Last week, we left Jennifer on her way back to the amusement park after searching at home for her seven-year-old little sister who had mysteriously disappeared off the roller coaster ride. The owner of the amusement park, Mr. Parker, had recruited the other workers to help search for the little girl. Jennifer is just arriving back at the park. Let’s see if anyone has found Emily yet.
The look on Mr. Parker’s face told me they hadn’t found her yet. I shoved the cell phone back in his hand and muttered. “Thanks, Mr. Parker. Emily wasn’t there.”
Mr. Parker narrowed his eyes at me. “Where is your mother, young lady? She should be here.”
I cast my eyes to the ground. “She was out.”
“Well, no matter. Put your thinking cap on. What is Emily’s favorite part of the park?”
“She loves the hall of mirrors. She goes every chance she gets.”
“Then, let’s go look there.”
I walked alongside the man who had shown nothing but kindness. Tears threatened to spill, and I blinked hard.
“Why do I have a feeling there is something you aren’t telling me, Jennifer?” He asked.
“I don’t know sir.” I picked up the pace and walked a few steps in front of him, reaching the Hall of Mirrors first. I stepped inside and called out. “Emily. Emily Ann, where are you? If you’re hiding you better come out right now or you’re in big trouble.”
The only response was a slight echo. I rushed through, not taking time to glance at my reflection in the mirrors that made Emmy giggle so. I just had to find her.
Mr. Parker’s phone jangled causing me to jump. “Hello,” he said. “Yeah, okay. We’ll be right there.”
“Did someone find her?” I tugged on his arm.
“It was Mickey. He just said to come quickly to the spooky tunnel. Let’s go.”
I didn’t wait for him. I ran as fast as I could through the maze of mirrors out into the fading sunlight and didn’t slow down until I reached the mouth of the darkened tunnel. My stomach turned a thousand summersaults.
Mickey slouched against the opening of the darkened tunnel.
“Did you find her?”
He passed me his flashlight and motioned inside. I didn’t wait for him or Mr. Parker. I ran screaming. “Emily! Emmy! Where are you?”
“Sh,” A soft voice replied. “You’re gonna scare them.”
I didn’t exhale until I reached Emily. She sat on the ground deep in the tunnel with a tabby mama cat and a passel of kittens on her lap.
“Look, Jen.” She grinned up at me. “Aren’t they adorable? Can we take them home with us? Huh? Can we?”
I wrapped my arms around my little sister and wept into her soft brown hair. “Oh, Emmy. You scared me so bad. Why didn’t you tell me where you were going? We’ve looked all over and now Mr. Parker has had to pay everyone extra to stay and look for you.”
“But, I didn’t have time to tell you.” She stared at me with wide blue eyes. “I had to follow Miss Daisy and she wouldn’t wait. She needed my help.”
The mangy cat blinked her yellow-green eyes at me and meowed as if to confirm everything Emily said.
Mr. Parker and Mickey reached us together.
“You gave us quite a scare, young lady,” Mr. Parker said with a deep stern voice.
“I’m sorry.” Emily’s bottom lip quivered. “I just had to help Miss Daisy.”
Mr. Parker replied, “Come on. We need to let the others know and call off the search.”
Emily stubbornly refused to stand up.
“Mr. Parker, you can go. I’ll deal with Emily and these cats.” I couldn’t stand to put him out any more than I already had. “And, sir, you can take out of my wages whatever you need to pay the others for staying.”
He laid a hand on my shoulder. “That won’t be necessary, Jennifer, but you are going to have to leave your little sister at home from now on when you come to work.”
I stared at the ground. “Yes, sir.”
As soon as they were gone, I dropped down beside my sister. “Oh, Emmy, you still don’t know what a problem you made, do you?”
“I didn’t mean to upset you and Mr. Parker. I just had to help Miss Daisy. She came and got me off the roller coaster when it stopped on the big curve.”
I smoothed back her hair. “I understand, but you can’t just disappear like that. If they had called the police, we’d both be in big trouble. You wouldn’t want us to be taken away and put in strange homes, would you?”
Tears welled up in her eyes. “No, Jenny. I wouldn’t want that at all.”
“Then you can’t just be disappearing without telling me, no matter what. Understand?”
Emily nodded and swiped at her nose.
“Well come on, then. We have to go. The park is closed.”
“But what about Miss Daisy and her kittens?”
“I’ll go find a box and we can take them with us. But, we have to go.”
Emily reached for my hand. “Thank you, Jenny.”
The cat meowed again.
What on earth was I going to do with more mouths to feed?
**This is NOT the end. I have lots more problems planned for these two girls. But, now that we’ve found Emily, I am going to pull it off my blog and turn it into a YA novella. I hope I have enticed you enough with this opening to want to read more about Jennifer and Emily.**