Prologue

The wind roared and the rain came down in buckets.

"It might be stormy now, but it can't rain forever," Marilyn Hughes said to herself as she sat in front of the window sill in the living room, watching the drops of rain race each other to the bottom of the glass window. She had been doing so for the past two hours, anxiously waiting for her husband to come home. Paul was sent to firefighter-duty for a terrible car accident only a few miles from their house. A car lost control on the road and crashed into a furniture store, while there were people inside. She hoped that he was alright.

She turned away from the window and sighed, feeling relieved that her daughter was fast asleep. She wished that she could fall asleep as well, but she was too worried about her husband. She tried to occupy herself by turning on the television and flipping through the channels. When she turned to Channel 5 News, her heart dropped.

"For those of you just tuning in, we've received ground-breaking news. An inmate in Broward County Courthouse in downtown Fort Lauderdale has escaped. I repeat: an inmate has escaped. There are no clues or leadings as to where he may be. His name is-". Before the news reporter could speak another word, Marilyn heard a loud crash of thunder and at that moment, all of the electricity shut off. The house was pitch black.

Marilyn's heart pounded against her chest. She could hear her daughter begin to cry in her room. Marilyn cursed under her breath and clutched the chair's armrests. She didn't want to move an inch, even though she knew her daughter needed her. But then she remembered that she had her cell phone in her pocket. She pulled it out and used the light to guide her way to her daughter's bedroom. She opened the door and walked over to the crib, where the hysterical two-year-old was laying in.

"It's okay, Tasha," Marilyn assured her. "Mommy's here." She picked her up and held her close, rocking back and forth.

As Tasha began to quiet down, Marilyn's cell phone vibrated. She checked the caller ID. It was her lawyer, Marco Colombo, who also happened to be her best friend's father.

"Hello?" Marilyn said in a hushed voice.

"Marilyn, it's Marco. I got some bad news for you," Marco said. It was hard for Marilyn to understand what he was saying because of his heavy Italian accent.

"What's wrong?" she asked, feeling lightheaded.

"I don't know how to tell you this, but…"

"Just say it," Marilyn pleaded. She heard Marco take a deep breath.

"Ryan Brant has escaped from jail."