Laura woke up the morning after she returned from a business trip and saw her husband was still asleep. As usual, she went to the kitchen to make herself coffee, but before that, she went to check on her daughter Emily who was supposed to be in her room, sleeping.
When Laura entered Emily’s room, the bed was perfectly made and everything was well organized but Emily wasn’t there. After checking the bathroom and the rest of the house and realizing her daughter was nowhere to be seen, Laura panicked.
This wasn’t the first time that Emily wasn’t home. Being a teenager who wanted to hang out with her friends and attend parties, she sneaked out before, but Laura’s gut was telling her that it was different this time.
The entire situation went from bad to worse and everything felt like a bad dream.
Laura immediately called the police. In no time, a group of cops and detectives were at Laura’s door. She explained to them what was going on and they assured her everything would be alright and that they’d do all in their power to find her daughter.
When the cops arrived, Richard woke up and went downstairs.
“Laura? What’s going on? What are cops doing here?”
“Someone kidnapped Emily!” she replied tremblingly. “The kidnapper is demanding ransom.”
“Are you sure it isn’t one of Emily’s games?” he asked as he joined her in the living room.
“Of course it’s not, Rick!” she cried. “We have to find her!”
The cops, Laura, and Richard entered Emily’s room.
“Anything missing from here?” Detective Harris asked Laura and Richard.
“The carpet!” Laura now noticed. “It’s not here.”
“You got any idea about it?” Detective Harris looked at Richard.
“Uh, yeah, I took it to the dry cleaner,” Richard replied.
Detective Harris made a note. “I’ll need the dry cleaner’s address, please.”
“Yeah, I’ll get it. One second,” Richard said and left the room.
At that moment, Laura received another text message that read, “If you involve the cops, you’ll never see your daughter again.”
“Let’s drop the ransom, Mrs. Dennings,” Detective Harris suggested. “We can set up around the drop-off location. It’s the best chance of getting your daughter back and catching the kidnapper.”
“No way!” Richard protested as he returned with the address. “That’s too risky. We should just give the ransom, and then maybe the bad guys will let her go.”
“But Richard, what if they take the money and run away?” Laura shook her head. “No. I think the detectives are right.”
A decision was made for undercover officers to be positioned around the ransom drop-off point.
The following day, Laura drove to the drop-off point and her only hope was to see her daughter. She waited and kept looking at the rear-view mirror of the car, but no one approached the oak tree where she placed the money. When the night came, the detective knocked on the car’s window and told Laura to go home because the kidnapper probably change their mind.
Devastated, Laura returned home and went straight to Emily’s room. She then noticed the carpet was there.
“Doesn’t the carpet look like it’s new?” her husband asked her.
Laura kneeled on the carpet. It was a carpet Emily chose herself just a few months ago.
“How could it be so new?” Laura asked confused.
“A good cleaner can do wonders, honey,” Richard replied almost too quickly.
Ten years have gone by, and there was no sign of Emily. Everyone moved on and got used to the fact that she won’t be coming back. Everyone but Laura. This mother could never stop hoping that she would see her daughter again. She never stopped trying and praying to God for Emily’s safe return.
One day, Laura got the idea to place banners with Emily’s face on them around the city. She visited an agency and told the woman working there her story. The two agreed to place three huge banners at the busiest streets in the city.
“The design was simple—a blown-up version of Emily’s photograph, her smile frozen in time, and the words ‘Forever missed, forever loved’ in bold, impossible-to-ignore letters. Beneath that, ‘If you know something, say something,’ followed by a hotline number.”
Richard wasn’t happy that Laura placed the banners. He accused her of wasting their money. “All our savings are gone, Laura! Just because you plastered her face all across the city!” he told her.
But at that particular moment, there was a knock on the door.
Laura went to see who it might be. The moment she opened the door, she was left completely stunned. A young woman was standing on the front porch. Although ten years passed by, she immediately recognized her daughter.