What the regular me thinks of is Mr. Jaworski, my math teacher, who always tells us, “Before you try to solve a problem, make sure you know what you’re looking for.” Well, that’s easy. I’m looking for Maddie, my seven-year-old sister. But it’s bigger than that. I’m looking for a seven-year-old girl who can’t answer—maybe even can’t make herself move—when I call her name.
“Come on, let’s get security, they can search this whole place,” Rio starts, and then trails off as I shake my head.
“No way, Rio. You know she won’t answer them. They’ll just scare her to death.” I want to bite back that last word as soon as I say it. I imagine how her face looks right now, wherever she is, and my stomach gives a small sick jolt.
Rio puts his hand on my back and nudges me toward the store’s exit. “Let’s move. We’re wasting time.” His voice is rising, and I realize we’re both balanced right on the outside edge of control. “Where’s the last place you remember seeing her?”
Good question. One problem: I have no idea. Okay, deep breath. We can do this. We can retrace our steps. We’ll find you, Maddie, I swear we’ll find you.
“I don’t know. I can’t even remember the last place we’ve been. Wait—the toy store, maybe? She wanted to look at the Legos, right?”