A week before Michaela was kidnapped I woke up early. It was about 5:30, still dark outside, and I was surprised to find Michaela sitting at the coffee table in the living room, with a piece of paper and a pencil in front of her.
“Mom,” she said, holding the paper out to me, “I wrote a poem. Do you want to read it?” Of course I did. I took the page from her, read it. I put down the baby I was holding and sat down. This was an astounding poem for a nine-year old girl to have written:
The people knock on doors of steel
The people knock, the people kneel
They think of things that aren’t real
Outside those doors of steel
The people walk, the people know
That outside those doors, the people know
The people think that you may say
The people think that they, too, may
They lack the confidence you have
They think it’s real,
The dreams you have,
The dreams they feel
Michaela went on to explain to me that she’d been awakened by noises in our attic. She said that there were people who had been kidnapped, who were being held captive in our attic. “You know,” she said, “like in the movie The Peanut Butter Solution.” She was referring to a children’s movie which was about a crazy artist who kidnapped people and used a peanut butter solution to make their hair grow quickly. He then cut off their hair and used it to make magic paintbrushes which painted pictures that came to life, that you could actually walk into.
As impressed as I was with this poem, I was also just a little concerned about it as well. It just didn’t seem like something that would come from a nine-year old. Over the course of the next few days, I kept probing bit by bit to try to find out more about it. At one point I asked Michaela if she was one of the people behind the doors of steel. “No, mom,” she said smiling easily, “I am not one of the people behind the doors of steel.”
A week later, though, she did become one of the people who had been kidnapped, and I think yes, one of the people behind the doors of steel. In the years since Michaela has been gone, I have come to believe that this could be nothing less than a premonition of sorts. I have searched its words for clues as to what happened to Michaela, but I have yet to put that puzzle together. The only thing I keep coming back to is that she said it was about people who had been kidnapped and were being held captive. She didn’t say it was about people who had been murdered. If this was a premonition, then, or a message that Michaela left behind, a clue, it would mean that she is still alive.