Mystery: The Coming Back: (Mystery, Suspense, Thriller, Suspense Thriller Mystery) (6 page)

“You see, Detective,” he started. “Stanley is only twenty two years old and very fragile, when he got missing two days ago, I immediately informed the police, but they said that it was too soon. As you can see, after two days, my son is still missing. At the moment all I can think about is that something very bad happened to my son.”

“Okay,” the policeman interrupted him. “Tell me about your son, please.”

“Stanley, right...” Mr. Douglass continued. “My son was diagnosed with autism when he was only five years old. But, he was a brave little boy and managed to finish school, make friends and had a very normal life. He was very happy living here, until last night when Stanley went to see his friend after lunch and never came back home.”

“What about his friend?
Did he say something?

“No, Timothy Sands said that they spent the afternoon together and then Stanley climbed into the car and drove home. I asked him hundreds of questions, but Tim has nothing else to say.”

“Did you call his other friends?” Detective Wilson asked.

“My wife called everyone,” the other man clarified. “And I went everywhere, looking for my son or his car. I must have driven the road hundreds of times, but I saw no sign of my son.”

“And Stanley hasn’t been seen by anyone after that?”

“No, we asked everyone,” Mr. Douglass shook his head. “No one seems to know anything and we are going mad with worry.”

“Okay, then,” the detective stood up. “I would like to see his room and speak to your wife and to Stanley’s friend.”

Mr. Douglass opened the door for the detective and led the way up the stairs and to the second floor of the house. The place was a beautiful one managing to keep the family atmosphere about it. The house was situated away from the main streets, near some virgin forest, where the local people liked to spend time.

When they arrived at the door of Stanley’s room, Mr. Douglass opened it and let the detective inside. They found Mrs. Douglass sitting on the bed and praying for the safe return of her son.

“Thank you for coming detective,” she said after the introductions. “Stanley has been missing for only a few days, but there is something very strange about his disappearance.”

“Yes, I can see that,” Wilson agreed with her. “Can you tell me what happen?”

“I don’t know much.” Mrs. Douglass started. “We are a happy family. Stanley never showed signs of wanting to leave our house. He always said that he is happy to live here. My husband knows how to take care of him and Stanley had been doing very well at school and everywhere.”

Wilson could see how worried the woman was, but he was grateful for her presence of mind and the ability to present the events as clearly as possible.

“He never returned home after going to see his friend. What is more,” she continued. “This is the first time, Stanley stays away from home alone, without one of us accompanying him.”

“Did he leave some note for you?” Wilson asked them.

“No,” the man answered. “That was one of the reasons we called the police immediately. I thought that something bad had happened to him. There is no other explanation.”

“Mr. Douglass told me that you looked for him, but did you try to call him or some of his friends?”

“Stanley’s phone is here,” the father pointed at the mobile sitting on the table. “And we called everyone, we could think of. No one had heard from him in the last two days.”

“Was there something that suggested that your son might leave your house?”

“He was happy, Detective.” Mr. Douglass shook his head. “I cannot imagine a reason for him to run from us. And what is more, this kind of behavior is not in his character. If Stanley wanted to leave our home, he would have told us.”

Wilson took note of everything that was said to him and carefully examined the room, taking photos of a few things. Then he excused himself and went to look for Stanley’s friend, Timothy Sands.

 

Chapter 13

When the detective and the doctor left the house, Stanley Douglass came out of his room, watching carefully for his parents, who was still sitting in the living room. Stanley had been sitting near the window in his room when the scene between his parents and the visitors took place downstairs.

After his coming back, Stanley had become closed in himself and easily irritable. His parents had started to keep away from him, afraid that they may make him angry. With the passing of each day, he had almost convinced himself that his life would never be the same as before – either because of him or because of them. To give him credit, Stanley preferred the first option, as that would mean that his parents still loved him.

As most mornings, he had come to the garden to clear his head, when his mother and father had started an argument inside the house. Stanley knew them both well enough to know that there was more behind them arguing about who should fill the car with gas. He wasn’t sure, but it seemed that his father was not convinced that he was really his son. His mother, on the other hand, insisted that there was no way she would not recognize her own son.

And then... Stanley thought of something – his father has been always very nosy and Stanley started to suspect that he might follow him around, looking for a reason to send him away.

Without thinking any further, Stanley stepped further into the garden and spoke to himself, “What should I do now?” he asked himself.

“What?” Charlie asked from behind him, looked startled by the question.

“Oh, nothing, Dad, I was talking to myself.” Stanley said quickly. “I thought that you were in the house...”

Desperate and ready to do anything in order to keep his secret, Stanley looked around and walked closer to the other man. “I have to go out,” he said in a threatening voice. “I need some time alone.”

“But, you just come home?” It was all Charlie could say.

“Yes, I did, but now I am going out again.”

“Why did you do that? Why did you act this way?”

“You are the one to blame for this – you were the one, who brought the police and the shrink in here. Now, what do you want from me?”

“I want my son back.” Charlie shouted desperately.

Stanley looked at him carefully and saw all the love and desperation the other man was feeling. What he saw made him a little jealous, as it was true love.
Shit
, he thought, things were getting more and more complicated.

“I am here, Dad,” he said again. “It is up to you to accept me or not.”

Stanley turned away then, leaving his father alone in the garden and wanting nothing more than to get away from here. He really needed to make some new friends, and have some place where to go, when the atmosphere at home became too heavy to bear.

The young man took his jacket and walked away from the house, heading for the woods and praying for the other man to leave him alone. His father had come after him, but when Stanley refused to look his way, Charlie remained standing in the middle of the car way, looking hurt and desperate.

