"You don't just see, Ella. You have to look." The memory of Keira saying that hit me. I used to take care of her when her parents were too busy to do the needful for their nine-year-old daughter. She was neglected. She was mistreated. And now—she's gone.
Dead? I don't know. Kidnapped? I don't know.
I woke up in the morning three days ago. I was to take Keira on a trip to the zoo that day. We had plans. She liked animals. She always seemed happy around them. The random cat or dog we see around our neighbourhood; Keira was always there to feed them. I walked the two blocks to the front door of her trailer house where she always met me, but that particular day—she wasn't there.
I waited outside for an hour thinking she would come out, but she didn't. Biting my tongue, I entered the trailer uninvited. It was not something I would have willingly done with Keira's unemployed, alcoholic father and abusive mother being around all the time.
It was unusually quiet. No screamings or vulgar arguments that I always hear. That should have been the first sign. I heard none of it when I got close to their trailer, while every other time I always did. That should have been the first sign. I screamed in my head.
I had never been inside Keira's trailer before, so I wasn't sure if the mess was normal or not, but there was something off about it. It looked like someone had looted the place. The couch was toppled. The kitchen knives were amiss. There were broken glass all over the lounge floor. "Keira!" I called out. It was only silence that answered. I walked further in and came into what looked like a child's bedroom. "Keira!" I called out again a little softer. "Are you in here?" She could be hiding. But she wasn't.
I walked back outside and looked around. Like a sign sent down I heard Billy bark. How did I know it was Billy? He had a bark that was an in between of a woof and a human coughing. He always tagged behind Keira, like she owned it.
I followed the bark taking me a few yards away from the trailer. "Billy!" I called when I saw it and watched it run toward me and dropped a shoe at my feet. I bent down to examine the shoe only to realize it was Keira's favourite pink sneaker. I gifted the pair for her birthday. "Where'd you find this, Billy?" I asked the dog like he would understand me. It sniffed the shoe and started whimpering, picked it up and ran the opposite direction. "Billy!" I screamed and took off behind it. He stopped near a tree on the path to Widow's Creek and started digging as if to bury the shoe. This is such unusual behaviour for an animal. I told myself. Something is definitely not right.
I ignored Billy and walked further into the trees along the path. I'd walked this way so many times with Keira. And there it was. All I needed to confirm my suspicions. Just beneath one of the shrubs was Keira's other shoe with a trace of blood on it and a black handled knife lying beside.
I knew better than to touch it, so I ran back to the trailer and into the kitchen where I saw the knives. I looked at the holder and found five empty spaces but only four black handled knives on the bench.
I pulled out my phone and dialled the first person that came into mind. "Jordan!" I cried into the phone when he answered. Jordan lived next to my house and worked at the Police Department.
"Ella? What's wrong?"
"It's Keira! She's not here. Her shoes—" I took a deep breath followed by a heavy sob. "Billy found her shoes near the creek."
"There's bl—" I felt my eyes getting heavy.
"Speak up Ella!"
"Knife." That was all I remember saying before I blacked out.
YOU ARE READING
Walk beside the CreekShort Story
One day she was here, the next she was missing. Ella cared for Keira like she was her own. Until one day she just wasn't there. Ella goes through lengths to find the little girl.... and she does...