By Christian Fuller, ’23
“The day started normally. I swear I did nothing to her!”
The police were at my house questioning me about a mysterious disappearance. They had been here for only five minutes now but they had already swept through my bedroom, the basement, and the garage. I think they were looking for something… or someone. They had asked me if they could ask a few questions and of course I said yes. I didn’t want to seem suspicious. Even then, all I could think about was how this is happening.
Policemen were yelling, her parents were at our house crying and my parents had that worried look on their faces whenever I would stay out too late with friends.
“When did you see her last?’’ a female officer asked me. By the looks of it, she was the captain. Nice badge, dark navy blue suit and one of those hats with the gold badge saying police on them.
“I saw her Friday morning at the bus stop like I have for the past eighteen years,” I replied, looking off into the distance, thoughts racing through my head.
Then she came with another question but I didn’t hear it. I had zoned out staring out the window at her house behind mine, hoping to see her behind the sliding glass doors on her porch.
“Hey, I asked you a question… What are you looking at?” The police lady spun around on our living room couch and attempted to see what I saw. I immediately snapped out of my trance, knowing that I had to pay attention. I was their best lead on finding the missing girl.
“I’m going to ask again, what does she look like and what was she wearing?”
I was getting a little annoyed now. Why couldn’t they be asking her parents who were in the house with us? Surely they knew what she looked like. I was supposed to be in school by now learning about why Shakespeare did this and why he didn’t do that. I was a little glad to be sitting at home being interrogated by the police. English is incredibly boring. I looked down at my twiddling thumbs, unaware I was even doing it and tried to think. I had had a crush on this girl since about fifth grade and never mustered the strength to tell her.
“Ok. Well her name is Alise. She has long brown hair with some blonde streaks. It’s about a quarter down her back. And it’s tangled…” I started to trail off, picturing her in my mind, hoping that one day I would ask her out… if she ever came back. The officer clearing her throat got me back to thinking. “Her eyes are brown. But her pupils are big and they look black. She has big eyes and she says she doesn’t like them but I love them. They are beautiful.” I trailed off again but quickly came back after realizing what I had said. “But you didn’t need to know that. Anyways, she is also short. About this tall,” I said while standing up and motioning with my hand. “She was last wearing some skinny jeans and a dark green blouse. Like a pine green, dark. She had her normal black sneakers with the little gold Nike swoosh on them. She also had her light baby blue winter coat on.” As I was saying all of this, a sketch artist was scribbling frantically as I was talking.
All I could think about was how good of a thing it was that I like her. I had seen her every single day since kindergarten and I had always studied her at the bus stop in awe. She was one of those people that never missed a day of school. She was somehow never sick and she didn’t take any vacations. It was incredibly peculiar that she wasn’t here today and it honestly scared me.
It was a couple of hours later before the police finally left our house to go file the official report on the missing person. At that moment, I got an amber alert and I was surprised. I should have known.
Alise’s parents were still here and my parents were comforting them, attempting to convince them that it was all going to be alright and that we were going to find her. It was around Christmas time and I’m sure they couldn’t bear the thought of Alise not being there. When they eventually left, sniffling out the door back to their house, my parents told me that I didn’t have to go to school today. They said it was “in case the police came back for more questioning.” As I was walking away, I heard them say something and that’s what spun my entire world around and launched me into doing what I did. They were whispering to each other that her parents seemed almost… happy.
I casually went to the basement, trying my hardest to make it seem as if I heard nothing and I was just going to play some video games or something. As I rounded the corner on the landing of the stairs, I jumped down the rest and immediately started planning an idea. The idea.
I knew my parents both had to go to work at around 1:30 as they were both doctors working the afternoon to night shift. I also knew that Alise’s parents left at around noon for a family therapy class and I was certain that they would be there a little longer with all that’s happening. That gave me an hour and a half to get completely ready. At 1:35 when my parents were around the corner and unseen, and her parents had been gone for a while, I would sneak over to Alise’s house and somehow get into her house. I knew where they kept the key to the back slider door. I’d then look for anything. Clues, things out of place. They were very neat with their house and where everything was. I would definitely bring my phone for photos and in case I needed to call anyone like the police.
It was only 10:30 so I did kill some time by playing my Star Wars game and making it seem like that’s all I was doing. You know, screaming at the “unfair” game and occasionally yelling “For the Republic!” as the Galactic Republic. Normal stuff. That went on for around two and a half hours and for the last half an hour I ate lunch and made it look like a normal weekend day. I did some work just so I wasn’t too behind.
At precisely 1:30 my parents kissed me goodbye and walked out the door. Five minutes later, when they were far away and I had made sure they wouldn’t be coming back for any reason, I set off for the house. Their family therapy normally lasted for at least three hours and they got back at four, including the half an hour drives, but, as I thought, they were probably going to stay a little longer. I trudged through the muddy snow to the house and went to the little planter on the patio. I lifted it up and saw this little golden key with a silver circle on the head of the key. The key slid into the keyhole as smooth as butter and I could hear the click of the lock undoing itself. I slowly pushed the glass towards my right and it made a little squeaking noise on the rubber runners. Now inside the house, I pushed the door closed and their cat, Jarvis, came up to me sniffing my leg and meowing concerningly. I had never been to their house so I was a new smell and I’m sure he was confused and scared.
