… problems,” Helen fumbled in her attempt to
picked up the ball. “Your
mother is seeing a doctor in the City to help her through this.”
stared at Trixie. His
parents’ words were barely registering.
They were frightening him, but more frightening still was his
sister’s reaction. She was deathly still, a cold mask of illusory calm settling
over her features. Either
she was about to bury this latest problem, or she was about to explode.
Neither prospect was appealing.
long silence was broken when Trixie asked, “Since when?”
remained so still, and her voice was so quiet, that at first no one
realized she had spoken. When
her question eventually registered in Helen’s brain, she answered in a
trembling quaver. “I
started seeing her on Tuesday…”
the doctor,” Trixie cut her off sharply, demanding, “The problems. When did they start?”
real question hung in the air.
I cause this?
could have lied. She could
have said anything else, given some kind of answer that would point to
some other conclusion. But
end of September.”
was focused on Helen. He
saw the fear in her eyes, the rising panic threatening to overtake her.
He was struggling to figure out how to extricate her from this
situation and failed to recognize the impact of her words.
Until Trixie spoke again, that is.
this time, I’ve really done it. I’ve
literally driven my mother crazy.”
turned to stare at her in amazement.
“Trixie, your mother didn’t say that.”
most certainly did!” Trixie screamed, jumping up from her seat so
quickly that her chair flew backwards and crashed to the ground. She continued ranting wildly at the top of her lungs.
“What the hell else happened at the end of September to make
her crazy, except my latest adventure?
Who else has she hated since then?
Face it: I make her
crazy, and she doesn’t want me around.
You’d all be better off if I wasn’t around!”
that note, Trixie turned and ran from the house into the pouring rain
and howling wind, slamming the door behind her.
Mart jumped up to follow.
wait!” Peter demanded, rising to his feet.
young man turned to his father in shock.
“You want me to let her run out, alone and hysterical, into the
middle of a hurricane? Are
you crazy, too?”
don’t you dare speak to your father like that!” Helen reprimanded,
also rising. Now that
Trixie was gone, she was fully in control once again.
have no right to tell me how to speak to anyone!” Mart whirled on his
mother in righteous indignation. Pouring
all the hurt and frustration of the past few weeks into every syllable, Mart
threw his words at his mother like flaming arrows trying to engulf her
in the fires of destruction she had rained down upon their once-happy
home. “For weeks,
you’ve been rude and hurtful, and you want to lecture me on respect?
Forget it! Figure
out what your problem is and fix it.
When you start acting like yourself again, I’ll start listening
again. For the time being,
all bets are off!”
heaving, Mart’s bright blue eyes were blazing with fury as he stared
his parents down. “Right
now, I’m going to try to stop my little sister from getting herself
hurt in the storm... the one
outside anyway. It’s
obvious nothing can stop her from getting hurt by the storm in here.”
the second door slam in as many minutes, Helen sank heavily to her chair
and clutched her hair in her hands, resting her elbows on the table. “Believe it or not, that went better than I expected it
frowned at her while he paced the kitchen.
“I would have thought they’d have acted worried about you.”
peeked one blue eye out from behind her hands.
“After the way I’ve been acting lately?
They were probably hoping you were going to send me away to the
not going to happen!” Peter affirmed.
sighed. Sometimes, her
husband was just so single-minded.
In her rather unsteady state, she craved his attention and was
rather glad he was focused on her.
But that also meant the children were about to lose his attention
completely. Who would take
care of them now?
made a beeline for the clubhouse. It
would provide shelter from the storm, and it was Trixie’s usual place
for seeking solitude. He
was sure he would find her there.
was very surprised to find the little building empty.
flashed and thunder crashed, obviously quite nearby. Mart turned toward the storm, worry creasing his brow.
Trixie was out there, somewhere.