She got lost. I let her get lost. I lost her.
Bottom line: She's gone.
We hadn't seen Chloe Saunders for two months. We spent every day looking for her. After one month, we kind of lost hope. Not that I give up. I go out every night. I search for her, calling her name, hoping she'll respond.
That's become a fantasy now.
I dream about it. A lot. She haunts me, like her ghosts haunted her. Everywhere I look, I see a petite strawberry-blond. I get ecstatic. I chase after her. The small girl turns around and my whole world collapses onto me. Again. It wasn't her. It was a scowling woman looking at me in distaste. Not her big blue innocent eyes, and her cheerful smile.
I miss her.
The day we lost Chloe, we were meeting a colleague of Dad's. One we could more or less trust. We turned around for a second, and when we looked back, she was gone. Just like that. There wasn't a huge flooding of kidnappers, evil scientists, whatever. She just sort of vanished into thin air.
That was the worst day of my whole life.
So now, at the moment, I was staring forlornly out the window while Simon and Tori quietly fought over the last piece of ham. Everyone had gotten quieter once Chloe disappeared. Or, maybe it was the absence of her atmosphere was quite devastating. Sometimes I tried to be upbeat and all, for the sake of my family, but it didn't work.
They knew, even Lauren knew, that her disappearance hit me the hardest, and two months after, I was still beating myself up about that.
I was the one with the heightened senses, I was the one with the fast reflexes, I was the one who took care of her the most. Everyone trusted me to keep the smallest member of our group safe, and I failed them. I failed everyone. I failed myself.
But most importantly, I failed Chloe.