Chapter 2 continued (5) The Girl Within

“It seems they know what they’re doing,” my mother replied.  Tears ran down her face, “I just can’t believe someone would take my little Daniel.”
I reached for her and we held each other close as we cried.  Every awful story about child abductions I’d ever read about or watched on the news came flooding through my mind.  “My little baby,” I gasped and my mother looked into my eyes as if she knew exactly what I’d been thinking.
“Don’t-” she said.  “They’re alright.  You have to believe that.”
I nodded mutely.  If I gave way to my worst fears, I wouldn’t be able to even answer the phone if it rang again.
“I’ll fix you a cup of tea and something to eat,” my mother added.  “You need to keep your strength up.  I’m sure you haven’t eaten a thing.”
My stomach lurched at the thought of food.  “I can’t eat.  I could drink something, though.”  She didn’t argue with me but went into the kitchen.
Four hours later, the phone had only rung twice.  Both times, it was distant neighbors calling who’d heard the reports on their scanners.  I’d jumped each time, growing increasingly nervous and wary.”

I’d taken to pacing back and forth in front of the sofa.  “Why haven’t they called?”  I finally screamed.
Emily Stratton got up from her chair and put an arm around me.  “It’s not a bad sign,” she said.  “They will make contact.”
She motioned to my mother, “Why don’t you take her upstairs to get some sleep in one of the pair of bedrooms?  If the phone rings, we’ll be able to get her in time.  I’ll sit in the bedroom opposite.  I have everything set up there to take the call.”
“You’re crazy if you think I can sleep,” I snapped.  Then I instantly regretted my outburst, “I’m sorry.  I know you’re just trying to help.”
Emily looked at me with compassion, “You’re allowed to be edgy.  Don’t apologize.  Just consider it a change of scenery then from the living room.”
“Okay,” I said and started to follow my mother upstairs.  One of Daniel’s toys, a Thomas train, was on the bottom step.  I picked it up and sank to the stairs sobbing.  I felt my mother’s arms wrap around me and then bodily pull me up from the step.  I forced my feet to move and climb the stairs.
I collapsed on the bed clutching the toy train.  I’m not sure how  next page

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