Except, he couldn’t. She was talking—a low murmur, hesitant, guarded and intermittent, but still—couldn’t she cut him some slack? He peered at the digital clock. 4 am. Good grief. He had to be up in two hours. He rolled toward the wall, feigning sleep.
“Rob.” She spoke gently, a catch of tears in her voice. He moaned incoherently and pulled the quilt up around his shoulders, blocking her out. Her nightstand light clicked on. He swore beneath his breath and dug in. No nightmares tonight. No “talking things out”. He’d get his way for once.
“Rob,” she insisted, jiggling him. “Baby. Wake up.” He felt her prod his back with something hard and smooth. He whipped around his head and hurled a glare over his shoulder. She flinched but fought to make her face blank. “Honey, you need to take this.”
Rob looked from her face to the phone receiver and back again. As the fog lifted, he felt his stomach drop through the floor. He flung his legs over the side of the bed, clicked on his lamp and groped for his glasses.
“This is Rob.”
“Mr. Daniels?” the tinny voice answered. “I’m sorry about the hour.”
“Who is this?”
“Tim Gutierrez, the sheriff of La Plata County—Durango, Colorado.”
“How can I help you, Sheriff?”
“I understand from your wife you have a brother by the name of Richard Daniels?”
“We found his wallet, and this was the only number . . . ”
Rob waffled between panic and irritation. “What kind of help does Rick need, Sheriff?”
“That’s just it, Mr. Daniels. If what we found is your brother, he’s beyond anyone’s help now.”