It had been three days since she had been sent to stay at a family friend’s home; she had not being allowed to contact her parents and her sister’s number was still unavailable, she might still technically be a kid but Isabella knew something was not right.
The other day, Mrs. Dike had come home looking distraught and when she had asked what was wrong, the woman said it was nothing, several times she had walked in on Mr. and Mrs. Dike talking in low tones and as soon as she came in they stopped talking.
Then one evening, Chi-Chi; the second of the three kids, who was also her classmate, walked up to her after dinner in a conspirators manner, her eyes beaming with excitement.
“I overheard mom and dad saying that your dad had a heart attack and that your sister Rebecca has been kidnapped, which explains why you have been unable to reach her.”
Isabella did not want to believe that and immediately went downstairs to confront the Dikes. They did not answer her, neither did they deny it, all they wanted to know was who gave her the information and when she named Chi-Chi, Mrs. Dike disappeared upstairs and a couple of seconds later, she could hear the sound of cane connecting with flesh and the guttural screams it elicited. She was ushered off to the room she shared with Chi-Chi moments later, her question unanswered.
Chi-Chi was still heaving in a heap on the bed when she got in, she climbed into the bed beside her, facing the wall. Then as if on queue, a torrent of tears started its descent down her face, soaking the pillow, she felt so alone and rejected, she was not a child anymore and deserved to be treated like an adult.
She crept out of bed, having decided to go back home, she would call an Uber and minutes she would be home, she had some money on her and it ought to be enough. She stuffed some cloths into her backpack, checked to see that Chi-Chi was fast asleep and walked almost soundlessly to the door. Just as she was about to open the door, it pushed open.