Themed Short Story Collection
Have you ever wondered why people go missing? Sometimes it’s complicated and sometimes people are in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Five fictional short stories set in three different countries, Scotland, England, and America. We meet Amanda, whose secret has just been discovered; Ellie searching for her missing brother, Marina found dead and Michelle still missing. The final story set in a small American town where Mary-Jo has gone missing.
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“It’s you, isn’t it?” said Jamie staring at the television set on the top floor of the Glengower Hotel where Amanda worked.
She had been reading a book on wild birds and looked up. Her face filled the screen and she gasped.
“It is you,” Jamie said again.
“Yes,” she said in a shaky voice. She had dreaded this moment.
The television programme had just started and featured other people who were missing and flashed up their photographs.
Jamie was beside himself. “You ran away from home?”
“Yes,” she admitted, “Five years ago.” Her stomach was churning.
She covered her mouth with her hand realising her secret was out. She always knew this day would come, but not now, not when she was with Jamie.
She cleared her throat. She had to tell him something. “Things became difficult at home, so I left.
“You look so different there.”
“All the walking I do means I lost weight and I dropped my northern accent.”
“You just left?” There was confusion on his face. He obviously thought he knew her.
“No, I didn’t just leave. I gave it a lot of thought.”
“Now I come think about it, you’ve never mentioned a family.”
“Because we don’t really know each other, do we, Jamie? I’ve only known you while you’re working here.”
Suddenly, the presenter was talking about her again and their attention was drawn back to the television.
“When Mandy and her twin brother Aaron were eight -”
“You’ve got a twin?” Jamie gasped.
“ – they were travelling in the car that killed their parents. At home there was David who was eighteen and Scott, fifteen. David wanted to raise the children himself, he said he didn’t want his family to be split up. So with the help of Social Services he kept them together, a very commendable and brave thing to do for such a young lad. David, why do you think Mandy might have left?”
The camera panned over to her brother and Amanda leaned forward to stare. He looked older, different and his hair was shorter now.
“We don’t know. We think it had something do with me taking up with her friend Julie. She thought the age difference was too much. Neither Scott nor Aaron had argued with her, in fact she and Aaron were always very close.”
The camera panned over to Scott and Aaron. Tears welled up in Amanda’s eyes and Jamie rubbed her back sympathetically.
“Scott and I rowed all the time,” she said, “I don’t think we were even speaking when I left.”
“Mandy, if you are watching, please, please get in touch with us. Just let us know you’re all right.”
“Yes,” said the presenter, “If you have seen any one of the missing people shown tonight, please ring the number on your screen now.”
The shock of seeing her family again made her emotional. She had never cried, not since she learned to keep her emotions inside during those early days when she lived on the streets.
Amanda stood up, “Please go, Jamie. I want to be on my own. I need time to think.”
“No,” he said. “I’m not going any where. I keep telling you that. I want to be with you, I want to help.”
She bowed her head, overwhelmed. She hadn’t had a true friend before, not since, well, not since she left home. He took her into his arms and it felt good having someone who cared.
Jamie made them both a cup of tea and slowly she began to talk.
“I lived on the streets of Manchester for while and mixed with people who cared for no one except themselves. They lived for their next fix or drink.”
“How did you get away from there?”
“I’d woken from a drug filled sleep in squat and there was a man leering at me. I knew what he wanted. I could see it in his eyes.”
Jamie was shaking his head, “Oh Amanda, my love. I can’t bear the thought. He didn’t touch you, did he?”
“No. It was like a defining moment, though. I was about to become a statistic. I got up and ran, because I saw my mother looking down on me and I felt ashamed. This was not what she wanted for me and it was not what David had fought so hard for.”
“But you didn’t go home?”
“It wasn’t an option. David was my substitute father and I caught him and my best friend, Julie, together. They said they were in love, how could they be?