Election Day Excerpt
Back in the conference room where Darrin was still searching for the missing voter sign-in book, Aubrey wandered over to her boyfriend with a stack of thick white booklets in her arms. “Hey, Darrin,” she said. “Do you need some help over here? Surprisingly enough, all the people in town with last names starting with H or I showed up to vote, so my volunteer and I are done with our table”
Looking up from his own table, which he had been neatening up, Darrin gave his girlfriend a grateful smile. “Thanks,” he said. “But Jody already said she’d come over and help me after she gets off the voting line.”
“Jody?” Aubrey repeated in confusion as she hugged the booklets against the front of the black long-sleeve blazer, which had white buttons and white pinstripes printed on it, that she was wearing with a matching miniskirt and black pumps. “What happened to Prescott”
But before Darrin could utter a response, across the room, Jody, who was finally taking her turn at one of the voting machines, suddenly jumped back in surprise. “Whoa!” she exclaimed. “What’s going on here?”
“Is it happening to your machine too?” asked a woman a few machines over.
“What?” demanded Clinton, who had been talking to one of his neighbors, as he abruptly turned to look at the voters. “What’s wrong with the machines?”
“They went black for a second,” replied Jody as she pushed a curl that had escaped her white headband, which had lavender diagonal stripes printed on it, out of her eye.
“Yeah,” agreed a man who was standing at the machine to Jody’s left. “And then a couple of codes flashed across the screen like it was resetting itself.”
“But they seem to be okay now,” declared the other woman. “The screen looks normal again, and everything I already checked off is still here.”
“Huh,” muttered Clinton, a disturbed expression forming on his face as he put his hands on his hips. “That doesn’t sound like something that’s supposed to happen. The machines blacking out like that for a few seconds, I mean. So where’s Prescott? Maybe he can tell us what’s going on.”
As her father began to look around for her brother, Delia finally came rushing back in, her black heeled boots thumping against the dull gray carpet. “Dad!” she called as Johnny, who had run in along with her, stopped beside her, leaned forward, and rested his hands on his knees in an effort to catch his breath. “Prescott’s missing!”
“Missing?” demanded Clinton as he hurried over to the teens. “What do you mean he’s missing?”
“He went off to the bathroom about an hour ago,” Delia explained. “But no one’s seen him since.”
“Yeah,” panted Johnny, nodding. “I even went in and checked to see if he fell in or something.”
After disbelievingly studying Johnny’s face for a moment and then realizing that he was serious, Clinton turned back to his daughter and demanded, “Where’s your mother? We need to go to the cops with this right away. Because being that Prescott isn’t the type to just wander off on his own, odds are that he’s been kidnapped.”
“Kidnapped?” gasped Delia, her eyes widening in surprise as her father hurried off to find her mother. “But why would someone want to kidnap him?”
As Johnny and Delia turned and hurried out of the room after Clinton, Darrin turned back to Aubrey and said,
“Kidnapped. Wow. I really hope that that’s not the case for Prescott.”
Aubrey nodded. “Me too,” she agreed. “I hope he turns up safe and sound wherever he is.”
“In the meantime though,” began Darrin, “it looks like I could use your help after all. Because if Prescott really is kidnapped, then I’m sure my dad will want to know and help out somehow. So do you think you could man my table while I run upstairs and let him know what’s going on?”
Aubrey nodded. “Sure,” she agreed. “And I know just the place to start.” Reaching into her pile of sign-in booklets, she pulled out the one on top. “Here,” she said, holding it out to Darrin. “This wound up on my table somehow, and I think it belongs on yours.”
Taking the booklet from her, Darrin breathed a sigh of relief when he saw that it was the MO through MU book. “Well,” he said as he flipped through it. “Looks like one missing thing has been found. And hopefully, this is a sign that we’ll find Prescott too.” With that, he tossed the booklet onto his table and rushed off to go alert his father about the news.