Sarah Marsh’s disappearance
He sat on the moist ground, wrapped in a small blanket. He was dressed in his old heavy coat, which kept him toasty warm. He sported a large, unruly beard and a hat, and near him rested a bag containing his things. It was completely dark. It’s late at night. There was no sound to be heard. Isolated from the rest of the world, like a rejected thing that repulsed others. Frank was his name, and he’d been homeless for as long as he could remember. He was in his late fifties at the time. He was depressed at the prospect of growing older because he knew that living his life as he did would eventually kill him.
It snowed that night. It was chilly, but the coat kept me warm. He had previously gathered some cardboard and wrapped it over himself. He pulled a box of matches from his trouser pocket. He rummaged through the bag before lighting a match, and suddenly he felt it. He took the snapshot and carefully separated it from the rest of the materials. He looked at the tiny girl in the image with the small flame while she smiled. There was sadness in the air.
He whispered, “I miss you, love.” He wiped a tear off his face.
She’d died at such a young age. Frank did everything he could at the time to be there for her. One frigid November day, Tess went away in his arms. He had vivid memories of it. Only a few days earlier, the doctor had given him the devastating news. His heart had been ripped in two, and his life had become meaningless. He’d given up completely in less than a month. The grief was too much to bear. He’d given up caring. His faith had weakened. He’d given up all hope.
Frank slid the photograph back into his backpack. When he was feeling down, he would remember her. She was his guiding light, the bright light that kept him going through the dark days.
He said, “Goodnight, my dear daughter.” He closed his eyes and fell asleep almost instantly.
With a start, Frank awoke. He’d heard something. It sounded like someone was screaming. He hurried out of his den and crept towards the forest’s edge, hiding behind some trees. He nervously peeked through the bushes towards the road ahead. This is when he witnessed something terrifying. He could see a man dragging a girl with long dark hair towards his vehicle from only twenty meters away. The girl tried everything she could to keep him at bay, but nothing worked. She yelled for assistance. Frank was too terrified to move and remained where he was. He was humiliated. She was flung into the back of the white van with great force. After taking a look around, the man shut the backdoors. He climbed into the van and rushed away.
Frank caught the first two letters of the registration before the vehicle vanished. He was pondering, “What should I do?” Who’s going to trust me? Maybe it was a fight between a parent and a daughter about something. But something about the whole scene didn’t feel quite right, and it gave him the goosebumps. He felt a faint ache in his chest. He began to get concerned. He walked back to his den with caution. He took a seat and waited for the pain to subside. Frank was glad when it finally happened. But what he’d just seen would stay with him for the rest of his life.
As he traveled across town over the next few days, he had the weird feeling that something wasn’t quite right. People appeared to be more tense than usual. Then, one day, while the sun shone brightly and the sky was clear, he approached a man selling newspapers.
“How can I assist you?” answered the man, who looked to be in his fifties. His face was filled with suspicion.
Frank felt anxious about the situation. “So, what’s the latest news?” he asked, knowing that many despised his race. What I mean is that I have a feeling something is wrong. “Something doesn’t feel quite right as I go around here.
“A girl has gone missing,” the man explained, his voice tinged with melancholy. “About four days ago, it happened. It’s terrifying to think that anything like this could happen right outside your door. He sighed and turned away, muttering something under his breath.
Frank reflected on what he’d witnessed. At the very least, he now knew exactly what had happened that day. And it was entirely his fault for refusing to assist. If he’d just put in a little more effort, the girl would now be safe at home.
He was so engrossed in his thoughts that he didn’t notice the man in front of him holding some newspapers.
“These are the copies I couldn’t sell,” the man explained. The little girl’s story is told inside. They’re no longer useful to me; take them if you wish. “
Frank was stumped for words and replied, “Are you sure?”
“Yes, you can have them,” the man said, brushing his thinning hair with his hand. Look, I’m not trying to be disrespectful, but you probably see a lot more, if you get what I’m saying. “
Frank understood what he was saying. “Is it because I’m homeless?”
“I did say I didn’t mean to be disrespectful,” the man said, giving him an uneasy look. The truth is that a young lady has gone missing, and we require all available assistance. If receiving these materials causes you to detect something unusual, as if someone is behaving suspiciously. Then, perhaps, this unfortunate child will be discovered safe and sound. “
The issue was that he actually did know something. He didn’t trust this man, no matter how sincere he appeared to be. He only murmured, “Thank you.”
He snatched the papers and stuffed them into his small trolley, which he wheeled around. He continued on his trek in search of food and cardboard. He turned around at the end of the street. The man continued to stare, his face solemn. It started to pour.
