Yesterday morning they found one of the missing boys.

He was down by the river, and apart from hunger, and some Giardia from drinking river water, he was totally fine.

His tearful, relieved parents were all over local morning news. They’re not allowing anyone to speak with the boy, which is probably smart considering the rest of the town’s absolutely frantic family members.

Julian and Neal managed to get in as FBI agents, but not for very long because literally while they were in the room with the kid the ACTUAL FBI showed up. Agents Steva and Mulligan, in the flesh, looking exhausted. Their suits were both in desperate need of a dry cleaning and both had some serious dark circles happening under their eyes.

The kid (who really needs a name) and I were waiting in the parking lot for the Hawthornes. Essentially we were in the parking lot, kicking a rock back and forth between each other because there’s not a whole lot else we can do with the language barrier, and then I looked up and there they were, right out of my nightmares, trudging across the parking lot towards the hospital.

I’m always about .02 seconds away from total panic meltdown, so I was immediately in about to die mode. I dropped like a stone behind the car and gestured that the kid should do the same.

Julian made it back first, looking slick if somewhat windswept in his suit. Neal joined us maybe ten minutes later, wearing a full surgeons getup, mask, gloves, apron, breathing hard and sweating.

Julian laughed at him. “Get out okay?” he said.

Neal leaned over his knees, gasping, and reached up to flip him off.

“Did you find anything out?” I asked, in order to cover the nice little anxiety attack I was coming down from.

“They were following something,” Julian said, getting into the car. “The boy said he followed it as long as he could, but he couldn’t keep up. They walked into the hills and that’s all he knows. He said if he hadn’t tripped he would have followed that sound as far as it took him.”

I shivered. Following a strange sound out into the hills, disappearing in the middle of the night… it’s all just a bit too familiar, you know?

Julian held up his phone. “I recorded it, just in case we need to listen again, but it sounds to me like a pretty straight forward case.”

Is it? Is it straight forward Julian?

“Sure it is,” Neal said when I expressed my confusion. “You’ve met a siren.”

Okay, sure, but I don’t see an ocean anywhere near here asshole.

“Where sirens are from, it is fairy common to use beautiful voices to lure pray into traps,” Julian explained, probably because he could see that he was going to blow a vein. “This will be a mountain siren. They can be somewhat nasty, but they don’t eat people. Most likely those kids are just lost in the hills.”

But today we drove the hills from dawn until dusk and we found absolutely no sign of them. Just scrubby countryside and twisting roads and a strange eerie quiet that none of us liked.

Meanwhile the kid still won’t eat anything, and every day she doesn’t eat she get’s more irritable. For a while, Neal trying to teach me Fenecan was enough to make the kid howl with laughter because my accent is apparently appalling, but as of today not even that is enough. The boys are getting worried. I’m getting worried. She just stares out the window at the hills.

Neal talked to Jasper this morning before we headed out into the hills to look for evidence, and apparently he’s on his way out to us.

“When she gets hungry enough, she’ll eat,” I heard Jasper say on the phone, but I’m not convinced that’s true. It’s like saying when I get tired enough I’ll sleep, but listen, I’m real tired, I’m tired as shit, but it sure doesn’t feel like I’m getting closer to a long restful night of sleep. The kid is trapped in a foreign world all by herself. We’re doing our best, but last night the kid sat on the little motel table, under the curtain, staring out the window all night long.

Anyways, hopefully tomorrow we find some sign of the missing several hundred kids that are lost in the hills. Yeesh, it’s a rough couple weeks for the children.

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