Last seen | By: Nicola Daly | | Category: Short Story - Dramatizing Bookmark and Share

Last seen


 

 

 

Last Seen

 

 

"Wake up, love," I said without looking at her dozing in the half-light of the hotel room.

 

It was as I reached forward to turn off the TV, that Zara stirred.

 

"Come on, gather up your toys," I snapped suddenly surprising myself as I looked down at the beige carpet littered with dolls, felt-tip pens and colouring books.

 

I suppose I was feeling agitated. We should have been in Dorset hours ago but Zara had been tired so I had let her sleep. I grabbed a holdall and ran into the bathroom to pack the toothbrushes and the other essentials, I had bought from the chemist the night before.

 

"Sweetie, please hurry and put your shoes on," I said as gently as I could.

 

I could hear Zara in a world of her own talking to her dolls and then singing to herself.

 

"I like it here, can't we stay?" Zara asked brightly.

 

She had seemed weary, after  Zoo and the Museum but now she looked full of life.

 

 

"Shoes, darling," I instructed pointing to her red T-bar sandals.

 

"You promised we could have a go on the eye," Zara bleated as I struggled to force her feet into the shoes.

 

"And we can, next time we come here," I replied.

 

Zara smiled at me with surprise.

 

"Where is this other place again?" she asked as I scooped the last of our things into a beach bag.

 

 

"Put your cap on, it is cold out there today," I instructed as I handed it to her.

 

"Daddy has one like this but he only wears it when we are on holiday," she said throwing it up and down in the air and laughing.

 

"We are on a sort of holiday now," I replied as I scooped her golden plaits inside the hat.

 

 

 

The sudden knock at the door made me jump. My heart sank and I froze for a second.

 

"I'll, go," Zara said racing towards the handle.

 

"No, don't ever open the door unless I say so," I hissed at her without thinking.

 

Tears began to well up in her eyes. I lowered my voice and gestured for her to wait in the bathroom.

 

"But why?" she whined.

 

"Because, I will explain later," I lied.

 

There was another anxious rap as I kicked our bags under one of the beds. I did think of leaving it until the person went away but then I decided to open the door. A familiar looking young man with a moustache greeted me.

 

"Mrs Eaton," he said.

 

I looked at him dazed. My heart was still pounding when he handed me my Visa card and explained I had left it in the breakfast room.

 

"Thanks," I said forcing myself to smile and sound as if I was grateful.

 

 

When I opened the bathroom door, Zara was sat cross-legged by the bath cuddling her teddy.

 

"Sorry about that darling, let's go now," I said.

 

 

Zara shook her head, "I am not going anywhere."

 

 

"Sweetie, we will miss the train."

 

 

"I don't care, I like it here," she bellowed.

 

 

"Ok but I think you will like Dorset more, there is a funfair with rides and candyfloss," I said looking at my watch.

 

 

Zara starred at me for a second as if she was considering the deal and then she got up off the floor and walked towards the door.

 

 

"But I want a burger at the station and an ice cream," she demanded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing child the billboard in the station red. Child abducted whilst parents sleep the headlines read. Zara sat chomping on a Twix whilst I sat thinking about my Jenny. She had been eight when she disappeared.  My ex-husband David sent her out to get a loaf of bread from the corner shop and she never came back. How does that happen? I used to ask myself. How can a kid simply nip to the shop five doors down and never be seen again. The police were very sympathetic but I always felt they blamed us. They thought she had run away.

 

"She is only eight," I said

 

"Eight year olds run away every other day, you would be surprised," the policewoman said as gently as she could.

 

What they found hard to understand was why David had sent her out for the bread on a dark evening at 8'o'clock.  Like me they also so found it difficult to comprehend why he hadn't raised the alarm for nearly two hours. Once I found out about Leah, all the parts of the jigsaw began to slip into place. When he explained to me that he had only sent Jenny to the shop so as he could make a phone call to his mistress I knew I hated him. Somehow it seemed to make everything so much worse. I never thought I would ever get over Jenny or what David did. Yet somehow I managed to carve out a new relationship with David. Obviously it was hard and for years I could hardly even stand to be in the same room as him but with time things seemed to be a little easy.

 

 

"When, will we be there?" Zara asked.

 

"Go to sleep," I said tucking my coat around her.

 

It was hours to Dorset and I wasn't at all sure where we were going to stay. I trawled through my phone looking for somebody who might be able to help but then thought better of it.

 

"I want to stay here," Zara whinged as the train pulled into its final station.

 

I let her sit there and watch the other passengers scrambling for their bags.

 

"I am tired, I don't like Dorset, I just want to go home," she said quite calmly at first.

