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Literature / Little Girl Lost

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"Little Girl Lost" is a short story written by Richard Matheson in 1953, inspired by his own terrifying experience of hearing his daughter cry and not being able to find her.

In the story, Chris and Ruth find themselves awakened in the middle of the night by the cries of their daughter Tina. Tina sleeps on the pull out couch in the family's one bedroom apartment. However she's not anywhere to be seen but can be heard. The family dog Mack knows something is wrong. Chris ends up calling a friend from CalTech named Bill who theorizes Tina may have fallen into the fourth dimension. When Bill turns out to be right, Chris goes through the portal to save Tina.


Most famous for being adapted into an episode of The Twilight Zone (1959). See The Twilight Zone S 3 E 91 Little Girl Lost for that.

Tropes Included:

  • Another Dimension: Tina falls into a passage from the third into the fourth dimension.
  • Damsel in Distress: Tina Miller, who fell out of her bed and into a portal. Justified in that she's a child, and she has no idea where she is.
  • Evil-Detecting Dog: The family dog Mack starts barking after Tina vanishes. When he's let inside, Mack runs under the couch and finds her in the fifth dimension.
  • Heroic Dog: Mack leads Tina back to her father, so that they all escape the fourth dimension.
  • Luck-Based Search Technique: Chris manages to fall into the fourth dimension himself mid-sentence by sheer dumb luck.
  • Missing Child: Your child wakes you up crying in the night, and you go to comfort her, only to find her missing. You check under the couch, but she's not there, and you hear her crying. Ruth becomes hysterical when she hears Tina crying for her. (This actually happened to the writer Richard Matheson and his wife, only they did find their daughter had rolled under the bed.)
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  • Tuckerization: Ruth and Tina named after Richard Matheson's wife and daughter.
  • Who You Gonna Call?: While more in the dimensional sense than the ghost sense, here Chris calls his engineer friend Bill.