I'm sort of in the process of just working on what is speaking to me at a particular moment. That's very common for me right now. --Bruce Springsteen, January 9th, 2014

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

"Safe And Sound"

Blogging Friends.... Now, this was quite an interesting fictional book to write!! See. I wrote the original version around age 18 years old with a pencil and blank white sheets of paper. But then I mislocated it!! Whoops. As I wrote this version, I was blown away about how many details that I remembered!! Which, naturally, I felt compelled to change!! Writing this version of it, oddly, felt as though I was making a Hollywood film that was based on an author's memoir. I kept its original story, but I also added emotions, twain characters, details which were otherwise vague, and I changed everybody's names!! Love you later.

Sorry for posting this one day late. I promise. This posting my books one day late will not become a bad habit!!

Note. For parents who read my fictional stories to their kids. This is not a children's book!! Why? Because its subject, as you will soon learn, isn't, in any way, shape, or form, age-appropriate.

"Creating beautiful mosaic artwork" with the broken, shattered pieces of my lifelong dream to be an author....

"Safe And Sound"

Bradbury was in close proximity to his milk chocolate-skinned black-haired brown-eyed five-year old niece, Helenore. When he was not preoccupied with serving as a policeman, Uncle Bradbury would relax while watching Disney movies like Cinderella, Toy Story, or Frozen alongside her. This has come to be expected!! Nearly every evening, as soon as Bradbury's shift ends, he drives toward the home of his sister, Lauralie, a single Mom, happily greets Helenore, and microwaves some salty buttery popcorn. Then their "movie night" begins!! Uncle Bradbury even has every single word of "Let It Go" memorized!!

"Okay," Bradbury always says, "The popcorn is ready!! What are we watching tonight?"

And, being Uncle Bradbury's Little Princess, Helenore always picks out the movie!! He would do anything for that little girl. Anything.

But one dark gloomy rainy night, Helenore mysteriously and silently disappeared from her home. She had been kidnapped. Helenore did not kick and scream in protest. There was no ransom note left behind. She was gone. Gone. When Lauralie walked into Helenore's pink-painted room the following morning, she saw her little girl's empty bed. Then there was screaming, grief-stricken sobbing, panic, adrenaline-producing anxiety, and heartbreak that can only come from a loving Mother.

"Oh my gosh!!" Lauralie wailed, "Helenore? Where are you?! Helenore!! Oh.... My.... Gosh.... Helenore!!"

Being a policeman's sister can teach you some things. She knew full well that time was the essence. So Lauralie immediately composed herself. Because she had to. Lauralie wiped away fresh wet tears from her cheeks and called the police. Strong emotions set aside, all she wanted, of course, was to find Helenore. Safe and sound. Wherever she may be. Bradbury was on duty when his police department received word that Helenore had been kidnapped.

"We have a report on a house break-in and a missing children's case," said Harrison, "The address is 7777 S.E. Schilling Street. She's female. Age five. She's 50 pounds, and 40 inches tall. This little girl is an African-American. Her name's Helenore."

Her name's Helenore. Upon hearing those very words, Bradbury's heart literally stopped for several rapid seconds within his chest. Then it skipped a few times. Finally, Bradbury's heart raced, as panic and worry soared freely through his mind. He looked at Helenore's "Missing" file photograph. Her milk chocolate-skinned black-haired brown-eyed angelic face smiled happily back at him. Like she did not have a care in the world. Bradbury fought back tears. He then felt his heart shatter into a billion tiny pieces.

"Oh my word...." exclaimed Bradbury, "No, not Helenore!! She's my niece!! Helenore is a missing children's case?! Helenore?! How can this be?!"

But Bradbury immediately composed himself. Because he had to. He had to. Strong emotions set aside, all Bradbury wanted, of course, was to find Helenore. Safe and sound. Wherever she may be.

Helenore's kidnapping case was quickly underway. And feeling determined now, Bradbury, of all people, would be chosen to move this investigation forward. Local news stations everywhere covered the kidnapping case, keeping audiences at home frequently updated. Which Lauralie watched religiously, alongside her best friend, Emma, as fresh wet tears constantly streamed down both their faces. But frustratingly, there were many questions left unanswered. Only mere suspicions. A few clues and very little evidence. No kidnappers were arrested. And there was absolute zero traces of Helenore. This left Bradbury feeling somewhat discouraged.

"I do not understand," he began, "Usually in missing children's cases, there are at least a few more questions answered. I mean, clues and evidence contribute to that process!! I just do not understand. Where are you, Helenore?"

"I agree, it does seem strange," said Bradbury's partner, Carter.

"But we will find Helenore," said Bradbury. Strong determination was in his voice. "We will. Because I have to."

