Why Did Brandon Huntinger Disappear

Submitted into Contest #140 in response to: Start your story with the narrator or a character saying “I remember…”... view prompt

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Fiction Mystery

August 2, 2022

Edgar Nikephoros Huntinger sat by the open window in his office. Because his air conditioning needed repair, he allowed this opportunity to enjoy the warm morning breeze and to listen to the pleasant chirping of birds. His thoughts rose about his missing father. He usually pushed them back, but now they hammered at him, relentless, of an unfinished task.

I remember that each time I began the search process, I couldn’t develop it. It was a bitter taste because I abhorred the idea of searching for the man who caused my mother heartbreak. But her soul never ceased to cry out to me for justice. Surely, that was no accident, the driver that took her life and severed my foot. If only I could find my father, or at least find out what’s happened to him, perhaps I will discover the truth.

Edgar Nikephoros Huntinger sat in his office, and he continued to brood.

I should do something, now, while I don’t have a case. He stood up, and he went to the file cabinet. He looked in the folder marked, “Brandon Huntinger.” He opened a letter:

October 10, 1979

Thank you for the recent pictures. Little Edgar is the image of his dad. And he has his mom’s beautiful hair. Please visit me. You’ll always be welcome. You know that.

Your friend,

Jared Hill

The address on the envelope was 110 Rodeo Drive, Santa Monica, California. Huntinger went to the computer. He typed: Santa Monica, California, Jared Hill. The address appeared on the screen. The telephone number was 310-129-8811. He picked up the telephone receiver, and he dialed. A female voice answered.

“Hello. My name is Edgar Huntinger. May I speak to Jared Hill?”

“Jared Hill has moved.”

“I’m the son of Brandon and Athena Huntinger. I have a letter that indicates he was a good friend of theirs. I’m hoping he can give me information on my father’s whereabouts. May I have the telephone number of the Santa Monica Community Living? That’s 310-129-1100? Thank you.” Huntinger hung up. He dialed.

“Hello, may I speak to Jared Hill, please? Thank you. Hello, Mr. Hill. My name is Edgar Huntinger.

An excited voice exclaimed, “Is this the son of Brandon and Athena Huntinger?”

“Yes, Sir. I wondered if I could visit you in the next week or so. I’d like to talk to you about my father. I’m an investigator by profession, and I’m in between cases. I thought I’d use this time to find out the truth of my father’s disappearance that occurred when I was a child.”

“I’m retired, so I have time. Feel free to stop by anytime.”

“I’ll arrive on August 8. I’ll call you after I’ve checked in my hotel room.”

“That’s fine, Edgar. I look forward to your visit.”

“Thank you, Sir. Goodbye.”

August 3, 2022

At 9:00 A.M., Huntinger made his travel arrangements. He found a deal on the Internet. It included round trip air, a hotel, and a car rental. He made reservations with his credit card from August 8 to August 15.

He left a message on his answering machine, that he was unavailable and added, to leave a message, and he’d return the call as soon as possible.

In the following days Huntinger prepared for his trip. It was not that he anticipated problems, but if there were problems, he wanted to be prepared. Therefore, he called his friend and assistant, Amaltheia Amaranthus, and gave her the address and phone number of his hotel. Then, he called his friend at police headquarters, asking to check on his property while he was away. He even called his doctor for a checkup. Finally, he shopped for personal items.

August 8, 2022

Huntinger arrived at the Los Angeles airport at 11:00 in the morning, three hours earlier than Miami time. He picked up his suitcases at baggage claim, then he took the Hertz shuttle to pick up his car. He patiently drove through heavy traffic on the highway. After he arrived at the Santa Monica Motel at 1:00 in the afternoon, he checked in and went to his room. He turned the air conditioning before he unpacked. After he took a shower and changed into casual wear, he decided it was time for lunch. He drove to a nearby Greek restaurant. After he ate a salad, garlic bread, and tea, he went back to his hotel room. Exhausted, he napped until 4:00 in the afternoon.

He went out again for a light dinner of chicken baked with lemon, green beans, and water. When he returned to his room, he made a telephone call to the Santa Monica Community Living Apartments.

“May I speak to Jared Hill, please? This is Edgar Huntinger. Thank you. “Hello, Mr. Hill, I’m here. May I visit you tomorrow morning?”

“Yes, Edgar. What time may I expect you?”

“Is 11:00 in the morning all right?”

“Yes, that’s fine.”

“Thank you, Sir. I’ll see you then.”

Huntinger thought as he hung up the telephone, I may find the truth of why my father disappeared after my visit with Mr. Hill.

Huntinger went downstairs to the lobby and retrieved a soda from the vending machine. Then he returned to his room. He watched a television series, Law, and Order, for an hour. And because he wanted to be refreshed for tomorrow’s visit to Mr. Hill, he turned the television off, and he went to bed. He slept soundly until the morning. 

August 9, 2022

When the alarm rang at seven o’clock, Huntinger got up. He took a shower, and he shaved. He dressed carefully, choosing blue and white striped polo shirt and steel-blue slacks; he donned his white socks, first applying his prosthesis foot. After that, he ate breakfast of omelet, toast, and coffee. He went into his office, retrieved the letter Jared Hill had written to his parents, and put it in his pocket. He left.

