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As I entered and looked around, everything looked very different. The walls that once shone a light white with the warm summer sun shining over them were gone. As I looked across the huge wheat field out of  what had once been our picture window, I realized this place, our place  was all gone. It had been my childhood Texas home, now it was just ashes. When I got the call at my home in Pennsylvania, the authorities thought that maybe it  had burned down from the lack of water and too much heat, but the real mystery was, where were my parents?

“Mama, Daddy where are you?” I screamed.

I had been worried about them, since the last time I had visited nearly three years ago.  My daddy can barely remember, that I’m a grown woman, and mama, on the other hand, relies on daddy to help her remember anything, since she has Alzheimer's.  Together they don’t make a very good team for remembering.

I went outside to search for clues. Daddy was always out working in his workshop, and most the time mama would go with him, just to nag him about anything she could, but really just to spend time with him. Once I arrived at the workshop it looked liked it did, when I last saw it, but without daddy and mama.

As I was standing there, sirens from far away filled the silence. I started shouting again for my parents, but I couldn’t even hear myself over the sirens. They were getting closer and closer. I started to panic, and for some reason I could only think of the worst circumstances on what happened to my parents. Finally I was able to pull myself back together. I went back into the house to think about how I was going to find them. The sirens kept getting louder, and then I heard them pull into the driveway. There was a knock at the door, and I heard shouting outside.

“Open up! It’s the police. I need to speak to Ella,” shouted one of the police officers.

I ran to the door, hoping they had found my parents, but once the door was opened, I knew it wasn’t good news.

“Hello I’m Officer Smith.”

He asked me if I was Ella and if I knew where my parents were. After a few minutes of questioning me, he asked me to come with them.

“Um where are you taking me.” I asked, but he didn’t answer.  He just led me to his car and we drove off. That was the last thing I remembered.

When I woke up I was all alone, and it was blazing hot outside. My skin was sunburned, and it stung to even the lightest touch. I got up, and it felt like I had just sat in a fire. Everything was blurry.  It seemed like I was in a desert of some sort.  It was so hot and all I could see was sand and prairie bushes for miles and miles.  I had a terrible feeling that I wasn’t going to make it out alive. I was soaked with sweat, I was beyond thirsty, I was in real trouble. Again, I passed out.

When I awoke a little later, I was in the hospital. I was hooked up to an IV and the doctor told me that if someone hadn’t found me, I would’ve died. When I asked them what had happened, they said I had a major heat stroke. Some damage was done to my brain, and it would take months to recover. They speculated I had gotten lost in the desert, trying to find my parents.

Then all of a sudden, I remembered the police officers bring me to that terrible place.

“Wait, it was two men that brought me to that desert! Are they in jail?” I asked

“What men?” exclaimed the doctor

“The men who claimed they were police officers. They took me from my parent’s home and  then just left me there,” I said

“Well, unfortunately this heat stroke did quite a bit of damage to your brain and caused you to hallucinate.” the doctor said.

At first I believed him, but then I remembered their names, what kind of car they drove, and I even remembered what they looked like. It was a pretty wild story, and I knew no one was going to believe me.

“You are ready to go home and we will get someone to help you. I do hope you will find your parents.” said the doctor

An older gentleman, who seemed familiar,  came with a wheelchair, and they lifted me into it and brought me home.  When we got there, the man asked me if I had any idea where my parents could have gone or how their home had caught on fire. I explained to him that most likely my parents had accidentally started the fire and wandered off, since they both suffered from dementia. I told him I was really worried, that they were lost and scared. He offered to help me search.

We searched the rest of the day for them, calling their names, while we drove down the road.  As night fell, the man said, we should stop for the night.  Suddenly there was something in his voice, in his profile, that made me look over at him and take a good look.  I realized with a shock, it was Officer Smith! My memory was returning.

I told him, I knew who he was, and I asked him why he had left me to die and why was he helping now. He kept silent.  He wouldn't tell me where we were going, until we ended up at an old decrepit church. I had goosebumps from just looking at it. Officer Smith got out of the car, and told me to follow him inside. I refused, and he said, “I think your parents might be here.”

