Missing People

Like many others, I enjoy a good mystery. Stories where you need to know what happens next. Tales that pique your curiosity and keep you turning the page to get to the end.

Over the years, I’ve found missing people intriguing. Why did they disappear in the first place? Was it an accident or something more sinister? Is there a happy ending or does it end in tragedy? Also, just as importantly, how does it effect those left behind?

Screen Shot 2019-07-01 at 16.42.56

Before I thought about becoming a published author, many of the stories I’d written over the years involved this mystery.

Did you know there are 300,000 people reported missing each year? That works out at almost 900 a day.

The first high profile case I recall was that of Lord Lucan in 1974. His wife claimed her husband had attacked her, and murdered their nanny. The police investigated, but Lord Lucan was never found and to this day it remains a mystery. You can read the full story here.

Journalist Amelia Hill wrote a fascinating article in the Guardian in 2012 about a girl who became pregnant. Her boyfriend didn’t want to know and her parents told her to get an abortion. She felt she had no option but to run away. She had her baby, but says her life had been a lie ever since.

As part of my research I went onto the missing person’s website. There were many stories about people who had disappeared, and those left behind. One mum showed the bedroom of her son left just as it was in 2006 when he disappeared. The torment she must live with wondering whether he is still alive is hard to imagine.

Another high profile case was that of estate agent Suzy Lamplugh who disappeared in 1985. An attractive young woman who had penciled in her diary she was meeting a Mr Kipper. She was never seen again, her remains never found, and they didn’t traced Mr Kipper. As a result estate agents changed the way they worked and Suzy’s mother founded a Trust in the name of her daughter dealing with personal safety.

Not all cases are as high profile, and in 2012 an appeal was launched for a missing woman who had not long given birth. She was already suffering from anxiety and depression. It could have gone either way and for a few days, everyone lived in hope until they found her body.

Madeline McCann is one of the most famous and still talked about cases. In 2007, the four-year-old girl was abducted while on holiday with her family. She was a beautiful little thing with blonde hair and big blue eyes. She captured everyone’s hearts. Despite a massive investigation and search. The police had no viable leads and no trace of her was ever found. It’s a tragedy and like many others, we all hope one day the truth will emerge.

There are many more stories with no conclusions offered and it’s frustrating not to have an end. I’ve always wondered what makes people want to disappear in the first place. What are their stories?

 

One day watching a television programme that searches for missing people, it gave me an an idea for a story. What if you were the missing person, and suddenly your face appeared on screen? The secret you had been trying to keep was now out

Screen Shot 2019-03-05 at 17.25.18

Found! tells the story of Amanda, who had problems with her brothers. She takes off to Scotland and creates a new life for herself. When she and her boyfriend are watching television, it is her face that comes up onscreen and Jamie, her boyfriend is shocked by what he hears.

The people left behind don’t always know the reasons their loved ones leave. It affects them in difference ways and many suffer for years. So in this story, I’ve included the bewildered family and how they coped with her disappearance.

As mentioned before, some stories do not have ending and we are not always given that neatly wrapped up conclusion. With Found! I wanted to round it up and conclude it, so get your tissues ready for an sweet ending!

Found! is also available on Kindle Unlimited.

Teaser 1

 

Missing!

by Karen J Mossman

 

It's been a while since I posted a short story, so this one I wrote a
few years ago. If you have a story you would like to feature here, 
get on contact, I would love to feature you.

 

handcuffs-2102488_1280Nick was about to put the key in his door when the cops turned up.

Charlie was called to the foreman’s office and asked to accompany them to the station.

Marie, Charlie’s girlfriend, was working on reception when they came for her.  Russ tried to dodge them which didn’t go down well. Wasn’t he the one who told Michelle he would kill her?

“I didn’t!” Russ frowned.

Her friends said she had been depressed lately. Was it true?

“Yeah, she was a little down.” Nick remembered.

What was her relationship with Russ like?

“Stormy.” Charlie had found her crying.

What was she like the last time you saw her? They asked Nick.

“Quiet, tense, like. I asked her what was wrong and she told me to mind me own business. I heard her cryin’ in the night. She was gone when I got up.”

They asked Russ the same question. What was she like when you saw her last?

“Sulky,” he scowled.

Charlie shrugged. “She wanted money to feed her ‘abit.”

She was a user?

