Each of the girls added their prayers. When it got around the circle to Ted, he led them in an Our Father.
“I was raised Catholic,” he said. “I know you kids aren’t Catholic, but there are a couple prayers I think might make us all feel better.” He taught them a Hail Mary and a prayer to Guardian Angels.
As she spoke the words, Maddie felt comfort flow through her. Sitting with their heads bowed, they were silent a long time, each lost in thought.
Clayton burst into the room, gasping. “They got Jane and Claire out. They’re hurt, but alive!”
The girls cheered.
“Any word on Gabe?”
Clayton’s face clouded. “No. Why? What’s wrong?”
Maddie burst into tears. Clayton raced to her side, taking her in his arms. She buried her face in his chest. Ted tried to explain, but Maddie’s tears distracted Clayton. All the got was that Gabe was missing.
“Polly and Caroline are going to the hospital with the girls,” Clayton said. “They have a dog out to see if they find anyone else in the blast zone.”
“What caused it? Could they tell?”
“Looked like dynamite,” Clayton said. “It was rigged with a timer. The girls were lucky they came up on that side of the torreón. If they’d come from the other direction, they would have caught the full blast. The structure actually protected them.”
“If the old girl had to die, I’m glad she saved them,” Ted said sadly. “We’ve been working on that project for three years. It would have been done in a few days.” He shook his head. “I’m going to join the search party. You stay here. No one goes anywhere, got me?”
“Yes, sir,” they all replied.
“You’re a good man, Clayton.” Ted shook his hand.
“Thank you, sir. That means a lot coming from you.”
Ted left and Craig came in a few minutes later. “I’m driving the women to the hospital. No one leaves.”
“We know, Dad,” Daniel said from behind him. “Ted told us and so did the police.”
“Lock up tight. Les is lying down. He was having chest pains. In fact, Maddie, would—Are you okay?”
“She’s worried about Gabe.”
“I was going to ask her to sit with Les.”
“I’ll do it,” Beverly said. “I’ve had some Candy Striper training.”
“Thanks. Everyone needs to go to bed,” Craig ordered. “Go. Scoot.”
The teens reluctantly wandered up to their rooms. None of them intended to sleep. They met up in the girl’s room, bringing beanbag chairs from the nursery. The boys had brought up food and sodas. Soon, they were eating and talking quietly.
“How did this all fall apart so fast?” Brad asked. “It was supposed to be fun. Now, it’s all gone to hell.”
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