Terror

I look down at my phone as I gather my things to go.  

2 Missed calls

Both from her school.  I race to the car, frantically pushing buttons to get to voicemail on the way.  A ten-second message.

“Hi, Mom.  Art Club got cancelled.  Could you either call Grandma or come get me.  I love you…bye.”

The shake in her voice as she holds on through those last four words turns my blood to ice; my heart races.  I look at the clock on the dash:

3:36 PM

I look at the time-stamp on the message:

3:06 PM

I’m already dialing the school.

“No, she’s not here.  Actually, I haven’t seen her.  Hang on and I’ll do an all-call.”

What would she have done? I frantically scroll through the possibilities, now that the image of her sitting in the office is shattered, the morning’s Amber Alert all too fresh in my mind.  She wouldn’t have tried to walk to Grandma’s, would she? Sat in the empty art room? Gone home with a…?

“I paged her, but no one is responding.”

You can’t tell me that in the thirty minutes since she called me, no one knows where she is!!!

“Wait, she’s in her classroom.  I’ll transfer you.”

Her teacher’s voice comes on the line.  I let out my breath.  Of course she is with her teacher.

“Yeah, she’s just down here playing math games.  Will you be here by 4?”

I look out the windshield for the first time since I left my school parking lot.  Yes.  Yes, I will be there by 4.  Thank you.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.


I’m participating in the ninth annual Slice of Life Story Challenge hosted slice of life challengeby Two Writing Teachers.  Thank you for your feedback in the comments below.  You are helping me to become a better writer and a better teacher of writers.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. bbutler627 says:

    This is terrifying. You went there right off the bat, to the mothers psyche. When they are missing for a second, it’s all doom and gasp, amber alerts. The pitch I get in my voice at these times is like an alien. I felt what you felt. Glad she was a smart girl and went back to class. Better to impose than most alternatives. 😊

    Like

  2. Clare says:

    My heart is still beating… I am so glad she ok. Your writing built such tension –I loved the craft (topic completely hit at my mother fears). Thank you for this powerful slice… with a happy ending!
    Clare

    Like

  3. Whoa! I just read two other slices that were funny and light, and now, I’ve got a mini-adrenaline rush!! 🙂 What an intense slice with a great ending (a slice I think we’ve all had some experience with!). Thank you for sharing!

    Like

  4. Lynn says:

    Not knowing if your child is safe or where he/she is, is most terrifying! I’m so glad she was safe and knew not to leave school! Breathe . . . breathe

    Like

  5. jhaworthoy says:

    Wow, I could feel your terror and I am sure the adrenaline was surging through your body. Glad it turned out okay, but having an Amber Alert in the morning is not very comforting.

    Like

  6. Liz McKenna says:

    I could feel my heart racing along with you! What a powerfully written Slice-I’m so glad she’s OK (and that she has a teacher who cares about her like that)!

    Like

  7. Lori Sheroan says:

    Your slice perfectly captured that heart-stopping experience. I am so glad everything turned out okay.

    Like

  8. vanessaw2007 says:

    I know that feeling..there’s nothing worse in the world. You nailed it in your slice… well done and glad she’s home safe.. I bet she got an extra hug!

    Like

  9. I like the back and forth style of this piece, how your racing heart is felt throughout, how relief washes over you, and the reader feels it too. Glad she was OK. Thanks for a really interesting piece.

    Like

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