Wallace was the one who found her. Every available officer and at least a dozen volunteers looking, but it was her best friend who had found her.
Not surprising, since Wallace is a Golden Retriever.
The girl’s father was growing impatient and just wanted his daughter found as quickly as possible. It had just started to pour rain when he showed up with Wallace. An April shower that only lasts about ten minutes, but is intense enough to saturate the earth, so of course we kept on with the search. There was no need to stop. The dad asked if he and Wallace could help. He needed to do something. Anything. I’m not a parent myself but I could sympathize, so I told him he could walk with me. He nodded gratefully and pulled from his back pocket a worn yellow Converse sneaker, size 6. “These are her favorite sneakers. She wears them all the time.” He held it to the dog’s nose and said, “okay, boy, help us find our girl.” Amazing how parents always hold out hope, at least until they know for certain that there is none. Me, I always go to the worst possible scenario. Occupational hazard, I suppose.
For the first few minutes, I asked him some routine questions, ones I knew had already been asked and answered. But I needed to fill the silence, and I had the feeling that maybe he did too.
We reached a dense area in the middle of the woods when the rain stopped just as suddenly as it had begun. Between the gaps in our voices, we could hear wind rustling the leaves, birds chirping, and the babbling water of a nearby creek. Wallace stopped, so we stopped. He barked once, then took off running in the direction of the creek, pulling his leash from his owner’s hand. The two of us looked at each other and without saying anything, took off after the dog.
The mud and sludge and wayward tree branches all conspired to slow us down, but when we finally reached the creek’s edge, a filthy Wallace was already there, waiting for us. He had the other yellow Converse in his mouth. “Stay here,” I told the dad. I picked up Wallace’s leash. “Take me to her, boy.”
As Wallace was leading me down the creek, the obvious question occurred to me. Why did she have only one yellow Converse? Either she was taken against her will or she left home on her own in a hurry. As her body came into view, it was clear to me that I would not be able to ask her.
This is a flash fiction story for April, with April showers being a focal point. So far, I’ve done well meeting my challenge of a flash fiction story for each month of this year! Only 8 more to go!