He opened the door. Every time there was a different world behind it and he was always curious what he will find behind it the next time. Sometimes the door opened to places he didn’t like though. Like this time, where it opened to a playground. There was a sandbox, a see-saw and whatever a child could wish for. Around the playground was a green meadow, reaching as far as the eye could see. The man still hoped this didn’t mean what it usually did, but that hope was crushed when his eyes fell on the swing. No, it was not who he hoped it to be. He sat himself on the other swing, next to the one the child sits on.
The child asked if the dark man wasn’t too old for swings. He smiled nervously and agreed. He just watched her slowly moving back and forward on the swing. After a while it became too awkward for her and she stopped. She asked him who he was. He said that it was a secret. She told him that her name will be a secret too then. It was fine with him.
He tried to lose his nervousness. Some things he will never get used to. The child seemed to ignore him but sometimes looked at him and he could tell she was curious, but not afraid. After a while he finally decided to start. He told her his name and she told him it sounded funny. Then she told him hers. It was a nice one, he thought. He hoped to not see it on his list. But there it was. That poor child.
The child decided to get off the swing and walk home. He asked her if it was okay if he followed her. She told him her mother said she shouldn’t trust strangers. Her mother is very smart, he said. She noticed his frown.
He had to tell her what he had to do. Of course she wouldn’t like it. Nobody liked it. But he needed them. She put him off as silly after he told her. Then she refused to do it. He explained it again. She thought about it for a moment. She asked him if he really told the truth. He said yes. He also said sorry. They then left the playground.
The first place was the child’s house. She remembered this place, but remembered nothing else. She would’ve liked to keep it that way but she had to witness it, so the dark man could witness it too. They stood in the room, unseen. The child was there a second time. One was drawing something on paper, the other one stood next to the dark man and watched her. She knew what would happen soon. She was scared. The door broke open. The drawing child shouted out of shock, the other one squirmed remembering her fear. The skinny man who entered was tall and appeared like a monster. The child from the playground remembered him.
The dark man hated being here. He hated seeing what happened to the child. But he had to check whether it happened the destined way. If it didn’t that could have fatal consequences. He watched the skinny man as he did what he did. The room turned black as the child who had drawn lost consciousness. The child from the playground opened her eyes again when it was over.
In the next moment they were in another room. The child who had drawn was there, the skinny man, too. The skinny man was talking to someone on the telephone. The child who had drawn was lying on the floor, a big man was watching her. The child from the playground remembered this place. She remembered being afraid here. And that fear had never left her. She remembered the skinny man had promised her dad would get her back home. The skinny man gave the child who had drawn the phone. She asked if it was her dad. Yes it was, she heard his voice. It had panic in it. Tears appeared in the eyes from the child who had drawn and later they also appeared in those of the child from the playground.
The dark man had an idea what would happen. He wondered what he had done if he was in the situation of that child’s father. What if someone took his daughter? He would never let it come to that. The skinny man continued talking with the child’s dad and the big man brought her to another room. The dark man and the child from the playground followed.
They entered a room the child from the playground remembered spending a lot of time in. She didn’t remember how cold it had looked in the beginning. She had decorated it with a lot of drawings over time. The big man had given her paper and pencils. But not yet to the child who had drawn. The door was closed and one was alone in the room with two unseen observers.
The child who had drawn now could be seen spending a lot of time here. Sometimes she drew, sometimes she slept and sometimes the skinny man gave her the phone. The room filled with colorful paper as time went on. Drawings of the child with her dad. With her best friend from school. With whoever she missed. People she hoped to wrap her arms around when this was over. But the child from the playground knew she would only get to hug one of them.
The time got slower again as the skinny man came into the room and told the child who had drawn that her father is here to get her. She left the drawings in the room. She wanted to go home. The skinny man held her hand and brought her into a brightly lit room with three tables at all walls except one. And there was her dad. He looked pale, messy and so happy when he saw her. The child from the playground saw she had made a similar face. The skinny man said something and her dad laid down a black suitcase on the table to his left. The child from the playground wondered what was in it. The skinny man picked it up and looked inside. He smiled at whatever was inside. Her father told him to let her go now. He did. The child who had drawn ran towards her daddy. Before she reached him she heard a loud noise behind her. She lost control over her feet and fell. Her dad caught her. The skinny man said something:
“I said you would get her back. I didn’t say you would get her back alive.”
The child who drew weakly squeezed her dad. Her face felt so warm and sticky all of a sudden. Her dad just silently hugged her. And she was happy…