Birdie had baked the tourtiere, but was delaying the vegetables until Hailey arrived. She had been making the recipe she inherited from her friend Madeleine and was looking forward to surprising Hailey with it. She was just about to uncork the wine when the phone rang.
“Is this Hailey McAdam?”
“No, It’s the housekeeper,” she said from force of habit. “Can I take a message?
“It’s the 911 operator. We received a call from Ms. McAdam’s cell phone, but were not able to speak with her. The line is still open, but there’s no voice communication. Do you know if she’s all right?”
Birdie froze. “No—no,” she stammered, “ I don’t know if she’s all right—I was expecting her home for dinner, but she hasn’t arrived.”
“So, you’re not sure if she’s hurt or in trouble?”
“No, I mean—I don’t know. Is there any way you tell where she is?”
“Fortunately, the GPS on her phone is enabled and we were able to track the signal to a conservation area near Milton.”
Birdie instantly connected the dots. “Could you phone back in five minutes? I think I might know where she is.”
“I will do that, Ma’m.”
She hung up and looked for the phone number Brad left in case of emergency. She found it pinned to the fridge with a small magnet and hastily dialed Brad’s cell.
“Oh, Brad, I’m so glad I got you—it’s Birdie.”
“Birdie—is anything wrong?”
“I’m worried about Hailey. I just got a call from the 911 operator and they say she dialed them on her cell, but wasn’t able to talk to them. The call was traced to that conservation area where you took her near Milton.”
“I doubt if she’d go there alone. I’m with Star and we’re heading home on the 401—I’m only about 15 minutes away from there. Let me check it out and you phone back the 911 operator and get them to send the OPP to Rattlesnake Point—tell them I’ll be at the Lookout area.”
“I will… and thank you, Brad.”
He pulled off at the next exit, turned his SUV around and headed back west on the highway. He knew something was wrong.
He had been with Star on a weeklong in-service and had been worried about her.
He phoned earlier in the week and left a message, but should have realized it wasn’t like her to wait this long to return his call.
He kicked himself for putting off following up with her.
He glanced at the dashboard clock and saw it was almost six-thirty.
It was getting dark and the park would now be closed for the night. He had to hurry.
© 2017, John J Geddes. All rights reserved.