Started with a Disappearance

Submitted by Jennifer Stone to Contest #17 in response to: Write a story about a family dinner that includes someone unexpected showing up.... view prompt

Our house was full of mysteries. The people who used to live here abandoned it because they thought that there was a psycho trying to murder them alive.

Yes, think about how I said the word thought. There wasn’t a psycho trying to eat them alive. It was just a legend. Although, the people around us stare at our “haunted” house and walk away cautiously.

Isabelle always throws her hands up in the air every time someone does that. “Why does anyone not believe us? It’s NOT haunted!”

“Who cares, we know they’re wrong,” I say.

“Evangeline, you aren’t helping!” Isabelle says furiously.

“Whatever. Let’s eat dinner. I’m starving.”


We ran downstairs. Isabelle and I usually race downstairs to see who is first, but it didn’t seem like she was in the mood today.

 “We have spaghetti with extra onions!” Father says. “Evangeline’s favorite!”

I grin at him. He grins back.

“Great, great, but why doesn’t anyone make MY favorite dinner?” Isabelle crosses her arms. “You never asked me, ever!”

“Well, I’m sorry, sweetie!” Mother replies. “Tomorrow, okay?”

Isabelle mutters, “Evangeline gets everything.” Luckily, only I heard it and no one else did. Father and Mother were busy talking.

We were munching on our spaghetti, enjoying our dinner. For once, Isabelle and I were finished early. Father and Mother were barely eating a noodle.

We went to wash our hands upstairs. Yes, we have a half bathroom downstairs but we liked the upstairs better because it was cleaner, it smelled better, even Mother and Father don’t like the one downstairs. But they didn’t want to admit it.

I heard the doorbell ring from downstairs, so I decided to pause and listen. It was probably Grandmother.

“…Yes, oh dear …I don’t really think that’s…” Mother stammered.

A few seconds later, I heard Mother cry, “Oh!”

I was about to run downstairs but I stopped. What if he was dangerous? I didn’t want to handle all this myself.

I heard another loud scream. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ran straight downstairs, yelling, “Hey!”

But when I looked outside, they were gone.

I cried, “No!” I felt my chest burning. I ran outside, but no one was in sight. No one.

I couldn’t think. I ran upstairs again to find Isabelle.

“Eva? Why are you in such a panic?” Isabelle rolled her eyes. “Did you forget to wash the dishes?”

“No! Listen, I think Mother is kidnapped.” It’s so hard to say the words out loud.

“What?! But I didn’t hear anything!”

“That’s because you were wearing your headphones, looking at the screen the whole time!”

“Okay, okay, you got me.” She took her headphones off, putting them away on her desk drawer. “Let’s calm down. Why aren’t we screaming when Mother is probably being kidnapped? How do you know for sure she’s kidnapped?”

“I feel like we should be saying adult-napped, but anyway, the doorbell rung, so I wanted to see who it was so I listened. And then Mother started stuttering, and screamed. And when I ran downstairs, no one was there.”

“What about Father?”

“He went to work!” I snatched Mother’s phone and dialed 911.

“Excuse me?” I say, out of breath.

“Hello, how may I help you?” the operator says.

“I-um, I...” I stammered, forgetting the reason why I was calling.

Isabelle snatched the phone from me and replied, “Our mother has been kidnapped.”

After all of the other questions they gave us, they sent a police officer to investigate right away. I was relieved that they came; the mystery could be solved in no time.

As soon as Father came home from work, he had a concerned look on his face. He was also burning with sweat. He said, suddenly, “I heard. You did the right thing.”

We both nodded, but our minds were someplace else. I bet we were thinking the same thing—the rumors about this house were true. But was it? We needed to find out.

I couldn’t sleep at all. It was 1:00 AM, and all I was doing was twisting and turning in my bed. I would turn on my lamp and read a book every twenty minutes to help me fall asleep, but the things in my mind won’t let me.

I decided to get something to eat, since I wasn’t sleepy. I walked downstairs, but slowly, just in case the kidnapper was back.

I looked up at the last row of stairs. It didn’t seem like anyone was there, so I went to the kitchen.

I grabbed some water, Gulp! Gulp! Gulp!

I felt satisfied. Just in case, I refilled my cup and took it upstairs.

I saw that Father’s room was empty. The door was open, and Father wasn’t inside. I went in, thinking he was in the bathroom. But the bathroom lights were off, and the door was open.

“Father?” I called out. “Father? Father!”

Suddenly, footsteps came upstairs. I, no doubt, knew it was Father, but as soon as the person got up, it wasn’t Father.

It was Isabelle.

“You were so loud!” she exclaimed. Her eyes were red and wretched.

“Has Father left to go to work?” I ask, ignoring her comment.

“I don’t know, I was sleeping!”

“What if… He was attacked in his sleep?” I ask, trembling.

“Or he went outside, to risk his life trying to find Mother,” Isabelle points out.

“I hope so.”

We tried going back to sleep, but it was no use. I stayed up the whole night, desperately waiting for a knock on the door for Father. But he never came back.

