“Ready or not”. The little girl ducked behind the curtains that draped to the floor. She wrapped herself up in them, trying to hide behind the cream curtains. I ignored the little girl and scuffed across to the bed. I collapsed onto it, face-down. “Here I come,” my voice echoed from behind me. I was used to these occurrences now. Whenever I entered my room, now, I would have one. Always one of us playing Hide and Seek. “Where could she be hiding?” I heard my voice say as I began my relentless search around the bedroom, always leaving the curtains until last. “Where on Earth could she possibly be?” I mouthed, mimicking my own voice. I rolled over and sat, planning on surveying the scene that was unfolding before me. But, when I looked into my – our room – I found it was empty. The vision had passed. I was alone in here once more.
I hadn’t touched anything. From the day she had gone missing, I had left my little sister’s things alone. I had left everything in place, not even moving the pile of clothes on the floor. The curtains were half-drawn, one still open, just as she liked it. She couldn’t sleep any other way. I glanced at the clock on the wall. Nine pm, it read. I got up, off of my bed, and shuffled over to hers, like I did every night. It was like a tradition now. I slid onto her bed, not even peeling the duvet back and huddled down into the pillow.
“Hey,” I whispered. “It’s me.” A little girl’s face stared back at me, beaming.
"I know who you are, Jay!” She giggled. I smiled weakly.
“Why do you look so sad, Jay?” She asked, the happiness in her eyes fading.
“No, no,” I whispered, “don’t be sad.” I smiled again, more broadly this time. “You know I don’t like it when you’re sad,” I said. A smile slowly returned to her lips.
“I’m not sad, Jay,” she replied. “You are.” I shook my head.
“Not sad, sis. Just missing you. Come on, you,” I said, nudging her lightly. “Roll over. Bedtime.” My little sister smiled again.
“Okay, Jay,” she said, rolling onto her side. I wrapped my arms around her and pulled her tight.
“I love you,” I whispered.
“I love you, too,” Alice replied. I smiled and fell asleep, her words echoing in my ears.