Nathan stared out the kitchen window sipping a glass of water. He couldn’t sleep. Three days had passed since Susan Carpenter appeared from the woods and he hadn’t slept. Her story had spread and she had even made the local evening news. Nathan watched it with his mom and dad and Archie. Jane was there, too. Normally, Nathan didn’t watch news of any kind. He had no interest in Ronald Reagan or Soviets or the stock market. Susan Carpenter was a different story, though. She was all he had thought about since she sat on his floor and asked for a mixtape. He didn’t get to finish the tape before the sheriff reunited her with her parents. They were so relieved and they couldn’t get through their interview with the reporter without crying.
“You’re quiet tonight,” Jane said to him. “Are you being introspective?”
“What?” Nathan asked her. “Introspective? Is that another new word you’ve learned?”
Something about his tone offended Jane and she left. Nathan convinced himself he would make it up to her with another mixtape. He just needed to find the right songs to say he was sorry because he didn’t want to use that Chicago song about how it’s hard to say I’m sorry. Too obvious. The lack of sleep was killing his creativity. He couldn’t think about anything but Susan as he stared at the woods and sipped his water.
That’s when he saw the light coming from somewhere in the trees.