Summary: When two little girls were allowed to walk
home from school one bright spring day nobody could've
predicted the events that followed. The way two families
were torn apart by the vendetta of a deranged man.
Nearly twelve years on, we'll watch as the two girls stolen
away from their homes at eight years old fight to take
back their lives. If only it were as simple as escaping. AU
Eastbourne Police Station – March 1st 2004
Hushed murmurs filled the space decked out in policeman-blue. The large symbol of the Sussex police stood front and center. A nondescript table sat in front, a cluster of microphones having been set up there earlier in the day in preparation. The extensive gathering of journalists had been squeezed into the biggest room available, the first row of seats scant feet from the table. The air crackled with tension and curiosity, sadness prevailing when an audible sob came from behind the door off to one side – the first sob of many.
A policeman of considerable standing stepped through the door. He was followed by three distraught men, two middle-aged while the third was young. A teenager. Cameras clicked feverishly as the quartet took their seats, the officer to the left while the others sat in a row beside each other in a silent show of support.
The man beside the officer, Charlie Swan, had one hand clenched on his thigh, the other reaching up every few seconds to tug on his short crop of strawberry-blond curls. Blue-green eyes filled with anguish and heartache were identical in emotion to the dark brown gaze of his sixteen-year-old son, Archie, and the grass-green of his childhood best friend, Peter Hale.
As someone stepped forward to briefly speak with the journalists snapping away, the three men shared a resolute glance, saying everything words couldn't.
We'll stick together.
It'll be ok.
We're on your side.
Ignore the cameras, get this done.
We will find them.
Then, it was time.
All over the country, and others surrounding England, people watched with abject horror as first Charlie, then Peter, pleaded for information. As they cried tears telling of pain and heartbreak as they tried to convey just how much they longed for the crucial details upon which the case was hinged. Parents hugged their children close, unable to comprehend how Charlie and Peter must have been feeling as they stared into the lenses of cameras and begged for the return of their much-loved girls. The audience of millions tuning in to watch the conference silenced in unison as Archie Swan coughed, fixing rich, dark, agonized eyes on the cameras. His eyes spoke of more misery than imaginable. They were orbs of sorrow, capable of turning hardened men into mush. Then, he spoke.
"If you can hear me…I miss you, Scarlett, Rosie." Only the sound of cameras clicking followed his statement. "Your cookies are still on the coffee table waiting for you," he choked out on a rasped breath, feeling as though his throat was closing. "I didn't touch them, just like I promised. Rosie, your hamster chewed my controller again. You're gonna pay for that when you get back."
Archie reached into his jacket pocket to pull out a photo, holding it up after giving it a brief glance. An officer slid it into place on a projector, casting it on the wall behind the four men at the table. Three toothy grins shone brightly, bringing the stonier people in the room to tears if they hadn't already been shedding them.
"Get your butts back here, squirts."
Everyone waited with baited breath as he sucked in air through his teeth, twin tears tumbling down his cheeks in synchronization as he gritted out, "you pinky promised it would be us three together forever. The three musketeers, you said. You told me—" Archie's stomach lurched, his words unable to pass his lips. Charlie reached for his hand, squeezing it hard. "I'm ok, I'm ok. You pinky promised, and you told me you can't break pinky promises."
His fierce statement was punctuated with a painful sob.
Once a few more people had spoken, the constable pulled the conference to a close, the men escorted away from the flashing cameras and calls of the journalists. When the final man was ushered from the room some minutes later, he paused. Somber eyes so dark they were almost black flashed with long-buried sorrow, giving way to determination. He took one last glance at the 'MISSING' poster on the wall near his head before leaving, memorizing the faces of the eight year old girls cruelly stolen away from their families.
Little did he know, did anybody know, that the story of Isabella Scarlett Swan and Rosalie Daisy Hale's disappearance would go unsolved until well into the next decade.
Questions? That's ok, drop me a review or a pm and I'll answer what I can :) Thank you for jumping on this crazy train with me.
This is completely finished, chapter-wise, but I'll be making a few edits as I go along, so I hope to post at least once a week, maybe twice if I can.