How Sweet the Sound

By: Evelyn Dar



PROLOGUE

Kat wrapped her arms around herself and tried not to cry. Her mommy had told her over and over again not to wander off, but she hadn’t realized how big the park was. All she wanted to do was pet the ducky. She followed the little duck for as long as she could, but when it scampered into the woods and disappeared, she knew she’d made a big ‘boo boo.’

She rubbed her eyes and looked around. The once cheerful place seemed so dark and scary to her now. The red maple trees she’d always loved, swayed in the wind like creepy, glowing blobs. And the empty playground reminded her of a scary movie about a bad man with knives on his hands.

A whimper.

“M-mommy?”

She froze. What if it was the bad man from the movie? Kat shut her eyes and shouted, “I’m not scared of you! You’re not real!” She opened them. No bad man.

She walked to the edge of the playground and cocked her head to the side. The whimpering was coming from under the slide. Kat wasn’t sure, but she didn’t think monsters could fit under slides. She tiptoed closer but her legs stayed taut, ready to run if necessary. She dropped to her knees and peeked underneath. Watery blue eyes stared back.

“Are you lost too?” Kat asked.

The little girl stopped crying and quickly scooted from under the slide. She looked at Kat with wide eyes and turned in the opposite direction.

“Don’t go,” Kat said. She plopped on the ground, wrapped her arms around her knees and began to cry.

The girl slowly approached Kat and stopped a few shy. “Were you hiding from your mommy too?”

Kat shook her head and wiped her nose with her sleeve. “I was trying to pet the ducky and I got lost. I want my mommy.”

The girl sat next to her. “It’s okay. I’ll stay with you until she comes.”

Kat rubbed the tears from her eyes and studied the girl. Her patchy blue dress was covered in dirt, as was her blonde hair. At least Kat thought it was blonde. The girl’s shoes were two different colors and Kat wondered if her mommy would let her have different colored shoes too.

“What’s your name?” Kat asked.

“Sienna,” the girl said.

“My name’s Kat.”

Sienna giggled. “That’s a funny name.”

Kat smiled in spite of her tears. “My big name is Katherine but I don’t like it, so I made my mommy call me Kat.”

“I wish I could make my name different like that.”

Kat furrowed her brow for a few seconds then smiled. “Si Si! It can mean Sienna. Do you like it?”

Sienna nodded.

“Why were you crying if you’re not lost, Si Si?”

Sienna’s smile disappeared, and she spoke in a whisper. “I was hiding from my mommy.”

“Were you playing hide and seek?”

Sienna shook her head.

“Then why were you hiding?”

“Cause sometimes when mommy drinks, she’s mean to me.” Sienna shrugged. “So, I hide.”

Kat scrunched her forehead. She had never hidden from her mommy on purpose before.

“Kat! Thank God!”

Kat turned around with her arms fully outstretched. “Mommy!”

Kat’s mother scooped her up. After a few minutes of hugging and crying, she put Kat down.

“Young lady, I’m very upset with you right now. I had no idea where you were. Honey, I was so scared.”

“I’m sorry mommy. I won’t ever run off again. I promise.” Kat hiccuped and glanced at Sienna. “I was scared too, mommy. Then I found Si Si and I wasn’t scared anymore.”

Kat’s mother squatted until she was eye level with Sienna. “Hi sweetie, I’m Laurie, Kat’s mommy.”

Sienna’s glanced at Kat.

“It’s okay, Si Si. It’s just my mommy,” Kat said.

Laurie smiled. “Is that your real name or did my daughter give you a nickname too?”

“Sienna,” she said softly.

“That’s a beautiful name, sweetheart.”

Kat huffed. “Mommy, it’s Si Si. She likes it.”

Laurie laughed. “Okay, Si Si it is. Are you here with your mommy?”

Sienna shook her head.

Laurie checked her watch. “Damn, it’s almost six.”

“Mommy,” Kat said.