GENRE: YA Thriller
A three-year-old kid missing for a decade. A fourteen-year-old brunette lost last month. The missing persons poster pinned to a board in the dollar store has been there forever, though the faces on the poster change every month. The teen’s face must have been recently added; I don’t remember seeing it the last time I came here. The girl has thick, wavy hair and large dark eyes. Just like Mimi.
My throat tightens. I have searched through hundreds of similar pictures and news articles over the past five years, hoping for information on my cousin. Something that’ll prove that she ran away. That she’s alive and safe somewhere.
That I’m not a murderer.
I force my gaze away from the poster and text my aunt: at the store.
Ever since my cousin disappeared, Auntie and I follow a routine. I make sure she’s always aware of my whereabouts. It’s become second nature, as familiar as breathing.
Her reply pops up an instant later as expected. Good. Be safe.
After gathering the stuff on my shopping list, I head down a narrow aisle.
A tall man in a frayed black leather jacket and faded jeans stands in my path, his back to me, leafing through a stack of magazines.
“Excuse me,” I say
He glances over his shoulder. The brim of his baseball cap shadows his thin face and part of a dirty, blond beard. His eyes lock on me, and he goes still.