A chilling scream erupted, echoing down the halls. I jolted into a sitting position, with beads of sweat trickling down the bridge of my nose. I suddenly realized the scream belonged to me, and instantly relaxed into a slumping position, but at the same time I still felt nothing except eerily unnerved.
I yawned so widely that for a split second I thought my jaw was going to break. I then recalled I couldn’t even remember what the nightmare that awoke me was about, as I headed towards the bathroom.
That’s because I never actually had a nightmare when I fell asleep. My nightmare is reality.
I glanced at the clock hanging on the wall, “Three twenty-eight.” I mumbled with yet another yawn. My voice sounded tired and rachet from staying up until morning waiting for my parents to return to our hotel room.
On the other hand, I also spent last night watching the New Year’s Eve ball drop on live television, even though it was only ten blocks away.
I’m was just absolutely exhausted from watching Wicked on broadway on top of shopping until morning arrived, about a day ago. Given this, I didn’t have to give a second thought to missing out on New Year’s Eve in Times Square the next day.
I was washing the sweat clean from my face in the bathroom sink when I abruptly froze. Two pairs of dress shoes clicked on the hotel hall’s wood floor. My eyes lit up as I scrambled to the door and nearly opened it with a welcoming smile.
But I didn’t, because the footsteps past our hotel room, and I eventually heard the click of the key opening a door merely a few feet away. I shrugged it off, assuring myself that Mother and Father will arrive here soon enough, and they were simply off without me at a restaurant or party.
It is New Year’s Eve after all, so surely many people don’t leave the city until an hour or two after midnight. It has been three and a half hours since midnight though. Should I truly be as worried as I am?
Before they left, Mother reminded me that they were going to go to the square to watch the ball drop, and possibly take a stroll around to go shopping or grab a bite to eat. She invited me along for the third time that night, nearly insisting that I come along, but I declined her offer as I was prepared to retire to a deep slumber for the night.
I promised myself that if they didn’t return by dawn then the distinct thing to do would be calling the police. Until then I would do all I could to help find them, which technically speaking, there isn’t a whole lot of options.
I called each of my parents cell phones over thirty times, but I merely heard the voice mail kick in with each call.
Despite the promise I previously made, I attempted calling the police department, but they didn’t pick up of course. I didn’t even expect them to anyways. Afterall, tonight, they probably have around a hundred times as many emergencies and problems in comparison to any other average night.
I paced around the room until I was dizzy.
I cried until my cheeks were shiny, and my shirt was soaked. Then at last I managed to drift off to sleep; with fear nearly visible to a blind man in my eyes.
The glare of the sun shining through the balcony door was enough to wake me. I expected to hear Father whistling as the paper crinkled in his hands, or breathe in the savory smell of Mother’s freshly baked blueberry muffins.
Instead I awoke to only the cars passing by to fill in the lonely silence.
This moment was completely predictable, but at the same time I couldn’t have helped but hopelessly envision that this wouldn’t have happened.
I sorrowfully stared at the picture of Mother, Father, and I, sitting on the nightstand table. On it was a yellow sticky note (the color was much too cheery for my taste at the moment), and it addressed my name, and then their phone numbers on it. The note hasn’t been even slightly beneficial so far, given that they aren’t picking up their phones.
With each second that passed by, I had to remind myself that miracles do happen, because, even though my heart didn’t want me to admit it, I was almost positive they weren’t returning in this hour of the day, or the next. It was my best attempt towards reassuring myself.
Not more than a few minutes later, I picked up the phone to dial the police department’s phone number. “Hello?” A man with a deep and demanding voice asked.
When I answered my voice sounded shaky, “Hi.”
“So what would you like to report Miss… what would your last name be ma’am?”
“Prince… I mean-” I had accidently said my mother’s maiden name, and I tried to tell him my real one, but he cut me off before I could finish my sentence. “Back to the first question please Miss Prince.” He spoke quite quickly, and the tone in his voice clearly instructed me not to interrupt.
“My parents went missing in Times Square last night. And my last name is-” His demanding voice broke into my sentence once again, “Now what were their names Miss-?”
“May and Tyrell Flores.” I listened to only the static coming from the phone for about ten seconds. “Officer, are you there? Hello Sir?” There was no answer so I assumed the line was down.
The police sirens in began to grow louder in the distance, as they approached the hotel I was staying in.
I peered over the balcony to find an electricity line down, lying in the middle of the street.
To be sure the last two events weren’t simply coincidental, I walked over to the light switch and flicked it up and down a few times with no response.
The hotel must not have a generator I’m assuming, and since it lacks the decency of most other hotels, they probably don’t have it anywhere near in the budget to buy one.
Plus I don’t have a cell phone, so I decided to take a trip down to the front desk for a solution. Although something tells me that I shouldn’t leave the safety of our hotel room, I do anyways, because what’s life without taking risks?
I run downstairs, headed towards the check-in desk.
The chairs behind the desk were empty, and remained that way even after I rung the assistance bell. I patiently waited for a staff member to arrive, trying my best not to appear discouraged by the fact that not a single person was present in the entire entry hall.
“Well, evidently this place doesn’t do great, business or service wise.” I murmured so quietly that even I couldn’t understand what I had said.
Judging from what I just said, I’m sure you can imagine that I was startled to see a frail old lady enter the room from the door behind the desk.
Her name tag read Marcy, in faded print. Marcy took a seat in the chair and powered up a dell that appeared to be as old as she was. Opposed to speaking to me she simply pushed her glasses down her nose and began to type, as light from the computer screen reflected off her face, making her face appear a paper white hue.
I rung the bell multiple times, but in response she only seemed to inch closer to the screen with each ring. My annoyance built up the impulse to wave my hands between the computer screen and her face. When I did so, she was hardly fazed, but it seemed to be enough of a distraction for her to slip on her hearing aids, and ask me, “How may I help you my dear?”
“Well, I’m looking for a phone to use.”
The answer was just as expected “None available dear.”
That can’t be, this is the twenty-first century. Such an answer seems hardly appropriate. “Not even a cell phone?”
She gave me a chuckle that irritated me, then responded, “Oh dear, well I do have a flip phone, but do you truly expect that I use it? The present still remains so foreign to me, I suppose my head is still stuck in the sixties! Oh and by the way, I just adore your accent, it’s absolutely darling! Are you German?” She asked in a sugary voice.
“Swedish, Marcy.” I make sure to always speak extra loudly with most elderly ladies, because sometimes even the hearing aids won’t quite do the job.
“Ah, I see, when did you move here?”
“I didn’t. My Mother and Father did. Speaking of which, I really need a phone.” I whined, clearly tired of chit-chatting when my parents were missing.
“All in good time my dear. The solution is simple; you may go use the telephone booth two blocks away.”
I took a step outside of the building, into the frosty air. Five foot snow banks lined the sides of the streets, for the storms have came on heavy this winter. I spotted the telephone booth, about six blocks away, in it’s cherry red hue, and ran towards it, as small snowflakes collided with my face.
A coat of icy glaze covered the booth, but despite that, the interior was fairly warm. The streets alongside here were almost deserted. I reached in my pocket for any spare change, but with no luck. Four pennies wouldn’t be enough to cover the cost of the enduring conversation I wanted to have with the police.
Before I knew it, I had fallen asleep in the telephone booth in New York City. Apparently one hour of sleep doesn’t do you much good.