Oh no, no, no. This couldn’t be happening. Another kid? A girl? I was never going to be special to him now. He didn’t even have time to spend with me anymore…if there’s a new baby it will be like I won’t even exist.

I recalled what happened to my classmate, Margaret Weiss. She was the only child and her parents showered her in attention, but she said that all stopped after her brother was born.


Now, her parents were always grumpy from being up all hours of the night and they didn’t care about her anymore. Which was stupid, she said; because all her new brother did was sleep and cry all the time.

My mother nodded and gave him a kss. “Sounds like a plan. I guess that means I’ll be taking her to school this morning.”

“Yeah, I should have left already.” He turned to leave and I scrambled to make it to the garage and out to his car before he did.

“Oh and honey,” he called out. “Don’t make a fuss over the necklace I got her. I know it’s a bit much for a 10-year-old, but I wanted to give her something special this year.”

My mother huffed before she smiled. “Okay, but you’ll have to deal with the fallout if she loses it. She’s still upstairs getting ready, right?”

“Yeah. I’ll see you on Monday. Love you.”

“Love you.”

I made my way out to the garage before he did. His SUV was large, shiny, and all black. It even had tinted windows and came equipped with a phone, and special locks.

Problem was…I didn’t know how to get inside without him noticing.

I hid underneath the vehicle and watched his feet move as he lifted the hatch in the back and maneuvered some things around, appearing to be looking for something.

He cursed under his breath before his footsteps disappeared and I heard the garage door shut.

Luckily, he left the hatch open granting me the perfect opportunity to climb in and hide under a blanket on the floor in the back seat.

My heart raced when he came back out and climbed in the driver’s seat. I thought for sure he would notice me, but he didn’t.

We drove for well over two hours at that point and my legs were starting to cramp up.

The vehicle began to slow down and he cursed when his phone rang.

What I didn’t count on happening was my mother calling his phone.

“I can’t talk right now, honey. I forgot to shut this phone off. I’m just pulling up to the location now.”

I heard shouting on the other line before my father’s raised voice startled me. “What the hell do you mean she’s missing, Debra? She was still upstairs when I left. Are you sure you looked everywhere?”

There was some more shouting on the other line.

“Sht. Keep looking. Call the neighbors and check the entire perimeter of the house. I’ll put a call into the station. I’m sure she’s just hiding somewhere.” He paused. “Don’t cry, honey. Stay strong. I’m sure she’s okay,” he said, his own voice beginning to crack. “We will find her. I’m calling the station now. Keep your phone on you.”

Oh no. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I never wanted to make my mother cry or my dad upset. I just wanted to spend some more time with him and make a point.

He hung up his cell phone and picked up his car phone. “Yeah, Hannah, it’s Special Agent Tanner. My wife just reported that our 9-year-old daughter’s gone missing. She was last seen inside the house.” He paused. “A little over an hour. I want an amber alert issued right away. Blonde hair, hazel eyes…” he started to rattle off.

Panic gripped me. I remembered my father telling me that it was wrong to prank call the police. He told me that it took away from helping actual people who were having real emergencies.

I sprung up from the backseat. “Daddy, stop. I’m here. I’m okay. I’m so sorry.”

He clutched his chest and glared at me. “Never mind. I just located her. Please call my wife and let her know. Thank you and I’m sorry for the trouble,” he said before hanging up.

He stared at me for another second or so before he reached over and hugged me. “I’m so, so angry with you right now.” Relief flashed across his face. “But I’m so happy you’re okay. Do you have any idea what it would do to me if I ever lost you, goblin?”

I shook my head, tears welling up in my eyes. “You would be fine. You have a replacement on its way anyway,” I grumbled.

He looked confused before he sighed. “No one could ever replace you, Alyssa. But, how did you find out?”

“I overheard you talking to mommy about it. You’re going to have a new little girl and forget all about me.”

He moved his seat back and sat me on his lap. “No, baby. That’s not going to happen. I promise.”


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