Missing for a Long Time
The phone rang. Tom, a young officer picked it up and tried to say, “Hello, Police Station Number Five” with as much authority as he could muster. It was his first week of work, and he wanted to sound as professional as he could.
The reply was short and straight forward, which was a good thing, as the connection was weak. The male voice on the phone simply said, “Sarah is missing.”
“How long has she been missing?”
“I am not sure. We haven’t seen her for a while.”
“Where did you last see her?”
“On Fleetwood Crescent, where she used to live.”
“Where does she live now?”
“I have no answer for that.”
There was a short pause for the youthful police officer to decide what he should ask next. Then, digging deep into his confidence, he asked, “What does she look like?”
“She is very pale, with long white hair, and is tall for a woman. And she wears a long white dress that almost touches the ground.”
More confident now, the Tom said, “We will send someone out to look for her,” not sure that that would be true given the vagueness of some of the caller’s answers.
Tom ended up being the “someone” that he promised. It was a small station, and everyone had to do several jobs. He wondered whether that was an insult both to the caller and himself. He hadn’t asked for the caller’s number or name, so could not call him back. He wore his bright, clean, new uniform as he drove across town to Fleetwood Avenue. He was told to “knock on doors and ask about the missing person.” That seemed simple enough, but he was still nervous at first. By the third door, he felt confident, almost swaggering up the sidewalk.
“Excuse me ma’am, have you seen someone known as Sarah, who is tall, with long white hair, pale complexion, and who may or may not be wearing a long white dress?”
He worked his way along the crescent, about 28 houses. In 26 of those homes, he received answers in the negative. Everyone, but one had never heard of or even seen her. That one exception was a strange one. His reply was initially quite short, “That takes me back.” Then there was a look of longing in his eyes, as is he was trying to find his past, a happier time. Tom felt that he had to cut the fellow short, as what the old man was saying did not seem to have any relevance for the case in hand. But then, Tom had no grandparents, and didn’t have a lot of patience with the talk of older people.
The Next Day
That night, Tom felt like there was more that he could have done in this case. He didn’t want his first experience with a missing person case be a failure. Then he got an idea. One of Tom’s talents was in drawing, particularly human figures. Art was his best class all the way through school until he graduated from high school. He had talent. But his father convinced him that there was no way in which that would help him on his career path. Tom believed him, so he took a policing course in college, and had graduated with good marks just the previous year. He still drew as a hobby, however.
So Tom brought a pad of paper and some of his best art pencils with him to work. While he was between phone calls at his station, he began to draw an image of Sarah. When the sergeant who was his immediate superior saw him, and asked him “What the hell are you doing?” Tom replied that he was drawing an image of the missing person. When the sergeant saw how detailed the picture was, he was impressed. “Okay, when you are finished with your drawing, make up copies with “Have you seen this woman? at the top. Then stick them up in the general area you think that she went missing.”
Within the hour Tom finished the job, complete with a big HAVE YOU SEEN THIS WOMAN? at the top, and a smaller “Call Police Station #5” plus the phone number, he took to the streets to stick copies on telephone poles, store windows (with the owner’s permission) and other likely, highly visible spots.
It was almost quitting time for Tom when the phone rang. He picked it up, and for a few seconds there was complete silence. Then he heard a now familiar voice say. “If you want to find Sarah, then try 25 Fleetwood Crescent. Don’t knock on the door. No one will answer. Walk into the backyard, and you might find her. But do it at night when it is dark, and the full moon is high.”
Tom did not tell the sergeant of his mission, as he probably would think that it was fake. Maybe it was fake, but he had to go anyway. His immediate destination was the one house where nobody had answered the door. Sure, it was after his working hours, but he had to check that place. If he found something there, his sergeant would see him as a dedicated officer.
He went back to Fleetwood Crescent. He approached the house tentatively. It was dark outside, and there wasn’t a light on in the place. But he still walked up to the front door and, going contrary to the caller’s instructions, knocked. No reply. No real surprise there.
He didn’t want to give up easily, so he walked over to the side of the house and opened the gate to the backyard. He had his official card with him, which he did at all times now, should anyone question what he was doing. The gate creaked almost with the sound of a voice crying out. Then he heard something that was such a voice. A vision soon joined it, appearing slowly with the glow of a distant fire: tall woman, long white hair, white dress that almost touched the ground.
“Are you Sarah?”
“Yes, I am. Sarah Fleetwood.”
“Someone called me saying that you were missing.”
“Well, I am.
“Is this not your house?”
“It was long ago. Now it is just owned and not lived in.”
“Where is your place then?”
“I’d rather not say. Let me tell you this. When the moon is full, we rise for a night. This last time I felt a need to come here. The old man living next door was a boy friend of mine when we were both quite young, teenagers. I came here one night and didn’t want to leave. I was trapped here by the setting moon and the rising sun.
Your caller knows about us. He works as the gardener of our cemetery, our resting grounds. He was evidently told that I was missing and must have been able to guess where I might be. I will be returning later tonight. Could you do something for me? Clarence, my old beau, lives next door. I have seen that he is lonely. Could you write a letter for me, saying that I still care for him? I wish that you could take a picture to go with it, but I doubt that I will show up in any camera’s lens.”
Tom nodded his head in agreement. He would add the picture he had drawn to the letter. He wouldn’t tell the sergeant about any of this.