FAMILY FOUND DEAD is written in big letters on the front page. Mike and Jean Adams have been found dead in their home yesterday night. “Signs show that the couple must have been dead for at least a month.” One of the finders report. After searching the house, the investigators came to the conclusion that during that month the two kids of the couple must have been still living in the house, whilst their parents were dead. Ever since the bodies have been found there has been no sighting of those kids. A large investigation has started since, but after asking around, there was nothing to be found on the kids. It seems like they were never signed up for a school or college, and didn’t participate in any sports related clubs. If it wasn’t for the signs within the house, it would almost seem like they don’t actually exist. However, a journal and planner tell us that they do exist and that they have regular visits to some public places within the city. We are looking for Maggie and Luke Adams. Have you seen either of these children, please contact +31 (0)6 1234 5678 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Any clue is welcome and needed.
Under the article two photo’s are shown. One of a girl, only a few years younger than I am, with braids hanging over her shoulders. Her blue eyes stare straight into the camera. It looks an awful lot like a school photograph, if it wasn’t for the trees and greenery that lies behind her. I look at the second photo and my breath falters.
The glasses that frame two soft brown eyes look too familiar. I’ve seen fingers tangled in the messy mop of hair countless times. Whenever he’d flipped through an entire book it would almost seem like despair when he grabbed his head with both hands. However the boy on the photo seems younger, happier even. I’ve never seen him smile in the library, always frowning and concentrating on his books. So this is Luke then, I tell myself. I’m almost relieved that I now at least know his name, but then I remember why his photograph is in the news and the relief is washed away immediately.
“Do they know what happened yet?” I ask my mother. “Not that I know of, it’s just this article and the investigation that they’re carrying out now.” I nodd. “Where do you think those kids went off to?” I wonder out loud. “I just hope they aren’t in danger to be quite honest. God knows how long they’ve been missing now.” My mother says, closing the refrigerator door. I hesitate for a moment, wondering if I should tell her that I’ve been seeing the boy in the library every day for the past year, but decide against it. There’s no additional value to this information here anyway, maybe I’ll tell the cops tomorrow. That’s what I tell myself anyway.
The rest of the evening is quiet, as usual. The only difference today, compared to other days, is that we have the news broadcast on just in case there’s an update on the whole situation. My mother claims it’s important because ‘it might be murderers and we could be next’. When it’s time to go to bed there hasn’t been an update yet and my mother turns the television off with a deep sigh.
I stare at the ceiling, unable to catch sleep. My mind is spinning, going over the multiple different scenarios. Maybe Luke himself is the killer and left his parents to rot on the kitchen floor, or maybe his sister did and he’s protecting her now. It could also be that they came home from school one day to find both their parents gone, too shocked to call the police to report anything and just continued for the time being. There are so many different scenarios, it takes me almost the entire night to finally fall asleep. My alarm clock goes off too quickly after and I almost decide not to get up and to just skip today. Then the news from yesterday comes back to me and I’m wide awake again.
I walk down the stairs to find my mother already dressed and ready for work. “Is there any update on the news?” I ask her, whilst grabbing breakfast. She shakes her head: “Nothing new, please be careful today?”. “Always.” I reply quickly. “Have a good day at work!” I tell her when she stands up to grab her stuff. She nods. After breakfast I get ready and make my way to school. I’m not surprised to find multiple cops around the building, but still wondering why they aren’t talking to people. Even though I’ve never seen Luke nor his sister in school, they must have some friends. I busy my mind with thinking if I’ve ever seen him with someone in the library, but nobody comes to mind. I’m too busy over thinking that I don’t even notice the bell ringing, indicating the end of the school day.
As I’m reaching the entrance of the library, I suddenly hesitate. I shiver runs down my spine and I frown and shake it off as I push the door open. His seat is empty again, however there’s a book on the table now. I look around, but nobody is close enough to the table to have put it there. I vaguely recognize the red binding, but I can’t remember ever reading it myself. With another look around I pull out the chair and sit down. My hands stroke the book cover and my finger traces around the title. The lost souls by James Martin it reads. I frown and slowly open the book to the first page. I hold my breath, but my heart drops when I find a clean page. I don’t even know what I was hoping for. I never even talked to him, so why would he leave me clues. Plus, I don’t even know what happened. He might be a murderer for all I know. Although that idea doesn’t sit right with the image I’ve been building up in my head over the past year.
In the hours that follow I make my way through the first few chapters, still hoping for some sort of clue. The voice in my head starts whispering that the book was just left here by someone else, that it has nothing to do with Luke disappearing at all. I’m almost ready to give up, when I find a small piece of paper in the middle of the eighth chapter. It sits neatly in the crack between two pages, and could easily be missed. My hands shake as I pick it up and try to unfold it.
I hear voices behind me and turn around quickly. It’s the same cop from yesterday, and he seems to recognise me as well. “Back again?” He asks, eyebrows raised. “I’m here a lot of the time, it’s a nice place to work.” I tell him. “I can imagine.” He agrees with me. “Why didn’t you take this spot yesterday?” He then asks me. My heartbeat shoots up, but I try to stay calm. “This spot is usually taken, I thought I’d leave it open for him.” I explain. “Do you know who he is?” The guy asks me. I shake my head. “I didn’t know, until I read the news yesterday.” One of his colleagues calls from the other side of the room, they’re leaving. “Coming!” He replies then turns back to me. “So you don’t know where he and his sister are then?” I shake my head. “I haven’t talked to him ever.”
When the cops have moved on to the next floor I turn back to the piece of paper that I’ve crumpled in my fist. With as much patience as I can handle I peel the paper back into shape. There’s only two words and an address on there. Find me it reads.