“Don’t forget to send letters atleast once a week”, her mom yelled as Ariana boarded the bus. Ariana nodded excitedly. Eight year old Ariana was leaving for Church Camp. She sat next to her friend Mia and time just flew by. The children were being escorted by their loving Pastor Dean and Mister Leonard, an aide. As soon as they arrived at their destination, all the children assembled  in the dining room for dinner. Pastor Dean went up to the front of the room to make an important announcement. ” My dear children, looking at this room full of young, enthusiastic faces, really takes me back to the time when I was about your age.I know its exciting but I hope you all rest well tonight, so that everyone has enough energy for the fun days we have planned ahead.” Everyone was filled with excitement after hearing Pastor Dean. They all prayed for a little while and went off to their dormitories for a good night’s rest. 

 Soon it was the last day of Church Camp Ariana and Mia were in their room, packing their bags with sad expressions on their faces. They never wanted to leave this place but were eager to meet their parents as well. ” I need to go to the washroom,” said Ariana. “Okay, do you want me to come along?”, asked Mia. “No, I’ll be careful and I’ll be back quickly”.

The dormitories had the washrooms at the back, in the woods. Thirty minutes went by and Ariana was not back. Mia was scared. She went to Pastor Dean and Mr Leonard’s room as Ariana had been missing for two hours now. Mia explained everything and the place was turned upside down, but Ariana was nowhere to be found. The sun was up and it was time for them to head back without Ariana. Pastor Dean himself went to Ariana’s house to inform her parents that despite police’s efforts, Ariana was nowhere to be found. Ariana, the little girl who brought nothing but light to everyones lives was pronounced dead seven years after she went missing. It’s easy to label someone as being dead, but those who knew Ariana were aware that she suddenly would not dissappear.

Fifty eight years later, Ariana’s parents received a call from Pastor Dean who had been a huge support to the family ever since the incident and he always called them to talk about and grieve Ariana. They headed over to the Pastor ‘s home. He was now 88 years old. They enter and sit at his coffee table and his next words chilled them to the core. ” Your daughter was a very pretty child; that night I saw her leave her room and I chased after her into the woods. I tried to have my way with her but she screamed too loudly. I did what I had to do to save my name. I am truly sorry”.

Story by Nakita Sequeira, daughter of Natasha.

Pic credit: Meghan Hessler- Unsplash

* Based on a true story


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