Cheryl burst through the door, “Mom, Dad, have you seen the kids? I can’t find them anywhere!”
Cheryl’s dad pulls himself out of his papason chair, “Now just calm down, Cheryl. What’s going on?”
“I don’t know where Meggie and Brent are! They’re not in the house. I went down to the shed to see if they were in there playing and they’re not there either. And Dad, the dog is still in the yard. Lady would have gone with them if they’d gone out in the woods.” Cheryl starts trembling, covers her face with her hands to hide her tears.
Her father puts his hand on her shoulder, “Honey, we’ll find ’em. We will. I promise you that.”
Cheryl whirls around to face her father, the tears streaking her cheeks, “Dad, you can’t promise me that! You don’t know!” Cheryl’s voice rises in panic. “You can’t guarantee that they’ll be alright, Dad! You can’t!”
Cheryl’s mom grabs her daughter’s arm and forces her to look at her, “Stop it! Stop it right this minute! You falling apart isn’t going to help anything. We’ll call the neighbors and they’ll help us look for the kids, but you need to pull yourself together, missy.”
Cheryl takes a shaky breath, “You’re right, Mom. I’m..I’m sorry, Daddy. I’m just so scared. My babies are out there somewhere and it’ll be dark in a couple of hours. What if we don’t find them before it gets dark? They’re so little…they’re just babies.”
Cheryl walks to the window and looks out at the vast forest that surrounds them. “They could be anywhere. I don’t even know where we’re gonna start. I just…I just want my babies back safe.” Resting her forehead against the window, Cheryl is weighed down by the hopelessness and fear. She whispers, “Come home, Meggie, Brent…please, babies…just come home.”