He sifted through each one while sitting under an umbrella he had found in town and the papers on his lap. He would cut out the story about the missing girl every time he came across it. He began reading each item with attention once he had collected all of them.
The next morning, Frank awoke early and peered about, thinking he had heard a noise. Maybe it was all in his head. He pulled out a photograph of his daughter. He then remembered the girl who had vanished.
He grumbled, “Why didn’t I do more to save that poor child, Tess?” He wiped a tear off his face.
But who would believe a filthy, stench-filled tramp living in the woods? Nobody. The cops would rather blame him since it would make them appear better than not catching anyone at all. Frank was completely convinced of this. Sarah Marsh was only 12 years old when she died. In one of the newspapers, there was a picture of her parents with sad looks on their faces.
I don’t know why I’m such a worthless coward. He screamed, “Even my own beloved daughter perished because I couldn’t help her!” He picked up a brick from the ground and threw it towards a neighboring tree. “You’re a goddamned fool.”
He dropped the photo by accident and then picked it up.
“I apologize, Tess,” he said. He kissed her on the lips. For a brief moment, he believed he saw her return his stare. His eyes welled up with tears. He’d gotten his fill.
The town’s streets were deserted. What happened to everyone? He could hear church bells in the distance. Frank was pushing the trolley when he failed to spot the man standing just a few meters away.
“What’s your business?” The man said
Frank shifted his weight, his heart pounding. “Did you say something?”
“Why aren’t you at church?” said the man, who was obese and had long brown hair that hung down his face.
“Church?” Frank asked, perplexed by the youngster’s lack of understanding.
All he said was, “Everyone is praying for the boy that went missing.” “I believe she is no longer alive.”
Frank thought to himself, “What a silly thing to say.” “How did you come to that conclusion?”
“This town sucks,” the man said quietly, brushing his hair out of his eyes. I’m getting out of here as soon as I acquire enough money. “
He was gone in the blink of an eye, vanishing through one of the alleys.
Frank continued because he needed to return to his den before it became too dark. When he looked over to the newspaper stand, he noticed that it was closed for the day.
He suddenly had the uneasy feeling that things weren’t quite right.
He spotted the woodland ahead of him and struggled to get there. His legs hurt more as he grew older. Getting older was a drag. Frank pushed the trolley across the gap and began walking down the route that would lead him to his small house. He became conscious of something and looked up to see five children’s faces staring back at him. “The weirdo’s back!” exclaimed one. Run. “
They vanished from view before Frank could react. He was concerned. What exactly were they up to in his den? He noticed that his bag, which contained his stuff, had been tampered with. Then he discovered that the newspaper articles he had cut out had been strewn across the floor.
He screamed, raising his fist, “Bloody, kids!” He needed to take a deep breath and relax.
He felt much better after a few minutes. He looked up at the numerous stars, knowing that his darling daughter was watching him from above.
He only said, “Soon.”
Frank massaged his eyes and noticed something that made him uncomfortable. Two people stood only a few metres away from where he lay. One of them was dressed in a police uniform, he noted. The other was dressed in a suit.
“How can I assist you?” he inquired, quivering.
The suit-wearing gentleman had a solemn expression on his face. He was in his forties and had deep wrinkles on his forehead, giving him an older appearance. “What have you been up to, mate?” he asked.
“I’m sorry,” Frank said, not understanding what he meant. “What exactly do you mean?”
“Why have you had articles of that girl in your suitcase?” the man said as he wiped his chin. Are you a part of it, mister? I won’t lie to you: I despise your species. As a result, don’t expect me to respect you. “
The articles were removed by Frank. After that, I showed them to him. “I don’t have anything to hide.”
“I don’t believe you,” the man muttered, turning around to look at the other police officer with hatred in his eyes. I believe you played a role in this. “Can you tell us what you’ve done with her now?”
This was too much for me to take. He begged them to believe he didn’t know anything.
The man with the bad attitude had strolled back to the police car stationed just outside the trees at this time. “You collected them for a reason,” the second man, who was much younger, remarked calmly as he approached Frank. Please share what you know with me. I promise you won’t get hurt, but we need to know who kidnapped her. “
Despite the fact that the man appeared to be genuine, he was still skeptical.
“Unlike my colleague over there, I won’t judge you,” the man remarked as he knelt. I can see you’re aware of something significant in your gaze. If you want to call it that, call it a sixth sense. “
Frank put his trust in him and started talking.
The suit has been returned to me. His disposition had not improved. He had a glance at the notes that the other man had made. “He’s a liar.” “He’s buying himself some time.”
