The Missing

By: Timothy Law

"Listen to me officer, please," begged the woman.

Inspector Davidson tried not to sigh audibly. It had been a long shift, the pub was calling.

"It's my son Michael… He's been missing three days now and…"

"Ma'am, report this to your local station. Surely they would know the area better?" the Inspector suggested.

"We've tried everything, friends, family, we involved the police but that text we received from Michael has confused us all…"

Inspector Davidson had been on the trail of the Messenger for over a year. The mention of a text quickly awoke his interest.

"Ma'am may I please ask you to email me that message?"

The Inspector suddenly found his exhaustion vanished. Pub forgotten he eagerly prepared for a long night.

As usual the message was a row of five symbols. The first picture was possibly a gimp or a sign for silence. Following that was a crescent. Inspector Davidson took that to literally mean the moon, perhaps a clue to the date of a planned meeting. Open, inverted scissors with a red handle followed from the crescent shape. After that there came a handshake and a spider's web.

"Bring up the other three," suggested Davidson to the other officer he'd roped in to help.

Another three lines of symbols appeared above the one sent from Michael.

"Thanks George," the Inspector murmured, focused on the images.

"So far we know only boys missing, fifteen years of age, all nabbed within two hundred miles of London…"

"Look there!" pointed the Inspector eagerly, showing no sign of the tiredness felt hours before. "Those two messages have scimitars while Michael and the first boy have the moon."

"Maybe it means Crescent, like Street or Terrace?" suggested George, stifling a yawn.

"Bingo, George!" announced Davidson, giving the other officer a punch. "Silent Crescent! There's one in Retford!"

The other messages had variants on this so Davidson thought it had to be right.

"What about this then?" George asked, pointing to the scissors and handshake. The other messages all had the handshake but one had a plane, one a tree, one the cat with heart eyes. All four messages ended with a spider, web or something arachnid.

"Who are the other missing lads?" Davidson asked suddenly.

"Jethro, Blade, Terrance, Felix…" replied George.

"Jet… Stump… Felix… Michael was to meet Blade at the Spider Inn…"

"You got it Inspector!"

"Too right, George! Call back-up to meet me there…"

Within three hours Inspector Davidson was outside the Spider. Local officers were already onsite. The pub looked like it hadn't functioned for years. On his count Davidson breached the front door. What he discovered shocked him. There were 11 boys in the room. All dressed in black, pale of skin, their blood drained. Each lay out on the floor as if drunk or sleeping, except for their eyes, opened wide and glassed over. Each was raven haired, those eyes the color of the bluest summer day. From each came not a sound, just lifeless silence.

The End

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