Seth had seen many dismal sights in his years as a police officer, but he couldn't come up with a single memory that matched the cinder block cracker box in which Hope lived. He sat across the street, watching the dark front window, willing some sign of life to appear. A light in the tiny upstairs window. A flicker of children's laughter, filtering through the deepening night quiet. Some movement behind the curtains.
The street lights were too far away, two houses away on one side and three on the other. Seth couldn't make out more than the uneven lumps of bushes, the knee-high picket fence, and what he hoped were flowers along the foundation. The darkness made everything look dingy. The lack of even a light by the front or side door made him shiver as he imagined the house deserted.
Ricky wouldn't take Hope with him when he fled town, would he? He hadn't caught up with her between Seth finding her this afternoon and now, and forced her to run away, had he?