Gabby Is Missing: Part Ten

This is the tenth part of a fiction serial, in 762 words.

Michaela.

Gabby was always out. It started to seem pointless to me to share a house with her. Sometimes she would be in all day, but then I was usually working at the cafe, so missed her. I started to think she was avoiding me, but Ben hardly saw her either.

Both of us were rinsing our bank accounts to keep things going, with little help from her. Ben always gave me his share of the key meter money, but he confided in me that Gabby was almost never paying her rent money into his account, and he was using his study loan to pay the difference.

It was making me depressed, but I started to appreciate Ben a lot more. He was always around, always doing the right thing without complaint, and only talking when he knew I needed to talk.

Then one night, we ended up in bed together. I doubt either of us know exactly how that happened, but it was better than I had expected. Tender, caring, and affectionate is how I always remember that night. Then after that, it seemed natural. Rightly or wrongly, I took it that we were together, especially as Ben always slept in my bed when Gabby failed to show up.

It wasn’t too long before we both stopped asking her for money. Our time at uni was drawing to a close, we had each other, and we could put Gabby down to a bad experience, and move on. Pretty much all that was left to do was to complete out final course work, give notice to leave the house and pack our things. Then we would come back to get our degrees at the formal graduation ceremony later.

At that point, Gabby went missing.

Not just failing to show up at the house, really missing. Not attending class, nobody had seen or heard from her, and when it dragged into two days, everyone started to get worried. I spoke to Ben late on that second night, and he looked serious.

“We have to go to the police, Mikki. They report someone missing after twenty-four hours, and it has now been twice that since she showed up anywhere”. We agreed to go to the police station the next morning, then back into uni to tell Mister Donaldson that we had filed a report.

To their credit, the police took us seriously. After all, female students are often targeted by sex attackers or weirdos, and not showing up for class was unusual for Gabby. We gave them a list of the people we knew she sometimes hung out with, and they took a description of her, with a note of what we had last seen her wearing. Then Ben gave them the most recent photo we had from his phone, taken a week earlier.

The man at the desk gave us a reference number, and told us a detective would be in touch soon.

When we got to uni, we went to see Mister Donaldson, but he was busy. So we went to the main office and told the lady in charge about the report. Ben suggested she give Gabby’s parents a ring, to make sure she hadn’t flown home, and she nodded. “Leave it with me. I will start to contact everyone now, including her tutor”. Then we asked around. Most people knew Gabby, even if they were on a different course. She was not the sort of young woman you could forget.

Still, nobody claimed to have seen her, until we ran across Kimberley and asked her. She looked embarrassed. “Gabby? Yeah, she stayed over at my place three nights back. Then she wanted to use my credit card to book a flight. She was a bit upset. I think she had to fly home. Something to do with her family”. Ben phoned the police and updated them with that information. Someone he spoke to said they would check airport departures.

Back at the house that evening when I got in from work, Ben was making a list, trying to think of anyone Gabby had mentioned in the past, and where she might have gone. At the end of the ten o’clock news, the local news came on for our area. They showed Ben’s photo of Gabby, with the headline ‘Concern for missing student’. There was a number to call for anyone with information, and a brief outline of what she might have been wearing. They used her full name, Gabrielle Parker.

The next day, the whole thing became a media circus.

44 thoughts on “Gabby Is Missing: Part Ten

  1. (1) “Both of us were rinsing our bank accounts…” Isn’t that called money laundering?
    (2) “Then one night, we ended up in bed together. I doubt either of us know exactly how that happened.” Note to Mikki: It’s not your fault. Ben jumped into your bed. He jumped into your bed ten times! Sort of like in the movie “Chicago,” where June (played by Deidre Goodwin) explains, “Then he ran into my knife. He ran into my knife ten times!”
    (3) “At that point, Gabby went missing.” Gabby was just waiting for Pete to give her the cue. You have to give her some credit for being so patient.
    (4) “We have to go to the police, Mikki. They report someone missing after twenty-four hours.” How much of a stickler is the police to that policy? What if you report a missing person after only 23 hours and 55 minutes? Remember the Whammy Burger scene in “Falling Down” where…
    Sheila: “Hi. Can I help you?”
    D-Fens: “I’d like a ham and cheese Whamlette, an order of Wham fries–”
    Server: “Sorry, we stopped serving breakfast. We’ re on the lunch menu.”
    D-Fens: “I want breakfast.”
    Sheila: “We’re not serving it.”
    (5) “We gave them a list of the people we knew she sometimes hung out with.” The people on that list included John Bodkin Adams, Rosemary West, Levi Bellfield, and Peter Tobin,
    (6) “So we went to the main office and told the lady in charge about the report. Ben suggested she give Gabby’s parents a ring…” But the lady in charge replied, “Sorry! I don’t want to marry them. Do I look like someone who wants to be in a throuple?”
    (7) Czech airport departures are mostly from Prague.
    (8) “There was a brief outline of what she might have been wearing.” The outline of Gabby’s briefs wasn’t all that clear. Was she wearing Hanes? Jockey? Calvin Klein? Ralph Lauren? (Note: “Despite the fact that over half of women think it’s socially acceptable to sport men’s undies in theory, only eight percent say they primarily wear them. Of those who said they primarily wear men’s underwear, the majority were younger women between the ages of 18–34.” — Tommy John 9/26/19)

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