 

Then she started kicking and screaming having one of her tantrams.

 

 

 

 

"I want to see my Daddy," she began screaming as I dragged her and our bags off the train.

 

"Be quiet, stop complaining, you will see him soon enough," I said hoping that the throngs of people leaving the station and hoping into taxi's were not taking too much notice of us.

 

 

It was the police car outside the station that put me off checking into a hotel. We must have walked miles, the rain bouncing off us, my beach bag with our clothes in got soaking wet.

 

 

"Can we go in there for a while?" Zara asked pointing to a pink neon sign that flashed Big Win.

 

Unsure what to do next I agreed. I gave her a handful of copper from my purse to put into the machines in the hope it might subdue her. I smiled to myself as I watched her tiny hands feed coins to the machines. I think it was then amongst the thrashing of rock music and the urgency of bells and alarms going off that I reached across and hugged her. She smelt of freshly laundered towels and junior shampoo. The dimples in her cheeks were still visible when she smiled. It reminded me of when she was a baby.  It was so unfair I had been like a mother to that child

 

"You know when I told you that I might have to go away for a while," I said

 

" Go away but who will look after me if you are not there?" she shouted over the throbbing music.

 

"You are going to get a step-mum," I said unsure how to explain to an eight year old that I had been

made redundant now her father was remarrying yet again.

 

Zara looked at me sadly as if she really understood what the past few days had been about. It.

 

"We don't need to go right away do we?" she asked putting her hand out for more pennies.

 

"Just one more game and then," I said swallowing hard so that the rest of the sentence trailed away into the smoke and noise of the arcade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Seen

 

 

"Wake up, love," I said without looking at her dozing in the half-light of the hotel room.

 

It was as I reached forward to turn off the TV, that Zara stirred.

 

"Come on, gather up your toys," I snapped suddenly surprising myself as I looked down at the beige carpet littered with dolls, felt-tip pens and colouring books.

 

I suppose I was feeling agitated. We should have been in Dorset hours ago but Zara had been tired so I had let her sleep. I grabbed a holdall and ran into the bathroom to pack the toothbrushes and the other essentials, I had bought from the chemist the night before.

 

"Sweetie, please hurry and put your shoes on," I said as gently as I could.

 

I could hear Zara in a world of her own talking to her dolls and then singing to herself.

 

"I like it here, can't we stay?" Zara asked brightly.

 

She had seemed weary, after  Zoo and the Museum but now she looked full of life.

 

 

"Shoes, darling," I instructed pointing to her red T-bar sandals.

 

"You promised we could have a go on the eye," Zara bleated as I struggled to force her feet into the shoes.

 

"And we can, next time we come here," I replied.

 

Zara smiled at me with surprise.

 

"Where is this other place again?" she asked as I scooped the last of our things into a beach bag.

 

 

"Put your cap on, it is cold out there today," I instructed as I handed it to her.

 

"Daddy has one like this but he only wears it when we are on holiday," she said throwing it up and down in the air and laughing.

 

"We are on a sort of holiday now," I replied as I scooped her golden plaits inside the hat.

 

 

 

The sudden knock at the door made me jump. My heart sank and I froze for a second.

 

"I'll, go," Zara said racing towards the handle.

 

"No, don't ever open the door unless I say so," I hissed at her without thinking.

 

Tears began to well up in her eyes. I lowered my voice and gestured for her to wait in the bathroom.

 

"But why?" she whined.

 

"Because, I will explain later," I lied.

 

There was another anxious rap as I kicked our bags under one of the beds. I did think of leaving it until the person went away but then I decided to open the door. A familiar looking young man with a moustache greeted me.

 

"Mrs Eaton," he said.

 

I looked at him dazed. My heart was still pounding when he handed me my Visa card and explained I had left it in the breakfast room.

 

"Thanks," I said forcing myself to smile and sound as if I was grateful.

 

 

When I opened the bathroom door, Zara was sat cross-legged by the bath cuddling her teddy.

 

"Sorry about that darling, let's go now," I said.

 

 

Zara shook her head, "I am not going anywhere."

 

 

"Sweetie, we will miss the train."

 

 

"I don't care, I like it here," she bellowed.

 

 

"Ok but I think you will like Dorset more, there is a funfair with rides and candyfloss," I said looking at my watch.

 

 

Zara starred at me for a second as if she was considering the deal and then she got up off the floor and walked towards the door.

