The Scare



I heard the muffled, half-crying call followed by something about wanting to go see Grandma and Uncle Larry.

Muffin’s awake I thought to myself as I turned over in bed attempting to wake myself up and gear myself up for the morning. I heard footsteps on the hardwood floors and waited for Charlie to appear in my room, but only Friday showed up and hopped on my bed to shower me with morning canine kisses. I waited a few more minutes.

Hmmm, Charlie must have thought I was already downstairs.

After a few stretches, I headed downstairs to begin the morning ritual of getting Charlie fed and dressed and off to pre-school. It was eerily quiet. I quickly scanned the living room and then the kitchen. I checked under the kitchen table (as sometimes she likes to hide on me down there during breakfast) but there was no sign of her.

That’s strange– maybe she didn’t come down here. “Charlie?” I hollered as I climbed the stairs again. I checked her bed. Empty. I checked my bed. Nope.

“CHARLIE?! Charlie, where are you, Honey?”

I thought I heard another faint muffled “Mommy” but I couldn’t tell where it was coming from.

I went back downstairs and checked the porch. Then down another flight of stairs to the basement. Still no sign.

Okay, Kelly, don’t panic. She’s got to be here somewhere. I reminded myself that she does not always answer when I call and thinks it’s funny to play hide and seek.

I got to her room upstairs again and pulled up bed covers. I checked under the bed. I checked the closet. I checked the toy box.

“CHARLIE!?!?” I hollered louder. “Please answer Mommy!”

I moved to my room and checked covers and more closets. She wasn’t there. She wasn’t in the office room. She wasn’t in the bathroom.

Back downstairs. “CHARLIE? CHARLIE! WHERE ARE YOU!? ” I yelled louder as once again I checked the living room and kitchen. I checked the downstairs bathroom. Still nothing. My heart began to race. Then I began to race. Three floors. Up, down, up down.

“CHARLIE?” I screamed, the panic now evident in my voice. “CHARLIE!?”

She had called for me only a few minutes before I started to look for her. Where could she have gone?

I checked every room again.

Could someone have gotten to her? No, of course not. The dog would have barked. I would have heard…wouldn’t I? What if those weren’t her footsteps I heard?


She can’t get out the doors by herself. I checked the deadbolts. Still locked.

Maybe she’s caught somewhere and can’t get out. Maybe she’s hurt. Someone couldn’t have taken her, could they? Newscasts featuring my missing child began to play in mind…“A strange disappearance today…”

I checked all the windows. Still shut and locked.


I was in full panic mode. I had been searching for what seemed like an eternity but was probably about ten minutes.


I ran through every room again. “CHARLIE!?”

I finally ran to my cell phone and called Greg barely able to catch my breath.


“I can’t find Charlie!” I screamed into the phone.

“Where are you?”


I relayed the story while my heart pounded.

“Okay. Calm down. Let’s take it one room at a time.” He started to rattle off places to check.¬†“…behind the couch.”

“There’s no room for her behind the couch. Oh wait…” I ran to the love seat that¬†sits angled in a corner in our living room.

And there, curled up in a ball on the hardwood floor behind the love seat, was a sleeping Charlie.

“I found her!” I told Greg where she was and I apologized an hung up as I grabbed my daughter and held her close.

My heart was still racing. “Didn’t you hear Mommy calling for you?” She looked up at me half asleep and shook her head no. “I was looking all over for you. Oh honey! I love you!” I hugged her again. “You had Mommy so scared!”

She looked up at me both puzzled and concerned. “Don’t be scared, Mommy,” she said.

She hugged me back and then she added what I tell her every time I drop her off at school:

“You know I always come back for you.”

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Kelly Stevens


  1. Irene Landon says:

    One day, when your sister, Kristen, was about 11 mo – I couldn’t find her in our small 5 rm. apartments. My blood turned to ice water and I thought she had been “spirited” away. But, after all, how far can a barely walking 11 mo old go. It did nothing to assuage my panic however. Then, in the kitchen, slowly opened one of those metal cabinets and there stood my baby with a big, guess I put one over on you, smile on her face!

    The panic you feels literally takes your breath away!

    The last line brought tears to my eyes.


    Kelly Reply:

    I remember this story, Mom, as you’ve told it on a few occasions. Guess that proves that kind of fear sure is something that sticks with you!


  2. LeeWee says:

    Yup. Several years of life gone by. I would’ve freaked. Glad all is okay. Not really sure what I would do if anything happened to Charlie or you. :(


  3. Helene says:

    Oh Kell, you reminded me of the TERROR I felt when we first moved to Thousand Oaks from New York. JJ was 2 years old. He was OUTSIDE and I lost him, right by our house. I KNEW he had been there a minute before. I was in a strange neighborhood, on a strange lawn in a strange state, surrounded by STRANGERS. He was hiding by the fence, throwing toys under the fence into the pool next door. I REMEMBER THE PANIC…. you’ll never ever EVER forget that feeling. Trust me, when Charlie’s in her twenties and out on her own, someone will relay a similar story and it will all come flooding back. Happy Endings!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. Silver says:

    Hey you! Thanks for stopping by! Well written post. Even though I just *knew* it was going to turn out fine, you had the terror mounting over here. egads, kids are nuts. Gonna miss the BlogHer scene this year but if you’re in Virginia Beach ever, let me know.


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