At ten o’clock the next morning, Huntinger drove past the gate, walked up the stone path that led to the gothic structure that was the Santa Monica Community Living Apartments, and he walked into the lobby. He went to the reception desk, produced his identification to the clerk, and he stated he was visiting Mr. Jared Hill. The clerk told him to go up. He thanked the clerk and went up the stairs.

He left the elevator, and he knocked on apartment 314A. Mr. Jared Hill opened the door. His face was dark and wrinkled. Soft, white, and wispy hair embellished a profile slackened with time. His worn long-sleeved dress shirt fit his almost-husky build comfortably, over old baggy jeans. He regarded Huntinger with acute brown eyes. He smiled. “Come in Edgar, come in,” he said.

Huntinger, who liked Jared Hill immediately, walked in, as Jared Hill closed the door.

“Take the sofa chair over there, Edgar. It’s the most comfortable chair in the place.”

Huntinger sat down, as Jared Hill sat across from him on the worn brown sofa.

“Well, Edgar, you have the same sharp blue-eyed look your father had, and your mother’s gorgeous black curly hair,” he boomed. “Would you like an iced tea?”

“Yes, thank you.”

Jared Hill went to the kitchen. Soon, he came back with a tall glass of iced tea. He handed it to him.

“Thank you,” Huntinger said, feeling humble in the presence of his parents’ old friend. He sipped the tea. He placed the glass carefully on the brown wooden coffee table. “I won’t take up too much of your time, Sir. As I mentioned on the phone, I’m researching the disappearance of my father. I’d appreciate anything you can tell me.”

“Oh, that’s okay. I’m lonely for company, and I’m glad that you found that letter, because I’ve often wanted to see how Brandon’s boy turned out. My wife, who’s deceased for ten years now, and I met your dad and your mom before they were married at a party given for the success of a film. From then on, we were a foursome. I was also best man at their wedding. They moved to Miami because of trouble they were having with a loan shark even after they’d paid back the loan.”

“Did they continue to have trouble after they moved?”

“No. After the shark did time, he disappeared.

“Did they consider moving back here?”

“No, they loved Miami, and never wanted to come back. But they did come back to visit before you were born.”

Huntinger reached into his pocket, and he pulled out the letter Jared Hill had written to his parents in 1979. He handed it to him.

He put on his glasses and read it. He nodded his head. “I saw your father sometime before I wrote that. It had to have been about 1970 or 1971. He was alone. He’d stopped by to see me to ask for money.” He stopped speaking, leaned over, and he removed his glasses. He squinted at the investigator. “Do you have a place to stay? I have an extra room. You could stay here. I’d have the benefit of your company, and anytime I think of something, I could tell you right away.”

“Thank you, Sir, but I have a room at the Santa Monica Hotel.”

“Well now,” said Jared Hill kindly, “I would think that staying here would be more pleasant. You’d have an ocean view, and your company would be payment enough.”

Huntinger laughed. “Thank you, Mr. Hill. I accept.”

“Why don’t you get your things now, so you have more time to get comfortable. And call me Jared.”

Huntinger laughed. “Yes, Sir. I mean, Jared.”

That evening Huntinger settled in Jared Hill’s spare room. As he gazed out at the lights of Los Angeles, and the soothing sounds of the waves of the Pacific Ocean, he thought of his mother. He thought of the moments before her death; the love in her eyes, her eyes closing, and her hand, grasping his, before she went still. Tears fell, as the waves of grief engulfed him once more. He thought: Maybe, if I follow this through, I will find the truth. Perhaps the Great God will grant me surcease, and my mother’s soul will be at peace. Getting a tissue from the nightstand, he wiped his tears. To rid his mind of unhappy thoughts, he took out his cell phone, dialed, and checked for messages. It was then that Jared Hill called from the kitchen, that supper was ready.

Jared Hill said, as he ate, “I guess that, as you are an investigator, you have considered the possibility that your father is still alive?”

“I’ve considered all possibilities; and I’m more inclined to lean toward the possibility that he is not alive. It’s been almost fifty-two years since his disappearance.”

“What if your father knew how to cover his tracks and made sure no one could find him?”

“You mean like leaving the country?”


“But he didn’t have much money for such an escapade.”

“Oh, he did. He borrowed money from me so that he could get away from people who threatened his life. Maybe that’s what he did, leave the country.”

“But why wouldn’t he tell my mother?”

“To protect her. The less she knew, the safer she was.”

Jared Hill gazed at Huntinger with affection. “Wait here, son. I have something for you, that I’ve had for a long time.” He put his fork down, and he got up. “I’ll be right back.”

He returned bearing a manila envelope.

Huntinger stopped eating his salad and put down his fork. He took the envelope, and he opened it. He took out a key, a receipt, and a letter.

October 10, 1970

You won’t be reading this until you are a man and searching for me. I’ve extracted a promise from Jared that he wouldn’t breathe a word that he’d seen me.