“Isabelle! Wake up!” I cry. I shake her out of her bed, and she falls off. She winces, glaring at me.

“What was that for?!” she mutters furiously.

“Father and Mother! They are gone! H-he never came back!” I shout, bursting into tears.

“What?!” she exclaims.

“T-the p-police,” I stutter. “T-they came b-back and s-said Father was m-missing! That he ran in the middle of the night and he was never seen again!”

“He wouldn’t do that to us!” Isabelle yells at me. “Would he? Does he even love us?”

“I don’t know!” I sob.

“Okay, let’s get this straight. Mother was possibly kidnapped, Father might’ve looked for her, and he left us to do it. He left us in charge of this house! How do we pay the bills? We don’t have his phone! Oh no, what do we do?” Isabelle throws her hands up in despair.

“Let’s call 911. I’m sure they will pay our bills for us, or something,” I suggest. I still couldn’t believe what was happening.

“Fine! Go call 911! I’m going to go somewhere! Let me take a break!” Isabelle says, storming out of the room and downstairs.

“Don’t go outside! It could be dangerous!” I call out. I couldn’t lose her too. What would I do all alone?

“I’ll be fine! I’ll come back!” she opens the door, slams it shut, and leaving me here without a goodbye.

“Oh no, what nightmare am I living in,” I moan, as I call 911.

“Hello, how may I help you?” the operator asks.

And the story repeats again, but this time, with Father on the loose.

The policemen have come back after their search, and I was hoping to find good news. I asked eagerly, “Have you found anything?”

One answered, “We have good news, and two bad news.”

I was pretty sure it was something about Father’s disappearance, so I say, “Good news first.”

“We have found your sister Isabelle’s body,” he replies.

Have I heard him right? Did he say body? Did that mean she was…?

“So, the bad news is we haven’t found anything about your father yet, and Isabelle was sent to the hospital. And we fear she is…” he paused. “In a coma.”

I gaped at him. “That is not true! She…she can’t be!”

I started to feel nauseous, like I drank rotten milk with expired mash potatoes. My head was spinning quickly. I haven’t even reacted when my head banged on the floor. I fainted.

“I think Evangeline’s awake,” the nurse says.

I open my eyes. They immediately close after they hit the bright light. I sit up, feeling cold and tired. I ask, “Where am I?”

Another nurse comes in. “You fainted, you’re in the hospital.”

The third nurse comes in too. I felt even dizzier. She asks me, “Dear, what’s your full name?”

I reply, “Evangeline Morgana Warren.” She quickly writes it down and ran out the door.

“Dear, get more rest,” the second nurse says gently. She gestured me to lie down.

So I do, and instantly, I fell asleep.

Evangeline’s Dream

I was stuck in a corner. Two people surrounded me.

“Your mother was kidnapped, your father left you, and your sister is possibly dying,” the first one says hastily.

The second one adds, “If you join us, you won’t be alone, stuck by yourself anymore.”

I cry, “No!” I try to duck under their arms, but they cover me again.

“Your mother is probably dead, why should you care?” the first one says. “You can’t bring back the dead.”

My eyes filled with tears.

“Crying won’t do any help. Besides, your father left you because he hated you. Why are you crying about him? You shouldn’t love someone that doesn’t love you. Do you know why he hated you, Eva? You were always such an impatient person that never loved your sister Isabelle. And look what happened to Isabelle. She’s probably dead!”

The first one nods in agreement. “Yeah, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Nothing!”

The people hissed over and over again. “Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing…”

I screamed. Those people were terrifying. They were certainly the bad side of me. I had all those thoughts that they listed, such as, “my whole family is dead,” and “My father never loved me.”

I was sure that they were wrong, but the bad side was taking over my good side, and I was losing hope.

I called out, “Hello?”

A policewoman, (her nametag said Sharron), ran upstairs. “Are you feeling better?”

I nodded. “Yes.”

“Great! Are you well enough to do an interview? We want to put this on the news, about the family separation.” Then she flinched, looking at my pained face.

I look down. I didn’t want anyone to know about this, especially Mother. If she saw this, I would have let her down. That I let Isabelle wander off and get in a coma. That I let father try to find Mother. I would have let them all down, in fact.

But, on the bright side, if Mother or Father saw this, they would probably run back home to see me. I didn’t know my answer, but Sharron was looking at me expectantly, so I use my bravest voice and answer, “Yes.”

Sharron smiled at me. She replied, “Great! It starts 2:00 PM, I’ll pick you up at your house. Another police officer will come to take care of you while you wait.”

I nod. I felt helpless, and a little embarrassed. So many police officers were coming to take care of me, like I was a little child.

“Thanks for your help. By the way, the new officer is Tara, remember that.” She winked at me, and stepped out of the door.

Sharron called out, “Tara is here! Don’t move!”

I nod, and wait for Tara’s arrival.

After we got to know each other for a while, I change the subject. “Tara, do you know where my family is? How Isabelle got in a coma? Just any information you have?”

Tara straightened her shoulders, looking at me sadly. “I do know Isabelle went behind the trees where no one goes. She must have gone there for some P and Q. And then, Will, one of the officers, told me that she got lost, and the ambulance found her, hanging up on a tree. We all think she has…”

I was loss for words now.

