(I can't help joining in myself! Here is my vision of the Endless Hour photo. I'm also happy to announce that The Clarity of Night hit a milestone yesterday, it's 100,000th visit! The lucky person is J. Scott Ellis, Entry #15. He's earned himself a $10 Amazon Gift certificate in honor of occassion. Thank you everyone!)
by Jason Evans
"What's your name again?"
"How are you holding up?"
"Tell you what Derek. We've got this ridge covered. Can you swing down along the road? We don’t have many searchers there."
The guy's radio squawked, and Derek followed the pointing arm.
Up the mountainside, the treetops blushed red. Buds were splitting. In a slant of sunlight, pear blossoms flamed like bouquets of snow.
Three volunteers emerged from the old Raster cottage ahead. A ragged hole cratered the roof, and every window was broken.
"You think they'll find her?" one said.
"I hope so."
The tall man shook his head. "Look, kids don't wander off and disappear. Someone grabbed her."
Derek hung back. He didn't want to talk.
Poking the bushes, the group circled the cottage. Their calls faded.
Derek slipped through the doorway. Such a disaster inside. Piles of junk and twenty years of mold.
He sat in the shade and drew a deep breath.
A fly hummed by.
Strange how no one belonged here anymore. Except maybe someone lonely like him.
He blinked away his thoughts. Flies crept through the cracked paint under the sink. They slipped in and out of the cabinet. Way too many flies.
Bile seared his throat.
When he saw her on TV, he should've known he would never save her. Heroes find little girls, not dead bodies.
He slunk outside and shoved through the next wave of volunteers toward home.
Something else might be good on TV.