Missing Maisey

Reads: 45  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: November 06, 2019

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 06, 2019

A A A

A A A


A whisper echoes. “Mommy?” Elizabeth’s eyes scan, unbelieving. She hears it again, slightly louder, “Mommy? Where are you?” The voice pounded into her ears. Elizabeth’s hand reaches for the closed door in front of her.  “I hear you baby!” She bangs on the door, craving to her daughter’s voice another time. As hard as she tries, the door doesn’t budge. Smearing the tears on her cheeks, she takes a few steps back and lunges forward. The door falls to the ground and she falls with it. On the other side, there was no child awaiting her with open arms. Instead, darkness. A cold windowless hallway. Without stopping to balance herself, she begins to run but the hallway only grows. Finally, she falls to the ground, giving up. A man approaches her from nowhere and  light glares, showing his neck and down. He clutches the pink stuffed fox in his hands, carefully petting around the snout as if it were alive. She knew right away it was Maisey’s fox. She tries to look up and find a face, thirsting for a clue. Nonetheless, she sees only shadows. “She’s gone.” he whispers, “Stop trying.” 

She wakes up panting, desperately needing air. Jack’s sturdy arms wrap around her tightly, and she pulls him closer by his green thermal shirt. This has become their nightly routine. He strokes her caramel hair away from her face and breathes a soft “shhh” into her ear, “I’m here.” he says. Her breathing starts to slow but her mind is still racing. She tightens her hand around the silver locket that hangs from her neck and remembers. It has a picture of Maisey on one side and Jack and Elizabeth on the other. They gave it to Maisey for her seventh birthday and she left it home on the day she never returned. It’s been fourteen months. Fourteen dreadful months of nightmares, Jack’s arms blanketing Elizabeth, police check-ups and therapy visits. One year and two months of searching, wondering, crying, swearing, and praying. The only sane and appreciated part of Elizabeth’s daily life is Jack. She had heard and read about other couples who split up after the loss of a child, the blame or the heartbreak being too heavy to bare, but she knew it would be harder if she didn’t have Jack to protect her. These past months they have clung to each other and mourned together, not apart. Without Jack, Elizabeth doesn’t know how she’d still be alive, if she’d still be alive for that matter. 

Her weeks have a very familiar routine. Sunday: Cleaning and organizing of the entire house. If everything is organized, she organizes it a different way. Everything is labeled and spotless. Cleaning is one of the few ways she knows to distract her broken mind. Monday: First round of therapies with Dr. Declan Hyde. One of many weekly visits she makes to him. Tuesday: Dinner with Elizabeth’s parents, her mom cooks a gorgeous meal and pretends that will diminish their pain. Wednesday: Breakfast with Darla, Elizabeth’s sister. Thursday: Lunch with Jack’s parents. The opposite of Elizabeth’s parents. They go out to eat or order in, then watch movies and play games. Both of their parents require these visits, Elizabeth and Jack don’t mind. After lunch is her second round of therapy, a shorter session specifically scheduled for her nightmares, but it feels like all other sessions, nothing special. Friday: Answer-searching with Darla. They interrogate the police for any new discoveries and read online about Jane Doe’s. It’s mentally exhausting, but Elizabeth has to do it. Then, the final therapy, for both Elizabeth and Jack. They go together each week without fail. Saturday: Nothing’s planned, open for creativity. However, Elizabeth seems to have lost any ounce of creativity she once had. Jack goes for a run and spends his time weightlifting in the garage. From this, he looks better than he did a year ago. At thirty-five, Elizabeth’s eyes are sunken in and her skin wrinkling. Without knowing, you’d think she is years older. Maisey always resembled her mother. She had her long caramel hair, green eyes and wide smile. Jack passed down his sharp eyebrows, and straight nose. Elizabeth’s hair is still caramel and long, but her body is extremely skinny. Like Elizabeth, Jack also has sunken eyes, but his body is thriving. His skin is tight and tan,. Unlike Elizabeth, his hair is not what it was before, he has gray hairs growing in between the darkening strands. They both simply look tired.

At Wednesday’s breakfast, Darla has new purple manicured nails that she taps on the table. She is two years older than Elizabeth and has always been her protector. Throughout their childhood, they didn’t fight like most sisters, they were best friends. As adults, they live only streets apart. For the past fourteen months, Elizabeth hasn’t spent a single day without hearing from Darla. She checks in on her by phone everyday. They eat breakfast at their favorite diner from their childhood, Sammy’s. Elizabeth wishes they could go someplace else every now and then, Sammy’s reminds her of Maisey. Then again, everything reminds her of Maisey, and Darla is trying to help her in every way she can, so she finds it best to stay quiet. 

