It had been three days since a boy was reported to be missing. He was last seen by his mother in his room, tinkering away with makeshift inventions for a school project, on the night of June 23rd. His mother, who filed the report, claimed to have heard him still clanging away in his room as she fell asleep.
Upon investigation of the room, which was requested not to be disturbed any more than it had been when the boy's mother turned the room upside down in a frenzy.
There were no indications found as to where he could have gone, or any traces of the child. The police put up a missing poster for one "Ethan Stein," his morose face plastered all over town.
For three whole days, the local officers in charge of the case worked tirelessly. Day in, and day out, searching for Ethan, and where the boy could have disappeared to.
"You know, Dave," a lanky officer said with languor, a paper cup of coffee on his hand, "most police would call it a day after posting the missing posters. Why are ya trying so hard?"
Dave stopped the recording of his interview with Ethan's mother that he had been playing on repeat. He looked over the officer, the new recruit assigned under his mentorship. "So you didn't know yet?"
"Not really the type to gossip, y'see, but curiosity's killing me here," the effort I've had to put in just to keep up is also killing me, his heart complained in silence.
Dave let out a sigh. "I lost my child once," his pupils looked down to the ground.
"I'm... sorry to hear that," the lanky officer said, regret written all over his young face.
"Don't worry about it. It's been years," Dave said, stretching his body as he did, "I just don't want others to continue feeling how I felt."
The investigation continued. The young officer moving with more vigor upon knowledge of his mentor's motive in continuing this case.
"He was such a nice boy," the mother's cracking voice resounded in Dave's mind, "So diligent, so creative, so active. He was the light of my life, I don't know any reason why he would leave, or any reason why he should be kidnapped. After my husband's death, his siblings claimed his inheritance and left me impoverished," the sorrowful voice had a hint of frustration and seething anger, "they never liked me."
Dave interviewed her siblings-in-law. They each had their own homes, cozy to lavish. It took one whole day just to go town-hopping and interviewing all three of them. The trips were longer than the interviews combined.
"Rosaria? You talkin' 'bout that woman in Minnesota that married my late brother? Well, bud, lemme tell you, this house ain't have any contacts with that loon since the death of my brother. Have a g'day."
"I do not wish to have any mention of the woman that had sullied this family's name! I couldn't see what my dearest little brother saw in that wench when he decided to marry her. Her child? I couldn't care less, we cut any and all contact as soon as he decided to elope with her."
"Leave. I don't have anything to tell you, Officer."
A mere mention of her name was enough to trigger such scornful responses from all three siblings.
"We're getting a search warrant for those three houses," Dave said, suspicious.
Once they did, the three siblings had to acquiesce to the law and allowed their properties to be searched. It bore no fruit and the investigation ran cold.
Rosaria was becoming more neurotic each passing day her boy had not returned to her. Her neat little abode was ransacked as if a hurricane had passed it. The officers visiting for their regular report was shocked to see the scene, and would have asked if there were any intruders had they not noticed her screams of anguish followed with the sound of clattering cacophony in the front door.
"My boy... Ethan... Where... Ethan... Ethan... Ethan..." she mumbled as if she were under a spell, her hair hiding her face in a messy interweaving of wet tendrils.
Dave attempted to calm her down, to no avail. Her arms flail in a tantrum when he tried to approach her, as her mumbles increased in volume and panic.
"Ethan, Ethan, Ethan. Where are you, Ethan... Ethan!"
Rosaria passed out from fatigue and hunger. It appeared that last exclamation exerted the last of her energy. They sent her to a local hospital before heading to the school Ethan had attended.
"Ethan... Stein?" the wizened principal frowned, as if in thought, his fingers intertwining with one another. "You are talking about this boy, yes?"
He showed Dave the student report card with the same morose face of Ethan Stein. Dave was excited as this could be the lead he had been trying to find for the child's whereabouts. However, before he could so much as confirm it was the child, or ask another question, the principal continued in his gruff voice.
"I am sorry, but the boy no longer attends this school," the instant the principal stated that, the life in Dave's face fell. He was at a loss as to what his next action should be. The case was met with onnly dead end after dead end. His expression told the principal all he needed to know, and so he stood up, beckoning the officers to follow him.
"But... I can take you to where he is."
As they walked, the principal had a brief monologue, reminiscing of Ethan, "He was a bright kid, a brilliant one, really. He may not have a lot of friends, but he was active in class, and teachers loved the boy."
The officers were led to a relatively empty street. They saw a vase of chrysanthemums, which was renewed regularly by the school's staff, and the principal himself, as he demonstrated with an air of sober solemnity.
"Here lies Ethan Stein. Victim to a hit-and-run on June 23rd."