eslie crouched on the dusty floor as her father climbed the ladder up to the attic. The old wooden ladder groaned and creaked in a way that Leslie found alarming. She could hardly believe that her dad was about join her in her escapade. What was the world coming to?

Was she in trouble after all? Would he yell at her once he topped the ladder? This was fun.

With a little thud he plopped down beside here, raising a cloud of dust.

"I never knew this was here."

"You never saw this before?"

"Nope. I've been staying in this flat for years and I never noticed it."

"Me neither."

"What did you say you were doing up here again?"

"Um... Checking the roof for leaks?"

"I guess I should be mad at you, shouldn't I?"

She suddenly flung her arms around his neck.

"I love you, Daddy."

Despite appearance, there was no pretense in this spontaneous display. He sensed this and said, "Why do you say that?"

"You climbed up the ladder with me. That's so cool."

He hugged her back.

"I love you too, sweetie."

They held each other, there in the attic, as the rain drummed the roof. But for each of them, the moment was stained with a growing doubt. Would their family be complete again? Would she return safely? Was she all right?

"You know what?"


"It's getting dark and I'm hungry."

"But we just got started."

"No, no. You stay put and I'll be right back with some supplies."

1995 Hyperbole Studios Inc.