Little Boy Jack And The Missing Mama

Submitted into Contest #117 in response to: Write about a missing person nobody seems to know or remember.... view prompt

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Crime Drama

Alex was getting ready for a long day at The Wagon Wheel restaurant where he worked.  He was setting up a table when he looked up to see a little boy standing there.  His clothes were dirty and his hair was wild and ungroomed.

“Hey Buddy,” he said.  “We are not open yet.”

The little boy just stood there.  Alex looked around to see if this little boy was with anyone.

“Who are you with?” Alex asked.  “Where are your Mommy and Daddy?”

Still the boy didn’t respond.

Manny, the restaurant manager, came out from the back.

“Who is this kid?” he asked.

“I don’t know.” Alex answered.  “He just appeared. He hasn’t said a word.

“Maybe we should call the police.” Alex said.  “Maybe he’s lost.”  Alex pulled out his cell phone.  He stepped away.

Manny approached the little boy.  “What’s your name?”

Still no response.  The little boy just continued to stand there.

“They’ll be sending out someone as soon as they can.” Alex said, putting his cell phone back in his pocket.  “Apparently a lost kid is not a major priority.”

“Are you hungry? Manny asked the little boy.  

He nodded.

“Would you like a sandwich?” Manny asked.

Again the boy nodded.  

Manny smiled, feeling he was getting somewhere with this little boy, “Ham and cheese?” he asked.

Once again the boy nodded.

“Maybe he can’t talk.” Alex said

“Follow me.” Manny said.  He started heading to the bar.

“Jack.” the little boy said, pointing to himself.

“Is your name Jack?” Manny asked.

The boy nodded and followed Manny.

Manny helped Jack on to one of the barstools at the bar.  Alex went into the kitchen and quickly came back with a sandwich and a glass of milk.

He placed the plate and the glass in front of Jack.  Jack looked up at Manny as if asking permission to eat the sandwich.  

“You can eat if you're ready.” Manny said, smiling at Jack.

Jack quickly ate up his sandwich and drank down his glass of milk. 

The police arrived shortly after Jack finished eating.  Sherry, a pretty redheaded police woman, sat down next to Jack. Jack smiled at her and gently touched her hair.

Sherry’s partner, Nick went back to the police car to contact the police station. 

After contacting the police station, Nick returned stating that there weren’t any reports of a missing child matching Jack’s description. 

“What’s  your last name?” Sherry asked Jack.

“Jack.” he said again pointing to himself.

“How old are you Jack?” She asked.

Jack held up five fingers.

“Five?” Sherry asked, smiling at him.

Jack nodded.  He smiled back at her.

“Jack, do you know where you live?” she asked.

Jack nodded and jumped off the barstool.  He took Sherry’s hand and pulled her.

“Do you want me to follow you?” she asked.

Jack nodded.

Jack and Sherry walked almost sixteen blocks. They were followed by Sherry’s partner in the police car. 

Jack stopped at every crosswalk making sure he looked both ways or the light was green before crossing.

They finally stopped at an apartment building.  Jack pointed to the building.  “Jack House.” he said.  He climbed the stairs.  Sherry followed behind him.

There was a keypad on the door.  Jack punched in numbers and opened the door.  He went inside, Sherry kept following him.  They went up two more flights of stairs. 

They walked to an apartment at the far end of the hallway.  Apartment 220.  Jack reached in his pocket and pulled out a key.  He unlocked the door.  He held it open so Sherry could come inside.  

“Jack, house.” he said as they went inside.

Sherry’s partner had already parked the car and ran to catch up to them.

The apartment looked like there was a struggle.  The coffee table was overturned. A lamp was knocked off the nightstand and smashed on the living room floor.  There was what looked like blood on the floor.

Sherry noticed a picture frame on the floor. It was a picture of Jack with a woman with red hair. 

Jack pointed to the picture. “Jack,” he said pointing to himself in the picture, “Mama.” he said pointing to the woman. 

“What happened to Mama?” Sherry asked.

“Man hit Mama,” Jack said, climbing into Sherry’s lap.  “Mama cried.”

Nick went to report to police headquarters. They knew they needed more officers. 

“Jack,” Sherry said.  “What happened after the man hit Mama?”

“Mama say ‘Shhh. Go to your room.’”  

“Did you go to your room?”

Jack nodded.  He pointed to his room.

“Then, What happened?” Sherry asked, stroking Jack’s hair.

“Mama went bye-bye.  Mama not come back.”

Sherry found some bills with the name Maryanne Miller on it.  She assumed that was Jack’s mother.

EMS was called to check out Jack.  He had no injuries.  Another female police officer went with Jack to the hospital  Sherry promised Jack she would be there soon.

Within an hour the apartment building was full of police officers.  Officers knocked on doors but no one knew the woman who lived in apartment 220

“I don’t know her name.” said the lady in apartment 216.  “Sometimes I would hear her coming home.”

“I saw her once,” said the man in apartment 211.  “She had groceries.  I don’t ever remember seeing a child.”

“We never saw a little boy,” said the lady in the apartment across the hall.  He looks  the same age as my little girl.  They would have been friends had I known”

Over and over again it was the same thing.  No one ever saw the woman in apartment 220.  People barely knew she existed.  And not one person knew about Jack.

The apartment manager was finally found.  “All I know is her name.” she said.  “There is no mention of a child living here.”

“Is there a place of employment listed on her lease?” Sherry asked.

The manager looked at the lease in her hand.  “Medical United.”  She gave Sherry the address.

Sherry sent Nick to check it out. 

Maybe Nick would have better luck at Maryanne’s job.

Medical United was a call center for a health insurance company. It employed over five hundred people.  Maryanne was an agent.  

Maryanne’s supervisor said she was hard working.  Always on time.  She met all her stats every day.  

