The Girl Within Chapter 1

Chapter 1
I had known something was wrong almost immediately.  The house was much too quiet.  Maybe my husband, Chris, had somehow managed to get our toddler son to take a nap.  That had to be the reason for the stillness, I told myself.  As I entered our front door, I glanced back at the driveway.  The cars were all there.  They were at home.
I took off my shoes and laid them softly near the door.  They had to be asleep.  The last minute phone call I had answered at my store had kept me much longer than I had intended.  I was over an hour late getting home.  They must have given up on waiting for me and decided to take a nap before supper.
Yet as I repeated the words to myself in my mind, a flutter of unease wouldn’t leave my chest.  You’re being silly.  Everything is fine.  I carefully avoided the squeaky board of the living room floor.  Our son could wake up at the slightest bit of noise.  I continued down the hallway to our bedroom.  The door was open.  That was odd.  Usually, we had to close it to darken the room to get Daniel, our always-active son, to even consider a nap.  My heart gave an odd little thump.  The guest bedroom-that’s where they were.  Chris often liked to use it for a nap himself.
I switched directions and made my way to the smaller, sunny yellow room.  Its door was also open.  I held my breath as I looked inside.  The bed was carefully made, the decorative pillows still in place.
Where were they?  I no longer cared about being quiet.  I ran to the other two bedrooms on the opposite side of the house.  We never used them except to fill the closets with clothes that were out of season.  Maybe Daniel had insisted they sleep in one of them for a change.  He was starting to exhibit odd toddler quirks.  Surely, that was what had happened.
My heart started to pound heavily when I peered in both rooms only to find them empty with nothing out of place.  I tore through the rest of the house flinging doors open and yelling Chris and Daniel repeatedly.  The house was silent.
My mother-they were with her, I realized.  That had to be it.  She had a car seat in her small SUV.  For some reason, she had picked them up.  I had been acting like a deranged idiot.  They were probably down at her house right now eating supper and talking.  I’d Next page


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