Missing Girl

By
She was a memory lost in the realm of the world unknown. Her life displayed in a newspaper of complete mystery. A smile, bright and perfect, shone from the gray page. Her eyes pierced through the picture into the world she once knew as her own. She was the missing girl; lost one hundred and thirty days ago.

Jake leaned against a locker with his foot propped against the wall, waiting for the most popular girl in school to stop for her books. His blonde hair hung in front of his sea blue eyes. He glanced down the east wing hallway and saw Sara with her three best friends strutting toward him. She looked happy with a bright smile on her face. Her eyes were watering from a joke told by her best friend, Erika. Her shining brown hair was in messy ringlets around her shoulders. Jake took in a deep breath. "She looks amazing." His heart raced faster as she approached. She came to a halt in front of her locker, and Jake leaned in closely. He placed a kiss on her forehead. She glanced at him through the corner of her eyes. Her smile widened, and with her hands outstretched, she placed the three books in her arms neatly into her locker. A pink covered book, matching binder, and a brown paper lunch bag were then pulled from the top shelf, replaced by the books once held in Sara’s arms. Sara turned abruptly, sending her curls flying into her face. She handed her books to Jake and slung her small left arm around his muscular right arm. They walked together to the library, where Sara always went for study hall, before Jake raced off to make it to government class on the other side of the building.
Sara ran to Jake’s apple red Mustang when the final bell rang. The door was already open for her. She tossed her books into the back seat without another thought. Her slender body slid easily into the front seat, and she leaned over to hug Jake’s broad frame. They held each other for a long moment, and he kissed her blushing cheeks gently. She placed a kiss on his hand as he pulled away to start the car. Sara ran her hands through her tangled curly hair as she messily placed it into a bun. Curls sprang in every direction. Jake looked over at her with a devilish grin. "Wow," he thought to himself, "I must be the luckiest guy in the world."
Jake’s car rolled out of the driveway in the dark. He had just dropped Sara off at her house after their candle-light date. She was still facing the street and backed away one step as she turned toward the red brick house that she knew as home. Sara was stepping in circles of pure happiness. Then she stopped dead in her tracks. She glanced over her left shoulder and saw a hunched shadow. "It’s just my imagination." The shadow moved to the side of the garage, out of her range of sight. It lingered there, rocking back and forth. It crouched lower as Sara came closer. Her small hand reached for the golden door handle and slid the old bent key in the lock. Firm hands grabbed Sara’s shoulders, pulling her backwards. Another hand clasped her mouth, and terror filled her wide blue eyes as she tried to wriggle free. "NO!" Her scream was never heard through the hand’s thick gloves. Her heels dragged on the concrete driveway. Hands shoved a sack tightly over her head and forced her body into an unfamiliar stiff seat as a policeman would to a criminal. A hard blow hit the temple of her head and darkness overcame Sara’s mind.
Police cars were parked in front of 143 Maple Drive. Flashing lights of blue and red lit the entire street. Jake’s roaring Mustang stopped abruptly in front of the familiar house. He bolted from the car, leaving the door wide open and ran toward the house. Mrs. Hawkins was crying into her hands on the porch. Her curls bounced from her cries; the curls so much like Sara’s very own. As Jake approached, she wiped the tears from her puffy red eyes and embraced him with a sorrowful hug. Their grips tightened as another spell of tears came rushing forward. His head dug into her shoulder after glancing at the house. The old bent key was still hanging in the door’s shining lock. A hand reached Jake’s shoulder and gave a gentle squeeze. A police officer had some questions regarding Sara’s night with him. "We had a great dinner. I leaned over and kissed her goodnight. I didn’t get out of the car because I was in a hurry to get home. I promised Sara I would study for my test tomorrow. I wanted her to be proud of me. She was looking at me and waving as I pulled out of the driveway. Oh God! Please, find her!"

One hundred and thirty days have passed with no sign of Sara. Her room lays empty and her bed unused. Jake spent every moment he could with her parents, holding onto his memories of how things used to be. It was now Saturday morning and Jake sat at their kitchen table, staring at the picture of Sara in the newspaper. A follow-up story just came out in every paper in the state with big bold letters featuring how the missing girl from a small town was never found. Her smile, bright and perfect, shone from the gray page in his hands. "You should probably go home, dear. Your parents will want to see you sometime soon." Mrs. Hawkins said with a saddened smile and sorrow-filled eyes. Jake got to his feet. He paused, looking at the picture once more before he crossed the room to say his goodbyes. His arms wrapped around Sara’s mother and then moved to her father. "I will be back, you know. I want to be here." Jake mustered a smile and turned toward the front door.
He looked at the ground as he stepped onto the front porch. A figure stood not five feet from him, making his head lift in shock. A jolt in the pit of his stomach wrenched at his heart. Her pale face and drooping curls were enough to make Jake cry. Sara’s outstretched arms embraced Jake’s trembling body. He looked down at her and gently touched the cut above her eye and the yellowing bruise at the peak of her temple. He pulled the torn rugged shirt onto her shoulder and placed a kiss gently on her lips. Soft tears drained from their eyes as they both reentered the house that Sara always knew as home.


This piece is dedicated to all the missing children and people of the world. Our searches are not in vain. You will be found in our hearts forever. There will always be hope. Always.





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