All of a sudden, our family reunion was interrupted by a knock at the door.
Dad was the first to pull away from our embrace and he said, “Come in!”
The door opened and a man dressed in lab coat with white shirt and a pair of grey trousers underneath walked in.
“Ah she’s finally awake!” The doctor exclaimed when he saw me sitting on the hospital bed.
“Yes, Doctor, my daughter has just regained consciousness,” my mother informed.
“Oh, I see.” The doctor nodded in understanding before he went over to us.
“Hello Rosangela, I am Doctor Henry Hale.” He extended his hand to me.
I shook his hand. “Hello Doctor. Nice to meet you!”
“It is so good to see you, as well, dear.” The doctor beamed a warm smile at me.
I returned his smile.
“How are you feeling today?” he asked.
“I’m feeling a whole lot better now, thank you, Doctor,” I replied.
“I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better,” the doctor stated, “But do you mind if I give you a quick exam? We have to make sure that you’re really okay.”
“Of course no, I don’t mind,” I said.
The doctor told me to lie down and began to examine me. Once finished, he helped me to sit up, and finally explained, “You seem to be in good health now. If your condition remain stable, I will allow you home tomorrow.”
“Good—I can’t wait to get back home,” I enthused.
Doctor Hale whirled around to face my parents. “Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, Detective Roger Brown is here. He demands to see your daughter. As you know, he really needs to take your daughter’s statement.”
“Are you up for talking to the detective, Sweetheart?” my mother asked anxiously.
“Fine. I’m going to talk to the detective. I don’t have much choice, really, aren’t I?” I replied, shrugging my shoulders.
“OK then, I am going to call the detective now. I’ll be right back.” Doctor Henry Hale spun on his heel and walked out of the room.
“I hope the detective doesn’t ask any awkward questions,” I said edgily.
“Calm down, Sweetheart! Don’t get so agitated! Everything is gonna be okay. Just answer the detective’s questions as truthfully as you can, okay?” my father said soothingly.
“OK, Dad.” I nodded my head.
Moments later, Doctor Henry Hale returned with a man in black suit.
“Hello Rosangela. I’m Detective Inspector Roger Brown, the lead investigator on your case,” the detective introduced himself to me.
“Oh hi Detective. Thank you very much for finding me. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be able to reunite with my family again,” I said gratefully.
“No, Rosangela,” Detective Brown refuted, “If anyone’s to thank, it’s your parents. We’d been looking for you for quite awhile. However, all our efforts to trace you turned up nothing until we had to pin all our hopes on finding you and the other missing girls, and we finally decided to close the book on your case.”
He paused to gather his breath, then went on, “But your parents had never given up on you. They kept searching for you in hope that they will be able to find you some day. One year later, a miracle unexpectedly happened. Officers on patrol just happened to be passing the road along the fringe of the woodland and came across you lying unconscious on the ground. And lastly, they raced you to the hospital.”
“You’re right, Detective,” I agreed, “I am deeply grateful to my parents, not forgetting my sister, Marirosa.”
“Rosangela, I’d like to ask you a few questions, if you don’t mind,” Detective Roger Brown stated.
“Sure, I’m willing to answer your questions,” I responded.
Detective Brown turned to look at my parents. “Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, would you mind if I spoke with your daughter alone?” he inquired.
My father was about to give an answer, but my mother beat him to it. “To be frank with you, I mind,” she said bluntly, “We had separated from our daughter for more than a year. And we’ve just found her now. So we don’t want to let her out of our sight for even a second.”
“I understand that it’s very hard to let your daughter out of your sight even if it’s only for a few minutes, Mrs. Sinclair. But it—”
“With all due respect, Detective,” I put in, “but I think I will feel much more comfortable talking with you in my family’s presence.”
Detective Brown heaved a long sigh. “Fine. The three of you may stay here. But please don’t interfere with our talk.”
“Deal!” my parents and Marirosa said in unison.
“Well, I’d better be going now. I’ll be back to check on you later, Rosangela,” said Doctor Hale.
“All right. Thank you, Doctor,” I said with a tight smile.
With a nod and a smile, Doctor Hale excused himself and finally left the room.
“Can we start the questioning now?” Detective Brown enquired.
“OK, fire away,” I replied.
“Can you tell me how your kidnapping came about, Rosangela?” Detective Roger Brown demanded.
I looked sideways at my parents and sister and they nodded encouragingly.
“As far as I can recollect,” I began, “I was on my way to my friend’s party when suddenly I got waylaid by some hooded men. They grasped me by the arms. I struggled, but before I could scream for help, one of them shoved a handkerchief which had been laced with chloroform over my mouth and nose until I lost consciousness. I can’t remember what happened after that. The next thing I knew I woke up and found myself in this hospital room.”
Detective Brown raised a questioning eyebrow. “So you’re saying that you can’t remember the events while you were held in captivity?”
“Yes.” I nodded feebly.
“I see! But can you remember how you could escape from your kidnappers’ clutches? Did you manage to run away by yourself? Or did they set you free?” the detective plied me with questions.
“I wish I could remember all of it, Detective, but unfortunately, I can’t,” I said regretfully, “Every time I tried to recall exactly what had happened to me, an intense pain always seared through my head.”
“I know it must be hard for you, but please try your best to remember the times while you were held captive! Your information is really needed to catch your kidnappers,” the detective implored.
“Please, Detective, don’t force my daughter to remember anything!” my mother pleaded, “I don’t want her to get sick again.”
“Yes, Detective,” my father stood up for my mother, “My daughter has just regained consciousness, so it is perfectly understandable if she still has a hazy memory of what had happened to her.”
Detective Brown let out a sigh. “Fine. I think that’s all for now. Thank you for your time, Rosangela.”
“Not at all,” I responded.
“Well, I don’t want to impose, but if you remember anything at all, please let me know,” Detective Brown requested.
“Sure.” I smiled weakly.
Detective Roger Brown swung back to face my parents. “Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, before I leave, I want to talk with the two of you first.”
“Okay,” my father agreed.
“Let’s talk outside, shall we?” Detective Brown suggested.
Dad nodded at the detective. “Yes, let’s.”
“Marie,” Mom talked to my adoptive sister, “You stay here and look after your sister while I and your dad are having a talk with Detective Brown. Don’t let her out of our sight for even a second! Do you understand?”
“Yeah, I got it, Mom,” said Marry.
Mom touched my cheek and said softly, “We’ll be back in a little while, Sweetheart.”
“Yes, Mom.” I smiled.
Detective Roger Brown along with Mom and Dad finally walked out of the room, shutting the door after them.