As Walker and Zac were helping Ike back to their camp site, Walker could see in the distance flashing lights and Diana talking to two men.
"Diana must have received help. They must be waiting for us to return with Tay." Walker thought and he hated the thought of telling his wife that they couldn't find him. He knew that he would have to explain that someone must have helped Taylor before they got there. Sadness filled up his heart and his mind kept drifting off with thoughts of Taylor being wounded and scared.
"Please God... let Taylor be safe. Protect him." He prayed silently to himself. He felt so helpless and this angered him.
Ike almost collapsed again in their arms. He could barely walk anymore. Walker was very concerned noticing that he looked very pale and drawn. He knew he was probably in shock from the pressure and anxiety of the accident.
"Not to much further Ike. Can you make it? Ike?" Walker asked with great concern.
"I....I don't know what is wrong with me, Dad. I'm scared!" Ike groaned fearfully.
"It's just the shock from the experience of the accident. You're just exhausted. You need to rest." "But I want to help Tay, Dad! I promised him I would come back! Oh God, Dad I want to find him!" Isaac moaned feeling dizzy and off center.
"Please don't worry Ike. We will find him!" Walker assured him hiding the fact that he was terribly worried about Taylor more than he let on. Tears welled up in his eyes. He tried with all his strength to hold them back. Taylor must be scared not to have his family with him, he thought. He felt somewhat angry too, because if this man, that the boys talked about took him, why didn't he come to them and tell them that he found him and that he was only trying to help. Why?
Zac kept looking up at Ike as he held him around the waist. His stomach was in knots. He was so worried about him. He knew his brother was still blaming himself for Tay's accident. He wish he knew how to ease his brother's pain and convince him that it wasn't his fault. The weight of Ike was taking it's toll on Zac's strength. He was very tired and desperately wanted to rest, but he knew it was important to get him back to camp to get some help. He worried what kind of reaction his mother was going to have when she saw that they didn't come back with Tay. Tears once again started down his face. He tried to hold them back, but couldn't. His mind kept thinking of Taylor. Where was his brother? All he wanted was to hear Taylor's laugh again and to see him smile.
Diana was busy talking to the paramedics named Joe and Tim, explaining the situation to them when Jessica suddenly yelled.
"Mom! There they are! They are coming back!"
She spun around looking in the direction Jessica was pointing. The paramedics and Diana started to run toward the dark figures approaching the camp. Fear gripped her when she saw only Walker, Ike, and Zac walking toward them. They looked tired and sad. She ran up to Walker who gently sat Ike down on the ground.
"Where is Tay!? Walker, where is he? What happened?" Diana desperately asked, as tears welled in her eyes. He took her into his arms and hugged her close, but she pushed him away with questioning eyes.
"When we got to the spot where Taylor was.... he was gone. Someone must have helped him. We saw footprints around the area. He must have carried him away. We tried to follow them, but we lost the trail and Ike collapsed. He is very sick. We will have to search for him when it gets light. Right now there is nothing we can do! I just hope he is safe. And I am very worried about Ike too!" Walker explained looking into his wife's tear filled eyes.
"But who could have took him? Why? Where could he have taken him?" Diana asked as she turned to where Ike sat pale and weak from exhaustion.
"The boys told me about a man they bumped into last week. We think it could have been him that took Tay."
"The man that the owner of the store in the town told us about." Zac said interrupting his parents.
"But...but that was just a story. Wasn't it?"
"No honey.... Ike and Tay ran into him last week when they were hiking. They said he was very disfigured, but didn't say or do anything. He just walked back into the woods." Walker explained sadly looking down at his feet and then back up into her eyes.
"You don't think he is dangerous?" Diana asked fearfully searching Walker's eyes.
"MOM! DAD! Ike fainted!" Zac screamed.
They bolted over to Isaac who lay pale and white on the ground. The paramedics ran over to Ike and they lifted him up and carried him over to their ambulance with Walker, Diana, and Zac following them close behind. They gently put him on a stretcher and put a oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. He slowly opened his eyes with tears running down the sides of his face. Diana was petting his forehead as he looked up at his mother with pain filled eyes.
"M...Mom..." Ike started to speak.
"Shhhh... Ike you just rest sweetheart. Just rest." Diana cooed softly caressing her son's head lovingly.
"He is in shock. He needs to rest. We will give him something to sleep." Joe, the paramedic said with concern.
"No! I don't want anything! I WANT to find TAYLOR!" Ike yelled pitifully as he tried to get up, but Walker and the paramedics held him down.
