It was the day after the March equinox, marking the Spring season.
The first freaking day of Spring and there is already a case of a missing person.
I heard the call myself. A frantic man calling to report that his wife was gone. He began rambling on and on, fast and frightened the words all came out. Ellie, the emergency dispatcher, gives me a glance.
“Sir, sir, I need you to calm down. Talk slower for me?” Her voice is cool and collected. I marveled on how she could do this all day. Channel all of these frantic voices and urge them to calm down and give us the facts so that we could get help to them as quickly as possible. Her voice never wavered, not once. At least, not while I’m here when she receives a call.
He gives her all the information.
Address, last seen, name, wife’s name, how long she’s been gone, etc.
“She...She was just here yesterday. She won’t answer any calls. I...I’m sorry, she’s just been going through sort of a rough patch and I thought she was finally recovering. But she didn’t come back from the errand she said she had to run yesterday so I’m on edge. Oh God, do you think she went to kill herself? Oh God!” The man was starting to freak out.
“Sir, please, we will try to help you locate your wife. Just stay strong for her right now, OK?,” Ellie says, ever the therapist.
“OK,” he whispers on the other end.
The call is finished and Ellie turns to me, her short, dirty blonde hair flat against her head. She grabs my coffee and I glare at her before grinning and heading on over to check things out about this guy’s missing wife.
I bring my partner, Cameron, along and ask him to put the address on his phone. He does as I ask and then we’re off, speeding down the road.
I arrive at the brick house and knock on the door. A man with dark orange hair comes out and closes the door behind him. His eyes look red, presumably from crying. I go through protocol and ask him to show me where she was headed. All he knew, unfortunately, was that she was going on an errand. She didn’t tell him where or what for.
Cases like this are harder to define. We hardly have any information. I just hope we find her.
The case is underway and I arrive to work on the second day of Spring, rested up and ready to go. Well, of course, after a cup of coffee.
Carla knows me. She already had my cup hot and ready on my desk. Aiy, what would I do without her. She’s the first person I befriended here, considering she was a fire that no man would dare pour water on. She seemed to control the place, her voice loud and full of authority. She would make a great cop, I’ve told her so, but she continues to refuse. She’d rather stay here and scare us while bringing everyone what they need. Her skin was darker than mine, a deep brown while my Spanish roots give me an olive tone.
“Rise and shine K-9’s!” I hear her call. She has the accent of this small town, somewhere between rural and urban.
I chuckle as I notice Jerry jump at the sudden increase in noise. The office is usually quiet when she’s gone. And that’s why we need her. I smile despite myself as she comes over, showing off her nails to everyone she passes on her way to my desk.
“Heyo, heyo! Latina in the HOUSE! Have you seen my nails?”
I laugh and take a second to look at them. They’re a pretty shade of purple, one I’d have to ask her about later. I haven’t gotten my nails done in quite some time and thought maybe I should treat myself to something nice.
I look up at her, raise my eyebrows, and nod coolly, a smirk on my lips.
“Yeah, I know. Purple is in style right now, Darla told me.”
“How can you get your daughter to tell you all the trends! I try my best with mine but she just looks at me, crinkles her nose and laughs, It’s embarrassing! It’s like she thinks I can’t pull it off. I wore a scrunchy the other day and she looked at me like a complete stranger. Aiy, I’m too old now, I guess,” I say to her.
“Oh please. Honey, you’re not old enough to say you’re old. Look, I’m sure she'll come around. Just...I don’t know. Be cool.”
“Yeah, thanks. Now, if only I knew what cool was,” I respond, messing with her.
Carla sighs and rolls her eyes as she gets up.
I take a sip of my coffee when Cameron comes over to me. He takes a deep breath and looks at me, lips shut tight.
“What?,” I ask.
“Another missing person two neighborhoods over the one from yesterday.” He crosses his arms. I slump in my chair and turn my head up to him.
“Nope. Just got the call a few minutes ago. A young kid. He didn’t come back from school and a witness claims that they saw him enter some woods.”
This Spring did not look like it was holding any promises. I place a hand over my eyes and squeeze.
“Alright, let’s go.”
After we interviewed the parents of the mom, we came back to the office.
Turns out that 15 new missing persons were filed.
What is going on here?
By the next day, we had over 30 cases and all within close distance of each other.
And then the real weird thing came up.
“Guys, you’re going to want to see this,” says Seth, the computer whiz with the glasses.
We all bound over to his desk, even Carla seemed intrigued.
“All the calls, when you pinpoint their addresses on one map, form a circle. A perfect one, actually, surrounding a single point. Here.” He points to a dot on the screen and I look up to Cameron at the same time he looks up to me. We nod in unison and I copy the coordinates down on paper before I get up and go, Cameron close behind.
I turn the siren on and make my way.
It’s definitely not what I expected.
For one, it’s empty, not a single person on site for as long as the field is wide.
Two, it’s a beautiful meadow blooming with flowers of all kinds.
I turn to my partner who shares the same confused look.
We scout the place, guns at the ready, but find nothing.
We head back to the car, tired and sweaty.
Seriously, what is going on?
Finally, a breakthrough.
A mother called today and said that her son might know where they are. She said he’s willing to show us. The boy’s brother was one of the missing and we headed there as soon as possible. I just want to know how he knows where they all are in the first place and if he truly does. I hope this isn't some kind of trick where the boy leads us to his room and says that his brother is on the chair, that he’s a ghost.
Cameron knocks this time and a tall woman appears. A brown-haired boy in blue sneakers jumps forward, takes my hand and says, “Follow me.”
I am taken aback but does as he commands. To my utter surprise, he leads us to the meadow Seth made us investigate. He continues to grab my hand until we are in the middle of the great expanse. The mother gives me an apologetic look, excusing her son pulling me all the way out here. But she also looks...Hopeful.
The boy turns around to us and gestures all around him. My eyebrows furrow, puzzled at what he’s trying to get at. Then, suddenly, his eyes go wide with fear and he points a shaky finger at me. No, behind me. We all turn around, whip fast, but see no one. I turn back to the boy but...he’s gone. Just disappeared.
No one can explain it.
He was here. Then he wasn’t.
The department is a sad mess.
We are all just so demented.
How were we going to solve this?
I rub my head, drinking my third cup of coffee this morning.
We got another call today.
Another few actually.
All of them to file someone as missing but one was claiming that their little girl can speak to them.
That’s all she said before she hung up. That her daughter has spoken to them. It’s almost too much. It’s such a vague comment but it’s almost too much.
We’ve contacted other police departments and none of them have reported a missing person yet this Spring. It seems to be in only our town.
I take a gulp of my drink before we head out.
The little girl is blonde.
She’s small and doesn't talk much.
Her dad went missing a few days ago.
Her name is Melody and she likes to draw.
That’s what we know.
Oh, and that she speaks to the missing persons.
She’s really small so I have to bend to look at her in her pale blue eyes.
“Will you show us?”
She nods her tiny head, wavy hair almost covering eyes.
The mom places her in their car and starts driving.
Cameron and I follow her.
She stops right in front of The Meadow.
I take a deep breath in.
“You good?” Cameron asks.
“Yeah, yeah. Let’s just try to get this figured out.”
He agrees and we follow Melody to a spot on the field.
She drops to her knees in front of a particular flower and says, “Hi Daddy.”
Melody looks up.
“They’re all here.”
She points dots across the field.
"The flowers are the people you're looking for."