Elsa hurriedly went down the stairs and breathed a sigh of relief.
“Mom!” She called out, her voice cracked.
“Elsa?” Her mom shouted back. “Elsa, where are you?”
Elsa stepped into the kitchen and saw her mom talking to a person in a police uniform.
“Elsa!” Her mom gave her the tightest hug. “Where have you been? Why are you covered in soot? What happened to you?”
Elsa glanced at her reflection on the shiny refrigerator. She looked thin and raggedy.
“When I came back from the sale, you were gone! We’ve been looking for you for days!” Elsa’s mom continued, her eyes red, her hair in disarray.
“I’m sorry, Mom,” Elsa said. She began to sob, knowing that she was that close to being lost forever.
“No, Elsa. I’m sorry. I should’ve been spending more time with you. I forgot how important you are…more important than anything in the world.” She kissed Elsa’s forehead over and over again. “I have no excuses left. If there’s something that you want us to do together, just tell me.”
“Maybe we could walk outside and grab some food? I’m kind of hungry,” Elsa asked.
“Get cleaned and be ready in five! We’re going out,” her mom said, squeezing Elsa’s hand.
“Mom?” Elsa glanced back. “Did you know we have an attic?”
“No, I didn’t. Do you want to go and explore it later?”
“I want to clean it out,” Elsa said.