The walk to the woods was long, but refreshing. Stanley really needed something to distract him from his own thoughts. The arrival of Doctor Chen had scared him, although he was reluctant to admit it even to himself. The woman looked too clever and headstrong for his liking and Stanley had immediately realized that she will not leave him alone, until she finds out everything.

“Shit!” he shouted at the lonely woods and started hitting the trees with a broken branch.

The young man shouted and beat at the bushes and trees around him for long minutes, until he exhausted himself and fell on the ground. Then, the silent forest was filled with his heartbreaking sobs and cries. Stanley Douglass was breaking down.

Chapter 14

The next day, Lydia came back to the Douglass house alone to start her first session with Stanley. Mr. and Mrs. Douglass were happy to see her and she was glad to see them happier than before. Stanley, however, was closed in his room and came down only after his father called him for the third time.

Charlie had offered them to use his study for their session, so that they could have some privacy. Lydia was already sitting on the sofa and looking through her notes for a while, when Stanley entered the room, closed the door behind him and sat down in front of her.

“Okay, I am here,” he said defiantly, looking directly at her.

“I am also glad to see you, Stanley,” Lydia answered him calmly. “How was your morning?”

“Nothing special,” the man said, this time in a normal voice. “I slept, read, played on the computer and now I am supposed to speak to you.”

“I understand that it must be hard for you to face all these new things in your life all at once. But, Stanley, I am here to help you. Please, give me a chance to do so.”

“I don’t need your help,” the man answered. “I have my problems, but that did not mean that you have to study me, as if I were a monkey.”

“I am doing nothing of the sort, Stanley. On the contrary, I want only to help you to settle down in your new life and maybe to remember what happened to you ten years ago. Believe it or not, but I have worked with many people like you. People who have to deal with their past in order to have a happy future.”

“Did those other people like me disappeared for ten years?” Stanley asked sarcastically.

“No, but they had autistic disorders and sometimes did not remember things.” Lydia did not look at all disturbed by his tone. “Tell me everything you remember from before coming here?”

“I told you yesterday,” Stanley cried out. “I don’t remember anything. All I know is that I woke up in a back street, remembering my name and the address of my home.”

“Do you know what this is?” Lydia asked and showed him a kid's book about animals.

“A book!?” Stanley said indifferently.

“Do you remember reading it?” The woman insisted.

“Maybe, I have read many books.”

“What about this?”

“My teddy bear,” Stanley answered, using the same indifferent tone.

“Yes, do you love it?” Lydia offered him the small brown bear, which had two different eyes and was dressed like a cowboy.

Stanley took and held the teddy bear, but Lydia could see that for him the toy was just an old toy and nothing else. She did not ask new questions for a few minutes, watching him carefully, while Stanley absent-mindedly tugged at the bear's leg. If she did not know better, Lydia would have thought that the man saw the bear for the first time. There was no remembrance, no nostalgia, no feeling in the way he held and looked at the toy.

“Do you remember your friend Tim?” She asked suddenly, surprising him to the point that Stanley dropped the toy and almost jumped from his seat.

“Tim?” He asked, looking uncomfortable.

“Yes, Tim,” Lydia repeated the question. “He was the last person to see you ten years ago.”

“Yes, I remember,” Stanley said carefully. “I haven’t seen him. My father said that he went to live in another state, shortly after I disappeared.”

“I know that, Stanley. What I am asking is what do you think about Tim?”

“He was a good friend,” he said tentatively.

“Your father told me that Tim came often to your home.”

“Yes, we spent a lot of time together…”

“What can you tell me about your friend?”

Stanley looked at her surprised by her question. Lydia could see him struggling with the answer and over thinking it. “Don’t you remember him?”

“No, I…I…I just don’t see what Tim has to do with my situation now,” Stanley stuttered. “He was a good friend and we did a lot of things together.”

“I noticed that you don’t remember a few things from your past life in this house,” Lydia pointed out.

“It was too long ago…”

“Yes, but you don’t remember the last ten years. In cases like this one, you should be remembered everything from the before this all happened.”

“But, maybe I am not one of your usual cases,” Stanley shouted. “I am not just a case, I am a human being.”

“Stanley, calm down,” she tried to calm him. “I know how intelligent you are, so I don’t want to hide from you what I think about the case.”

“I think that we finished here,” he said angrily and walked out of the room.

Lydia made a few more notes in her notebook and followed him to the living room, where his parents were sitting. “I don’t need this,” Stanley was shouting at them. “I am not sick, I just don’t remember.”

“Stanley,” Charlie said firmly. “This is not how I brought you up. Now, say that you are sorry to Doctor Chen.”

“I won’t,” he said stubbornly and ran up the stairs.

“I am sorry, Lydia.” Vivian tried to excuse her son.

“No, don’t be, this is part of the therapy. I am glad that he is acting out.” Lydia said with a smile. “I will be back for the next session in two days. Don’t worry, together we will find out the truth.”

 

Chapter 15

Before returning home after the session with Stanley, Lydia decided to drive through the city awhile. She was used to waking up early and taking a walk or run through the park, enjoying the few moments of peace and quiet before everyone else would wake up and life would start again. The rising sun was something Lydia wanted to see each morning. And even now, she would watch it every morning coming up behind the hills, rising slowly in the sky and bringing the light back to the world.

Sometimes one of her new friends would join her and they would talk for hours about their past and future, sharing their pain and trying to help each other with advice and support. This particular morning, however, Lydia had walked alone amidst the high trees and flower bushes. There were very few people in the garden and she had been surprised, when a movement caught her attention.

The woman she had seen arriving at the same time was walking a few meters ahead of her, looking broken and very fragile in her jeans and light blue shirt. Her hair had been arranged in a simple ponytail and there was nothing that spoke about her life. She had been currently walking on unsteady legs, hugging herself and trembling uncontrollably. Lydia had been quick to recognize the signs of withdrawal and had felt sorry for her.

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