Donna Kelly gingerly inched a toe over the line and into the mist. Beside her on one side was her young sister, Marie and on the other side, as ever with camera in hand, her brother-in-law.
“Are you sure this was where it was, Tim?” she asked.
“As sure as I am of anything,” he replied.
“What exactly happened with Tommy?”
“I’m not absolutely certain, Donna.”
“Why not? You were with him. So were you, Marie.”
Marie looked a little sheepishly at her husband, then back at her sister. “We weren’t totally concentrating on Tommy.”
“In fairness, we’d only been married for a few weeks,” Tim offered, “We were more intent on each other.”
“So when you said you’d bring my boy along to free me up for the day…”
“There was a half-price entry offer for families yesterday. It was cheaper to have him with us than to pay for two adults. There’s no way they’d know Tommy wasn’t ours.”
“Except, dear sister, he was only three years younger than you and looked older from some angles!”
“We said he was my son,” Tim said, “and Marie’s stepson.”
“So you have no idea what happened?”
“No,” the two chorused.
“He could well have been abducted; sold into slavery; sex-trafficked; anything!”
“You’re jumping to conclusions a bit, Don,” Marie said, using the pet name that their parents used for her sister.
“Am I?” Donna said then, more loudly, “AM I? How long was he out of your sight for?”
“Eighteen hours now, give or take.”
“Don’t be flippant, Timothy Timothy!”
“Please don’t call me that. You know I don’t like it.”
“Why not? It is your name, isn’t it?”
“Yes, but I hate that my parents gave me the same first name as my last name.”
“Be that as it may. When you were here with Tommy yesterday, how much time elapsed between you seeing him approach this mist and you realising he was gone? EXACTLY!”
“I’d say no more than thirty seconds… maybe a minute, tops.”
“And did you hear anything?”
“Marie and I are newly-weds, Donna. There are moments when we’re oblivious to anything but each other.”
“Oblivious to the passage of time, too, by the sound of it.”
“No. Marie broke off after, like I said, about half a minute and screamed.”
“I’M ASKING MY SISTER!”
“I noticed he’d gone,” Marie mumbled.
“Speak up; I can’t hear you. Why did you break off whatever it is you were doing?”
“Don’t care. WHY?”
“I noticed that he was no longer there. I was kind of aware of him stepping over the grid and into the mist, then poof. Gone.”
“That’s a different story to the one you told me earlier.”
“We knew you’d be angry if you got the impression we weren’t taking our responsibility to your son seriously,” Tim said defiantly.
“It’s not an impression, Tim. More the recognition of a fact. Well. Only one way to find out.”
“What are you going to do?” Marie asked.
“I’m going to step over the grille and see what happens.”
“Okay, Donna. I’ve got you in frame. When you step over the line, I’ll record in ultra slo-mo. That way we’ll be able to see exactly what happens.”
Marie looked concerned. “Be careful, Don…” she said, “Donna? DONNA?”
This was written in response to Kreative Kue 328 published on this site.