Without a trace

“Then search parameters need to be widened!”

Teams were on foot scouring every neighborhood within a five-mile radius, flyers were distributed to law enforcement agencies in the entire region, and cable news teams were filming sound bites for their evening broadcasts. An Amber Alert went nationwide. The hunt for the missing toddler couldn’t get much wider.

It had been over 48 hours, and nothing. No traces found, no ransom demands made. She simply vanished. Time was running out, and all hope was fading.

He was among the first volunteers to help, knowing all along exactly where she was buried.

The 100 Word Challenge, a writing prompt created by Velvet Verbosity, takes a single theme to tell a story in only 100 words ~ no more, no less. This week’s theme is ‘Widened.’

23 Comments Add yours

  1. I’ve read that killers often show up at the crime scene or for the search. You’d think that the police would make it standard to look into everyone who shows up for these missing persons searches.

    This piece was definitely creepy. A nice work up to Halloween.


  2. fghart says:

    All of the comments say it already, but I’ll say it again – well done. You captured the raw creepiness of this all-too prevalent reality, when the perp pretends heroics.


  3. Lazidaisical says:

    Heartbreaking. Ugh. Horrible that this piece is often very real and isn’t simply a figment of your imagination.


  4. Stella says:

    Cool! Like the picture too. Now write the rest of the book!


  5. robinhawke says:

    That 48 hour window…too short.

    Hope someone notices something’s not right about this one.

    Enjoyed the writing if not the subject, Robin


  6. Carrie says:

    holy, creepy. What a horrible thought, that the perpetrator could be INVOLVED with the search.



  7. Like the beginning of a great book…I want to turn the page and read on!


  8. OMG chills. I loved it. Wishing there were more.



  9. Karla says:

    You managed to elicit such intense emotions within such a small space. Nicely done. A very sad tale of impending heartbreak, powerful writing indeed!


  10. Wu-oh.
    This is so…I dont know.
    You have painted a most distressing picture.
    Thank you for sharing this with us- I am in awe.


  11. Well done! Until I got to the end, I wasn’t sure if this was real or not! Great sense of urgency!


  12. Oh I have goosebumps even now. There are so many people who are so wrong, and … this happens way too often. It’s scary, and I worry about how fast our society has declined that this is so common now compared to a generation or two or three ago. Perfectly written. Brrrr!


  13. saintseester says:

    You write very well. It evokes very disturbing feelings.


  14. MaryD says:

    I know about all the recent cases but this made me think of killing as an intellectual exercise, like Leopold & Loeb.


  15. startraci says:

    Oh goodness! I wish they allowed you more than 100 words — I am intriqued. I want more! I want more! You are a terrific writer.



  16. Lou Lohman says:

    I found an old dresser once – drawers lined with newspaper. I read the paper – I was curious – it was the “Des Moines Register”, from 1947. Long story short? It read like it could have been written tomorrow.

    It’s always been there – we were so unaware.


  17. Heather says:

    this made me so very sad. i really didn’t see that coming!


  18. Elastamom says:

    Damn. Great writing because now I feel sad for that toddler!


  19. PattiKen says:

    This is a great write about a horrible fact of our lives. I keep wondering why it seems so much worse today than back in the day. Is it really worse, or is it that the media brings it out of the shadows and shines a bright light on it for all to see? I don’t know.

    But I live on a short street (maybe 15 houses long) that is a cul-de-sac. There can be no through traffic. Yet every afternoon, there are half a dozen neighborhood cars parked up at the opening waiting for the school bus so the kids (ranging in age from six to sixteen) won’t have to walk a few houses down the street to get home.

    Sad, but I understand.


  20. patois says:

    Oh, this is well written. You leave me feeling bereft, though.


  21. Lance says:

    When I first moved back to Georgia – 1993, after college there was a case like this. This evil redneck scumbag killed his little girl, led the search party for her, then the cops broke him a few days later. They found her like 10 minutes from where I live now. Horrible.

    Every parent’s worse thought is losing their child. I can’t imagine the evil it takes to deny it and make people think ….ugh…

    good writing, you made me emo…


    1. Tara R. says:

      There have been so many high profile cases of murdered children in Florida recently – Caylee Anthony, Jessica Lunsford, Rilya Wilson, Kaleigh Cummings – that this kind of horrific crime is never far from my mind.


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