Even the house itself now seemed lonely and depressed. What had seemed just yesterday as busy and homey and full of life now seemed desolate and drab. Colorful yellow and blue curtains hung mockingly over the kitchen sink looking out to the morning sun that rose so slowly as to seem to dread casting it's light on the situation. A few unwashed dishes sat uncharacteristically in the sink not unlike the middle-aged woman sitting at the table. Every light was on and the coffee in the pot was cold.
The woman had cried away whatever makeup she had been wearing and her cotton dress was wrinkled and as tired-looking as she was. The table wore a slightly stained white table cloth, held a three-quarters full coffee mug and supported the elbows of a mother who terribly missed her little girl. She had not heard anything about Marilyn in several hours and had gone from concerned to panic to nearly paralyzed in the meantime. Every horror than can be imagined had scorched across her mind in unrelenting succession as she watched the phone and the door through the night every moment hoping it would be the last she would go without seeing Marilyn's smiling face. The minutes dragged on as she remembered the last words she had said to her daughter and regret kicked at her heart while it was down.
The phone had not completed ringing the first time when she grabbed the receiver and barked "Hello!", more of a command to start talking than a greeting. Officer Blunt had gotten only a few more hours sleep than the sleepless mother but his calm voice was exactly what she needed to hear. He had seen "Brother Thundermuffin" at the coffee shop early this morning and the old farmer had told the officer about seeing a young girl and a dog on his property.
"Kids these days..." he muttered. "We didn't do stuff like that in my day! We had respect for other people's property when I was young. That's what's wrong this world. No respect for other people...blah, blah, blah".
Blunt skipped the details of the old man's conversation when he talked to the mother but assured her he was heading over to the man's house right now and implored her to stay right where she was and wait for his call. He would call as soon as he found her but it would be best for her to wait at the house in case Marilyn came home on her own. The news, although less than stellar, was as welcome as a deep breath after being under water. The mother silently mouthed a prayer and tried unsuccessfully not to cry again.