Since her divorce, Mark had been her only lifeline. While Penelope was raising her family Mark had risen through the ranks of several major newspapers. He ended up behind the big desk at 3 The Fourth Awakening The Washington Post with some of the best reporters in the world at his beck and call. Over the years he had thrown her a few stringer assignments when he didn’t have a reporter in her area. None of it was front page, above the fold stuff, but between her trust fund and what she was getting from her ex-husband each month she was doing it more to stay in practice than for money.

Plus, no matter how thin the subject material of the story, Mark was always thoughtful enough to call personally instead of having one of his editors contact her. It was a nice courtesy to an old friend. . PPenelope Spence tried to roll the tension out of her neck as she sat cross-legged on her mat. Her morning yoga session, as usual, had been fine. Fully rested from a good night’s sleep and before the events of the day began to weigh on her she had been able to clear her thoughts and have, for a moment, that feeling of deep inner peace she had grown to crave. Now, as she tried to relax, her meditation wasn’t getting anywhere as the conversation with Mark kept bubbling to the surface and was simply too much for her to overcome.

, arching her back, bent over and put the palms of her hands on the fl oor while her knees locked. It was nice to feel the old fl exibility returning. She wasn’t as limber as she had been in her old college dancing days, but a year of yoga stretches had really paid off . Penelope turned on the radio. The “Oldies” station was playing one of her favorite Eagles songs—Seven Bridges Road. Closing her eyes, the incredible vocal harmonies swelled and she began to fall into the music. Just then, her eyes fl ew open. She dialed a ten-digit number with a 415 area code that was answered on the first ring. “

Hi, Mom.” William said. “Hello, dear.” Not being particularly technology savvy, she always had to pause and tell herself it was Caller ID and not their close relationship that allowed her only son to know it was her. “Did Sam get out again?” “Are you a part of the doggie psychic hotline? We are out looking for him right now.” “We?” “My new friend Nathan.” “I see.” William put his hand over the mouthpiece of his cell phone but 4 Rod Pennington & Jeffery A. Martin Penelope was still able to hear him. “It’s my mom. She knew we were out looking for Sam…yeah, I know. Freaky, huh?” Th e muffl ing went away as William turned his attention back to his mother. “You have any suggestions?” “Did you try down by the lake at Golden Gate Park?” “We’re driving by Stow Lake right now.” “No, not Stow Lake. Is there a North Lake?” “Yes, there is a North Lake, but that’s at the other end of the park from my place. He’s never gone that far before.” “Humor your old mother.” “Okay. North Lake it is.” Penelope loved all of her children, but she had a special bond with William.