Excerpt of Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern
(Page 5 of 7)
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Now Margot Tesler huffs into the room
and sits down across from Cara to explain what happened: Phil, Adams regular
aide, was out sick today, and Teresa, Adams usual sub, already had an
assignment, so he had someone new today, a Mrs. Warshowski, who misunderstood
what she was told and believed recess was her break time.
Cara stares at her. Until this moment
she hasnt been terribly worried. She assumed hed be found in one of his
strange places, behind a vending machine, under the piano in the music room,
that soon there would be some forced laughter and general embarrassment about
the commotion this caused. Now shes less sure. He went out to recess alone?
The playground supervisors were told.
They were perfectly aware.
But he was outside when he
Margot meets her gaze and nods. Yes.
Cara stands up. She hasnt considered
the idea that he might have been outside, might have really disappeared. She
needs to get out there and start looking in all the spots Adam is most likely to
He must have heard somethinga lawn mower maybe. Or some music. Did you check
the maintenance room? Sometimes they leave their radio on.
We checked. Hes not there.
Cara gathers her things. How about
the music room? Is the band practicing?
We looked. Theyre not.
Adam can hear things other people
cant. If one kid is playing violin somewhere in the building, hell probably
hear it and try to get closer.
Margot comes around the desk. Weve
got people looking inside and outside.
Let me go find him, Margot. Im sorry
this has caused such a disruption, but Ill find him. He cant have gone far.
In the old days, when Adam was younger and more driven by his compulsions to
investigate machines, heating vents, water faucets not completely turned off,
Cara lost him more often than she liked to admit. She knew the panic, the speed
with which he could disappear, but she also knew, intuitively, how to find him:
Stop. Listen hard for his humming, his tiny throaty bird noises, or for what he
must have heardmusic maybe, or the low compelling purr of a machine come to
They may ask for that in a minute or
two, but for right now, you need to stay here.
They? Who is they?
The police? How long has he been
A little over an hour. Theres a girl
missing, too. The police say they think thats a good sign, that it diminishes
the possibility of stranger abduction. Its virtually unheard of for someone to
take two children at once.
Cara tries to swallow but finds it
hard, her mouth filling up with something she cant bear the taste of. She nods
but doesnt sit down. What happened, Margot? Why wasnt anyone watching him?
There was actually more supervision
than usual. Six adults were outside when it happened. There was no stranger on
the playground, no unknown cars in the parking lot, no unusual interactions that
anyone saw. Were talking to the three classrooms of kids who were outside at
the time, trying to find out if any kids talked to them, dared them to hide
maybe, as a practical joke, or to walk over to the woods.
The woods, she thinks. Beyond the
soccer fields on the far side of the playground, there is a lovely wood glade of
pine trees that gives the school its name, Woodside Elementary. Let me go
Not yet. Theyre doing a systematic
search, and for now they ask that you stay here.
Excerpt from EYE CONTACT by Cammie McGovern. Reprinted by arrangement with Viking, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., from EYE CONTACT Copyright (c) Cammie McGovern, 2006