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Hide and Seek: Chapter 11

Bracha Rosman

Standing between the Renards and two strange men, wrapped in a pink frilly blanket, was the most adorable little girl Idy had ever seen

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

T wo-and-a-half-year-old Lulu slept wrapped in her warm pink blanket on the backseat of the automobile. She hadn’t felt the man lift her out of her bed or pass her to his accomplice through the open window. She had stirred outside in the rain, but the blanket was swaddled more snuggly around her, and the trusting little girl had simply fallen back asleep.

“We’ve got about an hour’s drive to that onion farm,” the driver said to his partner. “It’s the perfect hideout for the kid. It’s even more secluded now than it was years ago.”

“Maybe the kid will sleep until we get there,” his accomplice said. “That would be a miracle.” The driver grasped the steering wheel tighter in his gloved hands. “Crying kids get on my nerves.” The men laughed as the car drove through the dark, wet streets. %XseparatorX% Idy slept on Jacob’s mattress again. It somehow made her feel closer to him. Having his blanket, together with her own, warmed her a bit, and she fell into a deep sleep and dreamed. Jacob sat across from her, a puzzled look on his face. “Idy, what’s that sound? Sounds like a horn.” Idy strained her ears. “You’re right.” She ran to the window, but couldn’t see anything. The blaring of the horn gradually penetrated her slumber, and her eyes slowly opened. All was quiet. She lay listening for a few moments to the rain, then closed her eyes again. A sudden bang from downstairs made her eyes spring open. Idy heard a pitiful cry from below. “Mama!”

Idy thought her mind was playing games. The cry grew more intense. “Mama!” Idy shot up from her mattress, and ran to the ladder.

There were several people talking, and amid the commotion, the cries of what sounded like a young child.

Without a moment’s thought, Idy climbed down.

“Idy!” Mr. Renard shouted.

Standing between the Renards and two strange men, wrapped in a pink frilly blanket, was the most adorable little girl Idy had ever seen. The scene seemed familiar, but Idy couldn’t evoke its source.

The distraught child put her hands out toward Idy, and Idy ran to her and scooped her up into her arms.

“Shh,” she soothed, stroking the trembling little girl’s soft, damp curls. One of the men eyed Idy.

“Don’t worry,” Mr. Renard said. “She won’t talk. I can swear to that.” The man pulled out a sack from under his raincoat and dropped it on the kitchen table. “The money’s all there.”

Mr. Renard grabbed the sack and peered inside. “It certainly is.” He stuffed the sack in his jacket.

“I’ll let you gentlemen out.” He went outside to the gate through the heavy downpour, and unlocked the heavy wooden doors.

The men climbed into the car and drove out into the darkness. The gate was bolted quickly behind them.

Mrs. Renard shook her head. “He shouldn’t have let her come.”

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