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It was a day like any other, to start with. Breakfast was the normal flurry of cereal and milk, arguments over spilled juice and soggy toast, mum where are my shoes and where did you last see them? She snapped at them, as she often had before, and turned away to fill the kettle. She had never been a morning person, even before she had children, and she hadn’t had any coffee yet.

Then it all went quiet. All of a sudden, while her back was turned and the tap was running, the screaming and shouting stopped.

Naturally, she panicked. She ran out of the kitchen shouting their names, ran through the hallway and out into the garden, then back through the house and out onto the street. She blamed herself – knew in that sinking instant that she shouldn’t have snapped at them- then realised she was not alone.

All along the street, there were other parents looking just as scared as she was. Mothers and fathers alike, shouting the names of children who had mysteriously disappeared in an instant.

She stopped still and stared. That’s when she felt it. A familiar tug on the edge of her dressing gown. She turned and saw the morning paper levitating in mid air, the red felt tip she used for the crosswords once they’d all been packed off to school floating beside it.

The pen moved, writing a message in clumsy letters above the headline.

“We’re right here mummy”

She swallowed hard, then fainted.

© Kari Fay