I’m in bad trouble, and I’ve left the country to protect you and your mother. I may not be alive when you’ve begun your search. Nonetheless, go to the Bank of California and present the receipt. Open the safety deposit box.

Your father,


Huntinger folded the letter. Well, it seems I have a tangible lead here that could answer all my questions about my father. Is it too late for a grown man to see the face of his father? His heart began to hammer within, and he fought for control. The most rational possibility is that he is dead. But anything is possible, and life is rarely predictable. He looked at Jared Hill. “Is there a reason you wrote your letter on October 10, the same date as my father’s letter to me?”

“To lead you to me when the time came.”

Huntinger covered his eyes with his large hands. He wept, sobbing softly.

Jared Hill got up and left the kitchen. He returned with tissues and handed them to him.

“It was like he was here, real and alive, speaking to me,” he said, looking at Jared Hill with tear glazed eyes.

“I understand, son.”

“I think I will retire for the night,” Huntinger said, pushing the chair back as he stood.

“Tomorrow will be a busy one for you, I’m sure. Have a good night, Edgar.’

“Thank you, Jared.” He went to bed.

August 10, 2022

The next afternoon, Huntinger drove to the Bank of California, and he presented the receipt. He was escorted to the safety deposit box area. After he opened it, he removed a small metal box. Inside, he found five thousand dollars in hundreds and twenties inside an envelope. There were instructions to purchase a plane ticket and travel to London, England. And there was a letter:

Gothenburg Apartments

Apt. 914B

Bloomsbury Square

London, England


I may not be alive when you read this. I’d had trouble with unpaid interest rates. Then the sharks threatened my life and the lives of my family. My enemies don’t want your mother knowing about their threats, so I’ve decided to disappear. Go to the above address. I’m not Brandon Huntinger any longer. I’m Abraham Dietrich. If I’m not alive, the people there will give you information.

Your father,


“So, you’re off to London, just when I was getting used to your company.”

“Yes, Jared. Now that I have a crucial lead, it’s important that I act now.” Huntinger’ s strong and usually composed countenance was flushed. Feelings of urgency churned. He forced patience and rationality, so that he would not run from the room. 

“Well, I know that you must go. I would if I were an investigator who’s encountered the possible unsolvable solution.” He chuckled. “When are you leaving?”

“As soon as I receive my passport by registered mail, I’m taking the first flight out to London.”

“Well, you must know the truth. I hope he’s still alive.”

“Thank you. But’s it’s a possibility that he is not.”

“True, Edgar. Well, either way it turns out, you’ll always be welcome here.”

“I know that, Jared. Thank you.”

Huntinger got up, and he went to his room. He called Amaltheia to send him his passport.

August 13, 2022

Huntinger passed through the gate, and he walked up the narrow stone path that led to the massive Gothic structure that was the Gothenburg Apartments. He walked into the lobby, where the receptionist asked for his identification. He said, “I’m here to visit Mr. Abraham Dietrich.”

She smiled, and told him that Mr. Dietrich was an elderly gentleman, so she would have to check to see if he’d want to see him. She asked him to wait.

She returned, and showing him the elevator, told him he could visit Mr. Dietrich.

His abundant white hair and ice blue eyes framed a much older version of his son. Red wrinkles stretched across his pale and sagging skin. His white shirt and brown slacks hung on his tall frame as if he’d narrowly escaped homelessness. He smiled, as “Sit down, Edgar.”

Huntinger sat down across from his father on the worn crimson sofa.

“I’ve killed a man, son. I’ve killed the man who killed your mother and left you a cripple. I can never go back.”

“I’m not crippled, Dad. I have the latest technology in prosthesis. I can walk and live as a normal man because of exercise and training. My prosthesis is a weapon that I’ve used effectively in my profession as a private investigator.”

His father smiled. “Yes, I’ve learned of your success. I’m proud of you. I’ve often dreamed of the day you’d look for me.”

Edgar Huntinger reached for his father’s withered hand. He grasped them firmly in his large hands. “Is there anything I can do for you, Dad?”

Brandon Huntinger shook his head sadly. “No, Edgar. Go back and don’t come back. It was important that you learned the truth, but now you must live as if you’ve never seen me.”

“I want to help you. Now that I have seen you, I can’t just push you away as if I had never seen the father, I never dared believe I would know.”

“You’ll respect my wishes, Edgar, or you will put us in danger with FBI and the people who are associated with the man I killed.”

“If that’s what you think is best, I will respect your wishes.”

Edgar Nikephoros Huntinger released his father’s hand. He got up. He went to the door. He turned around. “Thank you, Dad.”

His father smiled. “You’re welcome, Edgar.”

April 08, 2022 17:22

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1 comment

Charlie Bright
21:49 Apr 13, 2022

I thought the mystery of a son finding his missing father was interesting, but there were some plot threads that didn't add up. Why did it take so long for Edgar to find Jared Hill? Did he really have so much evidence that it took him years to find Jared's letter? And the how and why of Brandon disappearing was strange, I couldn't figure out what exactly was going on. There was also some issues in the story style. In the beginning, you fluctuated between third and first person point of views, which I assume was because you were trying to m...


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