“What?” Nick was indignant. “Bullshit!”

Marie chewed her nails. “I thought she was, but she swore she never touched the stuff.  Russ had the habit. They had a one sided relationship, y’know?”  She said referring to Russ and Michelle.

Nick pulled a face, “She was besotted with Russ. He was bad news. She knew it, deep down, like. But try telling her anything….”

Charlie lit a cigarette. “I think she was scared of him. I think he had some kind of hold on her.”

They felt one of them wasn’t telling the truth. The brother? The ex? The boyfriend? The flatmate?

What about home life, parents?

Nick shrugged. “She and dad were always arguing.”

About?

“Boyfriends, I suppose. She always picked the dregs, y’know?  Wrong sorts for a girl like her, that’s what dad used to say, anyway.”

Like who?

“Ones with problems, trouble makers, ones who had been in trouble with you lot, know what I mean?”

What did you think about Michelle, Marie?

“I didn’t like her much, but what could I do?  Nick was Charlie’s mate.  His sister and Charlie, well, it’s over now. Least Charlie says it is.”

And was it over?

Staring at the table Marie followed the white cup rings with her eyes, gauging how much to tell them. “I think she was coming onto Charlie.”

Charlie looked away.  “No. It was over.”

They left his word to hang in the air, compelling him to say more. Instead he reached for another cigarette. Taking a long drag he blew smoke towards them. Playing for time, they’d seen it before. They waited.

“No,” he said again.

He was lying.

They were playing it softly, but in interrogation room 3, the air was blue. Russ wasn’t having that. “Me and Shell, we were like that.” He crossed his fingers.

Softly, softly was getting nowhere. It was time to go in for the kill.

Marie looked horrified.  “I didn’t kill her, I didn’t.”  She was tired, nerves spent.  “I was sick of her coming on to Charlie. He’s mine now, mine, not hers, not any more.”

They accused her again.

“I didn’t kill her, we argued that’s all.”

Charlie put out his cigarette and reached for yet another. “Course she liked me, we’ve been friends a long time. She didn’t want to let go. Wanted to get back together, but I’ve got Marie now.”

Nick looked at them, “Bullshit!  We didn’t row about Charlie. She wasn’t after him. Who told you that?  When I asked her what’s wrong, she told me to mind me own business.”  He shrugged.  “I went out; left her to it. When I came back I heard her cryin’, but I didn’t go in, I mean, it ain’t the first, like. She gets mixed up in things.”

They were interrupted then as formal identification of a body was required. As next of kin, Nick would have to do it.

Afterwards he sat with his head in his hands. It was a shock. He had never seen a dead body before.

They explained it was time to come clean.

Marie burst into tears. “I hit her, we fought, but she left, she left afterwards, honest she did, honest.”

Russ went ape, he threw back the chair and kicked at the table. It took five of them to restrain him.

As they locked the cell door, one said dryly, “I think he’s upset.”

“Or guilty,” said the other.

Charlie clenched his jaw and balled his fists, but apart from that he showed little emotion. It was an odd reaction for someone who was once in love with her. Or perhaps he still was.

Nick was relieved when they let him go. Whoever that body was, it didn’t belong to his sister. So where was she?  Where was Michelle?

“I dunno,” said Charlie. “Why would I know?  She didn’t come to me. I’m not her keeper. Why would I know?”

If Marie was relieved, she showed no sign.  “Ask Russ, my guess is she told him about her feelings for Charlie. Or he found out or, maybe she got her comeuppance another way.”

Russ fixed his gaze somewhere above their heads. “You put me through that, and it weren’t even her. Bastards.”

They told him what they thought, too.

“No,” he yelled. “There was no relationship with Charlie. All right, so I shouldn’t have accused her. I was jealous, see. Come on, man, why would I kill her?  She was the one who got me off the stuff. I’m clean now.”  He banged his fist down on the table. “It’s him, Charlie, I know it’s him. He’s the one who couldn’t let go; couldn’t accept she loves me now.” He put his head in his hands and groaned.

It looked like they’d have to let them all go, until there was a body that is, or new evidence. Maybe Michelle wanted to disappear. Russ was perhaps one more lame dog she’d helped. And Charlie, well he had Marie now. Perhaps she did want him back, or maybe it was the other way round. Marie was jealous, and Nick, well Nick had probably seen it all before.