The children felt safer around those familiar faces from school.
Old Mr. Nacht bade them goodbye before he left. He reminded them to call him whenever they were met with difficulty or danger so that he could protect them.
The three children were deeply moved and held him tightly in gratitude before they saw him off.
The hospital’s staff had the kids placed in an ambulance. With a pediatrician alongside a team of three paramedics attached, the kids were sent back together with the teachers.
This arrangement had many of the children staying in other wards quite envious.
With the police car clearing the path in the lead, the ambulance in the middle, followed by Zachary’s car propping up the rear, the convoy drove towards Happy Avenue in concert.
Meanwhile, Charlotte had found her phone at home. She wanted to charge it as the battery was flat.
“Bring along your charger and do it in the car. It’s not safe here,” Michael said as he got her a coat.
“Okay,” she replied as she followed him out in a hurry.
The two of them go into the ride and made straight for the Garden Villa.
En route, the familiarity of the streets made her feel overwhelmed. She wanted very much to be reunited with her children as soon as possible, and never be apart from them again.
“Charlotte,” Michael said as he held her hand. “We’ll explain everything to old Mr. Nacht later. I’m sure he can make Zachary give up the children.”
“I hope so…”
Charlotte breathed in deeply as she turned her attention to switching on the phone.
She failed to notice then that the convoy which ferried the children sped past along the road on the opposite side of the forested area towards home.
The phone records showed several missed calls from an unknown number. There was also a message. “Gods. Robbie called several times, but I missed them all.”
“When was it?” Michael asked.
“It’s all my fault…” Charlotte was filled with self-reproach. “Why didn’t I notice them? Robbie must be so anxious when he couldn’t reach me.”
“Let’s not talk about that right now. Call him back, and quickly,” Michael said.
“Alright.” Charlotte then dialed the nurse’s number.
“Hi, I’m Charlotte, Robbie’s mother. May I know if you’re from Serene Hospital? Are my three children there with you?”
“Yes, Ma’am. We are. The children have been with us the past two days, but they have left about half an hour ago.”
“They were taken? By whom?” Charlotte asked.
“Mr. Nacht,” the nurse replied casually. “Weren’t they already in contact with you? Aren’t you aware?”
Charlotte was shaken to the bone when she heard that Zachary had taken them. And it happened just half an hour before.
“Hello, Ma’am? Are you still there?”
Charlotte was trembling so badly that she could not hear the nurse hailing her. She hung up outright before she called Zachary directly.
“Please, Charlotte…” Michael wanted to end the call but it had already gotten through.
“Look who’s calling…” Zachary said coldly.
“Zachary, you are insane!” Charlotte screamed into the phone. “Why did you take my children? Why?”
On the other end, her heightened pitch nearly hurt his eardrums. His phone was then switched to hands-free. “Keep hollering if you never want to see your kids again!”
Then he hung up.
“You…” Before Charlotte could speak, she heard the dead tone repeated itself. She was losing her mind as the phone trembled in her hand.