Marisa Wright. She looked so normal to me, so painfully average. She was a young woman that posted pictures of her little white dog and her iced lattes from Starbucks. Who donated to homeless shelters and posted pictures of her volunteer work every other week. Missing? I couldn’t believe the stories going around. In all my years as a crime detective, I’ve never studied a case so mind-boggling. Disappeared, out of nowhere. Disappeared, out of thin air. Who would want this nice woman gone?
I continued to scroll through her Instagram account. A specific photo caught my eye. Her most recent, September 13th, four weeks ago. It was a picture of her, it looked relatively normal to me but something just didn’t seem right. I slammed the phone down on my desk in frustration. The light was dim, and my head spun with heaviness. I glanced at the clock, it was two-thirty AM already. I sighed with defeat and packed up my things to head home.
I made my way down the hallway of the station and my eyes burned. I wanted to cry. I wanted to cry for Marisa and her poor family. I wanted to cry because I was so exhausted. I wanted to cry because I knew this case was a lost cause. I got in my car, and that’s the last thing I remember before waking up in my bed the next morning.
I opened my eyes to my wife, shaking me awake. “Darling, you’re nearly late for work!” She exclaimed softly. My wife reminded me of Marisa in a way. She had long wavy brown hair with blonde highlights. She was tall, skinny, and she spoke with a soft southern accent. I met her in college. The University of Alabama. We fell madly in love almost immediately. Ever since we’ve lived our lives happily together. Just us, no children. We never even had any desire to build a family, we were always caught up in work to give it much thought.
I smelt avocados and baked bread wafting from the kitchen. I stumbled down the stairs and sat down at the dining room table. Avocado toast, how original. I ate solemnly with Marisa Wright still on my mind. I found that I spend most of my time thinking about her now. When I wake up, when I go to sleep, when I’m eating, in the shower, at parties, and everywhere else. At some point during breakfast, I decided that I wasn't going to be defeated, I wasn't going to give up. Marisa deserved more, and so did her family. No one deserves to be given up on.
I put on my clothes, brushed my hair, and left for work. My hands shook as I drove. I was scared. I was scared to go in and fail again. An hour-long drive turned into a fifteen-minute drive as I zoned out, paying my attention only to the white lines on the road. Before I knew it, I was at the station. I rifled through my documents on Marisa Wright. I found her mother's address and rushed to my car. My hands were shaky again, but this time, with adrenaline. I felt another speck of hope for Marisa. Even if I had no idea where it was coming from.
I arrived at a small blue house somewhere in the hill country. I knocked on the door and a short woman answered. “Well hello, there young man!” She greeted me. “Hi, Mrs. Wright. I’m Detective Smalls. I have some questions about your daughter.” I explained. Her face fell and her eyes welled up with tears. “Sorry, I just didn’t think y’all were looking anymore.” She sighed.
She invited me inside where it smelt like wood and leather. There were crosses covering the walls and cornbread with steam coming off of it on the stove. I showed her the picture that caught my eye. It was a standard selfie, pretty normal. Something just seemed off to me. Mrs. Wright studied the picture with a disgusted look on her face. “T-t-that’s not my daughter. You must be mistaken.” She stammered. “Marisa? Marisa Wright isn’t your daughter?” I questioned. “I mean yes, she is. But that’s not her. I just know. I can feel it.” She explained. My heart dropped into my stomach for a second. “Well, why not?” I asked. “Her nose. It’s not the same shape. And she doesn’t have that blonde in her hair. She’s a religious girl. She wouldn’t do such a thing. And that’s just not her face. It’s not.” She ranted. My heart dropped deeper into my stomach. If that wasn’t Marisa, then who was it?
I rushed over to her fiance's house from there. I’d memorized the directions as I’ve visited so many times. I knocked frantically on the door. He opened up with a confused look on his face. “Detective! What brings you here?” He questioned. I shoved the picture in his face. “Is this Marisa Wright?” I asked. “Is it her!?” I repeated. “I mean yeah. That’s Marisa. Why do you ask?” He questioned once again. “What about the highlights. Marisa doesn’t have highlights.” I exclaimed. “Well… sure she did.” He whispered. “She got them done the week she went missing. A few days before.” He continued. I glared at him, straight in his eyes, looking for any sign of insecurity. There was no concrete evidence though. This post led me nowhere and still, I was lost.
I had no energy to do anything else that day. That was my last lead and it led me exactly nowhere. In my heart, I felt it was her fiance. I could feel it in my bones. After years of practice, you get real good at feeling things in your bones. I just kept thinking. The way he spoke of her ‘She was beautiful. She was so important to me. She was the love of my life.’. I felt so blind, so stupid, but it was too late. I failed her and I knew it. For years I’d been working on this case. I was done. It was truly a lost cause. I fell asleep that night with only one thought in my head. ‘Case closed’.
October 13th, 2022: 8:43 AM
The detective at my door was pale and tall. He had red hair and dark circles surrounding his striking blue eyes. The second he announced himself I straightened my back and chirped up my voice. I worried about the sounds from the basement but I trusted my soundproofing skills. He asked me questions about my daughter, Marisa. I forced tears into my eyes and gave him a stupid, false lead. “That’s not my daughter!” I exclaimed. I could see his face light up. Stupid man. I knew the truth. Marisa Wright was locked up in my basement as we spoke but he never would have expected such a thing from an innocent little woman like myself. I called Denis on the telephone. “Stay ready. He’s coming around to you soon.” I whispered.