They looked everywhere.
The woods behind our backyard. The school. The woods behind the school. The basement. The attic. The pond, even though the pond was a long walk away. They called the parents of every kid in Aidan’s class, even the ones who’d moved away.
We opened every door to every room in our house, every door to every closet. We searched every crawl space, checked under every bed. We pulled back each of the shower curtains and looked for footprints in all of the rugs. It was a game of hide and seek that got old after five minutes, alarming after an hour, and the scariest thing that had ever happened to any of us after that.
Aidan couldn’t be found.
Some said the portrait, painted weeks before Grace’s death, had been a prophecy of the tragedy yet to come. Others swore up and down that the girl didn’t show up on the wall until after Grace died. Many attempts were made to locate the artist, but the person appeared to have vanished into thin air. Over the days that followed, the manor’s servants became convinced that Grace’s restless spirit remained in Louth Manor. They claimed she would emerge from the painting after dark and roam the halls. Then, late one night, Fredrick Louth was found dead in the rose room. The doctors said he’d suffered a heart attack trying to pry the plaster off the walls.
I used Random.org and it selected page 157.
I’m still in the big Jacuzzi tub when the power flickers -once, twice- and then goes out, leaving me in total darkness, chin deep in lukewarm water. I don’t know why, but it all hits me then -Nan’s surgery tomorrow, shooting that mocassin, this stupid never-ending storm. I start to cry, deep, gulping sobs. I know it seems childish, but I want my daddy. What if things get worse? What if the house starts to flood? Or the roof blows off? As much as I hate to admit it, I’m scared. Really scared.