I know today is supposed to be a “C” day, but I decided to jump ahead to the letter “H,” because I’m adult and that’s how I roll! 😀
Today’s short story is based on a writing prompt about losing something. I hope you enjoy it!
“I found you, I found you,” he squealed with excitement. He wrapped his plump arms around my thigh and jumped up and down. He had won this round.
“Now you count,” he ordered as he pushed me toward the tree in the middle of our backyard to count.
“Ok! Ok! I’m going! No need to push,” I laughed.
“No peeking, eeiver! I mean it!”
I chuckled at his baby talk and assertiveness, but covered my eyes and face, as the traditional hide and seek rules demanded, and began to count slowly and loudly so he could hear me from anywhere in the yard. I knew where he would hide. He’d been hiding in the same spot all afternoon – on the deck, under the picnic table. I heard his little foot steps head toward the deck, followed by the thump, thump, thump, of his sneakers as he scampered up the short steps. He squealed with excitement as he crawled under the table. Then, he was quiet.
“8, 9, 10! Ready or not, here I come,” I shouted toward his hiding place. He didn’t make a sound this time. I made a big deal of looking for him in open places, like on the other side of the tree where I just finished counting, in and behind his playhouse, and between the well trimmed shrubbery that surrounded the deck before finally tip-toeing on to the deck and announcing, “I’m going to find you!” By now, I would have heard him giggling from under the table, but he remained silent. I ran over to the table and shouted, “I gotcha!!” But he wasn’t there. He was getting good at this game. I smiled. He’s such a smart little boy.
I looked behind the shed and I even looked under the porch, but he wasn’t there. My chest tightened. I checked the side gates to make sure he didn’t let himself out of the yard. The gates were locked and the latch was too high for him to reach.
“Come out, come out, where ever you are,” I called in a sing-song voice. I stood still in the yard and listened for him to come running toward me. The birds chirped, cicadas sang and a neighbor was mowing his lawn a few houses over. But he didn’t come. Panic rose in my chest. I was sick with fear. I tried to calm myself. He couldn’t have gotten far.
I went back to the deck and looked around and noticed the patio door was ajar. I breathed a sigh of relief. I checked behind the tables and chairs on the enclosed porch and wondered how he managed to open the door without me hearing. I looked around in confusion. Where could he be? Maybe he needed to go potty. The french doors that lead to house were easy enough for him to open and close without help, but at three years old there wasn’t too much that Todd did quietly. I rushed inside, concerned that he may have gotten into something and possible hurt himself.
“Todd,” I called, “Are you in here?” The house was silent. I checked the powder room on the first floor, the garage and the basement. I checked the front door. It was locked and chained. I had the keys in my pocket. There was no way left the house. I was on the verge of tears as reached into my back pocket to pull out my phone and call the police when Todd and his father jumped out of the closet in the foyer, scaring me half to death.
“We tricked you! We tricked you,” Todd shouted in excitement. His father laughed.
“I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist!” I slapped him in the arm. Hard! I couldn’t speak because I was crying tears of relief. He pulled me into his arms and apologized again. He came home early to surprise us and decided to join in on the game.
“Ok! Ok! I won’t scare you like that again! I promise!”
“Daddy, we scared Brenda good! Let’s play again!”
“No! No! No,” I finally managed to say. “Let’s have lunch instead.” Todd ran to the kitchen, ready to eat.
Lunch followed by a nap seemed a good way to closed out the afternoon. Losing a game of hide and seek, and thinking I lost my fiancé’s son was more than enough adventure for one day.