Savannah didn't answer. Instead, she glared at the television, like she knew what they were about to say.
"Could it be a reason to drive her plane into the mountain, into the sea? We invite a leading researcher in the psychology of suicide missions..." The reporter raised an eyebrow as if he was playing a guessing game.
"What?" I whispered. No, no. If they knew Mom, they'd know these accusations were wrong. In the twelve hours the plane had been missing, they'd thrown out mechanical failure, hijacking, and emergency landing—but this was the first time they'd talked about the "s" word.
That Mom would do something like this 'on purpose'.
"That's ridiculous," I barked. "They don't know anything about her."
The screen split in two, and on the right, a man with white hair and a long beard appeared. He adjusted his tie, then his glasses, the motions of every mediocre man who thought he had something important to say.
"This is so unfair." Savannah sighed. "But it's not personal. This is what the media always does."
That didn't make it okay.
"You don't think last night has anything to do with this, do you?" Savannah asked. "The car she got into?"
How was I supposed to know? Yesterday, everything had felt normal.
Today, it felt like I'd stepped into a twisted Brothers Grimm story. "I doubt it," I said. "She said it was errands. I believe her."
Savannah and I hadn't talked about the weird black car that had pulled up into our driveway yesterday because it hadn't seemed important. Who cared? But now, I questioned everything.
I unlocked my phone and went online to find different perspectives, but every Google search turned up articles where "experts" suggested Mom might not be innocent. I then made the mistake of reading the comments section. If you wanted a sure way to ruin your evening and fill you with dread about the state of America's intelligence, read the comments section on any article:
'So sad. I say if the plane isn't found by tomorrow, they're all dead.'
'Probably a murder-suicide. Thoughts and prayers to the families. she probably had her period and took everyone down lol'
I bit my lip so hard I drew blood. The metallic taste pulled me back into the real world. I didn't know why I'd bothered with the comments section.
"Everyone is blaming her." I wanted to cry, but I could barely catch my breath.
Savannah's gaze bored into me, like she knew what I was thinking. She always did, somehow. "You're letting this stuff get to your head. I think you should try to sleep."
"Yeah, right." My fingers were acting with their own mind. They typed out a response under an anonymous name, elphaba243, my username since forever.
'She is actually a fantastic pilot with over ten years of experience under her belt. She would never, ever hurt anyone.'
It sounded childish, but I clicked send. It was like yelling into a void. I knew no one would listen, but still. I had to shout. Do something.
Savannah dropped to her knees beside me and gently took the phone from my hands. "It's time for bed. Even if you just lie down. School starts in like two hours—"
"School? Who the hell is going to school?"
Mom was missing, and Savannah thought she was going to jam a granola bar down her throat and sit in first period AP U.S. History?
I knew that my sister was a genius and that she was convinced her Stanford University future would be ruined if she missed even one day of school her senior year, but hell, I didn't realize that she'd also lost every single one of her marbles.
"I need a routine! I can't sit here and watch the news all night like you." She ran her hands down her face, pale as milk, contrasting against the dark circles under her eyes. "It's torture."
The "expert" psychologist on the TV said, "In many cases, suicidal thoughts can be triggered by emotional trauma, such as a recent divorce—"
"Oh please," I said.
"Technically, they haven't signed papers yet," Savannah said. "How are they even getting this info?"
I rubbed my temples. A dull roar started in the bottom of my head. I checked my post on the article. Already, tons of comments were telling me I was wrong and that a plane vanishing was no accident. Ugh.
This excerpt is from the hardcover edition.
Monday we begin the book TREASURE TRACKS by S.A. Rodriguez.