Thank you so much to Ruth Porritt who gave me the brilliant idea of concluding my other story, "Wish You Were Here." I suggest reading that story before this one. I am proud to share with you the thrilling sequel to "Wish You Were Here." I hope you enjoy it!
Daniella stretched her arms far behind her head. She scratched Lucy her cat. George was sitting on his computer scrolling through articles.
“I’m going for a walk.” Declared Daniella.
Her husband made a grunting noise, then continued to read. She stood up, and patted Lucy one last time, and walked slowly out the door.
Ever since Caleb went missing, Daniella hadn’t run since. She had stopped doing everything she had loved. No more writing, no more ice cream, and no more running. Daniella pulled her scarf further up her arms and shivered. She passed the same track the Montana Marathon used. She turned the corner to the stadium. She stood in the middle of the forest track, and smiled, an overflowing amount of memories coming back to her. She blinked.
What’s this? She crouched down, and picked up an extremely dirty, small green sweater.
Caleb’s… Caleb had worn this sweater on the day of the race. Tears pricked at Daniella’s eyes, as she picked up her cell phone, to dial George.
They drove silently to the police officer. Daniella handed the female officer the jacket, and explained where she found it.
“I find it curious that 40 years after his disappearance, and lots of years of us searching the forest, this appeared.” The officer said. Daniella frowned, but said nothing.
“Do you think he is still alive then.” The officer’s gray eyes darkened.
“Alive I can’t say, but he is still somewhere.” “He is 60 years old, and you think someone is still keeping him?!” The officer nodded slowly, as though half asleep. Daniella abruptly stood up and left.
At night, Daniella couldn’t sleep. She was thinking. It WAS curious that this sweater showed up, even after the police had searched. She shifted in the bed, and blinked back tears.
I need to stop grieving. He has been gone for 40 years, he isn’t coming back. I need to just forget…
The next morning Daniella blindly walked downstairs. She hadn’t slept at all. She felt free, and light. Daniella stumbled over to the freezer, and opened it, finding a tub of strawberry ice cream. She felt heavy with dread, as she slowly opened it.
I am forgetting! She grunted through clenched teeth. She grabbed a metal spoon, and slowly sunk it in the creamy mixture. She brought it to her mouth and swallowed.
“Honey, why are you eating ice cream for breakfast? I was going to roast bagels!” She stifled a laugh.
“I haven’t eaten ice cream in 40 years.” He laughed deep from his stomach.
“Well I haven’t bought ice cream in years, so that is way expired.” She gagged, and spit it out in the sink. The telephone rang. George picked it up. As the person talked, George turned to stare at her wide-eyed.
“We will be right there.” George dropped his coffee cup.
“What is it?” Daniella asked, heart pounding.
“They found the boy!” He hollered.
Daniella collapsed into tears. She fought to get to the car, as George helped her get in. They zoomed to the office, and ran inside. A huge swarm of officers we rolling a man on a white bed, into a small white room.
“Caleb…” She whispered.
She couldn’t cry anymore. She walked into the room. A nurse tried to stop her, then hesitated. Caleb was staring up at her with sparkling green eyes. Her tears dripped on his face. He looked so different. His sandy blond hair was now gray, and not brushed. He had an unshaven face, and his green eyes were dull. The officer slowly led Daniella out of the room.
“We are going to do a questioning when he is better.” The officer said.
“I-I will leave,” She said, and walked out the door.
Days had passed, and Daniella hadn’t heard anything. She bought lots of ice cream, and ate it every day. She walked into her little old room, and to the little old desk in the corner. She bent down, and picked up her printing of “The Race: Wish You Were Here.”
She never finished editing it. She sat down on the tiny, old wooden chair, and flipped through the pages. She smiled sadly and laughed at the funny parts. She smiled wider than she had in 40 years.
In honor of Caleb, I’m finishing this book! She thought giddily.
The next day she got a call from the police station saying that Caleb was out of the hospital, and ready for questioning. She asked if he had already been questioned, and they said yes, but he said nothing. She sighed. Something was wrong about all of this. The police not telling her how they found him, and then Caleb not saying anything. Daniella heard the doorbell ring. She sat up straighter. As the doorbell rang again. She walked slowly down the wooden steps and opened the door. Caleb was standing at the door with a frantic, haunted expression.
“I need to talk to you.” Was all he said. Daniella gently took his shoulders, and lead him to a small floral sofa.
“Well Caleb.” He shivered.
“I-I need to talk about the disappearance, and what happened.” Daniella leaned in closer.
“I didn’t get kidnapped. I just left.” He paused to take a deep breath. “I needed a break. While I was running I just felt something inside me snap, and I just left. I wanted to be alone, especially after my wife, and two kids died from the same sickness. I went far away, out of the country to my hometown in Germany. I made it look like I had been kidnapped, so people actually cared for me, and went looking. I’m really sorry. I made a huge mistake.”
Daniella blinked so she wouldn’t cry. Fury was burying in every muscle in her body, just like at the race. Her dark blue eyes penetrating into Caleb’s.
“So, you are saying you went missing for 40 YEARS, and you had a wife, and two kids who all died, and then you FAKED being kidnapped, and you expect me to ever want to see you again!!!?? I cared about you!!!” She screamed.
“You may be 60, but you still are a stupid teenager!!!! You have no idea what pain I have been through, or how many tears I have cried.” She was shaking. Sadness sparked Caleb’s eyes.
“I didn’t want to hurt you…” She threw up her arms in frustration.
“You killed me! I loved you!!!! You betrayed me, and left me thinking I wouldn’t care!” She spewed a string of cuss words at him.
“Get out of my house now! You’re better off dead!” She screeched. He smiled so sadly, and tears poured out of his eyes, as he clasped his wrinkly hands together, and left.
Daniella got a note in the mail a few weeks later. She cautiously opened it, and read it.
“We are so very sorry to inform you that Caleb Winter has passed away. He died of starvation after locking himself in a closet for two weeks. His funeral with be held next Monday at 2:00 pm. Thanks!”
The note came from the police officer she had met. She collapsed. I killed him! I wished him away! What have I done!? She cried, and cried, the note getting soaked.
“Oh Caleb. I wish I could kiss you again. You and I should have been married. I’m so sorry that I wished you away.”