Jason Telford hung up the phone and went for a walk on the beach to clear his head. “Why do I care so much about this?” He looked out to sea, “she’s just a girl found on the beach, my beach, clutching a piece of driftwood.”
Jason sat down and stared out to sea while filling his head with the noises of the waves and the gulls. The piece of driftwood kept invading his calm. He picked himself up and slapped off the sand before heading back to his condo. There weren’t likely to be any answers, but at least he had a nice piece of driftwood. He was thinking of getting a frame for it and maybe hanging it on his bedroom wall when a voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Mr Telford, we need to talk.” It was Detective Gene Conrad from the state police. He gestured toward Jason’s front door.
Jason nodded back at him and let them both in. “What’s going on?” Jason half expected to be arrested over a piece of driftwood and was starting to get nervous.
“The case has been reassigned to the mysterious Detective Aaron Andrews. I have no idea who he is and neither does anyone else. We’re a small state and most of us know pretty much everyone else.”
“Oh,” Jason sat in his living room chair, “you could have told me that over the phone.”
“There’s more that I couldn’t talk about over the phone.” Detective Conrad closed the blinds and sat down. “I not sure where to begin, but something strange is going on.”
Gene Conrad leaned in toward Jason and continued. “We managed to get some hair and tissue samples last night. We sent a swab off to the FBI crime lab. They hadn’t been told about the reassignment so their results came directly to my desk. I’d also managed to get her photo on the internet. It had been removed from the official sites, but not from a few sites that claim she was a passenger on a ship lost at sea in, get this, 1865.”
“She didn’t look that old,” Jason leaned back in his chair. “What about the DNA? Was it helpful?”
“According to the FBI, the DNA matched a woman who disappeared six months ago in Barbados. Kidnapping was suspected, but there were no ransom demands.”
“Did they have a name and a picture?”
“Yeah, but it ain’t her.”
“What makes you say that? I mean, if the DNA matched…”
“But the picture and information didn’t. I talked to the agent in charge of the case; she said someone tampered with the file. We have a meeting with her tomorrow morning.” Gene stood up and headed towards the door. He stopped and turned toward Jason, “I’ll let you know where and when.”
Jason closed the door behind the detective and watched him drive off. He walked back to his bedroom and took another look at the driftwood. It looked different somehow. He decided to worry about it all in the morning. He set it down on his dresser where it caught the last rays of the evening sun. He could clearly see the new message in the glare; it said “RESCUE ME”