5 days. It had already been 5 days and we still had no idea what had happened to Chloe. It was as if she up and vanished, and it wasn’t from a lack of trying. We exhausted all possibilities at least twice and still found nothing. We were feeling the frustration, but no one more than me.
Deep down I felt so guilty, and with every passing hour the feeling only grew, causing questions of doubt to cloud my mind like a horrible storm. Why did I leave her there? What the berry was I thinking? If I had been there, then maybe this would have never happened…. I knew Jujube felt the same, she would have never admitted it to my face, but there was this glimmer of disappointment, ever so subtle, that if you blinked you might have missed it. At least thats how it felt to me.
The thought I was desperately trying to keep out of my head was slowly making its way in. It was possible that we might not ever see her again, and every time, my heart would sink into my stomach. My poor Chloe. I’m so sorry.
*Pant Pant* “Guys!! I found her!”
I almost threw the chair on its back as I pushed myself up to standing. Taffy had burst in the room, sounding more than excited about her good news, which in turn had me excited as well.
“You found Chloe?! Where is she?”
*Pant* “No. *Pant* “I found the old fortuneteller.”
Just as quickly as the excitement had rushed to my body, it was gone again. My expression fell flat and I literally wanted to choke her.
“Not this junk with your stupid fortuneteller again…Taff. Enough! We have more important things to worry about right now.”
“Buts its all true! She is magic and she can see the future and all kinds of other mystical thingys! Please Jordie, I think she could really help us! If anyone will know where Chloe is, it will be her. I just know it!”
“Taff is right Jord. We have tried everything we can. Maybe this woman could help us.
Unbelievable! They were both falling for this mumbo jumbo fortuneteller nonsense! Well I officially had no other choice. It was two against one and I was the odd man out.
“Fine. Lets go…Where are we going again?”
“To Twizzlerbrook swamp.”
“You sure this is the right way? We are out in the middle of nowhere.”
“Yes. It should be up here on our right very soon.”
“And can you tell me again, why I am in the front, when you are the one who knows the way?”
“Are you kidding! There could be scary monsters out there! I don’t want to get eaten!”
“But its OK if I do?”
“Its your job to protect us!”
When we did finally reach the house, both girls stared at me, motioning with their eyes for me to go ahead and knock. Of course leave it to the guy to knock on door of the freakishly dark house, in the middle of the eerie swamp, in the middle of the night. By that point it was obvious it was all up to me, even though I was the one who didn’t even want to go in the first place. Well we had already gone this far what was a few raps on a door right? I slowly made my way to the door and knocked three times.
A few moments later, a woman emerged from the door. My instant thought was, this is Taffy’s fortuneteller? She looked like a ordinary lady to me. She eyed all three of us over with out saying a word. When her eyes once again settled on me she finally spoke.
“I’m sorry but we are closed. Madame Müllerebe is not seeing anyone else this evening. You will have to come back tomorrow.”
She was about the slam the door, but I foolishly (and painfully) slid my foot in between it and the jam.
“Miss please. It is extremely important that we speak with her. Our friend has gone missing and we have tried everything to try and find her. Please?”
Again she fell silent. *Sigh* “Come inside. I will see what I can do…”
“Thank you so much! You are too kind.”
The woman motioned for us to take seat on the couch, and then she quickly vanished into the back room.
“See Taff its not so bad. Nice candle light, its actually pretty cozy in here.”
“Ya I guess so.”
Suddenly a little boy came stumbling out of the door just the opposite of the one, the woman had used. He clumsily made his way all the way over to Jujube and almost fell right into her lap.
“Hey cutie pie! Where did you come from?”
“Goodness you are just precious aren’t you?”
“Awwww well aren’t you a little flirt?”
“He is certainly not a flirt, and I would appreciate it if you would not put your hands on my child.”
The woman growled as she reentered the room. She hastily walked over to the small boy and scooped him up in her arms.
Jujube was mortified.
“I’m terribly sorry. I- well- I.”
“Whatever. You can go in now, but make it quick. We don’t normally see customers this late.”
“Thank you again.” I interjected trying to lighten the mood, unfortunately something that Jujube had said must have struck a nerve, because the woman never took her eyes off her, until we had all completely entered the back room.
The moment we stepped inside, it became very clear that there was something freaky about that room. Our clothing lit up like a glow bug, but our skin was incredibly dark. A an older woman suddenly appeared from the shadows. She seemed rather friendly, smiling brightly(literally).
“Welcome young ones. Please come in and take a seat.”
“You will have to excuse my granddaughter, she is a little over protective after I mistakenly revealed a little to much to her about my great grandsons future. A mistake I vow will never happen again.”
Gingerly, we all took a seat around the small table in the middle of the room.
“Now what is it you need help with my children?”
“We need help finding someone. A girl. She went missing, and it is of the utmost importance that we find her.”
“I see. What is this girls name?”
“Chloe?” She questioned gazing deeply into the crystal ball.”
“Hmmmm, my this is strange. I do not see this girl. Not even a flicker. Its as if she is not of this world.”
“Well thats the thing. She kinda isn’t.”
“She is lost, far from home, and that is why we need to find her so desperately. She must be so scared.”
“You care for this girl very deeply.”
“Hah! You can’t hide anything from old Müllerebe, boy. Tread softly though, a trampled heart, is a hard thing to mend.”
I felt my face flush bright red. Oh man…wait…what did that mean?
“I’m sorry but I do not see this Chloe child anywhere…I do however see a tiny girl. Yes. Its strange, every time I look for your Chloe, this young broken soul pops up in her place.”
“Young broken soul?”
“Oh my yes. She has seen a lot of hardships in her young life and sadly it has done a real number on her. Some thing tells me though, if you find this girl, you may find your Chloe.”
“Do you think it could possibly be…?”
Every night the same drill. Its my job to make sure she doesn’t try to do anything stupid, while he lets her out to eat. I really have no idea what the point is though. If she actually tried something, what the Berry would I do. She is like two times my size! I don’t argue though, I actually like this time. I get to sit and talk with someone who doesn’t condescend me every time opened my mouth.
“How is the soup.”
“Same as every night.”
There was something about this night though. Chloe was getting close to the end of her rope. That moment when all hope is lost and anger and desperation set in. I still didn’t get why even we needed her. She didn’t have the answers he was looking for.
“Is there a reason you feel the need to talk to me?”
“Look! D-don’t snap at me! I am your superior and in one snap of my fingers, I can have my dad down here locking you back up again.”
Then she did something I wasn’t prepared for. She started crying, and not just soft weeping. Huge sobs. I didn’t know what to do. I was never allowed to cry and the only other person I had ever seen cry was that Muffin girl on the playground at school, when she fell off the monkey bars. I just stared at her, this strange feeling started to take over my body.
“Please! I”M BEGGING YOU! Please help me. *SOB SOB SOB* “I just wanna go home!! I just wanna go home…”
I was so lost. What was I supposed to do?