Then one day, she came home from school to find her mother crying in the living room. At first, she didn't ask what it was – probably another fight with her father, or something just as pointless. She headed for her room, whistling for her dog
For the first time in his eight years of life, Waylon didn't come.
That worried Natalie enough that she stopped on the stairs on the way to her room, and came back downstairs. She whistled for her dog again, but there was no answer. No scrabble of claws on hard wood floor, no excited barks from the back porch or the garage... nothing.
“Mom?” she asked, but her voice came out too quiet for the sobbing woman to hear her. She felt her fury building at her mother, but she restrained it and asked again, forcing her voice louder. “Mom?”
Patricia Genovese looked up finally, and upon seeing her eldest daughter, she burst into a fresh round of tears. “I'm so sorry, honey... I never meant... I'm so sorry...”
Natalie felt her blood run cold. “Mom... Where's Waylon?”