"No son just rest. Do as they say. Alright? We will find Tay. Don't worry!" Walker assured him looking into Isaac's eyes deeply.
Ike started to cry and nodded. Joe gave him a shot so he could get the rest his body desperately needed. Ike drifted off to sleep. Walker lifted Ike up and carried him into the camper and placed him down on his bunk and covered him up.
"Please God, let Ike be okay! Don't let him blame himself for what happened to Taylor!" Walker prayed as he knelt down next to his son and kissed him on the cheek. Tears welled in his eyes. He got up and went back outside.
"We can get a search party here in about an hour." Joe was telling Diana.
Diana just nodded looking over to Walker. Tim went into the front of the ambulance and called in the situation.
"You know when the news gets out that it is Hanson the musical group, you might have the media swarming in." Tim informed them with a concerned look on his face.
"I called the police too just in case and told them to check the hospitals in the area just in case this man you have talked about brought him to one."
"Thanks .... we do appreciate that." Stated Walker. He dreaded the media. He knew that the paramedic was right. Somehow these things always seemed to reach the media somehow. But all he wanted was to find his son. He looked in the direction of the mountains before him and wondered where did this man take him. Did he bring him to a hospital? Why couldn't they find him?
"Please! Please dear God let our son Taylor be safe!" Walker prayed out loud. Suddenly he heard sobbing and turned and saw Makie by the door to the camper weeping. Both Diana and Walker ran to him.
"Makie...what is wrong?"
"The monster has Tay! I heard you say the man has him! He is going to hurt him!" Makie sobbed running to his mother. Diana scooped him up into her arms.
"No! No Makie, the man is not a monster! He is just a man. He probably is helping him." Diana crooned gently comforting her youngest son.
"Are you sure Mama?" He asked wiping the tears from his eyes.
"Yes! And you should be in bed sleeping young man." She smiled through her sadness. She put him down and led him back to the camper.
"Now go back to bed. Don't worry. Tay is alright. Okay?"
Makie nodded his head and went back inside to go back to sleep.
Zac sat on the lawn chair rocking back and forth. He was holding Taylor's shoes he found near the cliff. He felt an overwhelming fear for his brother. Jessica watched Zac as tears were rolling down her face. Zac looked up at Jessie and noticed that he was scaring her.
She came over to him and he patted the chair for her to sit down. She sat down next to him. He put his arms around her and hugged her tight. She started to cry a little harder.
"Jessie... it's going to be alright. I promise. I know it will!"
"But I am so scared Zac. Where is Tay? Are those his shoes?" Jessie asked, pointing at the shoes that Zac held in his hands.
"Yeah... I found them by the side of the cliff." Zac answered swallowing the lump in his throat.
Jessica reached out and touched one of the shoes. Tears welled in her eyes.
"Why would they be off his feet? Why doesn't this man or who ever come to us and tell us that he found him? Where is he?"
"I..I don't know. I wish he would too. I just want to see Taylor. I want to know that he is okay."
"Is Ike going to be alright Zac? He looked so bad. I am scared...so scared!" Jessie sobbed into Zac's shoulder. Zac caressed her head dropping Tay's shoes onto the ground as he wrapped his arms around his sister.
"Yeah! Ike just needs some rest.... that's all." Zac said trying to hide his concern for his oldest brother.
Diana walked over to them and Jessie looked up at her through her tears.
"I think you should go to bed Jessie." Diana said gently.
"I don't know if I can sleep, Mom! I'm so scared!"
"I know honey. But you have to try. Okay?" Diana said in a comforting tone.
"I guess so." Jessica got up and kissed her mother and slowly walked toward the camper looking back at Zac. She stepped into the camper.
"Zac are you okay? You look a little pale yourself." Diana asked gently petting Zac's hair on the back of his head lovingly.
"I'm...I'm fine Mom. I am just worried. That's all." Zac said trying to hold back his tears.
"Maybe you should try to get some rest too."
Zac nodded his head and looked into the distance. He slowly got up and hugged his mother.
"We'll find Tay tomorrow. I know we will!" Zac said trying to sound brave.
Diana held him tight as the tears spilled down her face. He rubbed her back trying to comfort his mother.
"I love you Zac! So much!" Diana exclaimed with intense emotion as she wiped the tears off her face.
"I love you too!" He said giving her a weak smile. "I will try to get some rest so in the morning I can help look for Taylor."
Zac went into the camper and checked on Ike before he went to sleep.
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