Gone

Two little blonde girls, sisters, had vanished. It was in the newspaper. My memory puts the story on the front page. I was in grade school as was my sister who was two years older. We too were little blonde girls. These other sisters didn’t live in our town, but one we’d heard of, not far away. It was the first time I learned that children could disappear. They could be minding their business, doing things little girls do, and suddenly be gone, their smiling pictures, eerily disquieting, splayed across the front of the important newspaper where they should not be, where you wished they weren’t, not for that reason.

I was frightened. These girls looked like us. Just normal, average kids. I was afraid for them. While I didn’t know or understand what exactly could happen to such children, I had a generalized dread. Whatever it was it was bad. Nobody had to tell me that. In fact I don’t remember anyone telling me anything. I just saw these news stories. I was afraid for myself and my sister too because I saw us in these missing girls. We could go missing. I hoped my family would protect us and make sure that didn’t happen.

Not too long ago, I saw these sisters, who would now be grown women, featured on a crime show on TV. They had never been found. The report speculated on a possible suspect who might have taken them. Odds were these little girls were dead and had been for decades. I had never forgotten them. I’ve heard lots and lots of stories about child abductions over the years, so many horrible, despicable, sickening stories that infuriate and wound me in equal measure. The first two though, two little girls so much like my sister and me, left an impression I will never shake. Before then I didn’t know such things could happen.

11 thoughts on “Gone

  1. C.E.Robinson

    Colette, this would shake me too! When I was little, it was farm or sawmill related accidents that scared me. A cousin died, crushed under a tractor. Wow…know what you mean. Scary! 😳 Christine

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I think anything that introduces children to the idea that bad things can (and sometimes do) happen to them is terrifying, death in particular. Everything changes after that. I can’t imagine how you felt about your cousin’s death.

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  2. vanbytheriver

    I’m sorry that you had to be exposed to this at such a young age. Of course, it stayed with you, too close to home. I grew up in a time when we were shielded from this horrid stuff. If it did happen, we weren’t surrounded with the news coverage…a different world. We experienced death at an early age, the shock that a parent/caretaker could be healthy one minute, dead the next. It changes you.

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    1. writerinsoul Post author

      I started reading the newspaper young and this particular case was big news at the time. I think just unexpectedly seeing the little girls’ pictures must have made me look closer. Thing is, V, like you I was sheltered from lots of things and not necessarily in a good way – I think this slipped by and as per most things in our family, It wasn’t discussed, which left me with questions and fears.

      With death, it seems to matter so much how it’s handled and explained by the living adults, who can make the whole thing worse (when it’s already devastating and life-altering).

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      1. vanbytheriver

        Yep, I get that lack of discussion. And, we didn’t dare ask any questions. Too bad. With us, they didn’t think we could handle the funeral, so we were shipped off to relatives in another city, a whole other story.

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  3. robbiesinspiration

    Stories like this do often creep into our minds and we don’t easily forget them. I remember hearing about the murder of two young boys when I was a child. Their bodies were found under some willow trees that we used to pass on the way to school every day. I have always remember this story.

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