July 4, 2008

My name is Kara Brianne Johnson. I'm 9 years old. It's the Fourth of July, my birthday, and I was watching fireworks with Daddy. It's the first night off that Daddy's had in a long time, and we got to come to the park, just the two of us. No cell phone or beeper. He wasn't Doctor Johnson tonight. Just Daddy taking me to see the fireworks like he always has. Daddy gave me five dollars to get some popcorn, and told me to "make sure to bring back the change."

I always do, he didn't need to tell me that. I wish Daddy had come with me. He wouldn't have let Mr. Baxter take me with him. I wanna go home. He's not my dad, but he keeps telling me to call him "Daddy." But he's not. He's not Daddy. I don't know where I am. Mr. Baxter always was nice to me. I don't know why he put me in here. Is he lonely? It's not too bad. But it's dark. I'm scared. I don't know where I am. I want Daddy… I hope he's looking for me.

It was too late by the time Dr. Johnson realized something was wrong. Of course, he only missed his daughter being taken by minutes. He was worried she'd gotten lost trying to find her way back. He never would have dreamed that his friend, Derek Baxter, had taken his daughter. And no one would put it all together until years later. After all, Baxter didn't make a scene when he took Kara- He didn't have to. Kara loved the librarian like a favorite uncle. She'd been friends with his daughter, Audrey, before she died in a car accident a couple of years ago.

His wife had died years ago when Kara was still young; his daughter was all he had left. Aaron was beside himself with heart-wrenching terror. The police were asking him questions, but it was so hard to focus on it. No, he didn't know why anyone to take his daughter. As far as he knew, no one would want to hurt her. Yes, it was possible someone would take her for ransom. Being a neurosurgeon paid quite well, so it was completely plausible. Still, he couldn't picture anyone in this town taking his baby girl. What would Camille think of her husband losing their daughter? Would she be able to forgive him if he didn't find her?