But not one of her co-workers knew anything about her. No one knew she had a little boy.  

“She would come in, in the morning, sit at her desk, take calls.” one of her fellow co-workers said.  “She never talked to anyone.  She would go out to lunch.”

Sherry figured if Maryanne worked then Jack had to go to some daycare. 

Another officer checked out all the daycare  centers in the area.  Jack had not attended  any of them.  Sherry figured that since Jack had limited verbal skill that maybe he attended a special needs school.

Nick finally found it.  It happened to be a block from The Wagon Wheel Restaurant that Jack was found at, and two blocks from where Maryanne worked.

Again no one at the school knew anything about Maryanne.  Maryanne just dropped Jack off every morning at seven-thirty and picked him up everyday at five-thirty.

Maryanne attended meetings about Jack and kept up with his progress.  Jack had Autism.  He had just started to speak.  But other than that no other information was known.   

By now a missing person alert went out for Maryanne.  Jack was in the hospital just to make sure he was safe.  

Sherry went to the hospital to see Jack just as she promised.  She brought the picture of him and his mother that was in the apartment.

Jack was asleep when Sherry arrived at the hospital, so she went to find the doctor in charge of Jack.

“He’s a healthy little boy.” Dr Benson said.  “Well nourished.  Well cared for.  He however is very far behind verbally.”

“The school he attends says he has Autism.” Sherry told the doctor.

She sat down in a chair in his room.  Sherry buried her head in her hands.

How could so many people not know anything about someone?  No one in Maryanne’s life knew her.  

Not her neighbors.

Not her co-worker.

No wonder she disappeared and no one knew it.

Days went by and still no Maryanne.  She was on every news channel, but no real sightings of her.  The news reporters interviewed people in her building and her co-workers as just as with the police no one knew her.  

Weeks passed.  Jack was placed with a foster family.  Sherry went to visit him every friday.  The family kept him in the same special needs school.  Jack’s verbal skills started improving but he still couldn’t tell her what the man that he saw hit his mother looked like.

The only thing Sherry could get out of him was the man had black hair.

He would repeat the same thing.  “Man hit Mama.  Mama cried.  Mama go bye-bye.”

Sherry promised she would do everything she could do to find her.

Sherry was the only person that Jack let touch him.  He would run up and hug her.  Sherry figured it was because she looked like his mother.

Finally after almost a year, a woman matching Maryanne’s description was found unconscious in a city park.  She was brought to the same hospital that Jack was at when he was found.

“She has a serious concussion,” the doctor said after examining Maryanne, “But she should recover.”

Two days after arriving at the hospital, Maryanne finally woke up.  Sherry was by her side.

“Jack,” Maryanne said in a hoarse voice.  “Where’s Jack?”

“Jack is fine.”  Sherry said.  “He’s in a good home.  I go visit him every friday.  He’s a very sweet little boy.”

“I want to see him.” Maryanne cried.

“I promise I will bring him to you as soon as I can.” Sherry said, picking up Maryanne’s hand. “But first I need to find out what happened to you.

Hours passed as Maryanne told Sherry the events that led up to her abduction.  

Maryanne met a man that she was going to buy a car from.   He wanted more money from her than was agreed on.  When Maryanne refused to pay more and said she no longer wanted the car the man got mad.  

“That’s when he hit me .  He was afraid that I would call the police. I convinced him that I would go with him as long as he wouldn’t hurt Jack.”

“I told him Jack couldn't talk so he couldn’t tell anyone.” Maryanne cried. “I thought Jack would miss me and maybe knock on a neighbor’s door.”

“He kept me locked up.” Maryanne went on, “I just kept looking for a chance to get away.”

“I saw the story about me on the news, but no one said anything about how Jack was doing.”

“How did you get away from him?” Sherry asked.

“He forgot to lock the door one day, so when he fell asleep, I tried to take off, but he caught me in the park.  He hit me a few times.  I guess I passed out because the next thing I was at this hospital.”

“How did you find Jack?” she asked.

“He showed up at a restaurant  sixteen blocks from your apartment.” Sherry told Maryanne.

“The Wagon Wheel?” Maryanne asked.

Sherry nodded. “How did you guess?”

“We would pass that restaurant every day on the way to his school.” Maryanne said.  “I promised him I would take him there one day.”

“Well, he got a chance to eat there.” Sherry said. “That explains why he showed up there.”

“Maryanne,” Sherry said.  “Why is it that no one in your building knew anything about you?  None of your co-workers either.  And no one knew you had a child?”

“I was just trying to devote myself to Jack,” she said.  “I was afraid if people knew about Jack, about his condition, they wouldn’t understand.”

“I was afraid he would be made fun of.” she went on.  “I was just trying to protect him.”

As the next few days passed Maryanne recovered.  The man that abducted Maryanne was caught.  He was arrested.

Sherry picked up Jack from his foster care every day and took him to see his mother at the hospital.

When the media found out about Maryanne’s story, everyone wanted to help out.

The manager at Wagon Wheel hired Maryanne so she could be close to Jack’s school.  

Alex and Manny always called Sherry about Jack and if there was any word on his mother. 

The owner of a close by apartment complex offered Maryanne and Jack a year free rent so she could get back on her feet. 

Maryanne learned that she can’t keep herself isolated from the world.  She started making friends with the other parents at Jack’s school.

Sherry went to visit Jack every Friday afternoon.  They went to the Wagon Wheel for lunch.  Maryanne was their waitress.  Jack’s favorite meal...ham and cheese with a glass of milk which he ordered by himself.

October 28, 2021 20:15

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1 comment

Kossiwa Logan
19:05 Nov 02, 2021

I love this story. It's suspenseful and the ending fits the story. I kept reading it to find out what happened. I just wanted the mother and son to be okay. Great story.

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