The stepping stone walkway was lined on both sides by blackthorn shrubs devoid of their white spring blossoms. Running along the right side of the house, the path traced its way along the driveway. The shrubs were trimmed to a height of three feet so that the rock garden, which was centered on the lawn in front of the small cottage, could be viewed from the street.
Walking on the flagstones leading to the house, Rider caught a glimpse of his mother, as she disappeared behind the neat row. Stepping over the shrubs, he cut a path through the grass, reaching her with Thalia in tow. His wife would have given anything to be anywhere but there.
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