 

 

"But I want a burger at the station and an ice cream," she demanded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing child the billboard in the station red. Child abducted whilst parents sleep the headlines read. Zara sat chomping on a Twix whilst I sat thinking about my Jenny. She had been eight when she disappeared.  My ex-husband David sent her out to get a loaf of bread from the corner shop and she never came back. How does that happen? I used to ask myself. How can a kid simply nip to the shop five doors down and never be seen again. The police were very sympathetic but I always felt they blamed us. They thought she had run away.

 

"She is only eight," I said

 

"Eight year olds run away every other day, you would be surprised," the policewoman said as gently as she could.

 

What they found hard to understand was why David had sent her out for the bread on a dark evening at 8'o'clock.  Like me they also so found it difficult to comprehend why he hadn't raised the alarm for nearly two hours. Once I found out about Leah, all the parts of the jigsaw began to slip into place. When he explained to me that he had only sent Jenny to the shop so as he could make a phone call to his mistress I knew I hated him. Somehow it seemed to make everything so much worse. I never thought I would ever get over Jenny or what David did. Yet somehow I managed to carve out a new relationship with David. Obviously it was hard and for years I could hardly even stand to be in the same room as him but with time things seemed to be a little easy.

 

 

"When, will we be there?" Zara asked.

 

"Go to sleep," I said tucking my coat around her.

 

It was hours to Dorset and I wasn't at all sure where we were going to stay. I trawled through my phone looking for somebody who might be able to help but then thought better of it.

 

"I want to stay here," Zara whinged as the train pulled into its final station.

 

I let her sit there and watch the other passengers scrambling for their bags.

 

"I am tired, I don't like Dorset, I just want to go home," she said quite calmly at first.

 

Then she started kicking and screaming having one of her tantrams.

 

 

 

 

"I want to see my Daddy," she began screaming as I dragged her and our bags off the train.

 

"Be quiet, stop complaining, you will see him soon enough," I said hoping that the throngs of people leaving the station and hoping into taxi's were not taking too much notice of us.

 

 

It was the police car outside the station that put me off checking into a hotel. We must have walked miles, the rain bouncing off us, my beach bag with our clothes in got soaking wet.

 

 

"Can we go in there for a while?" Zara asked pointing to a pink neon sign that flashed Big Win.

 

Unsure what to do next I agreed. I gave her a handful of copper from my purse to put into the machines in the hope it might subdue her. I smiled to myself as I watched her tiny hands feed coins to the machines. I think it was then amongst the thrashing of rock music and the urgency of bells and alarms going off that I reached across and hugged her. She smelt of freshly laundered towels and junior shampoo. The dimples in her cheeks were still visible when she smiled. It reminded me of when she was a baby.  It was so unfair I had been like a mother to that child

 

"You know when I told you that I might have to go away for a while," I said

 

" Go away but who will look after me if you are not there?" she shouted over the throbbing music.

 

"You will probably get a new au-pair," I said unsure how to explain to an eight year old that I had been sacked.

 

 

Zara looked at me sadly as if she really understood what the past few days had been about.

 

"We don't need to go right away do we?" she asked putting her hand out for more pennies.

 

"Just one more game and then," I said swallowing hard so that the rest of the sentence trailed away into the smoke and noise of the arcade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last Seen

 

 

 

"Wake up, love," I said without looking at her dozing in the half-light of the hotel room.

 

It was as I reached forward to turn off the TV, that Zara stirred.

 

"Come on, gather up your toys," I snapped suddenly surprising myself as I looked down at the beige carpet littered with dolls, felt-tip pens and colouring books.

 

I suppose I was feeling agitated. We should have been in Dorset hours ago but Zara had been tired so I had let her sleep. I grabbed a holdall and ran into the bathroom to pack the toothbrushes and the other essentials, I had bought from the chemist the night before.

 

"Sweetie, please hurry and put your shoes on," I said as gently as I could.

 

I could hear Zara in a world of her own talking to her dolls and then singing to herself.

 

"I like it here, can't we stay?" Zara asked brightly.

 

She had seemed weary, after  Zoo and the Museum but now she looked full of life.

 

 

"Shoes, darling," I instructed pointing to her red T-bar sandals.

 

"You promised we could have a go on the eye," Zara bleated as I struggled to force her feet into the shoes.

 

"And we can, next time we come here," I replied.

 

Zara smiled at me with surprise.

 

"Where is this other place again?" she asked as I scooped the last of our things into a beach bag.

 

 

"Put your cap on, it is cold out there today," I instructed as I handed it to her.

 

"Daddy has one like this but he only wears it when we are on holiday," she said throwing it up and down in the air and laughing.

 

"We are on a sort of holiday now," I replied as I scooped her golden plaits inside the hat.

