Eric John – Part VIII

The beginning of this story can be found here: Eric John

Eric John had been missing two days now.

The police had questioned Mrs Smithton, but she had slipped into a shock where she couldn’t seem to talk at all. She would just stare straight ahead at nothing. Once in a while a tear would form in her eye and run down her cheek. The cheery, helpful Mrs. Smithton that had helped so many children was gone, she might never make it back from this nightmare.

The police also placed an APB and combed  areas between the Smithton’s house and the school but nothing turned up. They were already talking about the length of time the boy had been missing. They started wondering if Mr. Smithton had been part of a larger child sex slavery ring that they should be looking for.

Also were questions of the boy’s father, who was he and did he just come back for the boy and the mother. The missing mother was a quandary – where was she and why hadn’t she come forward after hearing of the boys disappearance on the news.

Children’s services were trying to stay out-of-the-way. This was now a police matter, they decided, and the best resources available were being used – they had other children to look after.

Mrs. Wirsing couldn’t just sit back and not help. She hadn’t been able to sleep, her nerves were fraught and concern for Eric John was paramount to all other thoughts.

She jumped on her poster idea and used all her free time to create missing posters of Eric John and his mother and Eric John himself. She placed her own phone number and that of the police on the flyers in the hopes someone would see them.

She had started hanging up flyers after school on Friday and it was several hours past dark and she was still out. She kept thinking to herself that if she missed some place it might be just the place she had needed to hang a sign.

Strangers were stopped to see if they had seen them, cafe patrons sitting outside for an evening cup of coffee, the grocery store owner, the UPS man… but she kept coming up with nothing. No one had seen the boy, no one had seen his mother.

Mrs. Wirsing was beginning to lose hope of ever finding the boy, she was on her last batch of flyers and was very tired. At the end of the block was the local police station and she decided to post her last flyer on their bulletin board, if they had one.

There was indeed a large bulletin board near the main entrance to the police department, but it was filled with official notices and regulations. She was so tired she didn’t care and started to tack the poster of Eric John and his mother on the board.

An officer came up to ask her what she was doing and inform her this type of thing simply wasn’t allowed. She begged him to let her place the flyer, pleading with him to look at the flyer and see the loving boy and his mother – they desperately needed to be found.

Fortunately for Mrs. Wirsing, and the officer, he did look at the picture and he gasped. He had been the one to discover the Jane Doe on Tuesday morning and recognized her immediately. He grabbed the flyer from Mrs Wirsing to get a closer look, he didn’t want to look a fool and claim something that wasn’t. But sure enough that was the face of the poor woman who had been stabbed to death.

He escorted Mrs Wirsing into a small office and asked her to wait. Mrs. Wirsing never thought she could get in this much trouble for simply placing a flyer up. She was so tired and so worried about the boy. A few minutes later the officer came back in followed by a man in an ordinary brown suit.

The man in the suit identified himself as Detective Hacker with homicide division and the police officer who had escorted her in this room as Officer Fellows. After she got over the shock of talking to a homicide detective she soon began to wonder who had been murdered, and she so dearly hoped it wasn’t Eric John.

As tired as she was she did her best to answer the Detective’s questions. No she didn’t know what had happened to Eric John’s mother. No she wasn’t a family member and couldn’t really consider herself a friend. She was a concerned citizen looking for them both.

When the Detective took a pause between questions she was able to tell him about Eric John missing, the Smithton’s murder and Eric John’s mother’s disappearance starting this whole thing off.

Detective Hacker and Officer Fellows both had heard about the Smithton case, it was on every tongue in the department a monster delivered to justice and an innocent boy soiled. Neither of them recalled anything about a teacher being involved in all of this, but they had remembered the theory on the child sex ring and abduction of the boy. Perhaps this woman was really his teacher, or perhaps she was involved.

It was very late indeed when they finally reached the children’s services worker who verified her story. Even though she knew they were just doing their job she felt they wasted an awful lot of time questioning her when they could have been out there looking for Eric John.

They did let her know after the questioning that they had found Eric John’s mother Tuesday late morning. They didn’t share the condition they had found her in but as he was a homicide detective she assumed the beautiful, kind woman had met an untimely end. She cried for a good long while, not just about her death but the thought that Eric John would be without her… if they found Eric John alive.

She gave the police all the information she had, they made a copy of the flyer she was carrying to distribute in the neighborhoods. They tried assuring her the boy would be found safe and sound somewhere, but she had her doubts now. The death of his mother put a damper on her hope.

Officer Fellows drove her back to her home that night, she had run out of tears and was just in shock now. She thanked him for his service and getting her home safely. He warned her they weren’t sure of the neighborhoods safety anymore after the stabbing – she should be very careful.

She assured him she would be. She went straight to her room collapsed on the bed and passed out. Tomorrow she would start again.

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