She’s gone. You took your eyes off her for one second, the harsh trill of a bird in a far off tree startling you, your attention wandering for the briefest of moments and she’s disappeared from your sight. She had always been so tiny, so frail, so easily missed and unseen, and you swore that you would never leave her behind. You swore that you would be by her side for as long as you could, swore that this child was yours to protect and cherish. You swore that you would be her guardian, but now she’s gone and you can’t find her anywhere.
Your voice has turned hoarse from screaming. Police stations turn you away when you come, begging them to look for your little girl. The world, initially so taken by your plight, starts to slowly forget, the cogs of life oiled by apathy and disinterest. Days turn to weeks, weeks turn to months, months turn to years, and still you seek her missing form.
But you still see her sometimes. You see her in those hazy hours between sleeping and waking, that line bordering oblivion. You don’t sleep all that much nowadays, because the less you sleep the clearer her image becomes. You can almost touch her now, her braided pigtails bouncing as she runs, her checkered dress fluttering in the wind, the little bracelet on her wrist glittering in the light of the sun. You can hear her laughter, high and merry as she beckons you to play with her, and you laugh along. You laugh because she’s alright and safe and right in front of your eyes and you reach out to take her outstretched hand, but suddenly you hear a bird shriek in a nearby tree and then–