At the intense expression of pain and longing on the stranger's face as she stared at Greta, Sam felt a shiver of warning crawl up her spine. "What do you want?"
"I-It's private. And what I have to say is more important that you know." Myriad emotions flashed across Carla's face as her gaze flitted uncertainly from Jeff, to Sam, and then down to Greta. A single tear slipped down her cheek. "And this isn't for her ears, either."
"It will only take a moment, and then I'll leave. I promise."
News of abductions, robberies and violent acts filled the papers every day, and losing her husband had made Sam even more wary. Even if Jeff knew Carla's name, the woman seemed emotionally unstable. Something was terribly wrong here, and there was no way that Sam could allow this woman inside the house--not when she'd stared at Greta with such an eerie expression.
Sam said a silent prayer for guidance, then turned to Jeff. "Please, take Greta into the kitchen. I'll stay right here at the door."
Jeff frowned. "I really don’t think--"
"I'll be fine." Sam nodded toward the kitchen and waited until he and Greta were out of sight. "Well?"
Another tear trailed down Carla's face. "It's taken so long to find you. I tried every avenue possible, and hit one dead end after another. But I couldn't give up--I just couldn't. I owe you that much."
Sam stared at her, mystified. "But I'm sure we've never met."
"We haven't. And I promise you that you won't see me again. I swear I'll n-never interfere." Carla swallowed hard. "I have a daughter--she's just a toddler. I...I just thought she had some sort of flu, and I didn’t take her to the doctor at first. But she got worse, and worse. And when I did take her in, the doctors didn’t find anything wrong for the longest time. When they finally did diagnose her, they said she wouldn't have had a chance of survival if they hadn’t caught it when they did. She has a rare form of leukemia, Sam. One that typically strikes very young children. And even now, she's fighting for her life."
"I am so, so sorry to hear it. I can't imagine how awful this is for you. But why--"
"Why am I here?" Carla's gaze locked on Sam's, her eyes filling with grief. "Because I had to come. I can't let another child suffer like she has."
Sam stared at her, as awareness struck. "You..."
Carla nodded. "There's a strong genetic link on the maternal side, and there are DNA tests for it. I just had to let you know."