“So you all lied to me? You said she was in a coma, but she could have been lynched...”

I cried.

Tara shook her head. “No sweetie. I’m sorry to say this, but, we have all confirmed it. She wasn’t killed. She killed herself.”

My mouth was dropped open.

“No! You’re lying! She won’t leave me, will she?”

Tara brushed my hair. “What she did was wrong, but… sadly, we couldn’t stop her.”

I waved her hand away. “But that’s what police officers are supposed to do! Stop people who are in trouble! Help people! If you don’t, what good are you all for?!”

Tara thinned her lips. She told me to go to my room, to think about this situation. I told her no, but she left me there in the kitchen, heading to the restroom.

I couldn’t think. I left Isabelle to go outside to kill herself! I am such a bad sister! I should have followed her! I ended her life, where she could have had a nice family with 2 children, celebrating birthdays. My eyes were teary. I couldn’t even say Happy Birthday to her anymore.

Tara came back, telling me she had a surprise. She took me outside to her work car, making me put on a blindfold. I wanted to peek through it, but that would ruin the surprise so I stopped myself.

“We’re here!” Tara said cheerfully.

She took off my blindfold. My eyes were blurry, but when I saw my vision again, I saw a huge house with a gray roof. I asked, “What’s this?”

She smiled. “Get inside.”

I was afraid at first, but I trusted Tara. So I got in.

“Mommy!” a voice cried.

Right before my eyes, I saw a little girl, who was the exact same hair as Tara, the same look as Tara, just younger. The little girl seemed frightened, but when she saw Tara she cried, “Mommy! Mommy!”

“This is…your house?” I asked Tara.

She nods. “And this is my daughter, Cecilia.”

I stared at Cecilia. She was so pretty, with nice long hair, clean face.

“Hi!” I waved.

She hid behind Tara, but eventually she came out slowly and stared. “H-hi.”

“I also have a boy your age,” says Tara. “Philip! Come out!”

Philip, was nothing like Tara, except for the hair. He looked nice also.

“Nice to meet you?” he asked me.

“Uh, yea, nice to meet you too!” I reply. I give him a nice smile.

“Children, this sweet girl is Evangeline. Her family is lost, and I have something planned for her.”

I stared at them, confused. But Tara took no notice.

“I will discuss with your father for a moment,” she adds, and leaves.

Philip, Cecilia, and I looked at each other uncomfortably.

Philip clears his throat. “Uh, so, do you have any family left?” he winced at this question, but I smile anyway.

“Well, my mother is away, my father left, and my sister killed herself, so I guess not,” I say sarcastically.

“I’m so sorry!” Philip blushed, looked at his feet.

“Hey, it’s fine!” I assure him.

A few seconds later, Tara comes out.

“I have something to announce,” she announces.

“What is it Tara?” I ask.

Tara looks at me with a generous smile. She answers, “Don’t call me Tara. Call me… Mom.”

I looked at her in surprise.


“Call me Mom,” she repeats. She adds, “I know that this has been hard for you, but I, and of course your dad, wants you to be part of our family for as long as we can stay together. I’m not sure if I can’t keep you forever, but we can try.” She smiles.

“Y-you want me part of your family?” I was astonished.

“Of course! Don’t you, children?”

Although Philip turned red a little, he nodded. Cecilia, asked, “She’s my sister?”

Tara, I mean Mom, answered, “Yep! And you always wanted an older sister, right?”

I held my breath. I’m pretty sure everyone did.

Cecilia answered by hugging me tight. “I have a sister!”

So that confirmed it. I now had a family. And Mom promised she would keep investigating about my biological parents and more about my sister if she could.

I was so excited! I wasn’t alone. And I always wanted a younger sister. Maybe, just maybe, I belonged here.

“Thank you so much, Tar-Mom!” I say with glee. Philip was the only one who hesitated before hugging me, but I still hugged him back anyway.

Years Later

I was sixteen now. I have been with my new family for a few years. Cecilia is ten, Philip sixteen also. I don’t even remember how my new relationship started.

Mom shouted, “Evangeline! Come quickly downstairs!”

So here’s how it started.

I saw a picture of a man and a woman.

“Who are they, Mom?” I ask.

“They’re… your biological parents!”

I gasp.

“We finally found them! They started a new life in Connecticut. They were looking for you for 15 months! They were on the news, telling us how much they love you.”

I swallow a lump in my throat.

“So, they never left me because they hated me,” I say.

“Yes, and I knew it from the beginning.”

“Can we… You know, meet them?”

“I was hoping you’d say that!”

Before I said anything else, Mom shouts, “Children! Who wants to meet Tara’s biological parents?”

Everyone cheers.

“You’d… go all the way and rest your job for me?” I ask.

Mom kissed my cheek. “Who wouldn’t?” she answers, smiling.

We got in the car, buckled our seatbelts. Mom asks us, “Ready?” She looked at everyone in the backseat.

We all yell, “Ready!”

It’s time to finally meet them.


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