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Malcolm awoke with a start. Something was wrong, very wrong.

'Elizabeth? ' he queried the night.

No reply came but the silence.

Again but more insistent.


No sound. The light flicked on. The room was empty.

'Oh my God!'

He rose.

'My daughter – where is my daughter?'

Hastily he clothed himself and exited the house, grabbing a torch from the hall table as an afterthought.

The river, yes, the river! If she had wandered off, where else would a small child go? She loved the tinkling, bright water – the life filled stream, beneath which fish swam and plants swayed.

Rumours abounded of a murderous madman on the loose but were these just urban myths, put about by the mischievous to upset the innocent?

Then he saw the dark liquid, splattered across the grass, running down the path in a congealed mass.

'Christ, no, no, no!'

What if it was just oil that someone had spilled? In this light who could be sure?

He turned the torch onto the dark area. It was red alright. Blood but could it be just an animal? Who could tell for sure without more evidence?

Then he saw the sock with a foot in it.

No words came but his mouth opened aghast...

An arm here, an arm there. The torso appeared next and finally those long golden locks, upon a doll's head, only it wasn't. It was her alright he realised as he turned this last decapitated piece of humanity over.

'My ba-' He never finished the sentence. The truth hit him like a sledgehammer.

He had no daughter. He lived alone and the memory which had woken him earlier, was the maniacal murder he had committed, when a young, lost child had crossed his path.

The scream of knowing pierced the night and split asunder what little sanity Malcolm had left...
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