I looked up the address Matthew had provided me on GPS, it was a bungalow near a beach. I made the drive up there, it was a nice place. I took the key and went up to the door. I noticed a security camera pointed at the front doorstep, I couldn’t tell if it was real or a dummy, with the kind of money Andrea had, I was hoping it was real.
I unlocked the front door, inside were beige carpets, lace curtains, and leather couches. I explored the bungalow, I made my way through the living room to the balcony that looked down on the beach. I looked around the balcony and noticed some drops of blood on the railing. Looked like a nose bleed, nothing significant, so Andrea was most likely alive.
I looked around the bungalow some more, I located Andrea’s phone in the bedroom along with his wallet and credit cards. I took his phone with me to see if I could get it unlocked and find clues to who took him. Nothing else looked out of place, then I remembered the security camera and started digging through cupboards looking for the control center. I found the monitor in a bottom cupboard in the kitchen. An odd place for it, but for a good reason considering all the tapes were missing.
I was still curious as to why Matthew hadn’t disclosed the bungalow to the police when it seemed to be the scene of the crime. I left the high rise and went back to my own apartment to look into Andrea’s phone. It was, of course, password protected so I had to figure out his password first. I tried his birthday, March 8th, 1998, or 030898. It didn’t work. Tried his father’s birthday, also didn’t work. I called Trent to get his birthday to see if that was it.
“Do you know Andrea’s password to his phone?” I questioned first.
“031800,” he answers quietly. “Where did you find his phone?”
“In his bungalow, is there any significance to that number?” I ask.
“It was the day his mother died,” Trent answered quietly again.
“Right,” I replied.
It was kind of morbid to be reminded of your dead mother every time you unlocked your phone but I wasn’t Andrea, he most-likely had his reasons.
“Did you find anything else?” he asked, with a bit of desperation.
“A few drops of blood but nothing serious,” I didn’t mention the security tapes in case he was the kidnapper and he mentioned them later with no prior knowledge of them.
“At this point, I have every reason to believe he is alive,” I reassure him.
“Thanks, bye,” he replies hanging up.
I hung up and unlocked Andrea’s phone. I went to his emails, there wasn’t much there. I went to his messages.
Matthew was the last person he messaged.
The last two texts stated:
Matthew: I’m coming over.
The messages were sent at 2:30 am on the day he disappeared. Matthew said he had called Andrea not that he’d gone to the bungalow. If everyone else was telling the truth, that meant he would have been the last one to see Andrea.
He also said that nothing was missing from his room, yet, all of his personal possessions were found in his bungalow. I needed the police reports to see if he was lying to me. Andrea didn’t seem to see Matthew as a threat though, and the way Matthew talked about Angelito earlier, I wonder what made him switch sides and lie not only to me but to Andrea. He said his alliance was with Angelito and Andrea and not Mariana and Henry. I bet it could have been money, most people would take the money over doing the right thing in my line of work. It was sad, especially when innocent people got hurt in the process.
There wasn’t much else on the phone, maybe Andrea had a laptop somewhere with more information, there had to be more clues and evidence. Mariana may have had millions of dollars at her disposal but someone had to turn on her eventually, most-likely out of guilt.
I sat in front of my TV watching the news. It showed an old video of Angelito at an art conference, and an old interview of me from another case I’d done a while ago and a picture of Andrea along with a description of him. I wondered if Andrea knew how many people were really looking for him, and if he had hope of being found alive.
I always wondered what it felt like to be that scared and lost that you give up all hope and just go into survival mode of getting through one day after another. Praying more so that you survive rather than that you’re found or rescued.
I’d had some dark times in my life when I wasn’t on the good side of society, I’d made drug deals and threatened people but I’d never physically hurt anyone.
I looked up missing cases in the Nevada area of men in the minority sector. Several men showed up, between the ages of 21 and 32. The oldest case was two years ago and the most recent was two months before Andrea. There wasn’t much on the older cases as they had gone cold but the more recent ones, particularly the one from two months ago, about a guy named Liam Flint, twenty-seven, disappeared from a gay bar. Four of the men had disappeared under this circumstance, the police had connected those four cases but not the other three that were mentioned in the media who like Andrea either disappeared from their home or their car.
Most of them were 'disappearances without a trace' scenarios, no bodies, no witnesses, little leads. They could have gone home with someone but the tapes from the bars were most-likely rolled over and long gone. People also tended to ignore people like this for the misperceptions of them.
I wouldn’t do that, and I wouldn’t leave Andrea’s case to go cold either. He had his whole life ahead of him and whoever took him didn’t deserve to have a say in whether he got to live his life or not. I wouldn’t stop searching until I had answers if not for Mariana, Matthew, or Henry for myself. I hated leaving things unfinished, especially, cases. Even if the family didn’t want closure, I did as a person involved and I also wanted to find closure for Trent who had lost his friend in all of this, if that was what had happened to Andrea, in the end.
It was the worst thing not knowing, some people say you find out what happened to your loved ones when you die but it shouldn’t have to come to that, people shouldn’t be that cruel, or emotionless. Everyone has someone they mean something to. You are never completely alone in the world. You can’t live without caring about something and more often than not it’s a person.
Once I was given a case, I felt an obligation to solve it, obligations are dangerous. They drive you to complete or do things you may not normally do. Obligations make you walk a line between good and evil in some scenarios, too. Say you make a deal with someone for money, and they ask you to do something in return, you feel obligated to do it so things don’t go south with that person in the future. Religion and society can be some of the most dangerous things people feel obligated to follow, both for their own sake and others.
You want to fit in so you laugh at the nerd, the kid with a stutter, the fat kid, people who don’t fit the mold of what society says you need to be. You do it so others don’t make fun of you, so you can say you have friends. But when you step back you often ask yourself: Why? What’s so different about them? In another lifetime, we could have been friends or the roles could have been reversed.
But because they aren’t they endure the hardship and you fit, or you believe you do. When you look back you realize these were never your friends, they were just people, shadows you hid in so you couldn’t be blamed fully for your actions. You can say I wasn’t the only one, or blame the victim even though they’ve done nothing.
With religion, you feel you have to follow God’s rules to get into heaven, some of which I find ridiculous. Like no sex before marriage is not realistic when you’re teaching it to teenagers with their hormones, and saying love is between a woman and a man, and it’s Adam and Eve and not Adam and Steve is contradictory when God says he loves everyone no matter what. Not everyone follows this blindly obviously but there are a number who do.
As society develops, I also do not understand why this persists, it may be from overexposure to things like religion and discrimination, because hate is made and not born but for it to persist the things that create the persistence have to continue to exist and fewer people are religious today so you can’t completely blame it, society is changing but there is a third element, the people’s response.
I guess though, in the end, my obligation to find an end or answer to what happened to these was a good thing, many people had benefitted and been saved and gotten closure thanks to me, but sometimes I wondered if I did enough, especially when the cases went cold.