Wandering Off

“Don’t wander off.  I’ll be done in just a few minutes and we’ll need to leave quickly after that.  Got it?”  I looked at my sister and waited for her to acknowledge me.  She was looking for our mother – she always was these days. 

“She’s not here,” I said softly.  “She never liked coming to the mall.” 

Instead of answering, Ashley slumped and looked at the ground.  I wanted to tell her everything was going to be okay and we would see our mother soon.  But I knew it wouldn’t be the truth.  I had no idea where our mother went and had no idea if she planned to come home. 

I was just hoping Ashley would start talking before too long.  I was starting to get worried she was going to forget how to speak. 

As soon as we had paid for Ashley’s new jeans, I quickly ushered her toward the door.  I knew if she didn’t get home soon, she would break down again and I would be left to pick up the pieces. 

Ever since our mother disappeared, Ashley was almost completely withdrawn. She was constantly on the lookout for our mother and hadn’t said a single word in at least two months. I was hoping she was still answering questions at school, but I had a suspicion her teachers had stopped calling on her because of her self-imposed silence. The last thing I was expecting was to find the police on our doorstep. Waiting for us. 


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