“I’m not lying to you, sir,” Frank responded, tired of this. That’s what I noticed. “
“If you leave town, I will personally arrest you,” the man stated as he rubbed his mouth with his fingers and handed the notepad back to the officer. because I believe you are more involved. You’re all filthy, scrounging scumbags. If your species didn’t exist, the world would be a better place. “
Frank took a look at the bag and remembered his daughter.
He received a pleasant wave from the younger man.
Frank was on his own in a matter of seconds. He could hear the police car approaching up the road. He was terrified of what the days ahead might bring.
He didn’t know what to do the next day. He wanted to go into town, but how many others would be thinking the same thing if the police suspected him? So, what should I do now? He continued to ponder. He needed to eat because he was running out of food. His stomach was empty.
Frank made the decision to leave after roughly one hour. He’d be sorry if he didn’t. He needed to be brave at moments like these. His back hurt when he stood up. He happened to get a glimpse of someone while pushing the trolley through the woodland. They were gone the moment he turned around.
“Tess, I’m getting too old for this,” he said. “However, you keep me going.”
Because the weather that day was brighter than he had imagined, the sunshine stung his eyes. He made his way towards the town with trepidation.
He could see the woodland ahead as he climbed the little incline. His feet hurt. Some of the items he had collected were in the trolley. Frank struggled to push the cart up the sloping road. Then he saw something that made him feel panicked. His pulse began to quicken.
He grumbled, “They’ve come for me.”
A car was seen a little distance from the trees. It wasn’t a police car, which was probably for the best, but who might it have been?
As he came closer, he noticed the automobile was dark blue, but there was no one inside.
Frank glanced in once he’d reached the opening. He couldn’t see a single person. He cautiously entered the building and followed the tiny passageway. There was an unnerving silence that shook him to his core. And he could see someone sitting on a log near his den, which filled him with dread. He tripped on a twig and made a small noise. He came to a halt. He was at a loss for what to do.
Then a man’s voice could be heard saying, “Are you trying to sneak up on me?”
“Who are you and what do you want?” Frank asked.
“I’m sorry for judging you, Frank,” the man added without turning around.
How did he figure out what my name was?
“Do you think this is a cruel joke, and why are you here?” Frank replied that he was having a dreadful feeling.
Finally, the man stood up and confronted him.
Frank yelled when he saw the person from the day before, who was still wearing the same clothes.
The man’s expression was less solemn than it had been during their previous encounter. “The information you gave us was really valuable indeed,” he said as he approached the tramp. I believe you would be relieved to learn that the girl has returned to her family. “
Frank was relieved to hear this and only responded, “Really.”
“I have a daughter, and I love her very much,” the man said tenderly as he placed his hand on the tramp’s shoulder. The possibility of anything bad occurring to her “( He abruptly came to a halt. After a few seconds, he said, “By the way, my name is John.”
Frank was taken aback because the man had been so unpleasant the day before. “So, who kidnapped her?”
“It was a man from this town,” John replied, scratching the side of his head. That’s why he was so easy to find. The nicest part is that he did no harm to her. He was just a lonely, unhappy man looking for a buddy.
However, why did you kidnap her?” Frank was the one who inquired. “I’m sure there are better ways to do it.”
“The family would like to thank you for the information you provided,” John said, shrugging his shoulders. That is why I have come. Also, I wanted to apologize to you in person for the way I behaved. “
Frank said nothing but “thank you.”
They exchanged handshakes. The man then proceeded up the trail.
The birds sang from high above, so it had to be early. It was bitterly cold outside, but his big coat kept him toasty. He had the nicest night’s sleep he’d had in a long time last night. He blinked open his eyes. Then, to his surprise, he observed someone standing nearby. He wiped his tears away. Frank took another look. It was a little girl in a school uniform, holding a bag in her left hand.
This is when he realized who he was dealing with.
“Oh, my god. He said, “It’s you.” He felt humiliated.
She paused for a moment, then took a few steps back before cautiously responding, “Thank you for what you did.”
“As you can see, I’m a useless tramp who sleeps in the jungle,” he raged.He had a horrible feeling. Please accept my apologies; I didn’t mean to say that. “That’s all. I just didn’t expect it. “
She got a little closer. Her face was bright with a smile. She took his hand in hers.
He raised his eyes to her. “You’re stunning.” It’s a pity that life can be so harsh. Everything should be so straightforward when you’re a kid. “
She ruffled his tresses.
Frank suddenly noticed a light shining behind the girl.
“Are they automobile headlights?” he inquired.
The small girl knelt down and tenderly kissed him on the cheek. “Daddy, it’s time,” I replied.
Frank was overcome with emotion. “I really like you.” And, my beloved Tess, I’ve missed you so much.
Both of them walked into the light.
Credit By Stephen Pearmine