“Huh? Elli?” I woke up groggy and grumpy.

“Darling, Elliot is gone!” my wife’s frantic yell startled me.

“ELLIOT?” I bolted up straight, my son is gone!

“I woke up this morning and the crib was empty and the door ajar!” Elli shouted.

“I’ll go ask Cocoa and SpeedY!” I leapt out of bed, since Elliot had delighted in the thought that he could walk, he’s been strutting all over the place, cooing and crooning at the world surrounding him. Cocoa was my dog and SpeedY was my horse and it may seem pointless to ask them but still, it’s worth a try right?

“Cocoa, have you seen Elliot?” I petted the loyal dog’s head. He barked and shook his head.

“SpeedY, have you?” I queried, but the horse snorted and shook his head.

I darted into the barn, thinking that Elliot’s fondness for animals might’ve led him in here. I brushed Serene, Samar, Gellie, Rollin, Millie, Spirit, Rayne, and Cowe’s backs and fed them before continuing my search.

I tore into the chicken coop, and found nothing but chickens and eggs there. The six chickens clucked irritably at me as I reached under them to collect their eggs (please note that this is in winter, therefore animals have to kept inside). I fed them also before resuming the hunt.

“Elliot?” finally, the most dreaded conclusion reached me: Elliot must’ve wandered into the village!

I dashed outside, and scoped the Green Ranch out.

“Ann!” I shouted to the ranch owner’s daughter.

“Yeah?” she was swinging a pail of oats for Cliffgard, her horse.

“Have you seen Elliot?” I asked, breathless.

“No, your son’s missing? That’s really bad news, I’ll ask Gray.” Ann ran to the barn, where her older brother, Gray, hung out.

“Nope, Gray said he never seen any little kids around here.” Ann came back with devastating news.

I thanked her anyway, and ran into their dad’s shop to ask.

“No,” was the reply.

Slowly discouraged, I decided to try the beach.

There I found not Elliot but Karen. “What’s up?” she grinned.

“Elliot’s missing,” I said exasperated.

“Huh? Oh no! I’ll ask Kai and grr—Dad.” No doubt Karen had been in another fight with her father.

“Thanks, I’ll be at Moon Mountain if you have any news,” I raced for the Moon Mountain.

“Hi, have you gone fishing yet?” the fisherman waved from his tent. I gave a quick nod and ran to the Crafts Shop.

“Nah,” the boss replied after I asked if they’ve seen Elliot.

Panic-stricken, I accidentally bumped into Popuri.

“Oh hello,” she said, annoyed; she had been studying a flower intently.

“Have you seen Elliot?”

“That runt?” Popuri giggled, she was fond of Elliot, though she hated to admit it, “No. But you can my husband.”

“I’ve already asked Gray, but thanks anyway,” I sighed, whirled around, and nearly collided with Karen.

“Dad and Kai didn’t see him, sorry,” Karen panted and spun away to the vineyard her family’s keeping again. Kai is a worker her family hired and seems to like “miss Karen”.

“I’ll go check in the Flower Bud Village,” I decided.

“See ya,” Popuri returned to the flower (yes I know flowers don’t grow in the winter but ah well).

“Hello,” Harris the postman greeted me.

“ELLIOT! HAVE YOU SEEN HIM?” I nearly screamed.

“Jake, calm down! Elliot’s missing? Hmm…” Harris rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “go ask my wife and see if she can help.”

“Sure,” I answered and ran for the library where Harris’s wife, Maria, worked.

“Welcome,” Maria looked up from the book she was reading.

“Have you seen Elliot?” I wheezed.

“Elliot? Oh my, he’s missing? But no, I haven’t seen him, sorry.” Maria apologized, and returned to reading.

I thanked her anyway, and decided to ask the Mayor and his wife.

“No,” “Sorry, no,” were the answers.

Discouraged, I went to the midwife and repeated the question.

“No, but you might try the drugstore,” the midwife shook her head.

I thanked her, and ran to the drugstore.

“No but would you like some high-grade vitamins?” the potion shop dealer offered.

I shook my head no and ran to the bakery.

“Elli’s son? Oh my,” the bakery master looked worried.

I sighed, and tried the florist shop.

“No I’m sorry Jake,” Lilia smiled sadly.

I heaved a sigh, and ran to the church.

“Hey brother,” Kent and Stu greeted me.

“Hello,” May smiled and continued counting, “One two three four five seven eight nine ten…huh—?”

“No I’m sorry,” the pastor sighed, “I really hope you find him soon, let’s pray.”

I reached Rick’s shop, and he was selling—nothing.

“Elliot? I don’t believe I’ve seen him.” Rick shook his head sadly.

So I tried the Souvenir shop, but it was closed, for it was getting dark.

Finally I went to the bar to relieve me of all the stress today had caused.

“Jake! Just in time! Your son is here!” the bar owner said.

“Elliot!” I cried blissfully.

“Papa,” Elliot crooned.

I coddled him in my arms and said, “Mommy’s worried sick over you!”

“Momma?” Elliot cooed.

I nodded, and asked the bar owner, “Where’d you find him?”

“Don’t know, a lady brought him here yesterday.”

“A lady???” I stared at my son.

“Yeah, tall, blonde, and young.” The bar owner shrugged.

“Karen?” I asked.

“No,” the bar owner said.

“Then who…?” I asked myself as I walked home, cuddling Elliot in my arms.

“Elliot!” Elli, whose eyes were puffy and rimmed with red, cried delightfully.

“Where was he?” Elli kissed Elliot’s forehead.

“In the bar.”

“How’d he get there?”

“No idea,”

“Hmm…” Elli put the sleeping Elliot in his crib.

“Well, good night,” I snuggled into bed.

Elli giggled and slept also.

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