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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hide and Seek (08/07/08)

TITLE: Finding Emily
By Kristin Slavik


“Mom, come find me!”

A little girl’s giggle follows her words across the backyard. From where I am sitting I can see Emily’s hiding spot behind the only large tree in the yard, but I pretend not to notice. Instead I extend her innocent game by looking under chairs and behind flowerpots, anywhere I know she is not. All the while I am calling her name and wondering aloud where the silly girl could possibly be. When her laughter becomes so loud even the leaves around her are dancing to her music, I step up to the tree. Before I can officially ‘find’ her she jumps out from behind the cover of its trunk, unable to contain herself any longer. “Here I am, Mom! Wasn’t that a great hiding spot?”

I pretend to be surprised, taking a moment to grab her in a little girl hug before she skips off to play with something else. Suddenly the leaves in the yard begin to spin and blur and I am standing, not in my backyard, but in the long corridor of a hospital. The clank of carts and the hum of machines and the rush of people flow past me in an odd musical number that I don’t know the steps to. My mouth dries and the drumbeat the used to be my heart drowns the musical number around me. I open my mouth to scream for Emily but nothing will come out. Where is Emily? I frantically try every door, somehow knowing but not wanting to believe I have lost her. When I reach for the last door it opens before I can grip the cold steel and a parade of sad people walk past me, shaking their heads. “EMILY!” the scream finally escapes my throat.

I wake to a bright sterile room, a nurse clamoring to administer the medication meant to calm me. A few hours later I am once again propped on the plastic couch in Dr. Wise’s office, wondering for the hundredth time if that is his real name.

“Anna, the nurse tells me you are still having the dreams, is that right?”

I nod, unable to form a response. I concentrate on the curl of his moustache around his pouty lips, anything to avoid looking at his eyes.

“We have been over this for weeks now Anna, you need to learn to let this go, you need to let her go.” He make an uncomfortable gesture patting my knee.

I close my eyes and see Emily, like I do every time I close my eyes. The tears begin to fall down my face, dropping in pools into my crossed arms. “I have to find her. I can’t lose her, I can’t let her go.” My words come out in a voice that sounds foreign to my ears.

“You know the truth Anna, you know that Emily is gone. Why don’t we try again to see if there is anything in your dream that you can see. Maybe there is something you have not told me.”

I nod and lay my head back, familiar with this routine. Slowly we step again through the dreams that haunt me. I tell Dr. Wise all the details that I see, everything I remember. Maybe that is the problem; I remember everything, I am too afraid to forget.

“Is there anything else from the hospital Anna? Anything else that you see?”

I let me mind explore the setting slowing it down like a movie. This time I stop before I get to the door that holds my Emily. Next to the door I see a picture of Jesus; I had been so focused on finding Emily I had never noticed it before. The picture holds a caption at the bottom of the gold plated frame. “Seek and you shall find.” A simple verse with Jesus holding his arms outspread. Could it be that simple?

I tell the doctor of the new detail. He writes a note in my file. I can tell that he is pleased that I am trying. I ask when I can go home, but he nods and tells me to give it more time.

I know that Emily is gone, but I cannot stop looking for her. Maybe she is not hiding, but she is with the Jesus in the picture. Maybe they play hide and seek together. I close my eyes and call out to the Jesus of the seekers.

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Sara Harricharan 08/15/08
Oooh! What a chilling twist at the end, I thought this was going to be a simple, picnic or park day and instead, wow. good job. ^_^
Ellen Dodson08/15/08
Lots of interesting twists in here, but some things leave me confused, like the uncomfortable touch from the doctor and the inability to look in his eyes made me wonder, momentarily, if he was harrassing her in some way. I would like to know what happened to Emily. "Jesus of the seekers," --wonderful phrase!!