Once upon a time, there was a kid named Sammy who played in their wooded backyard. There were tall trees and a canopy of leaves and branches as far as the eye can see. A trained ear can track and pinpoint where Sammy was, and any critter that lived back here.
Every day, Sammy spent their day in the backyard from daybreak to dusk. They observe tadpoles, fish, and other marine life in the slightly murky water. They observe birds, squirrels, and other small animals in the trees. They can sometimes be heard playing hide and seek. Their ears, eyes, and skin knew exactly when to begin their journey home.
But one day, Sammy’s stomach was a little queasy, coupled with a very strange and uncomfortable feeling they had never felt before. So Sammy walked home as fast as they could, but not so fast to further upset their stomach. When they could see their house, they knew something was amiss.
Daddy Jay was supposed to be feeding the cows and horse. Grandma was supposed to be singing to the chickens as she fed them. Daddy Manny was supposed to be cooking something that made Sammy float to their seat at the table. After checking the house, Sammy checked the barn. After the barn, they checked the side of the barn where Daddy Jay might be chopping firewood or stacking them in the shed. Hmm…the animals were here but nobody else was home.
Because of that, Sammy walked as fast as they could to the neighbor’s house. Sammy wasn’t sure if this different queasy feeling was because they walked and walked and walked, and the neighbor’s house was still not in sight, or because they wouldn’t know how to tell the neighbor that their family was missing. As they pondered in panic, their tiny feet kept going until they saw the run-down brown house with a matching truck.
Knock-knock-knock-knock-knock-knock-knock-knock- until the door swung open, a gush of wind hit Sammy’s face, and a skinny, disheveled woman shouted, “WHAT?”
Sammy raised their hands and arms high and shook their head. Sammy extended their hands and arms round and outward and shook their head. Sammy chopped one arm with their other hand and shook their head. Sammy then repeatedly pointed in urgency with their finger in the direction they came from.
Because of that, the neighbor looked in that direction but didn’t see anyone. She turned her head inside and shouted something, then turned back to Sammy and ordered, “Git in the car.”
The neighbor drove to Sammy’s house and checked the places where anyone could hide. She looked down at Sammy and said, “Yur famly ain’t home, so Imma take ya to the Sherriff.” As she drove to the station, she said in a more optimistic tone, “Maybe yur famly is settin’ up a surprise party fur ya,” but the expression on her face was fooling no one.
She kept driving until they finally reached the Sherriff’s station. Words were exchanged between the neighbor and the Sherriff. “What’s yur name, kid?” the Sherriff asked. He saw Sammy scan the station then looked back at him and waited for an answer that didn’t come. “How old’re you?” Sammy held up his index, middle, and ring finger. “Just three, huh?” said the Sherriff, and Sammy nodded their head. “What time did yur famly go missin’?” Sammy pointed at the parrot in the cage and repeatedly pinched the air. The Sherriff looked at the neighbor who shook her head. The two exchanged words again and the neighbor left.
The Sherriff drove to the grocery store and asked the owner if he had seen the kid’s parents or knew anything about the kid. The Sherriff did the same thing at the bar, church, animal feed store, and post office, but no one recognizes the kid or their parents. “How does a famly live here this long, and no one knows ’bout them ‘cept the one neighbor? A gay couple with a kid that don’t talk stand out like a sore thumb,” the Sherriff thought as he pulled into a parking spot in the town square.
The passenger door closed as the Sherriff closed his, and he when he went to the other side, Sammy was gone. He looked under the patrol car and Sammy wasn’t hiding under it. He scanned the square in high alert but Sammy was no where to be found. He asked everyone in the vicinity and no one saw the kid.
Ever since then, the Sherriff spent his free time searching for this family. Soon after he retired, his wife committed him to the psychiatric ward. He died with unfinished business and haunts the town square hoping to find the kid and return the kid to their family.
Thanks for reading this work of fiction.
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