1 Prologue

It was dark not only outside but also in his room. The sound of keys tapping could be heard. He was so immersed in what he was doing that he didn't even bother to switch on the lights. Usually she came to him and bothered him. But today she was busy studying.

He had sat in front of the monitor for too long and that was his mistake. When he completed what he was doing and unknowingly stretched his back forcefully, he got the bitter fruit for his hard work of sitting that long. He was getting old and couldn't accept it easily. He groaned and got up, scolding himself for sitting too long.

He went out of the room and realized it was already night. He checked the time and it was almost eight. His wife still didn't return. She was coming home late these days. She was always tired and feeling down because of something. He was worried. He couldn't do anything but wait for her to say what was bothering her.

He went to the kitchen to prepare dinner. He was not as good at cooking as his wife, but still managed somehow. After he set the table, he went to call.

He knocked on the door and opened it when he got an answer.

There she was, his daughter sitting in the middle of books and with a frown on her face.

"Done?" he asked, chuckling looking at her state. "Not yet", she replied, annoyed.

"Come! Have dinner now and you can continue later"

"Mama came?"

"No"

"You prepared alone?", she made a face.

"As if you are better than me", he frowned. When her mama couldn't prepare, they used to prepare together and in matters of cooking, they both were the same. They always somehow made it good. But her papa cooked alone today as she couldn't bother with other things. She could only hope that it was edible.

"It's not bad", she said while eating.

"See", he said beaming. She frowned.

"You are not eating now?" she asked but before he could answer she said, "Waiting?" He nodded.

She completed her dinner and before she left, he said "Don't stay up late. You'll do well!"

She nodded and smiled.

"You'll forget everything if you don't sleep", he stressed. She turned back, made a face and left without replying. He could only sigh. 'She doesn't listen to me'

He was reading a book, waiting. He had got a message that she had left for home. He heard the door unlocking and saw her coming inside. She smiled at him but he could see that she was really tired. She came running and hugged him. He chuckled.

"Was today really bad?"

"Yeah"

"What happened?"

"I'm not really sure what I'm thinking is right. It's scary", she said in a low voice.

He hugged her tighter. "It'll be fine"

"Go and wash up. I'll heat the dishes"

She nodded and went inside.

When she came back, he was bringing everything to the table.

"Hans! I said so many times not to wait for me", she said, shaking her head.

He glanced at her but didn't reply.

"Did she eat?" she asked, pulling a chair.

"She would also wait if not for the exam"

"Yeah I miss eating together. After this, I think I can relax." Hans looked at her. She had a lot of things on her mind.

They started eating. She talked about what she was working on. Many people were disappearing. There was no clue of where they went. They would just be in their rooms and in the next moment, no trace of them. She said what she found out while looking for connections between disappeared people. Hans was shocked. He heard about this after so many years.

"So show me later. I'll try to find out who made it", he said while washing the dishes.

"Yes yes!! HackerTheGreat36"

He winced. That was his username when he was a teenager. She still brought it up even after so many years.

"It could be a coincidence also", he added.

"I'll go and see what she is doing", she went away laughing.

Hans shook his head. It seemed like a burden had been lifted off her back after talking about it. He smiled thinking about it. But smile left when he remembered what she had said. He needed to look into it before it was too late.

He was lost in his thoughts when he heard a shriek from his daughter's room.

"Mama!"

Hans quickly ran inside to see what happened. He didn't find his wife there but only his daughter with a pale face.

"What happened?" he asked, panicking.

"Mama.. was here… light…", she said, stammering.

She looked frightened. Her mother was just talking to her but now was not here.

He somewhat understood what had happened. It was already too late.

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