Ryan’s DOA number two, the girl from the Dorval shoreline, remained unidentified.

Symbolic, I thought, of the many children who are murdered each year, or those who simply vanish, never to be found.

“Back to the streets,” Hippo said, pushing to his feet.

I rose, too. “You did a crack job on these cases, Hippo.”

“Got two more to close.”

“Do you think Phoebe Quincy has been piped into some underground pornography pipeline?”

“I prefer to think she’s alive, but, one way or another, I won’t quit looking until I know. Every day I’ll come to work and every day I’ll keep searching for these kids.”

I managed a smile. “I bet you will, Hippo. I bet you will.”

Hippo’s eyes bore into mine. “Sooner or later I will have answers.”

Friday morning, I boarded a flight to Moncton, rented a car, and drove to Tracadie. This time Bastarache answered the door.

“How is she?” I asked.

Bastarche did a “so-so” waggle of one hand.

“Is she taking her meds?”

“Obeline’s giving her no choice.”

Bastarache led me to the room at the back of the house, excused himself, and withdrew. I thought about him as he walked away. Strip clubs, cat houses, and adultery, but the guy drew the line at child pornography. And loved Evangeline. Go figure human nature.

Evangeline sat in an armchair gazing out at the water.

Crossing to her, I wrapped my arms around her shoulders and drew her close. She resisted at first, then relaxed against me.

I held my old friend as tight as I dared for as long as I dared. Then I released her and looked into her eyes.

“Evangeline, I—”

“Do not speak, Tempe. There is no need. We have met. We have touched. You have read my poems. It is enough. Don’t despair for me. We are all creatures of God, and I am at peace. You have given me a great gift, my dear, dear friend. You have reopened my childhood. Sit with me awhile and then return to your life. I will keep you always in my heart.”

Smiling, I drew graham crackers, peanut butter, and a plastic knife from my purse and laid them on the table. Added two Cokes in six-ounce glass bottles. Then I drew a chair close.

“You can’t really visit Green Gables,” I said.

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