Short Story Fiction
Scott A. Gese

His wife was missing. He didn’t know what the hell was going on… until he got the call.

MissingGut Böckel, Rödinghausen/Wikimedia Commons

As soon as he walked in the unlocked front door, Ryan Falcon knew something was wrong.

His suspicions started as soon as he turned his car onto the private drive that led to the house. The gate had been left open. It was something he knew his wife would never do.

Now, as he pulled up to the house, he found a strange car parked out front. He was expecting his brother-in-law from out of town, but this wasn’t his car.

“Maybe he got a new one,” thought Ryan.

He tried to shrug it off. But still, his gut was telling him something wasn’t quite right. He could feel it.

When he reached the front door he found it to be unlocked. He stepped in.

Where was his dog? Why hadn’t it or his wife greeted him.

Ryan called out to his dog. “Matti! Come here girl!” She didn’t show.

He called out to his wife. “Peg?” There was no reply.

Everything was eerily quiet. Ryan could feel a slight worry setting in. He talked himself into remaining calm.

“I’m sure they must be around here somewhere,” he thought.

He searched through every room in the house. He found the dog locked in the upstairs bathroom but nothing of his wife. He checked the garage and the back yard. Nothing there either. Now his worry set in for real.

Peg gone, Matti locked up, gate and front door open and unlocked, strange car out front. “What the hell is going on here?” He asked himself. “Nothing makes sense. Maybe Peg’s brother showed up early and they went for a walk.” The thought was only slightly calming but it was all he had for now.

Suddenly Ryan’s phone rang. The I.D. Showed it was Peg. Ryan answered it. “Hello,” he said, trying to sound calm.

The unpleasant voice of a man was on the other end. “Get in the car that was left in your driveway and go to one twenty seven West Everest Street. The keys are in the ignition. Be there in twenty minutes and don’t be late. You’ll receive further instructions once you arrive. No cops, we have your wife.”

Ryan panicked. “Who is this? What is this about? Is she OK? You lay one finger on her and I swear if I have to I’ll come back from the grave to hunt you down…”

The voice on the other end interrupted. “You’re in no position to be making idle threats. Better get moving.” The phone went silent.

Ryan quickly plugged the address into his cell phone. His map program showed the destination to be a small upscale restaurant. Ryan made it there in fifteen minutes. He abandoned the car and rushed in.

As soon as he stepped through the door a young female hostess greeted him. “Table for One?”

“I was told to show up here. Where’s my wife?”

“I’m not sure what you’re talking about.” she replied. “Are you Ryan?”

“Yes, I’m Ryan,” he replied.

“Follow me.” The waitress led Ryan down a back hall to an unmarked door. “Don’t bother knocking. Go right in. They’re expecting you.” She quickly turned and went back up the hall.

Ryan took a deep breath and opened the door. The room was dark. Suddenly the lights flipped on. “Surprise! Happy birthday!”

Ryan was stunned. “What the hell?”

Peg stepped up and gave Ryan a kiss and a drink. “Happy Birthday, sweetheart. Remember the stunt you pulled on me last year? The one where you told me you lost the house in a poker game. You even had your poker buddies confirm it. I was in tears before you finally fessed up. I told you then, the payback would be hell. Gotcha.”

© Copyright 2023 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.

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