Part 1, Chapter 13 Summary
There is not much for college students to do in the town of Blacksmith. The town does not have any natural attraction or hangout, so everything the students do tends to be centered on campus. Blacksmith is an old town, full of “looming Victorian homes” that are only growing older, and it regularly arrays all of its “failed possessions” in driveways during tag sales and yard sales.
Babette calls her husband at his office in Centenary Hall to tell him that Heinrich had been down at the river with his camera, watching the authorities drag the river looking for bodies, when the police received word that the Treadwells had been found. They were discovered “alive but shaken” in an abandoned cookie kiosk in the mall located along the interstate.
Treadwell and his older sister had wandered the giant shopping center for the past two days, “lost, confused and frightened.” Finally they sought refuge in the rather unclean kiosk. Treadwell’s sister, growing weaker, had emerged from their place of safety and scavenged food out of the colorful mall trash cans.
The old people were fortunate that the weather was unusually mild for the duration of their ordeal, and no one yet knows exactly why they did not ask anyone for help. Perhaps the Treadwells, both quite old, simply felt “helpless and adrift” among the intimidating people and structures of the overwhelming shopping center.
Because they did not often leave their home, no one knows how the pair even got to the mall. A grandniece may have dropped them off and then forgotten about them, but no one has been able to reach the grandniece for any comment.
The day before the Treadwells were happily discovered, the police consulted with a local...
(The entire section is 446 words.)