It all started at 3:30, on a Saturday afternoon. I was ten, and she was eight. I didn't usually take her down to the park often, but my mother insisted that we spend time together. So, to appease her, we went.
She had on a T-shirt with a pair of shorts and those sneakers she liked. I think it was - yes. They were pink. She loved the color pink. Her straight brown hair was in a ponytail, as it usually was, and a huge smile was etched onto her face. Cassie liked to go to the park so she could chase the butterflies and see her friends from school.
It was a normal day. Nothing was out of the ordinary at all - mothers were chatting, kids were having fun, and the elderly sat on the benches taking it all in. As soon as we reached the gate, Cassie ran out towards some kids and I walked to the swings. I sat down on one closest to the group of kids, so that I could keep an eye on her. She always ended up getting in trouble, and I did not want to have to pull her off of some little boy again.
"Hey, Nat," said a familiar voice. I took my gaze off of Cassie to see a Hispanic kid getting onto the swing next to mine. His real name was Alejandro Castellanos, but I called him Alex. And he was my best friend. "How's it going, Alex," I asked. "Where's DJ?" Alex pointed to the group of little kids, showing me the small boy playing with my sister. DJ is what we called Alex's seven year old brother, a rambunctious little guy full of energy. I smiled at the two as they played tag. "DJ's birthday is in a week," Alex said, "and I got him something really nice. Look." I once again took my eyes off of the kids to see the golden necklace he was talking about. It had a golden cross, with Jesus depicted on it as he was hanging from it. It was extremely detailed, complete with the nails in His hands to the Crown of Thorns itself. I must admit that I wasn't religious, but maybe even the stingiest of Atheists can appreciate the beauty put into that one necklace."Where did you get the kind of money for that," I asked him. Or maybe I sorta yelled, because Alex quickly put in his pocket. "Shut up," he whispered. "You'll end up giving it away!" He began to twirl in his swing. "But," he said despite the dizziness, "I started saving money three months ago from my allowance." He smirked, obviously proud of himself. "DJ is lucky to have you as a brother," I quickly said. I felt myself begin to grow hot. Did I just...
"Wait," he said, abrupting my embarassment. "Where's DJ?" I looked around the park from my swing. I didn't see DJ at all. And where was Cassie? What the heck is going on?
A scream broke my train of thought. I turned to see a black car quickly drive away. Oh my God. That ponytail...
"Cassie!" I instantly leapt off of the swing and started running after it. "Give me back my sister, you freak," I screamed. "Cassie!" But it was too late. The car spun around the corner and out of site. Everyone at the park was, of course, alarmed. People started calling 911 almost immediately.
"Yes. 911 operator?"
"...I'd like to report -"
"A child abduction, yes."
I didn't pay attention to Alex until the police came. He was going around the park, asking if they saw his little brother around, and he was getting near hysterics.
"No, son. I'm sorry."
"Please, sir. Y-you have to help me. You m-must have seen him somewhere. Please..."
Something inside my peripheral vision caught my eye. I looked down at my feet - something gold. I reached down and picked it up. It was the necklace. Tears were now freely running down my face as I clenched my teeth together. "No," I whimpered among my tears. "This c-can't be happening." I slunk down to my knees as I heard my mom crying in the distance. "Cassie..."
It was five o'clock.