I didn’t trust him, but it was worth the risk. Once we got inside, I searched everywhere I could for them, until I stumbled across a door that lead to the basement. I opened the door, took one long look down the stairs into darkness. I know what you’re thinking. Don’t go down the stairs!  But, I had, too.  Once I got to the bottom of the stairs, there was just one corner with a light on. As I slowly walked over to the light, I heard a noise. It sounded like chains clanking against the floor. I followed the noise all the way to a back dark room. Once I was  in the room, I saw a tape recorder playing the creepy chain sounds and then I saw a clue painted on the wall.

“Darkness seems to be a scary sight. I won’t give up your parents without a fight”

I ran out of the basement. As soon as I got to the top of the stairs Officer Smith was standing there. He seemed tense, and he was definitely hiding something. He kept urging me to leave this place. Once we finally left. I kept bugging him to tell me what was going. All he would tell me is that someone had my parents, and it’s my job to figure out where they were, but he would help me. I still doubted him, but he was all I had.

The next morning my head still hurt a lot, as soon as I stood up I felt dizzy. I went downstairs made breakfast and thought about what I was going to do. I needed to think of who would want to hurt my parents. All of a sudden it hit me, my daddy had told me of a strange inciencent in which, a man had come up to him and said, “Sometimes life goes great, all until the day karma comes back and hits you.”

My mother recognized the man as one of the people, my daddy had cheated in a car deal, when he owned his car dealership. Daddy hadn’t always been the most honest of men, but he was still my daddy. Mama said the man was very tense looking and she thought his name was Matthew Briggs.

If mama’s memory was right and it was Matthew, he lived just a few blocks down the road from our house. When Officer Smith returned, I told him I finally figured it out. I told him everything, I knew about Matthew and his dealings with daddy.

As we headed for Matthew’s  I had butterflies in my stomach. Officer Smith tried to calm me down, but all I did was cry for like five minutes. After I was able to pull myself back together,  Officer Smith and I went up to the house, and we barged through the door. There was no sign of anyone or anything.  It looked like it had been empty for days. I searched everywhere, until I heard Officer Smith yell my name. As soon as I got back into the room he was in, he showed me the note he found.  

It read, “You’re more clever than I thought, but you weren't smart enough to figure out that I wouldn't actually hide your parents in this obvious spot, but to find your parents you need to be right on the dot.”

“That's it,” I said.  The cafe in town is called On the Dot. Everyone in town loves that place. I knew that Matt owned the business. Once I told all the good news to Officer Smith, we drove over there.

On the way to the cafe I wanted to thank Officer Smith for all he had helped me, but I still believed he had been the one to take me and leave me in the desert.

Finally, I said, “You need to tell me the truth.”

With that, he finally opened up.  He told me how he had been married to his wife for 36 years, until she died of cancer, and he's never been the same since.  He started to tear up and he hesitated, but then he went on. He explained that his wife had needed expensive treatments for her cancer, and that he was paid lots of  money by Matthew to do things, like burn down my parent’s home and take me away. But then the amount of guilt got to him, and he called and told someone where I was. He then made sure the doctors had him to drive me home so, he could help me. He knew that I should not be punished for the wrongdoings of my father.

I was still very confused, and said, “but your wife died.” Officer Smith explained, that they had simply run out of time, but Matthew now had too much information on him.   

As soon as arrived at the cafe, we run inside to demand that Matthew come out, so we could speak to him. He refused to come out, so I decided to go in. Officer Smith  and I snuck up into Matthew's house, which was part of the cafe. Once we got up there, I could hear Mama’s voice, and I ran fast as I could to the end of the hall. I turned into the bedroom. There were my parents. I was so relieved we had found them.  

I heard someone calling my name, as I turned around I saw that it was Matthew. He looked as surprised as I was to be here. He looked at me, and he said, “Ella I know these are your parents, and I know you would hate to see them be hurt, but karma….”

All of a sudden Matthew was unconscious on the ground. Behind him was Officer Smith holding the gun, he had hit Matthew with. I looked at him, and saw the true hero that was there. Even though Officer Smith had resorted to crime at one point, I knew that down deep he was a good man. Karma had come around once again, but remember in life not only is there bad karma, there's also good karma.

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