The boy looked up quite cheerfully at his father's arrival and responded by running up to him and hugging him. Upon doing so, he had said in an excited tone:
"Daddy, Daddy! Look at this drawing of Keith that I drew!"
The father took the paper from the boy's gentle hands and viewed the drawing. Keith was their two year old cat, whom was adopted into the family not too long ago after the departure of the boy's mother.
"My... who taught you how to draw so well son?" the father said, praising his son.
The boy grinned and replied in quite a proud tone "Doodle did!" The father smiled and replied, "So, who is this Doodle? Is he a friend?"
Assuming it was an imaginary friend his son had made up.
The boy smiled and replied, "Yeah, we're best friends! And he told me to draw Keith since he thought I'd be a good drawer!"
The father patted his head lightly and said, "Okay son, I'll be in my room if you need me okay?"
The boy nodded happily, and made his way back to the rug where he had drawn and kept his papers. The father arrived at his room, and collapsed onto the bed while exhaling. He had worked so hard these last few weeks, and was beginning to grow tired. His body began to feel numbed and relaxed as he slowly drifted to sleep. The father had awoken to realize that he had been a sleep for nearly five hours. He had awoken at eight thirty, and thought that his son would be hungry.
He walked down stairs to check on his son, and see if everything was alright. He was greeted by the babysitter playing with the boy on the rug in front of the television. He realized that the babysitter had cooked for the boy, and was very thankful. He walked over to her and said in a thankful tone, "Thank you Casey, but you didn't have to stay so late... it's almost past your curfew."
Casey looked up and she replied, "Don't worry about it Mr. Evans, It's my pleasure."
Mr. Evans smiled and replied, "Boy am I lucky to have a babysitter like you..."
They both laughed.
She stood from the rug and went to the coat hanger to retrieve her leather coat. As she opened the front door, the boy ran up to her and handed her a piece of paper. She looked at it and gasped in quite an excited tone, "Oh, is this me?"
The boy humbly smiled and replied, "Yes, Doodle said you looked real pretty and said that I should draw you."
Casey smiled and patted the boys shoulder and said "Thank you Dalton, I'll take good care of it." before walking out of the house.
Mr. Evans walked towards the couch and sat comfortably in front of the television. Dalton gingerly walked towards his father, and sat closely next to him. He then continued by saying, "Daddy? I'm worried about Keith... He hasn't been around lately..."
Now that Mr. Evans thought about it, he hasn't seen Keith walk up to him and start following him around for food like he usually did at dinner time. He dismissed it as Keith probably sleeping under his bed or something.
"Don't worry about it son, he's probably sleeping under my bed or something."
After watching two episodes of SpongeBob, Dalton finally fell asleep. Mr. Evans carried him upstairs to his room. He placed him in his bed and tucked him in. He yawned and made his way towards his bedroom and fell onto his bed again. He still felt pretty tired, and did not find difficulty falling asleep.
The alarm clock went off with the usual irritating beep. Mr. Evans leaned forward and eventually found it in himself to stand. He made his way into the restroom and began to dress into his suit. Upon finishing, he made his way to the kitchen and turned on the TV for the morning news. The newsman continued to talk as he poured himself a cup of coffee. His attention returned to the TV as the following words were mentioned through the TV.
The anchorman continued, "In other news, a local seven-teen year old girl by the name of Casey Wainwright was reported missing last night. Her whereabouts are unknown and she was last sighted on her way home last night. If you see her or hear anything of her, please call this number." Mr. Evans was left speechless, and placed his coffee gently on the table.
'I guess I'll have to take Dalton to work with me...' he thought.
He walked upstairs and woke Dalton up, dressed him and they both walked to the car. The drive to his office was a long and silent one. Dalton seemed to be entranced, or staring at something that appeared to be right next to him. He had brought his crayons and his notebook with him in-case he ever got bored, and fiddled with the crayon as he stared ominously into the seat next to him. Upon arriving, they entered the building and took the elevator to his office.
Upon arriving to the floor, he dropped Dalton off at a daycare the building had for busy parents. Dalton reluctantly entered, and took the lonely corner of the room. He began to speak to doodle, and quickly got noticed. A boy that appeared to be seven and slightly overweight walked over to Dalton. Every kid seemed to fear him, and handed him all the toys he wanted, whenever he wanted.
"Hey kid, who are you talking to?" the boy asked.
Dalton looked up and replied, "Doodle, he's my friend."
The boy laughed and replied, "Doodle? What kind of name is that? Is he your dumb imaginary friend?"
