Sammy Not-So-Fast

Submitted into Contest #103 in response to: Write about a character looking for a sign.... view prompt

20 comments

Crime Fiction

Somehow in her 35 years of life, Penelope had never been in a police station before, let alone been given a ride in a cop car. She was disappointed that the officer had not activated his sirens or lights. He wasn’t even speeding. Could he not sense the urgency? This was an emergency. Her baby was missing! Penelope was grateful to the officer; however, as he did not make her sit in the back like a criminal. Penelope was a straight laced goody two shoes, and she wasn’t about to have her reputation thrown into the rumor mill. As she exited the passenger side of the vehicle her body turned into lead.

One foot in front of the other, she told herself. 

The officer guided her to the door. She was lucky, she supposed, that she had never required police assistance before. Penelope had always been hard on herself and this time wasn’t any different. Why hadn’t she been more careful! If she had, none of this would have happened. What would her husband think? If anything happened to Sammy, he would never forgive her and neither would she forgive herself.  

Once inside, the officer and Penelope walked past the reception window and through a security door. They made their way down a flight of stairs and into a small office. The officer gestured to the empty chair next to a big metallic desk. Penelope took a seat. The chair was hard underneath her, but she deserved to be uncomfortable after what she did.

“Let’s start from the beginning.” The officer said. “How did this happen?”

“Shouldn’t you be out there looking for him? It’s already been three hours. I’ve seen crime shows. If you don’t find him soon, he’ll be lost forever. I should be out there searching!” Penelope sobbed.

“Ma’am, we have our investigators out looking already, but they need more information.” The officer patted her arm. “We’re doing everything we can. Now, please tell me what happened.”

“Tony! We need to call him!” 

“We tried ma’am. He didn’t answer, but we’ll keep trying.” The officer said.

“Let’s focus on getting more information for the officers, okay?”

Penelope didn’t want to relive the moment, but she would do anything to get Sammy back. “Here’s what happened.” She began.

Penelope opened her eyes and groaned. Her alarm clock was buzzing. Next to her, her husband stirred, but he made no attempt to rise. 

“I’ll put a pot of coffee on. What do you want for breakfast?” She asked, but Tony had fallen back to sleep.

Penelope got out of bed and showered and made her way to the kitchen. The smell of the bacon and eggs sizzling wafted through the air summoning Tony. 

“You’re just in time.” She said as she dished him up a plate. “Where’s Sammy?”

“Umm…he’s outside babe, remember?” Tony replied.

“Oh that’s right, silly me. He’s flying his flag again, isn’t he?” She said.

“Yes, dear.”

“Shouldn’t he come get some breakfast? He must be hungry with all that playing he does.”

“He’s okay for right now, honey.”

She nodded. “I’m going to go check on him.”

Penelope walked out the door and spotted Sammy at the end of the driveway. “Sammy get back here. You’re too close to the road.”

Sammy didn’t move. 

“Sammy!” She yelled.

Again, he didn’t move.

“I’m going to tell your father.” She stormed back into the house.

“What’s wrong?” Tony asked.

“Sammy won’t listen to me. He’s too close to the road.” 

“I have to leave for work anyway, so I’ll talk to him.” Tony kissed Penelope, grabbed his keys, and headed out the door.” 

“And then I lost track of time. I was sitting eating breakfast, and I don’t know what happened.” Penelope sighed. “The next thing I knew, it was time for me to go to work. When I went out, Sammy wasn’t as close to the road, but the cars were going so fast. I was afraid he’d get hit by a car. I was about to get him when all of a sudden… some guy…he…he… jumped out of his vehicle and grabbed Sammy.” 

Penelope laid her head in her arms on the officer’s desk. Tears streamed from her eyes and her chest heaved. “I’m such a terrible mother!” 

“No, no, this wasn’t your fault.” The officer tried to console Penelope. “Do you have a picture of Sammy?”

“No, not here I don’t. I forgot to grab one.”

“Okay. We’ll get one later. What was Sammy wearing?”  

Penelope picked up her head. “A red baseball cap.” 

“Okay, good. What about his shirt? What color was it?”

“Green. He’s such a vibrant boy. He likes to be bright! Oh, and he had a flag!”

“Great. How tall is Sammy?” The officer questioned.

“He’s four feet and four inches.” 

“How much does he weigh?”

“I…I don’t know…He’s light for his size, but oh forgive me my brain doesn’t want to work. You should ask Tony. He’ll know. Penelope said.

The officer was confused. He knew how much his kids weighed, give or take a few pounds. Isn’t that something every parent knew? Having your child kidnapped could do weird things to people. Maybe he shouldn’t judge her so harshly. After all, he wasn’t in her shoes. 

To not make her feel bad, he switched to the description of the car.

“It was a red-ish, burgundy color.” She answered.

“It was an SUV of some sort, and I think it was a Ford. She continued.

“Did you get a license plate number?” The officer asked.

“Not all of it, no.” She hung her head.

“Just give me what you remember.” The officer prodded.

“It was...AJ…K… Yes, that’s it! I don’t remember the numbers though.”

“That’s okay, that’s a good start.” Do you remember what the kidnapper looked like?”

“I think it was a female, but I don’t remember anything else. I think she was white and wearing jeans.” Penelope responded.

Just then, the officer’s phone rang. He excused himself and went in the hallway to answer the call. Penelope strained to listen, but the officer’s voice was muffled.

