One second she was there, and the next she was gone. And no one believed her.
They were playing chase in the upstairs hallway. It was a Tuesday morning and they were both in their pajamas. Alice’s were the one-piece kind with feet that zipped up the front, pink with white polka dots.
Karen would catch her and tickle her and then let her run ahead again. Alice’s adorable curls bounced as she ran ahead of her mother, and she was laughing so hard her pacifier kept sliding out of her mouth and hitting the floor.
Karen was scooping Alice’s “bink” off of the carpet just as Alice, still giggling happily, disappeared around the corner, heading for the stairs.
“Baby girl,” she called, catching her breath. “I’m gonna get you!” And she jumped out from behind the corner, hands out in front of her ready to tickle Alice’s sides. Alice wasn’t there, but a bedroom door was ajar.
“Baby girl, are you in there?”
But Alice wasn’t in the bedroom, and she wasn’t anywhere in the house; she was never anywhere again.