NEVER SEEN AGAIN…
An early winter’s dusk fell on a gloomy afternoon. Smoke curled out of the chimneys. Foghorns boomed out from the harbour.
A schoolboy hurried along narrow deserted streets, clutching a satchel of books under his arm. The murky twilight gathered stealthily around him. He wore a navy-blue hooded parka. His heavy shoes beat out a staccato on the frosty sidewalks.
As he passed by a small grocery store, he waved to the proprietor who was working on a seasonal window display. Poinsettias and holly surrounded a basket of mandarin oranges.
He didn’t have far to go now; his home was the third house down from the corner. Where, at that very moment, his mother was boiling water for his tea, and setting out a plate of his favourite cookies.
But he never made it.
For somewhere in that short distance of just about 100 feet, he simply disappeared and was never seen again…
There was an uneasy silence in the viewing room after the clip had ended. It was part of the Vancouver Police Department’s re-opening of cold case files.
"So there you have it," stated Lieutenant Neil Slater."His name is Martin Perry and he disappeared 15 years ago. One week before his 11th birthday."
"Then there’s not much chance that he’s still alive?" It was Scott Preston from the Morning Herald. He poured himself a cup of coffee at the refreshment table.
"The odds are certainly against it," Slater agreed, his dark eyes sombre. "But either way, a case like this is never closed. That’s why we’re asking for the media’s assistance in publicising the details."
"Fifteen years is a long time for a file to lie dormant," said Scott. He stroked his fair beard contemplatively.
The other reporters slowly filed out, jotting down notes and chatting to each other. Scott followed Slater into his office.
"Any suspects?" he asked.
Slater shook his head and swivelled around in his chair to look out the window. "That was one of the most perplexing things about this case. There were no known child molesters in the area at the time."
In the courtyard below, a floodlit fountain babbled beneath the eye of a mysterious moon.
"He was too old to be kidnapped by someone desperate to have a child," Scott mused, scanning the file.
Somewhere down the hallway a door slammed.
Slater yawned and ran his hands over his cropped black hair. "A door-to-door search of every house in the area, plus an extensive search of nearby parks and woods failed to come up with a single clue."
"It’s certainly a puzzle." Scott scratched at his cheek while raking through old newspaper clippings. "No wonder there were such wild speculations at the time, including UFO abduction theories."
He came upon a headline from the Morning Herald that asked, in inch-high type:
"Did Martin fall into the Twilight Zone?"