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“Aria?” Where as she? School finished over an hour ago and she hadn’t called to say she had detention.
All the worst case scenarios running through my head I reached for my mobile and nervously keyed in her number. I listened anxiously as the tone sounded. No answer.
Why wasn’t she picking up the phone? I couldn’t escape the awful images of my only daughter – in the arms of some druggie... or worse, a murderer? Rape, robbery, murder; what dreadful fate had stolen my child...
My eyes fell to the phone in my hand. Where was the pink cell I had bought Aria for her thirteenth birthday? She was so happy... her sweet little face all lit up in a smile.
‘Wer r u???’ I keyed in the text and held my mobile to my chest, praying my little girl would answer.
Fifteen minutes later I was still sitting in the kitchen staring at the wall, waiting for a reply that didn’t come.
In the end I took a deep breath and forced myself to drive to the school. She’d most likely had her phone confiscated and had been kept back in detention. I let out the breath and shook my head. Of course; she was fine.
Nobody at the school knew where she was. I asked reception and waited what felt like an hour for her to take a phone call only to find that none of the teachers had given her detention and none of them had seen her since the end bell.
I felt a chill settle over me – where was Aria? Hands visibly shaking, I stepped into the car and sped home, several kilometres over the speed limit.
I was just a couple of blocks from our house when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I nearly jumped out my shirt.
‘In my room’ Aria never had been one for abbreviations. I breathed out a sigh of relief. And never stopped breathing out. All the life in me, my soul, my heart, my consciousness all seeping out in one hissing sigh. Then there was just pain.
When the police reached Aria’s house with news of her mother’s demise, they found the fourteen-year-old lying on her bed. The mattress was soaked with a red sheen that caught the window light.
“No- suicide, look at the gashes on the wrist. I’d say she’s been dead for about a half hour, you can see the blood starting to crust over.”
“Sir, look at this.”
“Yeah, I was checking to see if her recent texts might give her a reason to... y’know-”
“Yeah, sir, but look.”
“Sent at 5.30 – but that’s not possible that was sent twenty minutes ago – she’s been dead longer than that, I’m sure of it.”
“‘In my room.’ – To her mother.”
“Too bad the mom was died before she’d get the chance to read it.”
“Yeah, they died about the same time.”
“I guess the phone thing is just a miraculous phenomenon.”
“Wait- I just had a thought, y’know people say that people pour their souls into their mobiles...”
“What if- Never mind.”
“No really, what were you gonna say?”
“I just thought... maybe... it was that last bit of life, which Aria had put into her phone, that sent the text and survived a bit longer than the rest of her...”
“Wow... I never thought like that... perhaps that means the mom got to read her message too?”