.II.

I had overheard them talking before, but it was never as serious as this. I knew I had to stay and listen. I craned my neck and kept quiet listening to their low voices. The sound was not easily carried to the door, but you could still make out what they were saying.

"We need to do something more, Louise. She needs her. She's been with her for fifteen years. She can't just go on with her life," I heard my Dad say. He lowered his voice a bit. "She was gone all yesterday. I think she went to the place she used to go last year; it's right down the street. That's not a good sign. Sadie doesn't go there when she's happy."

"The police are doing everything they can. We live in a small town in Vermont. There's nothing more we can do," my aunt replied hesitantly. Dad was silent for a while. Soon, I could hear him pacing. 

Not wanting to listen anymore, I left to my room and fished the charcoal drawing out of my backpack -- the one I had sketched in The Hideout. The log was there, so were the honeysuckle bushes, the soft soil on the ground, and the blanket, set out on the fallen tree. Something was missing, but I didn't want to draw it in. Instead, I drew Mom and me, sitting on the tree, huddled up in our blanket. She had only been there once, to comfort me, after I broke up with him. Suddenly, I wanted to be reminded of that moment. I colored in the rough charcoal drawing, framed it, and hung it up.

I stared at it, trying to remember the moment as much as I could. It took me an hour to fall asleep.

The End

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