Darla reaches across the table and squeezes Elizabeth’s hand. “You look nice Lizzy, I can see you’re eating again. I’m proud of you. You’re so strong. How is Jack? He’s looking nice too. And what about Declan?” she didn’t breathe between sentences, “He sure is a fine man. I think I’d like to start seeing him myself. What do you think?” No one still called Elizabeth, “Lizzy,” except Darla. In years past, Elizabeth talked a lot too. A dinner table with both Darla and Elizabeth was a nightmare, both of their mouths never stopped moving. Now, Darla does the talking and Elizabeth answers when she feels like it. She says, “Jack is good. He takes care of me. Do you want to see Declan for therapy or… personal reasons?” Darla pushes her hair behind her ear, but the layered strands fall in front of her face.. “Personal,” she says hesitantly, “of course, only if that isn’t weird. Just, I think there was something there. A spark. You know, you and Jack are just so wonderful and I want that. I’m old, I need it. It doesn’t have to be Declan, but it’s a place to start. I thought I’d ask you first.” When Darla seemed to be done, Elizabeth half-smiled and said, “Go for it.” 

Only days after the kidnapping, Elizabeth quit her job. She was a pediatric nurse, but she couldn’t stand being around others children while yearning for her own. Jack, however, works over time so Elizabeth can stay home. Elizabeth met Declan at work when a child passed away. He works specifically with parents who have lost a child. After meeting in the office, they became friends. Declan threw a holiday party and invited Elizabeth, she brought Jack, Maisey and Darla. There was obvious flirting between Declan and Darla, but Maisey was taken ten days after the party, so they never courted. Elizabeth never thought she would be Declan’s patient, no parent does. 

After breakfast, they hugged tightly, and parted ways. When Elizabeth got home, she sat down on the couch and channel. It was no use, each had a bright-eyed girl somewhere and soon she was throwing the remote at the wall. Maisey was only seven, she was just a baby. It’s these times Elizabeth tries to overcome her mind.. She thinks of her daughter never going into high school, on dates, driving a car, getting married, or having her own kids. She’d be eight now, she’s probably lost a few more teeth, and replace them. Maybe her hair much longer, or they’ve cut it to her shoulders, something Elizabeth should have control over. Her dark freckles were probably lighter from the absence of light. She must be so much taller now, hopefully not skinnier. She’d torture herself with thoughts of how this monster was treating her baby. Was she eating? Did she have a bed, a blanket and clean clothes? Elizabeth backed against the wall and fell to the floor, trying too hard to swallow. Is he touching her? Raping her? Hitting her? “She’s just a baby!” she screams. 

When Jack gets home, he finds Elizabeth on the floor of their closet with her knees to her chest and her hand around her locket. He climbs in, sits down and pulls her into him. She’s as cold as ice. The only sound is the dry swallows in their throats. “What if she’s dead?” Elizabeth says blankly. Jack’s tears fall from his sharp chin onto Elizabeth’s head. He pulls her closer in the dark closest, knowing too well that she could be right. Finally, he says, “I would know if she died. There is a piece of me that belongs to her, and if she died, I would feel that part of me die too.” Elizabeth let out a hard breath and sobbed loudly. They cry together. Eventually Elizabeth falls asleep, Jack picks her up and lays her in the bed. In the garage he swings at the hanging red punching bag. He was always a quiet man, but now he only speaks when needed. With one final hit, his knuckles are purple. He cries again, sobbing as he falls against the wall, ending in the same position he had found Elizabeth. He was hyperventilating, unable to control the rate the tears escaped his eyes. Jack acted strong for Elizabeth, but he wasn’t strong. He kept trying to improve himself physically, thinking maybe that would help him mentally. Yet inside he still felt like a little boy who wasn’t just a father to Maisey, but a best friend. He was now practically yelling his sobs, as if Maisey would hear them and run right into his arms where he held her, fed her, and rocked her to sleep. Standing, he punches the cement wall until his hand was drowning in blood. He bled until he had calmed down as much as he could then he rinsed his hand off in the sink, wrapped it, and joined Elizabeth in bed, ready for her to wake up panting. 

At Thursday’s therapy, Declan is different. He had been on a date with Darla the night before, and he looked dumbfounded. Elizabeth chose not to acknowledge it. She watched his face as he spoke. His black hair met his thin beard at his ears and his square glasses rested on his nose. He was thin, with broad shoulders. Unlike Jack, his hair wasn’t gray at all. Sitting across from him, Elizabeth knew he looked younger than her. He typically tries to small talk before the real counseling begins. 

