“Emily!” I yelled. “Emmy! It’s time to go home. Come on out wherever you are. The game’s over.”
She must be playing hide-and-seek with me like she did the other day in the grocery store. My patience was growing thin. I knew I shouldn’t have let her talk me into bringing her with me today. But, she begged and pleaded and said how much she hated staying with old lady Jobe on Saturdays while I tried to earn enough money to feed us.
Mr. Parker, the owner of Pixieland amusement park, had been generous enough to give me a job, even knowing I wasn’t old enough to work. Truth be told, I’m sure he felt sorry for me. Such a young girl on her own trying to take care of her little sister.
“Emmy! Where are you?” I looked under the empty chairs on the tilt-a-whirl then moved on to the carousel, sure she was hiding behind one of the horses or benches. She’d jump out any minute and yell “boo!” Then she’d giggle and I’d reprimand her for hiding and scaring me.
Sweat trickled down the back of my neck and my stomach growled. Funny how the atmosphere of the park changed when all the laughter from children was gone. I shivered in spite of the heat. Where was she? This game wasn’t funny anymore.
“Tom, have you seen my little sister anywhere?”
Tom methodically wiped down the safety bars on the rollercoaster. He was an odd man, tall and thin with a full beard and black mustache that curled at the sides of his mouth. He had a habit of chewing on it. Mr. Parker seemed to collect strays.
He never looked up. “Saw her get on the roller coaster.”
“Okay,” I said. “Did you see where she went when she got off?”
“Nope.” He paused and sprayed Lysol on a rag. “Didn’t get off.”
My heart pounded. “What do you mean she didn’t get off? She’s only six years old. She couldn’t just jump off. Are you sure she got on it?”
Tom nodded. “Yep. I’m sure. Wasn’t on it when it came back around.”
My hands shook. “And you didn’t bother to say anything to me? She could be hurt or…”
I couldn’t even say the words.
I took off running. The soles of my shoes pounded against the planks beside the Wooden Warrior keeping rhythm with my heart. “Emily,” I screamed. “Emmy! Where are you?”
Thanks for tuning for the first episode of “Amusement Park.” I’ll put up a new segment every Sunday.