LOST AND FOUND • by Patrick Perkins

Jessica returned to the kitchen just as her daughter placed the last egg into a bowl of purple dye. Rebecca sat back down in her chair and smiled. “All done,” she said proudly.

“I can’t wait to see them,” Jessica said. “Your first one should be done – let’s take a look.” Dipping the spoon into the bowl of blue dye, she retrieved the egg and placed it on the drying rack. The egg was a nice shade of turquoise except where Rebecca had drawn with her wax crayons.

“That’s very interesting,” Jessica said, leaning forward to look closely at the egg. “Is that you standing in front of our house?”

Rebecca looked at the egg and frowned. “I only drew the house, Mommy,” she said.

Jessica nodded, moving her head closer to the egg to get a better look. Unlike the simple line drawing of the house, the drawing of the little girl was very intricate and Jessica was able to clearly make out the girl’s facial features. She stood on the front steps, hands clasped in front of her, and had a very sombre expression. The girl was wearing a simple but old-fashioned dress.

“Can we check out the other eggs, Mommy?” Rebecca asked excitedly.

“Sure,” Jessica replied, staring uneasily at the egg. For a six-year-old girl who still believed in the Easter Bunny, mystery pictures appearing on Easter eggs was a neat surprise. To Jessica it was spooky as shit.

Jessica picked up the metal spoon and lifted the egg from the bowl with red dye. When the egg cleared the surface of the dye, she stifled a gasp. On one side of the egg was a simple drawing of a bunny; the rest of the egg was covered with an extremely detailed drawing of the upstairs of their house. The little girl was standing at the end of the hallway, just outside Rebecca’s bedroom door.

“That looks like upstairs,” Rebecca said, leaning forward for a closer look. “But different.”

Jessica nodded, staring at the egg. Although the image was small, the lines were so fine that she could make out every detail of the hallway. The baseboards were wider than the existing ones and there was a small table and mirror in the hallway that she didn’t recognize.

One by one Jessica retrieved the eggs from the bowls. Except for one that had no image at all, each egg displayed an intricate image of the same little girl in a different room of their house. In each picture, the little girl had the same sombre expression. The images reminded Jessica of old photographs in which nobody smiled.

Jessica shook her head slowly. She was seriously spooked.

“I want to go play,” Rebecca said, hopping down from her chair. The novelty of the mystery drawings was already fading for her and she was ready to move on.

“Okay, sweetie,” Jessica said absently as her daughter raced out of the kitchen. Moments later the sound of Rebecca’s footsteps heading up the stairway echoed throughout the house.

Jessica leaned back in her chair, unable to take her eyes away from the collection of eggs. The more she looked at them, the more details she could make out. Looking over at the only egg with no decorations, Jessica gasped. Fine lines were beginning to appear on the egg’s surface, slowly coalescing into an image of Rebecca’s bedroom.

Lines on the egg continued to emerge forming an image of the little girl sitting cross-legged on the floor of the upstairs bedroom. Unlike in the other images, the little girl was grinning and seemed happy. She was holding a doll and extending it towards another little girl. As the image continued to form, Jessica realized with horror that the second little girl in the image was a perfect likeness of Rebecca.

Suddenly there was a loud noise like rushing wind and Jessica jumped as Rebecca’s bedroom door slammed shut. Racing towards the staircase, Jessica heard her daughter scream once from inside her room and then the sound abruptly ended. Taking the stairs two at a time, Jessica called frantically for her daughter but there was no reply.

Reaching the end of the hallway Jessica screamed her daughter’s name and whipped open the door, but there was no sign of Rebecca. Heart racing, Jessica checked under the bed and in the closet but realized with mounting panic that her daughter was no longer in the bedroom.

As Jessica’s anguished cries echoed in the upstairs hallway, the image on the last egg continued to form and was far more detailed than the other images. Sunlight streamed through the bedroom window to illuminate a room filled with dolls and stuffed animals of all shapes and sizes. Hand-drawn pictures were pinned to the walls and board games littered the floor.

It was the room of a happy little girl.

A happy little girl who had finally found a friend.

During scenic drives through beautiful British Columbia, Patrick Perkins collects randoms thoughts which sometimes meet later on the page as short stories. He hopes that one day a short story will become ambitious enough to become a novel.

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