Dalton became slightly offended, and replied, "Yes, he is my imaginary friend, and he isn't dumb."
The boy continued to place a devious smirk and replied, "Why do you have an imaginary friend? Is it cause you're too stupid to find real ones?" Dalton became annoyed and replied in a fairly rude tone:
"Well at least he isn't a fat ugly meanie like you!"
The other children began to laugh and point at the boy; some even agreed that he was fat. The boy grabbed Dalton by the collar and said, "You'll regret that you swine!"
An old man approached the two and broke them apart. The old man said, "Jimmy, you know better than to pick on kids that are younger than you, go to the other side of the room and leave him alone." Quite sternly.
Jimmy stormed off to the other side of the room and played with his share of toys. The old man turned to face Dalton and gave a sincere smile. "Are you alright young man?" the old man asked.
Dalton grinned and replied, "Yes, thank you for the help mister!"
The old man spent a few more minutes talking to Dalton, before finally walking back to the bench he sat on before the fight had emerged. He appeared to be one of the caretakers of the daycare.
Dalton's face lit up, and responded, "You're right Doodle... I should draw them too, maybe Jimmy will forgive me if I give him a drawing..."
'I never meant to be mean...' Dalton thought quite innocently. He returned to his corner and began to draw.
Mr. Evans finally finished his meeting and went to retrieve his son from the daycare. They both went down to the first floor and entered the car quietly. They drove to the nearest McDonalds and ordered to go, since Mr. Evans didn't really feel like eating in the restaurant. He didn't even feel hungry; all that he felt was nothing but exhaustion. The past weeks had been difficult at work. Upon returning home, Dalton showed him the pictures.
"Look daddy, I drew this nice old man and this one kid that I met at the daycare today!" Dalton said as he handed to papers to his father quite eagerly. The father viewed the pictures and pretended to be intrigued. He was not at a mood to fool around nor was he in a good mood for that matter, and simply wanted to go straight to bed.
"Dad, I think Doodle is hungry." Dalton said.
Mr. Evans turned and replied, "Doodle doesn't need to eat son."
Dalton replied, "Why not?"
Mr. Evans replied, "Because, he doesn't need to."
Dalton replied, "Why doesn't he need to?"
Mr. Evans became impatient and was in no mood to be asked such ridiculous questions.
He replied, "Because Doodle isn't real son, he's a fake, grow up."
Dalton nodded and had a discouraged expression. He could tell his father was stressed, and thought it would be best to listen to him. However, he thought that Doodle would be quite offended to his father's remark. Dalton was always quite obedient, and his father had told him that after dinner, he'd have ten minutes of play time before going to sleep. Mr. Evans walked up the stairs and thought, 'Where is that damn cat? He's been hiding for almost two days... you'd think he'd already be out here begging for food...'
He went to his room and immediately fell asleep. Upon waking in the morning, he continued to do the same as he always did. He went to the kitchen and served his cup of coffee as the news played on the television. The anchorman continued:
"The town is on high alert since two more people have been reported missing. Local senior citizen Jonathan Marks, better known as 'Jonny' and seven year old Jimmy Clark were reported missing this morning. Their whereabouts are also unknown, and it is believed to be linked with Casey's disappearance due to the similar evidence and circumstances. Please report any suspicious activity or any sightings of them to the police department."
Mr. Evans was quite concerned. He did not have work today, but still got up in the morning to see the news and maybe go out for a jog. However, with news of abductions and such, he could not leave Dalton behind. He decided that after the news, he'd go back to sleep. He walked up the stairs and went to sleep, but as he slowly drifted off, he could swear he could hear Dalton laughing in the other room.
'It doesn't matter' he thought to himself.
'He's probably just playing around...' he told himself as he fell asleep.
Mr. Evans awoke with a migraine, and an urge to vomit. He felt light headed, and felt very numb, almost out of body. He heard laughing downstairs and noticed it was almost night time. He walked downstairs and noticed that he was drawing again. He warily walked over to him. Something felt terribly wrong, and he felt so light. Almost as if he was as light as air. He had this feeling of not being there or at least in a physical form. He started hearing strange voices as he approached his son, and felt his body begin to numb.
He grabbed Dalton's shoulder and asked, "Dalton? What are you doing?"
Dalton turned happily and showed him another drawing.
"Look Daddy! I drew you! Doodle said that it would be a great gift to make you feel better!" He said excitedly.
Mr. Evans began to feel cold spikes pinch every part of his body, and his vision began to go black. There was a silence, and Dalton placed a puzzled look.
"Dad? Daddy... where did you go?"