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Rachael

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My sister Rachael disappeared almost 5 years ago now and the police have dropped the case; she still has not been found. I am sick to my stomach knowing that I was the last one to see her, to talk to her. If I had just stayed up a little bit longer, I could have helped her; she was only six years old. I should have stayed up with her and regardless of the fact that everyone tells me not to blame myself, I do. People constantly remind me that it’s not my fault and that there was nothing more I could’ve done but that’s not true, I could’ve helped. I shouldn’t have fallen asleep on her; she was so young and defenseless.

It was a cold December night and Rachel and I were just getting home from the city. It had been a long day and we were both extremely tired. I began to go up the stairs as soon as I walked in the door, but Rachael stayed behind to get a snack. I can still hear her little voice almost a whisper telling me that she was just going to get something to eat before bed. I should’ve waited downstairs with her, but I just said okay and walked right on up the stairs. Once I lay down in bed, there was no stopping me from falling asleep. I fell asleep almost instantaneously and that was it. That was the last I saw of her, she was gone. When I woke up the next morning I went into her room to wake her up but she wasn’t there. Her blankets were all thrown off her bed and her favorite teddy bear was sitting nicely on the top of her pillow. I figured she must have gotten up already so I went downstairs but she was no where to be found. All I saw was a box of Cheerios knocked over that had spilt all over the table, and a bowl of milk sitting beside the box. I started to panic, I looked all over the house, every last inch and she was still nowhere to be found. I ran outside to see if she was maybe playing outside even though she knew she wasn’t allowed to, she wasn’t. I knocked on all my neighbor’s doors and asked them if they had seen her. She was no where, I was a mess. I called the police immediately and all they said was it had to be twenty-four hours before she is considered ‘missing.’ This frustrated me to no end, but nonetheless I waited until that night to call again and they began the investigation. It seemed like the investigation was getting no where, and before I knew it the case was dropped. I felt more responsible than ever before about the whole situation. She was my little sister, but ever since our parents died I have been her guardian. It was my responsibility to protect her and I failed. Then when I lost the police, too, I couldn’t bear the guilt. I wish I could hold her, just one more time; I want to look into her big, beautiful, blue eyes and know that she is safe somewhere. I am just tired of not knowing what happened to her. Is she still alive, suffering out there somewhere or is she dead to the world but soaring up in heaven alive and free? I just need to know.

The fifth anniversary of Rachael’s disappearance is next week and I don’t know if I can go another year without her. But the next day things took a turn for the worse. I had expected to have a terrible week, I figured it was a given. But terrible does not even begin to describe the next few days. I woke up the next morning to beautiful sunlight shining in my window; I took it as a sign of Rachael watching over me from the heavens, to let me know that she is not suffering any longer. This thought filled me with joy and hope. I felt better than ever and began to think that it just might be a better day than expected. I jumped out of bed and got ready for the day with high spirits. I went out for a little while just to clear my mind. When I got home, I felt so much better and for the first time in 5 years, I could actually say that I felt somewhat happy and free. I went to relax in Rachael’s room as I do almost everyday. It brings me to peace with myself and it’s the only way that I can feel as though I am still with her. When I walked to her room, however, I was thrown into shock, awe and terror. Her blankets were all thrown off her bed and her favorite teddy bear was sitting nicely on the top of her pillow. It looked exactly as it did the morning that Rachael disappeared. My mind shot into a flash back; I went back to that horrible day, me standing in the doorway looking into the room, seeing the exact same thing but not being worried about her safety. The past five years seemed to all be crashing down on me. I thought that I must have been envisioning it; the pain, guilt and fear must have been building up inside of me and I just could not handle it anymore. I felt dizzy, the world was spinning.