After a few minutes of small talk, he transitions into feelings. He asks if she has suicidal thoughts. “Does homicidal count?” The pen in his hand fell to the floor, he coughed as he bent down and picked it up. He was as pale as a ghost. “Um, I see. Are you wanting to kill someone Elizabeth?” He always uses her name too much. “When I find Maisey, I’ll kill her captor.” Declan sighed, he didn’t like when Elizabeth talked about finding Maisey. He wanted her to work on mourning the loss, and learn to be happy with the life she’s living. “Elizabeth, tell me about your dreams. Every night, still?” He changes the subject, of course. “I think my dreams are trying to help me find him. Each night, it tries to show me his face, but I stare and see nothing but darkness. My brain knows who it is Declan, just doesn’t know how to tell me.” He pulled on his fingernails and stared into her eyes. She knew she sounded crazy implying that her brain could send her messages. “Have you and Jack ever thought about moving? If this place is holding you back, Elizabeth, it might be nice to be somewhere that doesn’t constantly remind you of her.” He never responds to  Elizabeth’s answers, just asks a new question. “I can’t pack up her room Declan, I can’t leave her behind.” Elizabeth doesn’t even go in Maisey’s room anymore, it breaks her heart too much. He can tell right away he won’t be able to change her mind and once again, he changes the subject. 

 

***

Maisey sits and thinks. She was in second grade, but she thinks she’d be in third grade by now. She’d probably be able to finish the school monkey bars without falling, maybe even faster than Veronica. Thinking about Veronica made her sad. She tries to shake it off and draw a picture instead. Her parents always taught her to look on the good side. She spent the first few months crying, but he gets mad when she cries. She sets her fox on her lap and draws a picture of her mom and dad. Instead of crying for them, she sets it up against the wall and pretends she’s telling them about her first day of third grade. A single tear falls from her eye, she quickly wipes it away and kisses the paper twice before saying, “I love you” in a congested whisper and sets the drawing in her drawer. In her room she has a toddler sized bed that doesn’t fit her, and a thick black blanket for a made king sized bed. It’s very cold in her castle. She likes to think of herself as one of the fairytales her dad would read to her each night. Soon, her noble dad or a strapping prince, (police officer) will burst through the door and save her from the evil dragon. That’s what happens to all princesses, and Elizabeth always called Maisey her princess. She has no doubt she’ll be out before it’s been a whole year. Along with the bed, there’s a desk with a drawer of notebooks and pencils, a stack of children’s books, and a three dresses folded in the corner on the floor. They all look the same, knee-length beige dresses with no pattern. Maisey is bored of beige and black. She missed yellow, her favorite color. Next to the dresses is a rusted sink with a toothbrush, a hairbrush and a cup. She drinks water from the sink, and he brings her food three times a day, but he comes down more. There’s a window in her room, but it’s the type of window you’d see in a bathroom. It lets light in, but you can’t see in or out of it. Maisey wishes she knew what day it is, or even the month or season. She tried keeping track the days at the beginning, but she got thrown off and isn’t sure anymore. She thinks it’s fall. She knows she was taken in December, so it must soon be a year down there. Fall is her favorite season, she loves the orange and yellow leaves and dressing up for Halloween. This year she would be Belle. If she was good, maybe he would give her candy. She really wants to know what it looks like outside. She thinks about asking him to bring her one of the yellow leaves, or even just tell her what it looks like, hopefully that isn’t a question that will make him mad. 

 

***

On Friday, when Elizabeth gets home, she’s exhausted of her sister’s constant talk of Declan and how charming he is. As she pulls up to her house, Jack’s dusty green audi is in the driveway. Inside, there is a hole in the wall. He must’ve not gone to work after she left. She knew that Jack was punching the cement wall of the basement, she saw the blood, but this was new. She looks for him in their room, the garage, the bathroom, and every closet, but he was nowhere. She decides he must’ve gone for a run. She walked to her room to lie down but something stops. As she looks to the floor there’s a light coming from Maisey’s room. The last time she went in there was nine months ago, and she didn’t come out for a week. She put her hand on the doorknob and twisted it slowly. The yellow of the room was blinding, and the framed pictures were a stab in the heart. Jack is in the bed, crying and holding Maisey’s baby blanket to his face. Elizabeth climbs in behind him and put her arms around him. “I miss her too.” She said through a lumped throat and she kissed his cheek as her tears wet her collarbone. They knew that neither of them would be leaving that room anytime soon, but they didn’t care.

 

***

He whistles as he glides down the windowless hallway. His appointment didn’t show, so he’s home early. The keys in his pants play their music to the pace of his strut, and his footsteps create a beat. The plate in his hand balances perfectly and he almost starts to dance. He’s happy. The end of the hallway is so dark you can barely see the door there. From muscle memory he slides the key in with ease. Maisey sits on the bed reading and holding her fox when he walks in. He strokes Maisey’s hair as sets the plate down and sits on the bed next to her. She had grown used to his watching, his waiting. Maisey softly clears her throat and mutters, “What does it look like outside?” He rests his head gently on his palms and says, “What do you mean, silly?” She pushes the food around with the fork and turns her face away from him, scared of his reaction. “Like, what season is it?” He touches her shoulder and she turns to look at him. Declan smiles. “It’s spring.” 




 


© Copyright 2019 Katelyn Riley. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Booksie 2019 Short Story Contest

Booksie Popular Content

Other Content by Katelyn Riley

Missing Maisey

Short Story / Non-Fiction

This Posting Competes in:

Booksie 2019 Short Story Contest

Popular Tags