Emily was already gone. Casper could sense it before his cell even rang.
"I told you, you shouldn't go alone," he said to her immediately before she had a chance to say anything. "You promised."
"I guess I didn't know," she sounded confused. There was a bit of static. Voices muffled. "I'll be all right."
"You didn't leave a note," Casper swallowed back tears. "You didn't even tell your mother. Why can't you talk to her?" He was in his room alone. Had she known how so alone he'd be this Christmas? He didn't mean to be selfish, but he just thought of her more than this. A passing moment.
"I'm sorry, its better this way," Emily said.
"No." Casper shook his head. Tears streamed down his face. "It isn't. Its not better. You don't need this. You have better things to do than chase something down in the past. You know that. I know you know this is true."
"Stop telling me this," Emily sighed. "I have to. I just do. And I'll call you. I will."
"You have to call home," Casper said. "Promise?"
She hung up on him then.
Casper direct dialed Emily's house then. He hoped her mother would answer. She did.
"Emily is gone." He just said.
"No, she's at work," her mother made it sound that he was wrong. He couldn't possibly be right.
Casper set down then and wondered where he'd start with all this. And if he did, would she even believe him.