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Had they really gone out and fetched her things while the weather was still so foul? The worst of the storm was forecast for the evening but it wasn’t a picnic outside either.

Her heart couldn’t stop the fluttery waves that now swept all over her.

She realized instantly the joy she felt wasn't directed at the material things she loved so much, but more over the fact that they had gone and fetched her things for her.

She opened her bags and waited for the overwhelming flood of emotion to hit. It didn’t and yet she found she was actually highly stressed with her... sleeping arrangements, which meant she normally turned automatically to purchasing an array of inanimate objects to make herself feel better.

If she were home, she would have already done some serious damage to her bank account.

Maybe she knew she couldn’t give in because there were no malls around for her to diverge her attention. That had to be it.

She was happy to see her own clothes though. And for the first time in her life, she didn’t know what to wear. She accused herself of being silly and picked out a pair of jeans, the only practical item she had packed, a sweater, and a set of underwear.

She showered and dressed, using her own toiletries. She paired her outfit with a pair of high-heeled boots, again, since that was all she had packed.

She hadn’t realized that she had been holding her breath while choosing her clothes and showering and even dressing. But she’d been withholding that one task that had been bothering her the whole time.

The map her father had given her. Something was going on there and she wanted to get to the bottom of it.

But it wasn’t there in her luggage. She had looked through all her bags. They had brought everything that had been on the passenger seat in her car. Her sunglasses, her water bottle, her lip balm, even the slab of Belgium chocolate but not the map.

Did it fly away? Got soaked in the snow?

She tried to breathe through the sinister feeling swirling around her tummy. Something was wrong. She just didn’t know the extent of it.

She put her hair into a ponytail and before she talked herself out of it, she opened the door and went to the kitchen area.

She owed them a huge thank you but she also had to ask them if they had seen the map anywhere.

When she walked into the kitchen, her heart stopped.

Whatever sinister, insidious, feelings she had before now seemed a reality.

The map was laid on their kitchen table. Beside it lay a gun.

“Harper Swift?” Sawyer said, folding his arms over his wide chest, his tone filled with accusation.

But why?

What was going on? Had she done something wrong?

A gun?

“Is your name really Harper Swift?”

“What are you doing with my map? What’s going on?”

“Answer the question.”

“Yes, my name is really Harper Swift. Who else would I be? What is going on? What are you doing with my map?”

“You’re lying.”

“Why would I lie?”

“You want to explain why the route marked on this map leads directly to us?”

“What? No... I was going... I was going somewhere else. I...”

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