Mary Harrison walked into her kitchen and proceeded to wash her hands making sure to use about half the bottle of soap. A small alarm went off announcing the time as 1:00 PM. Mary stopped scrubbing her hands and leaned against the sink.
Sunlight poured in through the window in front of her reflecting off the water in to her eyes. Shadows of insects fluttered past every now and then. A butterfly landed on the windowsill and crawled up the glass. Its shadow slowly traipsed across the foamy water then onto Mary. As it reached the top of the window it started to fall. It fluttered its wings furiously trying to stay on the glass to no avail. After a few seconds it finally fell but catching itself with its wings flew off.
Mary stared at the soap bubbles being pushed around by the running water and eventually being pulled down the drain. Lingering soap on her hands dripped down the side of the sink making a long frothy line on the porcelain sink.
Mary jumped as the phone rang. She took a moment to take in what happened and then ran to the phone.
“Albert, did you find her?” She was met with silence on the other end.
“I…I’m sorry, Mrs. Harrison? This is Alexis Marshall from AMVETS. I just wanted to confirm with you that we will be stopping by on Monday. Is that all right?” Alexis’s voice came over the line tinny and high-pitched. Mary’s heart sank and she grabbed her forehead.
“Yes, yes, that’s fine. Thank you.” Before Alexis could say anything else Mary slammed the phone down.
She stared at the phone longingly and yet she didn’t want it to ring again. As she stared at the soundless phone she felt her shoulders begin to tremble.
Her heartbeat quickened and she felt her breathing start to become short gasps. She grabbed her shoulders with her hands to try and stop them. As she tried harder to stop them they became worse. Her legs began to feel like jelly. She slowly lowered to the floor still clutching her shoulders.
Tears formed in her eyes and her instinct was to hold them back, but they wouldn’t be held back. They rolled down her cheeks continuously. The gasps coming from her throat were now sobs. One of her hands moved up to her forehead and balled into a fist. She leaned her back against the cabinets and banged her head against them.
Her cries echoed in the empty house causing her to cry harder. She could feel her heart tighten in her chest and she gasped between each cry. Her tears fell into her open mouth leaving a salty taste.
A strange ringing echoed over and over in her head. Mary looked up and saw a red light flashing on the phone. She blinked and a few tears finished traveling down her cheeks. She quickly clambered to her feet and grabbed the phone.
“Mary, it’s me.” Albert’s voice made Mary catch her breath.
“Albert…did you find her?” Mary clutched her necklace. There was a silence. “Albert? Did you find our little girl?”
“Mary, don’t worry. I’m sure she’s fine.”
“They have no idea where she is,” Mary said letting the sob into her voice. Albert sighed on the other end.
“They thought they could track her with her credit card, but she hasn’t used it since she filled the car up that morning. They have a PB out with her car type, color, and license plate number, but if she’s in another state they say it’ll take longer.” Albert’s voice was strained with exhaustion. Mary was silent.
“We should have told her the news in person. She needed us and we were thousands of miles away.”
“Mary, calm down. We had no idea she would do this. No one could have seen it.” Mary sniffed and tried to compose herself.
“Where do they think she’s going?” she asked surprised at how controlled she sounded.
“They think she’ll be heading back home, but without proof from her credit card spending they aren’t sure. Honey, please just stay home in case she does show up.” The doorbell rang. Mary gasped loudly. “Mary, what is it?”
She leaned around the corner. She slowly walked to the front door. She peeked out the side windows. The face of her neighbor greeted her. She waved and then held up a bag of cookies.
“It’s Jane, Albert. I’ll call you later.”
“All right, love you.”
“Love you, too.”
“Don’t worry, Mary, they’ll find her.” Mary hung the phone up and opened the front door.