It’s been a month since the neighbours kid went missing, 30 days since everyone’s life was changed, 5 year old girl wearing a blue dress and matching blue shoes, brown hair and eyes and always looking for sweets. We live in a pretty quiet and what we thought was a safe suburb. Lots of young families, neighbours that get along and actually like having a chat. since that day there was a clear shift, everyone became a little wary, unsure if you could trust anyone around. the usually busy park down the road now sat silent. everyone too afraid to let their kids out of their sight in case they followed the same fate as the little girl.
It was a cold evening when the alarm was raised, I received a knock on the door and there was the girls father, Jim, asking if I had seen his little girl, she was a wanderer and there were many times I’d caught her in my back yard trying to play with my cat. I could tell by his tone that he was hoping she had dropped by and I had let her in for some milk or snacks as I would occasionally do whenever I saw her. I would always let them know whenever I invited her in so they wouldn’t be worried and i guess he was hoping I forget to let them know. I told him I hadn’t seen her that day and my cat was indoors all day because of the cold. He became a little more visibly distressed at this news and I offered to help them look, his wife was door knocking on the other side of the street to try and cover more ground quicker, it was quickly growing dark and panic was starting to set in.
It was nearly dark and there was one more house on the street, we were altogether at this point while another couple of neighbors who had volunteered to help were looking around the park, down drains and any area that a kid might get stuck in.
The mother looked like she had aged ten years, the father trying to keep it together holding onto the last shred of hope that his daughter visited this last neighbor and maybe they both fell asleep in front of the TV. the neighbor was an old lady who doted on the little girl, she didn’t have grand children so she treated the girl like her own. She said she hadn’t seen the girl that day but there was something strange she had noticed, she didn’t think anything of it at the time but she did hear a child screaming earlier and when she looked out the window she saw a car speeding off. she thought it was a little out of the ordinary but she just put it down to a fidgety child and a frustrated parent. The rest of the night was a blur, screams and sirens, it was a long night.
Hope has dwindled this past month, there has been a few false sightings and everyone has been overly cautious of strangers around. Jim and his wife have mostly kept to themselves, they’ve even been questioned about the disappearance
Jim came over looking to borrow some tools, he wanted to keep busy, he looked exhausted. He said how they received a call that morning which to him signified the beginning of the end. The police had been scanning a nearby lake when they noticed a little blue shoe floating in the water, they though it fit the description of what the girl was wearing and called the parents to the station to identify the shoe. Jim couldn’t be sure if it belonged to his daughter, it was worn and dirty but his wife was convinced it couldn’t be, Jim suspected that her insistence was based on the hope that their daughter was safe somewhere not at the bottom of a lake. They were going to send divers the next day to thoroughly search the lake but Jim couldn’t take the waiting any longer and decided to keep himself busy.
I had a pretty big storage shed out the back that I hadn’t been in for months but I knew it had everything he’d need to keep him busy for hours. As we approached I warned him about the clutter, over packed shelves, stacks of expired paint cans, the usual junk people tend to hoard so it might take a while to source all the required tools. he said he didn’t mind the extra distraction.
We got to the door and I saw it had been unlocked, maybe I forgot it open last time? I did keep a spare key in the house but no one usually came over so I put it down to my forgetfulness hoping nothing had been stolen.
As we opened the shed door we could see that a shelf had toppled over, there were so many things everywhere on the ground it was hard to see the floor. we could make out a few broken things here and there, some broken plates, old magazines as we adjusted to the darkness in the shed we could see something poking out from under the shelf that didn’t make sense but then again the shelf falling over on it’s own didn’t make sense, the lack of progress in finding the little girl didn’t make sense, the shed door being unlocked didn’t make sense. how could there be tiny blue shoes poking out from under the shelf?