Seeing me, he called to me saying, “Have you seen anything 고소득알바 of Mrs. Everhard?”

“No, I haven’t,” I called back, deciding to forget about the Swallow Tail I was after—besides when I had taken my eye off the butterfly I couldn’t get it back on again.

“She was taking her afternoon nap,” Mr. Everhard said, “so I had gone to the creek a while, but when I came back she was gone. You sure she’s not up at your house?”

“I’m sure,” I said and I suddenly remembered that it had been a long time since I was inside our house. Also for some reason I decided I had better go quick to see if Charlotte Ann was still asleep or if she had waked up and maybe had gone herself somewhere.

“Let’s go look,” I said to Mr. Everhard and started to run fast, with him and his worried face right after me.

All the way through the orchard to the big Bull Thistle and76 the gate, not bothering to wait for Mr. Everhard, I was thinking over and over, “Mrs. Everhard had been taking a nap while her husband was away and when he came back she was gone and he couldn’t find her ... gone and he couldn’t find her and she was crazy—emotionally ill and—and our Charlotte Ann looked enough like her dead baby, Elsa, to be her twin—enough like her to be her.”

I tried to run faster and couldn’t. Instead of flying along like a bird in a hurry, I felt that I was just crawling like a Swallow Tail butterfly’s ugly, reddish-brown larva crawling along a lance-shaped parsnip leaf in our garden—which is the kind of leaf a Swallow Tail’s larva likes to eat best.

Hurry ... hurry ... hurry....

If ever I hurried, I hurried then—or tried to.

I darted past the big, red, two-inch wide thistle blossom, not even stopping to glance at it to see if there might be another Swallow Tail fluttering around it, through the still-open gate and past the front doorstep, around the house, past the grape arbor to the back screen, which I remembered now I hadn’t locked from the outside like I should have.

She’s got to be there, I thought. Why, she could have toddled out that door and gone to the barn or even out to and through the front gate and across the dusty road and through the woods to the spring and the creek and she didn’t know how to swim!

She doesn’t know how to swim!

Then I thought what if Mrs. Everhard had gotten one of her spells and decided that Charlotte Ann really was her baby and had come to get her and had run away with her—kidnapped her! She’s got to be there in her crib asleep—got to be!

I made a barefoot dash through the kitchen and the living room and into the dark bedroom not being able to see in the almost dark on account of I had been out in the bright sunlight and my eyes were not adjusted yet. I swished to her bed. “Charlotte Ann,” I exclaimed, “are you here?” and I thrust my hands down into her crib to see if she was.

Then I got the most terrible feeling I’d had in my life. I just felt terrible—awful! A million worried droughts were whirligigging77 around in my mind, for Charlotte Ann wasn’t there. She was gone!

Gone! Gone away somewhere and nobody knew where.

Just then I heard a heavy rumbling noise outside the house like a wagon makes going across the Sugar Creek bridge. It also sounded a little bit like a powerful automobile motor starting—but, of course, it couldn’t be that because any car outside wouldn’t be just starting, but would be stopping instead.

The second I knew Charlotte Ann wasn’t in her crib I hurried out of the room, calling her name and looking in every other room in the house—upstairs and down—calling and looking frantically. She had to be in the house. Had to be!

But she wasn’t. I came dashing back down stairs and out through the back screen door just as Mr. Everhard got there. He didn’t act as worried as I felt, but the fleeting glimpse I got of his face when I told him, “There’s nobody here,” didn’t make me feel any better.

Just then I heard the rumbling noise again, only it was louder and closer. I looked up toward the sky and the sound had come from a big, black cloud in the southwest, over the tops of the pignut trees and I knew it was going to rain without having to look under the wooden step at our front door. It was going to rain a real soaker. I could tell by the way a lot of angry-looking clouds were churning around up there that there would be wind too—and that meant every window in the house and every door ought to be shut tight, but with Charlotte Ann on my mind I didn’t have time to do it.

“Help me look for Charlotte Ann,” I yelled back over my shoulder to Mr. Everhard as I darted out across the barnyard toward Old Red Addie’s apartment house, calling Charlotte Ann’s name and looking for a shock of pretty, reddish-black curls and an aqua-colored “sunset.”