I started searching for anything I could find. I looked around their house, attempting to see something knocked over, signing a fight or struggle. As I walked deeper into the house, everything was looking perfectly normal. I didn’t even need to take pictures, it was all so clean as if nothing had happened. It concerned me.
Walking back to the back door, double checking everything I had an idea. The phones. They could have caller identification and I could figure out if something had happened. I ran to the nearest phone in the kitchen and went to the history. I scrolled through, going back about five days before I finally found something. How did I know that it would be in the phone? The clue was always in the phone! Too many mystery shows I guess. The number was (732) 373-4916 and the ID said exterminators. Quickly grabbing my phone, I went to Google and looked them up. I immediately second guessed myself and went to incognito so that no one knew I was snooping. Their website was the second one down and I found that a little weird that these exterminators were so high up on a Google page. I was reading through it, heart pounding, when I saw that they were exterminators. Bug exterminators.
I exhaled strongly, closed the Google tab and kept scrolling. Jarvis, the cat, was still rubbing against my leg trying to get my attention. I was surprisingly scrolling for a good three minutes when I found a number. The identification didn’t say anything, almost as if it was deleted somehow, and the number read (274) 810-4482. All I knew about that number was that it was located in Wisconsin and we lived in New Jersey. I scrolled for a couple of minutes down the Google page this time and found their website on the fourth page of Google. I was hesitant. What if I was caught because they came home early? What if someone is tracking my phone? What if… They kept going but finally I clicked on the URL and my worst fears came true. The website stated in bright bold red printing that this was the place to “get rid of someone.”
I started panicking and knocked over a picture and I thanked the lord it didn’t break. I ran to the back door again and slid it open as fast as I could without slamming it against the other side. At that exact moment, I heard a garage door opening and I knew I had to get out of there fast. Reaching into my pocket to grab the key, I heard her parents voices. It was at this moment that I realized I didn’t have the key. Frantically running around the house, I found it on the kitchen counter. The door from the garage was opening just as I was putting the key under the planter. I did it. I figured out what had happened and I had proof. The proof. All I had to do was call the police and hope that they didn’t delete their phone history before they were caught.
I sprinted through the snow to my house, praying I wasn’t seen and got inside. I flopped down on the couch and just thought about what I had done. What if I get arrested for breaking and entering? But I didn’t break in. Well, I did, but there was no damage. I was second guessing myself too much now and I was regretting my decisions. I had to call the police. I’m sure they would understand. I was doing it for a good cause and it needed to happen. I decide to sit and wait for just a little bit. Gathering my thoughts, I rehearse what I’m going to say to the police. It was 4:28 when I called.
“Nine one one, what’s your emergency?” a faintly familiar voice said on the other side of the line.
Shakily, I said, “I have some information on the missing person.”
“Ok. Where do you live? I’ll send a dispatch unit to your house right away and you can tell them there.”
I told the man my address and around twelve minutes later, the police were knocking at my door. I told them everything. What my parents had said about how they seemed happy, and how I had entered their house while they were gone and found the proof on the phone. They weren’t too happy about my breaking and entering but they said it was for a good cause. They asked if Alise’s parents were home and I said they had been home for about forty minutes. Two officers went over to the house and I could see them through the back glass door that I had gone through not half an hour ago.
The police thanked me and were on their way. They had arrested Alise’s parents and I had asked why but they said I would figure it out. I was confused but I just let it go because it wasn’t my business to go poking around.
That night after my parents got home and we had eaten dinner, I was called into the family room for something. All they had said was to look at the television. I was shocked and a feeling of relief and happiness rushed into me.
Missing Girl Found and Parents Arrested as Perpetrators. The woman on the news broadcast was just starting the story.
“Earlier today the missing girl known as Alise Driver was found in a warehouse thirty miles away from town chained to a wall and unconscious. Her parents John and Shana Driver were arrested after police got a lead about how they had made the call to an organization that specialized in kidnapping. The organization has not been found and the Drivers will not say anything about their whereabouts. They did have the liberty to share with us why they did it. Here is the voice recording of Shana Driver.”
I was in total shock as the recording started to play of Mrs. Driver’s voice.
“Alise was adopted when she was two and we were never happy with her. She was such a disappointment to my husband and I and we had to get rid of her. This was our last resort and we were going to delete the call history or just hope that no one would find it. We would have gotten away with it if someone hadn’t tipped off the police.”
“Police are still trying to get answers out of them and Alise is now living with her grandparents who live down the road.
The story was just finishing up on the television and I couldn’t believe they had found Alise. It was all because of me too! I was having a large feeling of relief that she was found and I may have made it too obvious.
“Honey, did you by chance have anything to do with this?” my mom asked questioningly.
“Nope. I was at home the entire time playing my game and doing schoolwork. I swear,” I answered, turning away and smirking uncontrollably.