“Mmhm. Really? Are you sure? Okay. Yes, thank you. Bye.” The officer ended his call and went back to the office.

“What’s going on?” Did they find him? Please, tell me they found him.” Penelope said.

The officer’s phone rang again. “Sorry,” he mumbled. “Hang on.” He went back into the hall.

When he returned, he informed Penelope that Tony had finally responded, and that he was on his way to the station.

“Oh, Tony. He’s going to be so upset.  Earlier, the phone call, did they find my boy? I need to know they found him.”

The officers had found Sammy. They spotted a burgundy Ford Escape with the letters of the license plate matching the description that Penelope had given. The vehicle had been driving north on the highway when the officers pulled it over. The officers had surrounded the vehicle and told the female driver to exit the vehicle. They immediately opened all the doors of the SUV, but they did not find a boy.

“What?” Penelope asked the officer. “No, Sammy is real.”

“I’m afraid he’s not Penelope.” Tony responded as he walked into the office.

“Tony, I don’t understand.” “He’s real Tony. He’s real.”

Tony then stepped aside and revealed a plastic neon green slowdown Sammy sign in the shape of a boy. It was complete with a red flag and baseball cap, and the word slow was written on its base. 

“I’m very sorry, officer. I had no idea that this would happen. Ever since we lost our boy, Penelope has personified “Sammy” here, and I just played along because I was too sad and tired not to.

“Given that this was all a misunderstanding, I will not arrest Penelope for false charges, but please make sure she talks to somebody. The officer responded.

With that, Tony thanked the officer and took his wife home promising that he would get her help.  

July 18, 2021 19:57

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20 comments

Susan Whitlock
19:50 Jul 29, 2021

Sad but nicely done. If you did write a larger story - you could fill in more details to draw us more into Tony and Penelope. It helps me when I am able to commit to the characters as real people. Then their story flows more naturally for me. But well done! Keep writing.

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Kate Winchester
21:17 Jul 29, 2021

Thank you for the feedback. I agree about adding more details. Usually, I’m more detailed, but for some reason with this story I wasn’t. Lol

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Charlie Murphy
16:47 Jul 27, 2021

Sad twist! But, great story! Are you going to continue this?

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Kate Winchester
17:14 Jul 27, 2021

Thank you! I hadn’t planned on continuing it, but who’s knows maybe I will. ☺️

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Charlie Murphy
17:20 Jul 27, 2021

I'd like to find out what happened to Sammy. Also, can you read my story?

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Kate Winchester
17:28 Jul 27, 2021

Yeah, that’s a good idea. Of course, I’d love to read your story.

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Charlie Murphy
17:31 Jul 27, 2021

Thank you.

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Noor Layla
13:00 Jul 26, 2021

I love the way you played on the word "sign" in the prompt.

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Kate Winchester
13:10 Jul 26, 2021

Thanks!

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Michael Martin
18:20 Jul 24, 2021

Every parent's worst nightmare, only with a twist. I liked the story (adding the twist always gets me, I love stories that deviate from the norm). If I can provide one small bit of constructive feedback: some of the mother's responses/emotions/thoughts feel a bit off from what I'd expect a mother who had just lost a child. Like in the beginning, her thoughts were on the fact that she was a good woman, never been in a cop car... then we find out her baby was missing and they were looking for him. It feels... off, for lack of a better word...

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Kate Winchester
18:31 Jul 24, 2021

Thank you. I appreciate constructive feedback. I agree, her reputation is kind of weird thrown in there. It was kind of a tangent. Lol

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Ally Kate
17:01 Jul 23, 2021

Omg this was SUCH a good read! It was a fun suspenseful read and then became unexpectedly heartbreaking, but it was an exciting (although sad) plot twist that really worked. The dialogue felt very real and had a natural flow and the whole thing was perfectly paced and I read it very quickly because I couldn't wait to see what happened next. Overall great story!!

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Kate Winchester
17:09 Jul 23, 2021

Thank you!! 🤗

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Atenaga Monday
19:33 Apr 12, 2022

Good day, am a writer my finest book or should I say my greatest writing can't be published yet cause of lack of funds please I humbly solicit for your help in raising some funds, my plan is to help every kid in Africa able to access books even without payment please do this help humanity and make the world a better place; my email: mdatenaga@gmail.com, my WhatsApp number: https://wa.me/message/HOFB7PTVGI3TF1 I will be glad to have partners all over the world to join me, God bless God speed.

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Kevin Broccoli
13:21 Oct 15, 2021

Love the opening line of the story, and the dialogue really pops. Good job.

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Kate Winchester
13:42 Oct 15, 2021

Thank you! 😁

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Mae Stroshane
22:06 Oct 13, 2021

It’s every parent’s nightmare to have a child go missing. Penelope is distraught and seems like every mom. The punchline is so sad. It reminds me of the imaginary son in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Great story! I look forward to reading more of your work!

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Kate Winchester
01:08 Oct 14, 2021

Thank you so much! I’ve never seen “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” I should get on that lol. 😉

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Cass Marie
02:29 Jul 29, 2021

Intense read! I do have one thought, though. Maybe expand the lead a bit. I never really felt a buildup to the suspense, and I kinda prefer that lead up. You could do that, and still be well within short story, or take a deeper dive with a novella. Great story, though. Just need more of it.😁

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Kate Winchester
02:47 Jul 29, 2021

Thanks for the feedback! I can see what you mean about adding more suspense. I agree that it would enhance the story. 🤗

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