The window was closed but the screen was bent, hanging off the ledge – as if suspended in air. From three stories up it looked impossible.
Why was it bent like that? How was it holding on? Someone could fall out!
Unfortunately for Megan, her lifelong curiosity began to work overtime – again.
Hmmm … maybe I could just use the old ‘Good Samaritan’ routine and inform those unsuspecting people that their screen was getting ready to fall off. Or maybe I could hang around and watch what happens.
All this inquisitive thought took place in a matter of seconds as Megan drove by the Serengeti Apartments – a newly constructed assembly of family oriented buildings, pools and playgrounds. In fact, it was nice to see so many children playing outside on this bright day. She hoped Sarah was outside on her new lawn.
Visions replayed of her own childhood escapades. Her poor mother’s umbrella, broken and shredded after a stint with a skateboard during a windstorm – and then her dad’s rope that broke when tied to their car bumper after she got her brand new roller-skates.
The umbrella incident clinched it – she had to go back. What would happen if just one curious child found that window?
She had no idea what she would face but she understood the magnetic pull that drove inquisitive children and it should never be tempted by a window with no screen!
On the way back to the apartments she felt anxiety welling up in her chest – she made a mental note of the Mace in the side pocket of her purse.
Man! Why does it seem like everything is in slow motion? Megan stepped on the gas. And what if there’s some big humungous guy that answers the door – and he’s not nice? God? Me and You, right?
As Megan passed the window again, her worst fears were realized – a little girl was standing there and she quickly dropped the curtain.
Megan parked the car and took a deep breath to ease her apprehension. The solemn look on the little girl propelled her onward. Okay God, here we go! Please be there! Keep that little girl safe!
She judged where the apartment would be located since she knew a little of how they were set up. Her heart was pounding. It should have been a warning of what was to come. Hiding the Mace in her hand, she hesitated, then knocked on the door. Moments passed – she noticed the peephole.
Megan turned to leave when she heard the click of the Deadbolt.
The sleepy voice of a woman about her own age spoke through a crack, “Yes?”
“Yes, um … my name is Megan and I wanted to let you know the screen on your back window is getting ready to fall off.”
“No, the screen’s okay.”
“I just passed it on the road and it’s almost completely off – your little girl was looking out from behind the curtain.”
“Miss, I don’t have a little girl and the screen’s okay.”
“Hold on …”
The lady shut the door – click – Megan was at a loss at what to do. She knew what she saw! She was afraid for that little girl! Moments passed, she could hear the beeping of a snooze alarm suddenly stop. Click – the door opened a crack, “Like I said, I don’t know what you saw but the screen’s fine.”
In Megan’s heart she knew this was the right place.
“But I saw your little girl! She might fall out! Even now!” She rubbed the ache in her temples.
“Lady, my girl is married and gone and I’ve lived here goin on some twenty years now.”
“What? But this place was just built … the little girl … the screen.”
Megan felt the ache easing in her chest – a myriad of unpleasant odors made her gasp. She tried to move … there were beeps, clicks – noise from all directions; machines at her side blinked … her daughter was calling her. Why?
Through a fluttered blur she saw Paige trying to wipe away the tears on her cheeks – her face as pale as the curtain behind her.
“Mom … just rest … be still.”
Weak, Megan tried to grip her daughter’s hand. The same urgency she felt through the confusing fog now propelled her to try to speak, “Paige, call Steve, please, now. Check Sarah – check windows … every window! Please – NOW!
God! Be there … please … keep Sarah safe!
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