Natalie Schaeffer took deep, slow breaths as she drove down the semi-familiar streets of Owens Forge. Knowing for the last two years that her parents had moved back to her childhood home didn't seem to dilute the strangeness. When she was ten, her father had yanked their family out of their church, then took a new job in another state, and swore he would never go back to Owens Forge. Yet here they were, settling back in, rebuilding old friendships, even going back to their former church. It didn't make sense. Natalie hadn't wanted to press for answers, even though her father's explanation for the change hadn't been satisfactory at all. If her boss ever found out that she walked away from digging down to the truth, she would never hear the end of it. She was an investigative reporter, after all. If she wasn't honest in her own life, and didn't apply her work principles to her personal life, what good was she? Sometimes it reeked, working for a Christ-based magazine. When management proclaimed they were a family, they meant it.
She spotted the sign for Lincoln Street, flinched, and let out a low growl of frustration. Even after so long, she automatically headed down Lincoln, but her family didn't live there anymore. It made no sense, because she certainly hadn't been driving when they left town and only knew the routes between church and home, and school and home. Why would she take the old way home -- to a place that wasn't home?
Natalie drove down the street, planning to turn around in the cul de sac instead of pulling into someone's driveway. The daylight had faded enough that her headlights came on automatically, and she hated turning around and flashing her lights in someone's front window.She hit the brakes when she got to the place where the cul de sac should have been. Heart racing, she looked left and right at the new side streets that had been built in the intervening years. Where was their old house? Where was Tommy's house?