But Carter just stood there, a doubtful expression written on his face. He did not say anything, though, for Bradbury's sake. See, time was swiftly passing everybody by. Days had turned into weeks. Search and rescue workers repeatedly looked at the few suspected locations, but made no new discoveries. {This of course included Lauralie's loving home, because they had to rule everything out.} Sadly, it was looking less and less likely that Helenore would be found at all, much less alive. As a matter of fact. The time had come to quit on this investigation. Forever. Which everybody, except the eternally optimistic Bradbury, had come to believe.

"You know," Harrison told Carter, "Somebody has to tell Bradbury the truth. Every day we lose more and more hope for positive outcomes in this missing children's case. Somebody has to tell Bradbury."

"I know, I know," Carter, who is sensitive, replied, "But how?! Helenore's his niece, dude!! To him this is not just any 'missing children's case'. It's very, very, very personal. I could not tell him!!"

Harrison, ever arrogant, who outranks both Bradbury and Carter, just rolled his eyes.

"Okay, okay!!" he finally decided, "I will tell Bradbury. Carter? You have just given a brand new definition to the term 'cop out'!!"

And that was exactly what Harrison did. Being forthright as usual, he told Bradbury the truth.

"She has been a missing child long enough," Harrison began, "Everybody is finished looking for her. Police. Search and rescue workers. Their canines, even. She will no longer be covered on local news stations. It is time to give up!! She's not coming back, Bradbury. And chances are grim that Helenore is dead. You need to let it go!!"

"No!!" protested Bradbury, "I cannot 'let it go'!! She is my niece!! She's my sister's little girl!! It is because of Helenore that I have the lyrics to 'Let It Go' from Frozen memorized!! And face it. How many police officers can say that?! She is not dead!! And we are going to find her!!"

Harrison, never a man of patience, was at this point becoming exasperated with his partner.

"Bradbury, listen to yourself!!" he shouted, "You are obsessed!! Obsessed, I say!! Does this specific missing children's case only mean so much to you because Helenore is your niece?! Really?! Would you be this stubborn and pigheaded if she were somebody else's kid? Huh?! You cannot allow your personal life to collide with your police career!!"

"Every missing children's case is important!!" Bradbury snapped, "They are not just photographs on flyers!! They're kids!! And mark my word, Harrison. I am going to find Helenore!! I am!! Safe and sound!!"

So Bradbury took a leave of absence from the police department. And he set off on an isolated adventure to find his niece. Bradbury researched. He observed everything. Bradbury looked for evidence. He drove from place to place and showed strangers Helenore's photograph. Bradbury asked people if they have seen her. He did whatever it took when others quit on the investigation. Whatever it took.

Because. Bradbury knew very well that inside Lauralie's home, she was grieving the loss of her little girl. And wrestling with so many unknowns. For Helenore was missing. Missing. And, sans a body, Lauralie had no idea where she even was. There would not be any closure to all of her strong emotions. Ever. And the kidnappers were still on the loose. Whoever they might be. Bradbury knew very well that Lauralie's best friend, Emma, a single woman, had moved in with her so that she can feel safe and comforted. Permanently. Bradbury knew very well that his sister had been fired from her job because she could no longer focus.

"Oh, Emma," wept Lauralie, "Will Helenore ever be found alive? It has been so long since her disappearance!! What if, body or no body, she is gone for the rest of my life? Oh, I could not deal with that!!"

"There, there," consoled Emma, "Helenore is absolutely fine!! I can feel it deep within my heart and soul!! Don't lose hope. Not now or ever!!"

Just then, the front doorbell rang. Lauralie jumped. Emma stood up from the red couch where she was sitting with her best friend and opened their door. Then she squealed with delight!! Because on the other side of that door was Bradbury!! Standing side-by-side with Helenore!! She was alive, well, and grinning her killer smile!!

"Lauralie!!" Emma happily screamed, "It's.... It's.... It's.... It's Helenore!! And Bradbury!! He has brought her home!! Safe and sound!!"

"Wait. What?!" exclaimed Lauralie, "Helenore!! My baby!! Come here and hug your Mommy!!"

As Helenore ran toward her Mom's warm embrace, Lauralie mouthed "Thank-you so much!!" to Bradbury.

All's well that ends well!! Bradbury put his police officer skills to work and arrested the kidnapper!! It was a "family" affair, this missing children's case. In more ways than one. See, the kidnapper was Lauralie's estranged ex-husband and Helenore's father, Cain. Which nobody ever saw coming. As resulted, Cain was sentenced to prison then written a restraining order against his ex-wife and daughter!! After several job searches, Lauralie found work again!! And that very evening, Uncle Bradbury microwaved some salty buttery popcorn, participated in "movie night", then watched Mulan with Helenore!!