Lost and Found

June 1, 2010
By , Winfield, IL
The silver pendant clanged to the ground, hitting the hard wood. The sound crashed through Kayla’s mind like a deafening crack. Small pieces of the crystals in the center chipped off, and though she was fairly certain they weren’t real natural gems, Kayla couldn’t help but feel like she was losing something incredibly precious.
The voice rang through her mind again.
“You can sell it,” the devil on her shoulder told her, a smug expression etched on his face. “Sell it, for money. Pawn it.”
“No,” she responded aloud, her voice shaking. “No, I cannot.” The devil didn’t budge, whispering into her ear.
“Yes.” His voice was enticing – he was catching his flies with honey. “You can. Sell the pendant; make your family’s problems go away.
“Besides,” he continued, “it’s not like Casey will ever know.”
“She will when she comes back.” Kayla’s voice was low, trembling slightly, and she quickly retrieved the pendant and clasped it tightly in her hands. The devil smirked.
“Ah, but she’s not coming back. You know this as well as I – she left. She ran away, and left you here to deal with everything.”
“No. No, she didn’t.” Tears began to slip down her cheeks. “She didn’t leave – she wouldn’t leave!”
The devil went silent, and Kayla felt relief flood into her when the voice didn’t reappear. She collapsed onto her bed shaking, the necklace clenched in her fist.
Kayla wasn’t really sure how much the piece of jewelry was worth, or if anything at all, but it was still something and if she tried she knew that she could pawn it off for a decent amount of money or at least sell it online. Really, in the desperate situation she and her family were currently in, any money would be welcome with open arms.
But Kayla wouldn’t do it. Couldn’t. After her older sister Casey had disappeared over four months ago, without a word or a note – the ending police consensus was that she had run away – the silver pendant was really all Kayla had left of her sister. She still remembered the day they had been walking around the park, kicking at pebbles and chasing pigeons, when Casey had strayed from the path.
“Look!” Kayla remembered her exclaiming as she ran over to a spot in the grass, Kayla following as fast as her six-year-old legs would allow. By the time she had caught up Casey was holding a thin chain in her hand, a pendant of silver and crystals hanging from it.
“It’s so pretty,” Casey had said, spinning it around and observing it from all angles. Before Kayla could even suggest that it may have belonged to someone else and that they really shouldn’t take it, Casey had called, “finders keepers, losers weepers!” and run off towards home.
A loud pounding on her bedroom door brought Kayla back into the present.
“Get out ‘ere,” came the growl of her father’s voice, his words slurred – once again, he had clearly had too much to drink. Despite this fact Kayla had come to realize that not following his orders, especially when he was in a drunken state, only ended in disaster. Wordlessly Kayla pocketed the pendant before carefully slipping out of her room.
“Yes?” she said, cautious. Her father was facing away from her, his shoulders slouched though she could read nothing out of his position. Suddenly he turned around, a maniacal gleam in his eye.
“Come ‘ere.” His voice was dangerously low and sweet, one large hand was wrapped around a bottle and the other beckoning her forward. She did as she was told, if only to avoid whatever was going to happen for a moment longer.
“Now,” he said, grasping her arm and pulling her close. Her mind reeled. The scent of alcohol overpowered her as sweat from her father’s forehead dripped down onto her arm. Suddenly his hand was in her pocket, the same one that held the pendant; before Kayla could react he had removed it, pushing her away. She hit her head on the floor, but did not make to get up, knowing that this would infuriate the man. Luckily he left her alone, bolting for the door in a drunken stupor. He glanced back only once, watching her with beady, suspicious eyes.
All coordination lost, Kayla watched as her father missed the threshold, running into the metal frame. There was a crack as his skull met steel, and then silence. Carefully Kayla got up, approaching him with caution. There was no blood, and he was still breathing, though he wasn’t moving; without thinking Kayla removed the pendant from his grasp and rushed out of the apartment.
Her feet carried her, the blood pounding in her ears. The slap of her feet hitting the pavement echoed through her mind as she rushed down the street towards some unknown location. Kayla unconsciously slipped Casey’s pendant around her neck. Somehow she ended up in the same park they had always visited as children – the same park Casey had found the pendant in, the same park she had last seen Casey in.
Skin collided with grass as Kayla fell to the ground, tripping over her own feet. Vaguely she realized her knees were bleeding and covered in dirt, the grass really more of a rock-vegetation mixture, but it didn’t matter. She sat up, laughing and crying at the same time though she wasn’t quite sure if she was laughing because she was crying or vice-versa. Memories flooded back to her, her mind reeling with everything that had ever happened in this park – all of the times she and Casey had spent together, all of the secrets shared and the childhood plots of world domination made, all of the games of hide-and-seek and tag played.
Then more recent memories. The empty bed in her room, where Casey used to sleep. The missing bag, the missing clothes, the missing cash. The pendant, laid carefully on a perfectly made bed. The glances of curly blond hair whipping around street corners, lime green sneakers being spotted under the stall of a public bathroom: the disappointment when it wasn’t Casey. The sick feeling of both situations playing out – that Casey was trapped somewhere, possibly dead, or that Casey had simply decided she wanted to up and leave. The betrayal.
Standing up, Kayla knew what she had to do.

Grasping the small silver pendant for the last time, the girl carefully made her way towards a near-by pawn shop. She knew friends who had gone there, and her mother had sold their things from time to time, especially now that money was tight. Slipping in the door as discreetly as possible, though the chime above the door went off, Kayla made her way up to the counter. She chewed on her lip, picking at the thumbnail of one hand while the other held the pendant firmly. After a few seconds a man stepped up to the counter, coming out of a back room. He smelled of tobacco and beer, sweat drenching his shirt as the stifling summer heat closed in on him.

“Ya?” he asked, moving the toothpick in his mouth with his tongue. Though she was tall for being only fourteen, Kayla couldn’t help but feel miniscule. Carefully she placed her hand above counter, prying her fingers open. The pendant dropped.

“I’d… like to sell this,” she told him. The man picked it up, turning it over in his hands. He eyed it carefully.

“What’s it made o’?” he asked. She shrugged nervously.

“Sterling silver,” she answered, though she wasn’t quite positive this was true. The man eyed her for a moment before shaking his head slightly as he took it into the back. A few minutes later he came out, apparently having looked it over.

“I’ll give you fifty bucks for it,” he told her. The surprise that flashed across her face must have been evident, because he added, “real silver.”

Kayla clenched her fists at her side to keep her self from instinctively reaching back out for it. She nodded. The man set the pendant down, and drew the cash out of the rusting metal register. On any other day its squeak would have pained her, but today she didn’t even notice it, her mind too numb to process. As she stepped out of the pawn shop into the scorching summer heat, the door slamming behind her, only one thought ran through her mind:
It was gone. The last piece of her sister was gone.

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