 

 

 

The sudden knock at the door made me jump. My heart sank and I froze for a second.

 

"I'll, go," Zara said racing towards the handle.

 

"No, don't ever open the door unless I say so," I hissed at her without thinking.

 

Tears began to well up in her eyes. I lowered my voice and gestured for her to wait in the bathroom.

 

"But why?" she whined.

 

"Because, I will explain later," I lied.

 

There was another anxious rap as I kicked our bags under one of the beds. I did think of leaving it until the person went away but then I decided to open the door. A familiar looking young man with a moustache greeted me.

 

"Mrs Eaton," he said.

 

I looked at him dazed. My heart was still pounding when he handed me my Visa card and explained I had left it in the breakfast room.

 

"Thanks," I said forcing myself to smile and sound as if I was grateful.

 

 

When I opened the bathroom door, Zara was sat cross-legged by the bath cuddling her teddy.

 

"Sorry about that darling, let's go now," I said.

 

 

Zara shook her head, "I am not going anywhere."

 

 

"Sweetie, we will miss the train."

 

 

"I don't care, I like it here," she bellowed.

 

 

"Ok but I think you will like Dorset more, there is a funfair with rides and candyfloss," I said looking at my watch.

 

 

Zara starred at me for a second as if she was considering the deal and then she got up off the floor and walked towards the door.

 

 

"But I want a burger at the station and an ice cream," she demanded.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing child the billboard in the station red. Child abducted whilst parents sleep the headlines read. Zara sat chomping on a Twix whilst I sat thinking about my Jenny. She had been eight when she disappeared.  My ex-husband David sent her out to get a loaf of bread from the corner shop and she never came back. How does that happen? I used to ask myself. How can a kid simply nip to the shop five doors down and never be seen again. The police were very sympathetic but I always felt they blamed us. They thought she had run away.

 

"She is only eight," I said

 

"Eight year olds run away every other day, you would be surprised," the policewoman said as gently as she could.

 

What they found hard to understand was why David had sent her out for the bread on a dark evening at 8'o'clock.  Like me they also so found it difficult to comprehend why he hadn't raised the alarm for nearly two hours. Once I found out about Leah, all the parts of the jigsaw began to slip into place. When he explained to me that he had only sent Jenny to the shop so as he could make a phone call to his mistress I knew I hated him. Somehow it seemed to make everything so much worse. I never thought I would ever get over Jenny or what David did. Yet somehow I managed to carve out a new relationship with David. Obviously it was hard and for years I could hardly even stand to be in the same room as him but with time things seemed to be a little easy.

 

 

"When, will we be there?" Zara asked.

 

"Go to sleep," I said tucking my coat around her.

 

It was hours to Dorset and I wasn't at all sure where we were going to stay. I trawled through my phone looking for somebody who might be able to help but then thought better of it.

 

"I want to stay here," Zara whinged as the train pulled into its final station.

 

I let her sit there and watch the other passengers scrambling for their bags.

 

"I am tired, I don't like Dorset, I just want to go home," she said quite calmly at first.

 

Then she started kicking and screaming having one of her tantrams.

 

 

 

 

"I want to see my Daddy," she began screaming as I dragged her and our bags off the train.

 

"Be quiet, stop complaining, you will see him soon enough," I said hoping that the throngs of people leaving the station and hoping into taxi's were not taking too much notice of us.

 

 

It was the police car outside the station that put me off checking into a hotel. We must have walked miles, the rain bouncing off us, my beach bag with our clothes in got soaking wet.

 

 

"Can we go in there for a while?" Zara asked pointing to a pink neon sign that flashed Big Win.

 

Unsure what to do next I agreed. I gave her a handful of copper from my purse to put into the machines in the hope it might subdue her. I smiled to myself as I watched her tiny hands feed coins to the machines. I think it was then amongst the thrashing of rock music and the urgency of bells and alarms going off that I reached across and hugged her. She smelt of freshly laundered towels and junior shampoo. The dimples in her cheeks were still visible when she smiled. It reminded me of when she was a baby.  It was so unfair I had been like a mother to that child

 

"You know when I told you that I might have to go away for a while," I said

 

" Go away but who will look after me if you are not there?" she shouted over the throbbing music.

 

"You will probably get a new au-pair," I said unsure how to explain to an eight year old that I had been sacked.

 

 

Zara looked at me sadly as if she really understood what the past few days had been about.

 

"We don't need to go right away do we?" she asked putting her hand out for more pennies.

 

"Just one more game and then," I said swallowing hard so that the rest of the sentence trailed away into the smoke and noise of the arcade.

Click Here for more stories by Nicola Daly

Comments