I felt like Rachael was back in her room again, running around laughing and yelling; a gentle tear rolled down my cheek. Although it was painful to admit, I knew I would never really be with her again. I broke out in tears of remembrance. Tears were pouring out of my eyes, sucking all the life and strength I had left in me. I was violently trembling and clawing the wall to keep myself up. I eventually collapsed onto the floor and just sat there. I tried to collect myself and although it took a very long time, I eventually did. The tears dried and I steadily stood up, still in a world of awe and confusion. I went outside to clear my mind; I went for a long, long walk. I just walked around for hours. I didn’t know where I was going or when I was coming back but I couldn’t stop. The whole world was in a blur and I could’ve sworn I was going to faint right there. When I returned home it had to be at least 5 hours later and I was beyond exhausted. I walked into my cold, dark house and began up the stairs. Midway, I heard Rachael behind me in that same soft whisper asking for a snack. I knew she wasn’t there, I knew I was just imagining it all. My head told me to keep walking, to push myself up the stairs. With all the strength I had left, I lifted my leg to continue up the stairs when I heard her say my name. I felt her calling for me, she needed my help. My heart took over my body and I jerked around to find Rachael. But as expected, she was no where to be found. Where Rachael once stood, so long ago, was now just a dark, empty, cold room full of lost hope and despair. I ran upstairs, tears rolling down my face, and went right to bed. I was unconscious the instant my head touched my pillow. When I woke up the next morning I was full of pure confusion and fear. I was too scared to get out of bed, scared to move. But once I convinced myself that ‘yesterday’ was all just a dream, I slowly strolled out of my room and stood in front of Rachael’s room. Everything was normal! The blankets were tucked in nicely on the bed and everything was in its place just the way I had always kept it. I knew it, I knew yesterday was all a dream. A smile crossed my face for a quick second but was wiped right off again by the fact that Rachael was still not sitting on her bed saying good morning to me in her soft, high pitched voice. I couldn’t keep the tears from rolling down my face. I wobbled down the stairs and into the kitchen. My heart sunk, fear and pain took over me. I swear I could have fainted right there. On the table was a box of Cheerios knocked over and spilt all over the table. Sitting next to it was a bowl of milk. It was just as it had looked that morning, that horrific morning that I couldn’t find my sister. I didn’t even own Cheerios, I hadn’t since that day. I never had a bowl of Cheerios again. My world was falling apart; I couldn’t even tell what was happening anymore. I was lost, confused and scared. I was waiting to wake up, expecting to find that the past two days had been all a dream. I was ready to wake up in my bed with Rachael standing in the doorway, calling for me to wake up and make her breakfast. I could almost hear her voice calling me, I could see her standing there, waiting for me. But when I got up she started screaming, she was calling for help. I ran over to her as fast as I could just to find that I couldn’t reach her; when I went to reach for her she slid away. The more I tried the further she moved, still screaming for help. Suddenly I was back in my kitchen staring at the Cheerios on the table. I had slipped into a daydream; I was growing too weak. I was constantly breaking down, having visions, and hearing things. I needed a break; it was all too much for me. Those five years had felt like a lifetime and I was sure that I was never going to recover. Over the next hour I was on the couch going in and out of visions, one minute Rachael was sitting beside me, playing and talking; then the next minute she would be nowhere in my sight but I could hear her calling me, screaming for my help. At nearly nine o’clock at night I looked at the clock in confusion. It had just been the morning, I wasn’t sure whether I was dreaming or not. Utter confusion took over me and I maundered to the fridge. I grabbed a quick snack and figured there was nothing else to do but go to bed. I wandered up the stairs and into my room. I felt like people were watching me, but then again I was convinced I was going insane. I gave up; It had held up for almost five years and I’m just losing my mind now. It didn’t make sense, but then again, did anything really make sense anymore?
When I woke up the next morning, it was officially the fifth anniversary of her disappearance and I felt different; the feeling was strange, but in a good way. The day before had been a complete blur, all I remembered was finding the Cheerios on the table and everything after that I am unsure about. I would’ve said that I was probably in a dream when I woke up but everything seemed so clear and defined. I still can’t describe the feeling I woke up to, as I cannot describe the following hour. I checked Rachael’s room, everything was normal, I went downstairs to the kitchen and yet again everything was normal. I carried on with my normal morning routine but as I walked into the living room I swear my heart literally fell out of my chest and onto the floor. I was completely out of breath and I couldn’t bring myself to breathe for what felt like at least an hour. The chills ran around my body fiercely and I began a violent tremble. I looked down to find that I had dug my fingernails into my skin in an attempt to wake myself up but to no avail, I remained. I stood there staring across the room, looking at Rachael. She finally turned around, looked at me with her big, blue, beautiful eyes and spoke in nothing more than a soft whisper, “I missed you mommy.”





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