The next story is verifiable up to the end of the narrative, although I might have changed the names of the characters in order to keep a few details confidential of that day lost in time. As the tape measure snapped back, I thought of my wife Sarah and me moving into our cottage. It was all bare bricks at the moment, but would look lovely when decorated. On hearing someone in the room, I looked up expecting to see Sarah but noticed a little girl in the corner. She could only have been four. “Hello,” I said, thinking she was one of the neighbours. “What are you doing here?” She smiled, playing with her curly hair tied in a ponytail. “Where‟s mummy?” I went on puzzled. My small visitor looked at me while fiddling with her hands, before running out of the door. As Sarah came in after her, I frowned. “Where did she come from?” “Who?” “The little girl.” “I only saw you by the door,” she said. “You must have dreamt of her as I went to the shops.” I shrugged. “She was real.” We looked in the house, the garden and anywhere else a child could be hiding, but it must have been a mirage or I might be going mad. “I can ask the neighbours,” I said. We forgot all about the child during the next few years, when we married and had a little girl. We named her Rosie.

3 Our life with Rosie was a dream. She started to walk and talk early, creating her own fantasy world in the backyard, where fairies had a hiding place by the old fountain in the garden. “Daddy,” she said one day as I mowed the grass. “The queen of the fairies has invited me to a party.” I smiled. “Can I come too?” She looked at me from the playpen‟s window. “You wouldn‟t fit in her home.” I pruned the plants as she reappeared from under her hiding place later on. “How are the fairies?” I asked. She shrugged. “They send me to a lot of places with their magic wand. They wave it, say the magic word and off I go.” Rosie offered a cup to someone invisible, mumbling her own incantations in an enchanted world no one else could see. I gathered my tools and made my way towards the shed. “Daddy,” she called. “Do you want to meet my friends?” I smiled. “All right.” As I Crawled through the playpen‟s entrance, I found myself in a world full of dollies. She fed them imaginary food while sitting on the floor. “We‟re getting ready for the journey,” she said. “What journey?” I asked. “It‟s a secret.” I wondered about her words. Rosie liked outings. She would wake up in the early hours of the morning to help with the preparations, whenever we decided to go on holydays, and after gathering her toy plates, she put them on a pile on the floor. “I‟m tired, daddy,” she said. I shrugged. “We‟ll eat first and then you‟ll go to bed.”

4 She spoke of the fairies on our way back to the house. “We are leaving tomorrow morning,” she said. She planned to go on an imaginary journey on the eve of her fourth birthday, when we had planned a party in the backyard. I took her up to bed after dinner whilst Sarah did the washing up. “Daddy,” she said. “I want to hear the tale of sleeping beauty tonight.” Rosie slept by the time I had finished with the story. I thought she looked like an angel with her pale face framed by her hair, when Sarah appeared at the door. “She‟s going on a journey with her invisible friends,” I said. Sarah smiled. “She talks about them all the time.” “I‟m not leaving her alone tonight,” I said. “Don‟t worry.” I covered myself with the duvet, thinking of invisible people taking my daughter on a journey to the heavens. Sarah thought I fretted about nothing. “She won‟t go away,” she said. “I wouldn‟t be so sure.” “Why do you say that?” she asked. “I have this feeling,” I said. I thought of my daughter‟s imagination. She talked to dollies, ate invisible food and went on imaginary journeys into a parallel world none of us could see. I dreamed of my daughter and the fairies disappearing amidst the clouds later on that night. Wait for me, I said, but she had gone to another place by the time I reached her, leaving me all alone in the world. Sunlight sneaked through the curtains the next morning, but Rosie‟s place in the bed looked empty. My daughter must have gone out to play with her invisible friends or someone must have stolen her during the night.

5 “Rosie,” I called. My footsteps echoed through the empty rooms, whilst looking for my daughter in the house. “She could be in the garden,” Sarah said. We saw the remains of the last fairy party scattered by the flowers, as I looked inside her hiding places. “Rosie,” I said. I imagined the most horrible things happening to my daughter in its way through the time continuum. “You slept by her side,” Sarah said. “I didn‟t hear anything,” I said. We discussed whatever had happened to my daughter, including the possibility of someone snatching her during the night. “We must call the police,” I said. I explained how her friends the fairies, could have taken her on a trip to another world lost in the clouds. “They don‟t exist,” Sarah said. I nodded. “I know.” “Why are you thinking in those things then?” “There must be some explanation,” I said. “Not some crazy theory of invisible beings kidnapping her.” We talked of someone taking her away during the night, in spite of me sleeping by her side. “The window was open,” I said.

6 Sarah looked around the curtains for any clues, after I had taken her to the bedroom, but nothing looked out of place in the house. “The police will sort it out,” she said. “She was here last night,” I said. “And gone in the morning,” she said. I nodded. “Exactly.” I thought time played tricks in this branch of our existence, splitting from the others in a universe we didn‟t know much about. “She must be in another reality,” I said. Rosie had to be here, the silence in the kitchen disturbing my thoughts of fairies and other creatures of the night snatching my daughter to some other planes of existence. We heard a noise and Rosie appeared by our side, her hair tied in pony tails framing her pale face. “Where have you been?” I asked. “Daddy,” she said, “the walls had bricks and you said „hello‟ to me while holding the tape measure. Then I ran into mummy.”

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