Parent Dream #61

I was looking down from Harper’s bedroom window at the chicken pen in the rear corner of the yard. The light was clear and bright. Harper was in there, just hanging with the chickens. She looked safe, happy, contented in our little suburban backyard world. Suddenly a panel of the rear fence was pulled away and a man in a flannel shirt entered the yard and in one swift move, swept Harper in his arms, then stepped back through the gap in the fence with her. His eyes met mine in that instant. They disappeared through the hole in the fence and the panel was back and they were both gone. Seconds.

I woke with a sharp intake of breath, my skin prickling with fear. I got up and went to the bathroom. I looked in on Harper, my itchy eyes struggling to stay open long enough to make out her sleeping form. She was lying on the bed crossways. I pulled her up, placed her head on the pillow and covered her with her blanket. The window was open. I looked out the window at the chicken pen below, cloaked in darkness. The air was cold. I shivered and closed the window. I went back to bed, but I couldn’t get back to sleep for some time.

The day before, Harper snuck off on her own with Iggy and walked a kilometre to the supermarket. It was a Sunday afternoon and she wasn’t allowed out on her own. She walked up Samford road, crossed a busy intersection, tied up Iggy outside the supermarket and went in and paid for a chocolate bar. When she came out she forgot where she left Iggy and began to cry. A stranger approached her to help and called us at home. Harper knew our phone numbers. She wanted to get in the car with the stranger and look for Iggy. Annie told her not to get in the stranger’s car. She told her to stay put, then drove up and got her. They found Iggy yelping at another entrance. Like a shadow vanishing beneath a cloud, she was gone from us. But then the cloud passed, and she was back.

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