Sunday 9 – Tuesday 11 January 2010
All I will say about this story is this: consider your next mail delivery very carefully.
At nearly forty centimetres by forty centimetres, it wasn’t an overly large package, but by the same token, it wasn’t small either. Ryan had moved it back and forth from the dining table to the coffee table in the lounge room. Its current position was the coffee table. Again. He wondered what could be in the brown cardboard box, but he was afraid to open it.
Ordinarily, he would have ripped open the package as soon as it had arrived, but not this time. For five hours it had remained unopened. It bothered him that there was no postmark, or stamp on the box. It looked to Ryan as though the address label was computer printed, but there was no return address. Its origin was a mystery. However, Ryan was reticent to open it given the events of the previous week.
His life had been turned upside down by the inexplicable disappearance of his wife and young son. At first thinking that she had gone to stay with her mother, he became worried when she phoned to ask why Angie hadn’t called. Immediately, Ryan checked through their shared wardrobe, and all of Angie’s drawers. Some of her clothes were gone, along with some of her jewellery, and of course, their three-year-old son, Oliver. Had all of Angie’s clothes been missing, Ryan was sure he would have been alerted to their disappearance a lot earlier. He’d never even considered going into Oliver’s room until he knew they hadn’t made it to her mother’s.
Throwing open the door and rushing into Oliver’s room, Ryan was shocked to see that it looked as though someone had ransacked it. Finding that his senses had left him, Ryan collapsed on the floor in an emotional heap. He sobbed relentlessly for hours before regaining some common sense and calling the police. Surely Angie wouldn’t have done this to Oliver’s room. She knew where everything was, and had no reason to throw her son’s belongings around. No, Ryan was convinced that something untoward had occurred.
The police had their hands tied. Unless she was missing for twenty-four hours, there was nothing that they could do. And although she had the boy with her, there was no apparent reason to fear for their safety, especially considering some of their belongings had been taken. To the police, it seemed like a cut and dried case: mum takes the child, and leaves the husband. It wasn’t until Ryan received the third phone call that the police began to take their disappearance seriously.
Ryan answered the first two calls, unable to believe his ears at the demands. If the perpetrator was to be believed, then both Angie and Oliver were in serious danger. The third call came whilst Ryan was explaining to the police about the ransom demands. Had they not been in the house and heard the call for themselves when it went through to the answering machine, Ryan doubted they would have believed him. That call changed the situation. Now the police conceded that Angie Symonds had not run away with her young son.
. . . To be continued . . .