The yearning and urge to write were eating at Sandy. More importantly, the desire to tell a story, true in nature, that revolved solely around her best friend Mae and her husband Tom begged to be written to set the record straight and right a wrong. She normally wrote fictional stories that carried the reader to far-reaching locations and inevitably included mystery, plots, romance, love, or even controversy. Her heart raced and her emotions pumped as each idea formed and words tumbled over one another as if vying for inclusion running through her like a fast-moving river.
However, this story was far more exacting and far more important because it was real and revolved around two of her best friends and was therefore deeply personal for all concerned. Sandy desperately wanted to set the record straight; they deserved that and waited patiently while Mae took her time giving the matter lengthy consideration since the ramifications could prove monumental. She had weighed the outcome carefully before presenting the idea to Mae, When asking to write the story, Sandy had been adamant every word, every chapter, all of it, in its entirety from the first draft to the last be read considered and approved by Mae and if she considered any detail too intimate, too personal, too disturbing, Sandy would exclude that information immediately.
Sandy's dilemma in setting the record straight on their behalf would ultimately cast them into the limelight once again and they'd already suffered endlessly - family, friends, co-workers -but none more so than Mae. As much as they all deserved peace, quiet, serenity and relaxation, if such a thing were possible, the truth must be told. The story held enough drama with its many plots, twists and turns; so much so she wasn't sure what the right angle to take was. Her intent wasn't capitalizing on that aspect, but to speak on Mae's behalf with the love, care, affection and loss she'd suffered while remaining forthright determined and strong as was Mae.
Mae’s husband had mysteriously disappeared. They’d enjoyed breakfast together with bacon eggs hash browns and toast as was their Saturday morning routine. After relaxing with a cup of coffee, clearing the table had enjoyed an impromptu romantic interlude. Later Tom was off to do some Christmas shopping. The last time she’d seen Tom, he’d dropped a kiss on her nose, given her a hug and departed.
Mae hadn’t worried when he’d been gone for several hours as he was very particular about finding the perfect gift for the recipient and always took his time when choosing each item. Mae had always admired that about him, but when four hours turned into eight, she’d begun to worry so she hopped into her car and started driving; first down Main Street where she figured he might have gone shopping first since there were several unique outlets with items he loved most and then in a circular pattern including every parking lot and side street possible.
After driving for an hour she hadn't spotted either him or his car and returned home where she anxiously began calling friends hoping someone had seen him or he'd inadvertently lost track of time while visiting. No one had seen or heard from him recently; it was as if he'd simply vanished into thin air. It was then she called the police.
Since it was the Christmas season, the police chief and personal friend, William Faraday, suggested Tom was fine, simply got caught up in shopping, but he promised he'd have his men keep a lookout anyway.
Mae hadn't slept much that night, having crawled into bed at a little after two and had tossed and turned. It wasn't like Tom. He didn't just disappear; he'd always been so thoughtful and if he was going to be longer than planned, would call and inform her where he was and when he'd be back so she had no cause for worry.
The wrapping on the door woke her and sitting, she checked the time on the bedside clock. It was 8:33 a.m. At some point, exhaustion had taken over and she'd finally slept. Mae would remember that moment forever; for it was the beginning and the end.
Grabbing a housecoat, she tied it around her waist and ran her fingers through her dishevelled hair as she raced to the front door. The police chief stood there with a grim look on his face and she’d known instantly it was bad news. Mae invited the chief and his deputy inside and while the deputy closed the door behind them, the chief advanced toward her and taking her hands in his, squeezed firmly and held on tightly and gave her the terrifying news. They’d found Tom’s car out on the edge of town, but they hadn’t found Tom.
He guided her to a seat and taking the one beside her began asking questions. That was the beginning of the ordeal, the nightmare, the horror that was to come. There was so much more.