Frequently glancing out the small kitchen window, Helen was at first surprised before alarm began to permeate her anxious mind when the sun began its descent below the horizon, and still there was no sign of Francine’s parents. It was not like Catherine and Jake to be late, especially when it came to gathering up their cherished only child.
Finally becoming fearful, Helen went downstairs to bring the girls up for supper, and suggested to her daughter that she ask her friend to stay for a sleepover. Francine’s delight with this unexpected surprise invitation on an evening before a school day obliterated any question of the whereabouts of her mother and father, and after a quick meal they hurried into Margaret’s bedroom to begin their pyjama party.
Concern was even beginning to show on Scott Dwyer’s usually benign countenance, and after he had eaten, he suggested to his son, Paul that they walk the four blocks to the Stonehenge home. Noticing immediately that the house was in darkness, they hastened to the small pub on Main Street to ascertain if anyone had seen Catherine or Jake. In their hamlet, every villager knew and cared about one another, and soon equipped with large flashlights, several of the men headed toward the shore. Many hours later, in the early light of the dawning day, Jake’s small fishing vessel was discovered washed up along the coast midway between scenic Covehead Bay, and the red sandstone dunes of North Rustico Harbour.
The bodies of Catherine and Jake Stonehenge were never found.
Francine was far too young to understand why her mummy and daddy were never coming back to take her home, but in a flash the crippling seeds of guilt were sown. If only she had not stayed over with Margaret instead of returning to their cozy little cottage at the edge of the village, they surely would not have gone away. They must have been very angry with her. While she was laughing and having fun curled up with her friend under the comfortable quilt on her threequarter bed, they would have been searching for her. When they could not find her they had gone out to sea.