Salvation (Short Story)

Summer holidays were the best time of the year for them. Finally, they got time to spend together as a family. Just like every year, they had picked a countryside home to stay. To run away from the hustle bustle, the impatience of the city and spend relaxed time together as husband, wife and daughter.

Their little girl was the center of their universe now. Every single decision and plan they made now, was entirely keeping the her priorities in mind. The house, with a patio and a garden up front; a park nearby with no vehicles in the vicinity, for her kid to be free to play and have fun, while they can sit back and watch her giggle, run around and smile. Something they loved to watch again and again and again…

"Who wants to go out and play?"

The big smile on her face, the twinkle in her eyes; the reason for their very survival now. She was already jumping in joy. The dark hair; with her fair face, brought out the green in her eyes. Dressed up in denim dungarees, matched with her favorite pink top, she was their beautiful little baby, always cheerful, always ready to play. A 'girly girl' as their friends liked to call her.

"Not without your shoes, you don't..."

The park, really close from the place they were put up, was full this time of the early evening. The kids lost in playing on the different rides and the parents keeping a close watch. The bright colors all around, the sound of kids screaming in glee; the summer sun setting in the back; nothing could have made this holiday perfect.

"Here you go… your favorite sand pit, no sand in your eyes… remember… no eating sand… mama is watching… here's your bucket"

She was on her knees now, getting her hands deep into the sand..

"Hello… Hello... Mom could you speak up? I can barely hear you. The reception here isn't great. What?? No. He's gone to pick up extra milk and diapers. He will be back soon"

Still busy searching for stones for her castle…

"Yea. It was a pretty long drive, but completely worth it. This place is so beautiful. You will not believe it. The park, the house, we made a good call. No… no… don't worry maa… we are actually enjoying ourselves for change, you should see her face, we are gonna be in so much trouble when we try to leave. She's not got want to leave… Ha Ha Ha mom, I wasn't anything like this… Nooo.. Don't give me those memories, took me so long to forget them.. Hello… Hello… Let me call you back mom, the reception is not good in the park at all… bye.. Love you…"

After so many years and her mother still knew how to embarrass her and yet that brought a smile to her face.

As she turned back to the sandpit, her heart sank…

"Honey… honey… baby… where are you??"

Heartbeat now pacing… there was a thick knot is her stomach now. She was running around the park like crazy, looking at kids, corners and benches to spot her.

"Oh God No… God No…"

She could feel her heart pounding in her mouth now, her eyes streaming, without her even noticing. She just wanted her baby back… right now. Turning every small girl in the park, scanning, frantically searching.

"Did you see a little girl, this height, denim dungarees… she was in the sand pit a minute ago… she can barely walk!!"

Every rejection, breaking her heart even more.

"God no… no… no.. This can't be happening"

"Honey!!!!! Where are you??? Honey!!!" (screaming as loud as she could)

Panic had set in. She was running around the park like a mad woman, clearly not in her senses. Checking the road, the slides, the benches, the cars… her baby clearly not in sight anymore. Everyone at the park was starting to get scared. All parents getting a hold of their own kids, staring at her in fear and pity. Finally, some came forward to help her out. 

Her head was completely blank now, she could see the chaos, but could hear nothing. Her blurry eyes now still moving to every corner of the park… still searching… still praying. She didn't even know how she managed to get the phone unlocked and show them the picture of her baby… her little baby… where was she? was she OK? she hadn't even had enough food.. Her baby… where was she?

A lot of people had now joined in the search, checking houses, lawns, everything in the vicinity.


"I can't find her!... I just can't find her!"

"Hold on… What do you mean? What happened!?"

"She was in the pit.. She was here.. One call.. She was there I swear.. I tuned and she wasn't .. Just here a minute ago.. She was here.. I can't find her!"

She was now screaming and howling in the phone…

"I'm coming… coming right now.."

The police were already at the scene. Working with the locals, having made search parties to cover more area. He reached there, running like a man possessed, his eyes, searching for his family… his wife and his daughter. She held him tight as she cried… He was in tears too… standing there helpless as the police watched over…

Any hopes of a life thrust down a deep dark hole...

"We knew we would find you… It’s been 17 years now, but we never gave up… Not one day. You were the only thing we ever thought about… and we have finally found you…"

The father's gun now firmly pushing into his temple. He was on the ground, bleeding and scared.

"Not one minute you bastard!... We didn't stop.."

She was kneeling over him, knee pressing onto his chest, till he coughed and squealed. The vengeance clear in her eyes… a mother deprived of her child's entire life, a woman scorned; holding a picture of her daughter to his face…

"Remember her now??"

He could taste the blood in his mouth. But, the look on her face; the years of anger, the exhaustion, the wear and yet the eerie calm; a reminder of her constant pain. His wounds were nothing compared to the fear he felt of what was going through her head.

"Please.. Don't kill me… Please… Please!"

"Remember her!?"

She screamed, as he pushed his gun harder into his temple…

"Don't shoot! Please…. Yes… Yes… I remember her… I took her from the park that evening…"

"What did you do?? Is she alive? Is she? Answer me!!"

"Don't kill me.. No… don't…"

"Where is she!?"

"She's dead… I'm sorry... I can't help it... I'm sorry… Don't kill me!"

She pushed back… flashes of her baby in her eyes… the little girl in her arms when she was born… when she walked for the first time; the babbling and then the sandpit… 

He moved closer to the man on the floor…

"Why? What did we do to you?? Why did you take her???"

He was fuming… his face blood red… spit blowing around with every word... nerves is his face pumping hard

"Answer me…"

"It’s the voice in my head… I can't stop it!... It keeps telling me and doesn't stop till I do it! ... You don't know what it's like! ... I can't help it … Don't kill me.. Please!"

The weight, finally off their hearts… Their years of queries, and finally... some closure… He cocked the gun to shoot…


Not matter how hard he tried; he just couldn't… his finger was on the trigger, but, it just wouldn't move… He pulled back, his hands in his face…

"Thank you… Thank you…"

She moved to her husband and kissed him on his forehead as she hugged him. Slowly, she took the gun out of his hands…

The shot echoed through the lane; the birds flying away in the dark; as the lights in the neighboring houses came on… Everyone had heard it… They did not move from there… even as the police arrived. Just sat there crying in each other's arms, not saying a word. 

Sitting in the police car, handcuffed, he finally looked at his wife… after 17 years, they finally smiled…

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