Only the Strongest Survive
whether he had only imagined
it or really did see a finger on her right hand move. Frozen with
astonishment he stared at her with his mouth open. He came closer,
wanting to touch her but at the thought that perhaps she really was
dead, he couldn’t do it.
just imagine d it. It’s
impossible that she’s still alive, he
told himself with a slight smile that soon vanished. He bent over
to lift her, but something kept stopping him from touching her. Not
knowing what to do, he stared at her and kept swallowing
    H e looked at her abdomen. He had
a feeling it was moving but couldn’t believe it. Maybe she really is breathing. Gathering his courage, he moved closer. As if
she were contagious, he touched her carefully … only to feel a
slight twitch in her finger. A shallow exhalation came from her
    “ Emely!” he
shouted in joy , and put her hand into
his. In spite of her dirty face he suddenly found her unbelievably
twitch in her finger. Now he was certain there was still life in
her. He kissed her forehead, face, and her lips. Then he hugged
her. “The bitch is alive, she’s alive.”

    Two days after Emely’s disappearance, there was
still no trace of her. No one called, no one demanded a ransom.
Everyone at Donnovan Corporation was getting increasingly
    At a meeting
late in the afternoon, Blake Crouse said ,
“I think it’s time we told the public about her disappearance. Some
newspapers have already written about it. We’ve waited to make a
statement, but I think there’s no point anymore.”
    “ Shouldn’t we
wait a little longer?” Alexandra asked ,
arranging her black hair that was reflecting sunlight.
    “ No. I spoke
to I nspector Benotti and she confirmed my
conclusion that something serious must have happened to Emely. It’s
not a kidnapping. If it was, they would’ve already asked for
    “ What else
could have happened?” Tim Guan, the human resources manager, said.
He was an older man with timid eyes and thin lips.
    “ I don’t
know,” Blake said, putting both hands on
the table and looking down.
    “ Perhaps
she ’s lost her memory?”
    “Perhaps, but in any case it would make sense
to inform the public. That way we could maybe get some information
about her.”
said, “What if it’s murder?”
    Everyone in
the meeting room stirred and expressed
their indignation over such a question.
    “ We can’t
exclude the possibility,” Blake said, first nodding at Alexandra
and then looking around at the board members. “I put the same
question to the police. They told me that any conclusions were
premature. For now, they have no evidence. It’s as if she’s
vanished off the face of the earth. That’s why we’ve been asked to
inform the public. They might be able to provide important
information, tips. For example, they don’t know what happened on
the highway where her car was found.”
excitement had not yet died down. People
were whispering questions and comments to each other.
said, “Who could have done
    “ L isten, no one is saying it’s
murder. Don’t jump to conclusions. There are other
    Everyone turned their attention
to Blake.
    “ Inspector
Benotti explained to us that sometimes rich people simply
disappear. They decide to commit suicide,
in a way.”
    “What?” Alexandra said.
    “ Not in the
normal sense of the word. People are alive , but disappear from their normal life.” Blake watched the
surprised faces. “I see I’ve made things too complicated. Perhaps
Emely wasn’t happy. Maybe she was fed up with the life she had.
Maybe she wanted a change.”
    “ And she
simply disappeared?” Alexandra
asked , “But why would she do something
like that?”
    “It’s hard to say. It’s an escape into the
unknown. Maybe Emely wanted a normal life.”
noise erupted in the

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