The family slept, Sparky barked, howled, pawing the door, Rylan groaned, padding downstairs annoyed at the late hour, assuming it was a toilet emergency, Rylan opened the door. Sparky sniffed, darting towards the road, Rylan hollered, but Sparky disappeared. Emilie had checked the children, Patrick slept obvious to the chaos, and Charlotte cried, frightened she had run to Eliza’s room, she climbed into bed to discover her sister was a pillow mountain. Frantic, Emilie ushered Rylan to find Sparky, believing he was looking for Eliza. Wherever their daughter was, her bed was empty.
The police had questions; Emilie felt numb, comprehending the idea, her daughter, lost in the world, alone; were they bad parents? It seemed that way; the phrasing of their inquiries implied they were responsible, of course, they were, but how did she fail to see this coming. Eliza had been miserable, avoided being near them, stayed in her room, or went running with Sparky. The house suffered, father and daughter with similar tempers; Eliza stormed, a friends birthday; she wanted to party rather than study for exams, one night to blow off steam. Emilie prayed this was the answer, Eliza would be back ready for school Monday, willing to accept her punishment and life would continue. Except, she knew this was different, perhaps knowing was an overstatement but the chaos of Eliza’s room overturned as the police looked for clues, told her Eliza had no intention of returning.
Emilie sat quiet, thumbs stroking a teddy; some clothes, books, and money were missing, along with food taken from the kitchen; Eliza had runaway. Rylan dismissed the idea, believing Eliza, his sensible daughter will call, either hanging with friends or visiting Ziva; she wanted to get back at him for grounding her; rebellion was natural at her age. Sparky whimpered, Rylan scolded him for waking the neighbours with his cries, stared sombre at the locked front door. Family, the few friends she had, no one had heard from her, Rylan accused them of lying, directing his anger, the blame at everyone.
Emilie stretched exhausted; she slept a few hours, torn, a piece of her needing to call everyone begging them to find Eliza, the other hoping she would call home. Each knock brought well-wishers, friendly faces, bringing a casserole; although Emilie appreciated the distraction, the conversation crept back to Eliza; and why such a smart girl would disappear. Vicky was on hand to interrupt the unwanted questions; with Ziva dealing with a delicate space mission, she welcomed the change of scene. She busied herself with housework and school projects as Milly slept in her bassinet, oblivious to the chaos.
If you are affected by this story https://www.missingpeople.org.uk/about-the-charity supports people left behind by their loved one and a way for the missing to reach out or get advice.