Chapter 1 : Prologue
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The police car pulled up at the scene of the crime. Officer Tom, the owner of the car, stepped out and looked around. The picture perfect house looked like the opposite of a crime scene. There was absolutely no sign of forced entry or blood, and the only eerie sight was the red light of the police car against the soft beige paint of the house.
Tom walked onto the freshly-mowed lawn and towards two officers talking to a concerned couple. The tall, slender lady on the right wore a white shirt and faded blue jeans. Her forehead was creased with worry behind her blonde bangs. The man, her husband, had his hand on her shoulder, and he too looked apprehensive.
One of the officers, Phil, turned to him. “Ah. Finally! You’re here at last. There are two people missing: April and Curtis Varis. There was no kidnapping. These two over here” -he gestured to the lady and her husband- “saw them just drive away four days ago. They never came back. We’ve searched their records, and they never made any plans for a vacation. Don’t worry, Tom. Nothing to do here but take their daughter to the orphanage.”
The lady bit her lip and closed her eyes for a long moment. “I won't believe it!” she cried, as she broke away from her husband’s grasp and stood in front of Phil. “I’ve known them for six years! They would never leave their daughter or their home!”
Phil shrugged and took a step to the side. “Things like this happen all the time. It’s not uncommon. Some parents just get disappointed or fed up with their kids and leave. I don’t know why, but they do.” He wrinkled his nose and was about to leave until he saw the couples’ horrified faces. Phil’s hard features softened a bit. “Sorry. This is just the drill. Don’t worry. The orphanage will take real good care of her. Speaking of which, Tom, I want you to take the daughter to her new home.” With that he walked to his car, tipping his hat to them before driving off.
The lady sighed and turned to Tom. “I’m Nancy, and this is Dave. Please, you have to trust me! April and Curtis were two of the most loving people in the world. They talked about little Chloris every free second they had. Everything they said was about how lovely she was. They would never, in a million years, leave her behind. I swear! There must be something you can do.” She looked at him pleadingly.
Tom huffed, pursing his lips. He hated things like this, “I’m sorry. I don’t think I can.” Hanging her head, Nancy nodded and bit her lip. He said his goodbyes and made his way over to Officer Stacy, the one holding Chloris.
“I suppose you’re the one taking her to the orphanage. I don’t get it. Why anybody would want to leave behind so much is beyond me. The parents’ records are squeaky clean and they seemed caring. I kinda agree with the neighbors. It doesn’t make much sense...I guess these things happen.” She gazed at Chloris before handing her over. “6 months old... can you imagine that?”
Tom cradled Chloris in his arms. He took one look at her and gasped. In the moonlight he could clearly make out her vibrant irises. One was aqua blue, and the other eye was emerald green. They looked at him with bright curiosity. Tom smiled at the baby and stroked the chestnut brown tufts of hair on her head. Chloris giggled softly. It was the type of giggle that made everybody who could hear it happy.
He instantly felt a strong sense of protection to the little baby. Who wouldn't? The girl had lost her family. He sighed and began walking to his car. His schedule and salary would not allow him to adopt Chloris. If he could, he would. Tom thought for a bit. "Maybe they had all been right," he thought. "Why would the parents leave her?"
After standing there for several minutes to ponder the question, he shook his head and placed the small baby in the car.
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