This is the first fictional story written for my Creative Writing studies.
“It’s time for you to come inside Angie!” Sylvia called to the five year old who, minutes ago had been playing outside the kitchen window. Sylvia loved to watch her little girl play on the swings, and took delight in her curiosity as she inspected flowers and bugs in the back yard. She smiled as she thought how easily Angie could twist her husband Steve around her little finger. Steve loved the little girl as much as he loved Sylvia. Maybe he loved her more, she thought with a frown.
Where is that girl, she never comes when I call her! Sylvia opened the back door and strolled outside to bring her child in for her mid-morning snack.
Sylvia blinked as she glanced over the empty back yard. Sudden fear gripped her heart as she noticed the open gate leading to the front yard, and the busy street. The child could not disappear in the minute since she last looked out of the window, but instinct told her something was terribly wrong.
She spotted Cathy hanging clothes in the yard next door. “Have you seen Angie?”
Sylvia watched as her neighbour dropped clothes into a basket and looked over the fence at an empty yard. Apparently Cathy had heard Angie singing to the bees’ minutes before.
Sylvia turned to look in the direction of Cathy’s gaze. “Oh no, the side gate’s open!” Sylvia rushed through the gate to the front of the house, followed by her neighbour.
“Angie, Angie, where are you?”
Sylvia began to cry uncontrollably. “Steve will never forgive me if anything happens to Angie,” moaned Sylvia. “I could never forgive myself!” She was barely conscious Cathy was shaking her by the shoulders to get her attention.
“Is there any place she could hide in the backyard?”
She knew there was no place to hide there, but was not thinking clearly.
“I think I am going to be sick!”
Glancing up and down the street she saw her other neighbour Rick speeding away from them in his car. Sylvia took the mobile out of her apron pocket and dialled 000. “My child is missing; can you come to number 10 Elm Street?”
That message was relayed to two police officers, GJ and Shelly who were in the process of standing down from duty. Their day had started twenty- six hours earlier, and they didn’t welcome this extension of their duty roster, but recognized the urgency of a worried mother’s request and sped off toward Elm Street.
“I’d better phone Steve and let him know what’s going on.” Sylvia responded at last to Cathy’s shaking, aroused from the mental paralysis gripping her with the shock of it all. She tossed her head to clear the fog, and hit speed dial 1 on her mobile.
“Julie, could I talk with Steve please,” she said to the receptionist. “Tell him it’s urgent!”
She visualized her husband Steve’s reaction while she waited; he was always cool, calm and collected. These traits, with a natural administrative flair had seen him rise to a top administrative position with the company. She expected him to put on his professional air to deal with her outburst. He always did. Calm them, soothe them, and send them away was his motto. I know I’m emotional at times but he needs to take me seriously this time, she thought.
“You’d better come home immediately Steve, this is a real emergency, Angie’s missing!”
“I’m on the way”, Steve shouted. He’d lost his ‘Mr. Cool’ veneer.
“Why are you asking the same questions over and over?” Sylvia protested.
The police officers, GJ and Shelly, listened carefully to the two women as they answered questions put to them. When had they last seen Angie in the backyard? How many minutes had elapsed since Sylvia last saw Angie there and entered the yard herself? They repeated the questions in different ways to try and sort out facts, as people under stress don’t always give accurate answers.
A car slid to a halt behind the police patrol car
“Steve thank God you’re here!” Sylvia broke into uncontrollable sobs and clung to Steve in desperation.
“It all happened so quickly,” she said. “I don’t know if it has anything to do with Angie’s disappearance, but our neighbour Rick was speeding off when we reached the front gate.”
Police officers had recorded Sylvia’s statement including Rick Brown’s name, and went to the patrol car to make contact with headquarters. The Department had previously received a tip that Rick Brown was dealing drugs. The officers were told to treat this as an unproved report, but Rick was certainly on the police interest list. The drug squad had been monitoring his movements for weeks, and knew where he’d probably be at that time.
“Lady, you’d better get in touch with police headquarters if Angie happens to show up,” the officers advised as they returned to their car to search for Rick.
Steve went inside to phone and ask Sylvia’s mother to spend time with her in case he was asked to assist the police in their search.
Moments after the patrol car left Elm Street, Rick returned and turned into his driveway, manoeuvring the car around to the back of the house.
“How did the police miss catching him?” Sylvia stared at the car trying to determine if there was anyone else inside. She was sure there was something tied up on the back seat. “I’m going over there to question him, and if he’s taken Angie I’m going to kill him!”
“Where is she, you despicable creature?”
Sylvia suddenly appeared at the back of the house where Rick was beginning to unload drugs into his garden shed. His heart quit beating for a moment and he felt faint.
“What on earth are you talking about?” he rasped.
“Angie! I know you’ve taken her. I saw you speeding off just after she disappeared from our back yard.”
“You’re out of your mind? She’s a baby! What on earth would I be doing with your child?”
Sylvia was staring in confusion at the bags of white powder being unloaded from the car into the garden shed. “What’s that then ?”
Her neighbour froze, but only for an instant! He recovered quickly, pulled a gun from his inside coat pocket, and pointed it at Sylvia’s chest. He motioned for her to put her hands behind her back and turn around. Sylvia screamed and lunged toward the car to look in the back seat. A sharp blow to the head had her reeling, and grasping for support. She felt her hands wrenched behind her back and taped together, and tasted blood on her lips. She was vaguely aware of being pushed onto the back seat of Rick’s car, but was conscious enough to realize Angie was not there. She was dimly aware they were moving down a driveway, and thought she heard her husband Steve’s voice shouting in alarm as they skidded onto the roadway
“Looks like you and I are going for a ride neighbour lady,” snarled Rick. “I guess Steve knows you’re here, so I’m going to skip the state with my stuff, and you’ll be history after we cross the state line.”
“Where’s Angie,” Sylvia said in a subdued voice.
“I have no idea,” said Rick.
As they sped down the road, Sylvia, tied up in the back seat, noticed a police car speeding toward them. She heard Rick curse, gunn the motor, and speed off in the direction of the motorway. Within minutes patrol cars began to close in on their quarry. A helicopter was sent to help bring in the fugitive, and he was soon in custody answering to drug charges and kidnapping. A rueful Sylvia was nursing a massive headache, feeling foolish for the impetuous act that nearly cost her life. But where was Angie?
She felt her husband guiding her into the bedroom and placing her on the bed. Sylvia was barely conscious when she felt a familiar little bundle snuggle up next to her.
“Angie?” Sylvia was instantly awake, hugging the little girl until Angie began to whimper from the pressure. “Angie is here!”
Steve, Cathy, and Sylvia’s mother came running from the kitchen wide eyed.
“Where have you been you naughty girl?”
Angie began to cry and Sylvia cradled her in her arms rocking back and forth. “We’ve all been so worried about you sweetheart, where have you been?”
Angie had answered her mother’s first call, but while Sylvia’s attention was diverted the child had gone through the door to the bathroom to wash up in anticipation of her mid-morning snack. The subsequent shouting in the backyard alarmed the child, and she’d hidden in her clothes closet listening to raised voices outside. She knew there was trouble but didn’t understand the words. When she did pluck up courage to come out of hiding and peep out the window, she saw a police car, with two officers making her mother cry, so she went back into hiding again to emerge when she saw her mother enter the bedroom safely.
That evening the family drew comfort from the fact they were together and had survived the crisis. “I hope we never go through a situation like this again,” said Sylvia hugging her daughter tightly.
The side gate was fitted with a new spring lock the very next day.
“© Ian Grice 2011. All rights reserved”