The year was 1986. She was five and happy. But she did not want to be six. There was something about six that scared her, put her on edge, made her think of grown up things like losing teeth and moving up to the next class with the mean teacher who didn’t allow her pupils to laugh during lessons.

So she came up with a plan to hide. She took her favourite toys (she was five, after all) and a little food and a carton of juice and crawled into the loft where no one ever went. There was nothing up there, no even old Christmas decorations, as her parents kept everything in the garage. It was cool and empty and really quite comfortable. She settled in to wait until she turned six.

After some minutes, her mother noticed she was missing. Minutes became hours and the police were called, and her father came home from work, his tie askew, his brow furrowed. Hours became days and months and, eventually, years, and although the terror, panic, guilt, and pure grief were always present, they dulled to a point where life could go on.

It was 2006 when she reappeared. If her parents had expected a twenty-five year old woman to knock on the door and say she was their long-lost daughter they were disappointed. If, however, they expected a twenty-five year old woman to climb down from the loft and ask whether she had missed her sixth birthday, it would seem that they would get their wish.

“You’ve been up there for twenty years?” the parents asked, staring at this stranger, their daughter. “Why didn’t you come down?”

“I didn’t know the date.”


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lisamarie20010 (joined over 13 years ago)

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fear guilt grief hide child Panic grow up loft relief


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