A female police officer and her team set out searching for a little girl who calls 911, reporting that her mother hasn’t woken up all day. Circumstances take a horrific turn when the officer barges into her house that evening. On that particular day, officers at the police station were busier than usual, investigating a murder. All the helplines were busy with calls routed to various emergencies from all over the city. Then, there was a strange call from a little girl.
« 911, what’s your emergency? » the dispatcher answered as an eerie silence sprawled in the background, followed by a loud wheezing sound on the receiver. « I’m hungry, mommy doesn’t wake up all day, » a little girl spoke as she burst into tears. « Where are you? » « I don’t know. Mommy told me to call 911 if I’m in trouble, » answered the girl, sounding terrified. The dispatcher then pressed the girl for more details about her location. « Calm down, and what’s your name? » « Maggie. » « Maggie, can you tell me your address? » After a grave silence, Maggie gave the dispatcher the address she lived at earlier, but she didn’t know where she currently was. « Maggie, can you tell me about your current location? Can you describe it? »
Although the little girl didn’t know the address, she was able to give the officer visual clues to her current location. « I can see big gray houses outside, there’s a big angry dog barking outside, there are trees and a broken gate outside. » « All right, Maggie, stay where you are, we’re sending help right away. » The details were then passed on to Officer Nancy and her team. They immediately left in search of the girl and arrived at the first address she’d given.
The cops marched to the address and looked around for details matching the girl’s description, but it turned out to be entirely different. Nancy knocked on the door, but nobody answered. She peeped into the glass window and saw it was dark and dusty inside, as if it had been unlived in for a very long time. Nancy then checked with the neighbors and learned that a family of three used to live there, a man, his wife, and a little girl named Maggie.
« Do you know where they are now? » Nancy asked. « No, officer, » a man told Nancy. « After Mr. Jakes died in an accident six months ago, his wife and daughter became very poor. The landlord kicked them out because they couldn’t pay rent. I don’t know their address, but I heard from a friend who’d seen them in an impoverished area 12 miles from here. » Nancy followed the clues and took off to that spot. It was getting darker, and to make things worse, the area was out of electricity.
« Hush, one second, » Nancy silenced a fellow officer after hearing a faint sound of a dog barking somewhere quite far from their spawn. She recalled Maggie mentioning a dog that constantly kept barking near her whereabouts. « That might be it. Let’s go that way, » Nancy instructed her team to follow her and arrived at a small shabby house. Nancy turned on the flashlight to get a clear view and noticed a silhouette of someone near the window.
She looked closely and saw a little girl crying and waving for help. A stray dog was constantly barking outside and charged towards the cops. Nancy quickly picked up a pebble and hurled it at the dog, scaring it away. Then she kicked the door open and entered the house, guessing little about what else was inside. « Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay, don’t cry, » Nancy comforted Maggie, who ran to her crying. The girl looked starved, « I’m hungry, mommy’s not waking up all day, » she kept chanting repeatedly.
Nancy carried Maggie outside and put her in the car. « Please give her some biscuits, I’ll be right back, » she told her team and went back inside to check where Maggie’s mother was. She searched for the woman in every nook and corner of the house but couldn’t find her. As Nancy kept looking, she found a doorway to a basement. She walked in and found Maggie’s mother lying unconscious on the floor.
Nancy raced to the scene and touched the woman to awaken her, only to feel her cold body. Maggie’s mother was dead. Officers rushed in, and Nancy immediately alerted medics and social services. Moments later, an ambulance arrived and took the woman’s body for an autopsy. Nancy wondered how to disclose the news to Maggie because she’d been thinking her mom was sleeping. « How do I tell her her mother’s dead? » Nancy wondered. « Mommy, were they taking my mommy? » Maggie ran after the ambulance. Nancy stopped and held her tight, trying to comfort her. « Sweetie, mommy will be fine. Be a good girl and listen to what I say. »
« No, I want to go to mommy, leave me! » Maggie began to cry, clutching her little teddy bear. When social services arrived moments later, they told Nancy that the girl would be sent to a foster home. For some reason, the cop didn’t like the idea and it hurt her to think about the impact it would make on five-year-old Maggie when she learned her mom was dead. « No, I’ll take the child home tonight. She has to clean up, eat, and calm down. I’ll bring her to the shelter tomorrow, » Nancy insisted.
That night, Nancy took Maggie to her home. « My God, darling, who is this? » Jacob, Nancy’s husband, was stunned when he answered the door and saw Nancy holding an asleep Maggie in her arms. « I’ll tell you everything, honey, but not now. I’m tired. Can we eat first? » Nancy narrated everything to Jacob later that night. « We’re yet to find out how she died. Does the girl know? » Jacob asked. « No, I don’t know how to tell her. She still thinks her mother’s fine in the hospital. Her heart will break when she comes to know the truth, poor thing. »
« But how long do we keep her with us? » Jacob asked. That night, a strange idea struck Nancy. After Maggie fell asleep, she said, « Darling, I was thinking, why don’t we adopt Maggie? We’ve been trying for a baby for a really long time. I don’t know what’s wrong with my body; the tests are fine, no complications, but I can’t conceive. » As it turned out, Nancy and Jacob couldn’t conceive for several years. They tried every method to have babies, but to no avail. At some point, Nancy had even given up on the idea of becoming a mother and began focusing entirely on her career. She was exhausted and constantly in low spirits, assuming she could never bear a child.
« Look at her; she’s a little angel who needs parental love and support. She’ll be put up for adoption, and some random couple will adopt her. Why don’t we take her in? She’s such a beautiful little miracle, what do you think? » Jacob reflected on Nancy’s words as he looked at Maggie, who was fast asleep between them. He felt their innocence and presence abolish the hollow in their lives and realized that this was the joy he’d craved all his life. It didn’t.