Publish Novellas 6 March 2022
EPISODE 2 – SUSPICIONS
With few clues, police try to piece together a reported disappearance of a man’s wife.
⚠️ Reader Discretion: Describes assault/violence.
With no leads confirming abduction or foul play, the police wonder if Mr. Thompson even has a wife. If so, could he perhaps be the prime suspect in her disappearance? Officers interview neighbors who confirm seeing a woman resembling the one in the photo without any regularity. They don’t know her name. No one could say for sure if she has been there in weeks.
The police return to the home and ask if they can look through the bedroom for clues. With permission, they discover a woman’s clothing and underwear. The mattress is worn with a dent on the left side. On the other side, the mattress is firm and the pillow is undisturbed. There are two toothbrushes in the bathroom along with feminine hygiene products.
Looking through the remainder of the home, they see a sink full of dishes. There are no signs of forced entry. The furniture has not been dusted in over a week. A stack of unopened mail on the coffee table has nothing addressed to Diana. So officers approach Mr. Thompson.
“Do you mind if we get a forensics team down here to look for clues?”
“Please, yes. We need to find her.”
With his permission, they look for, but do not discover, blood splatter under ultraviolet light. Detectives obtain long hairs from the bathroom drain. They also dust for fingerprints.
“Mr. Thompson. We will use what we gathered to see if we can find your wife. If you can think of any more useful information, please call me at this number. My name is Detective Richard Nicholson,” he says while handing him his card.
“Thank you. I’ll look for that vehicle information.”
“Perfect. We will be in touch.”
From the evidence, police are pretty sure that a woman was living in the home at some point. Searching public records for a wedding certificate, they get a full name and date of birth for Mrs. Thompson. A bolo returns no leads within 24 hours.
“Here’s the question we need to answer,” says Detective Nicholson, “Did Mr. Thompson abduct his wife and dispose of her body before reporting her missing? If so, why?”
“Perhaps he felt that he would not be caught if he reported it. Maybe there is a life insurance policy,” another officer replies.
“Keep Mr. Thompson under surveillance. Find out his daily routine and whether he deviates from it. Also, interview his workmates to see when is the last time any of them have seen his wife.”
Detective Nicholson receives a phone call from Mr. Thompson who is upset that police questioned his workmates. “They were not aware of the investigation. Now my personal business has spread throughout the office.”
“Well, I am sorry Mr. Thompson but we are trying to find your wife. Did you locate the vehicle information?”
“No, I didn’t find anything.”
“Keep looking. I will let you know if we discover anything here.”
Secrecy over his wife’s disappearance raises more red flags in the mind of the detective. The husband remains the prime suspect. However, there is no evidence of a crime, other than that she is missing.
In an Arkansas truck stop, Diana is earning wages. Her boss accepts her offer to bake better tasting pies. They become a hit at the diner.
On her way to her car one evening, someone forces her into a truck cab. Her muffled kicks and screams go unheard before the truck driver lets her out and drives away. A disadvantage of being on the run is that she cannot report the crime even though she memorized the license plate.
The next morning Diana phones in sick. She wants to get out of town but reestablishing herself seems like too much trouble. Diana bakes some pies to get her mind off of things. She brings two with her to work the next morning. On the way there, she purchases some mace and a 4-inch switchblade.
A week later, a truck with the license number she memorized pulls up to the diner. She watches through the window pane as the man comes inside for lunch and sits in a booth.
Diana goes over to the table, standing for a moment to see if he recognizes her. Without such acknowledgment, she asks, “Can I get you anything?”
“What’s the blue plate special?” he asks.
“It’s meatloaf with mashed potatoes, gravy, and green beans blue plate special.” Diana replies.
“I will take the meatloaf plate and a Coke.”
“All right. Would you care for a slice of pie with that?”
“No, maybe later.”
After the customer finishes eating and leaving a tip, she tells him, “My shift ends after dark.”
“Oh, really. What time?” he eagerly asks.
“At 7 o’clock. Do you think you could give me a tour of your truck cab?”
“Certainly for you, lovely lady! I will be here at seven sharp.”
That evening, he pulls up into a secluded area of the parking lot. Then he waits outside the diner door while smoking cigarettes. When she exits, he tosses the butt and politely offers to give her the grand tour.
“This is a deluxe cab with a comfy mattress behind the front seats.”
“It looks cozy,” Diana says.
He kisses her on the cheek and begins eagerly pawing her before she interrupts, “Slow down! Treat me like a lady. Turn on some soft music and let me see your birthday suit before I show you mine.”
He turns on the radio and hurriedly undresses. Then he pats the mattress while motioning for her to come next to him. While opening her purse, Diana says that she requires a bit of protection.
To his surprise, she removes the mace to spray his face and genitals. As he screams, she turns up the radio volume and stabs both of his thighs multiple times before jumping out of the truck and running to her car.