Upon waking up from a business trip, Laura realizes that her daughter is nowhere to be found. She embarks on a quest to find her daughter. After a decade has passed, the daughter unexpectedly arrives at their doorstep, ready to reveal the complete truth.
Laura woke up, still feeling incredibly tired. Next to her, Richard, Emily’s stepfather and her husband, was sound asleep.
Laura pulled back the sheets and made her way to the kitchen, just like she did every morning. The business trip had been exhausting. After finishing breakfast, she made her way to Emily’s room.
“Rise and shine, darling!” Laura began speaking, but her voice faded away as she observed Emily’s flawlessly arranged bed.
Laura searched Emily’s bathroom, but unfortunately, Emily was nowhere to be found. Surprisingly, Emily’s belongings were impeccably arranged. Emily was not to be found in any of Laura’s rooms, the backyard, or even the garden.
Laura was well aware that Emily was not the most obedient child. She had discreetly ventured out on a few occasions and even joined lively gatherings. However, today was not one of the typical reasons for Emily’s absence. Laura had a strong intuition about it.
“Rick, get up!” Laura went back to their bedroom and attempted to wake up her husband. “Emily is missing!”
“Let me sleep, Laura,” Richard mumbled, his voice heavy with drowsiness. “She’s in her teenage years. It seems she managed to slip away to meet her friends. Take it easy.”
“This is a matter of great importance, Rick. Her room is incredibly tidy! This is so different from Emily!
But Richard told her not to worry about it and went back to sleep. Laura felt a sense of anxiety. She eagerly came down the stairs, anticipation filling her as she entered the living room, yearning for Emily’s arrival, hoping for her safety and well-being.
Out of nowhere, her phone chimed with a message.
“If you want your daughter alive, bring $100,000 to the address below…”
Laura felt dizzy. She tried to convince herself that it was just a terrible nightmare. However, that was not the case.
Trembling, Laura wasted no time in contacting the authorities. They arrived quickly. As soon as they entered, Richard’s voice echoed loudly from upstairs. “Laura?” What’s happening? What are the police officers doing here?
“Emily has been kidnapped!” she replied with fear in her voice. “The kidnapper has made a demand for ransom.”
“Are you certain it’s not one of Emily’s games?” he asked, joining her in the living room.
“No way, Rick!” she exclaimed. “We need to find her!”
The police officers, Laura, and Richard entered Emily’s room.
“Is there anything that needs to be added here?” Detective Harris asked Laura and Richard.
“The carpet!” Laura finally took notice. “It’s not here.”
“Do you have any thoughts on the matter?” Detective Harris glanced at Richard.
“Yeah, I got it cleaned at the dry cleaner,” Richard responded.
Detective Harris jotted down a quick observation. “Could you kindly provide me with the address of the dry cleaner?”
“Sure, I’ll take care of it.” “Hold on a moment,” Richard said before leaving the room.
As the detectives continued their search for additional clues, Laura’s phone received another notification. Her face turned pale as she read the message that had appeared on her screen.
“What is it?” Detective Harris couldn’t help but notice the sheer horror on her face. She handed her phone to the police officer, who proceeded to read the message out loud.
“If you involve the authorities, you may not be able to reunite with your daughter.”
“Let’s reconsider the ransom, Mrs. Dennings,” Detective Harris proposed. “We can arrange our setup near the drop-off point.” This is the best opportunity to reunite with your daughter and capture the kidnapper.
“Absolutely not!” Richard expressed his disagreement as he came back with the address. “That seems quite risky.” If we just pay the ransom, maybe those people will release her.”
“But Richard, what if they decide to flee with the funds?” Laura disagreed. “Absolutely not.” I believe the detectives are correct.
Richard reached a point where he couldn’t continue the argument. The decision was made to position undercover officers around the ransom drop-off point.
As Laura made her way to the drop-off point with the ransom money, her mind was consumed by thoughts of Emily. She longed for her return. She longed for her baby girl to be back home.
Laura parked close to the park that the kidnapper had mentioned. Then, as instructed, she made her way to the majestic oak tree located in the heart of the park and carefully left the money there.
After Laura finished her task, she adjusted her rearview mirror to stay alert at the drop site.
Detective Harris, wearing a plain jacket and jeans, discreetly motioned to her from across the street, indicating that the police were in position. Laura’s heart raced with anticipation every time she glanced at the rearview mirror. She eagerly anticipated the arrival of the kidnapper.
However, as the hours passed, there was no sign of anyone arriving. After the children finished playing, the park was once again left deserted. Detective Harris approached her window, and she lowered it.
“I believe it’s about time for you to make your way home, Mrs. Dennings. Maybe the kidnapper had a change of heart.
Laura felt devastated. Why didn’t the kidnapper make an appearance? Did he receive any indication about the presence of undercover cops? The drive home was a hazy experience for Laura. Upon entering Emily’s room again, she noticed that the carpet had returned. Richard stood there, his eyes filled with an unusual sense of relief.
“Wow, doesn’t the carpet look brand new?” he exclaimed.
Laura knelt down and gently ran her fingers across the soft carpet. Emily had personally selected it several months ago. She couldn’t contain her excitement when they brought it home.
“How is it possible that it feels so fresh?” Laura exclaimed.
“A good cleaner can work miracles, darling,” Richard replied hastily, almost suspiciously fast. It was at that moment that a doubt began to creep into Laura’s mind. However, the sorrow caused by her daughter’s absence was too overwhelming to focus on anything else.
A decade went by. The police decided to close the case due to the lack of any leads. While others had seemingly moved on from Emily’s disappearance, Laura remained focused. She walked into an advertising office, holding tightly onto her daughter’s photographs. They were a light yellow color now, and some of the sides were worn down.
Laura walked up to a woman stationed at the front desk. “I’m interested in renting some banners,” Laura mentioned.
“Sure,” Jenna replied with a smile. “How many would you like?”
“As many as I can afford.”
Jenna attentively listened as Laura shared details about Emily’s sudden disappearance. They decided to place three banners along the busiest highways in the area. Jenna was moved by Laura’s story and decided to offer her a compassionate discount. She had gathered bits and pieces of Laura’s story from her brief, but clear powerful explanations.
It was as if a blog had come to life, with a larger-than-life rendition of Emily’s photograph capturing her eternal smile, accompanied by the heartfelt message “Forever missed, forever loved” in attention-grabbing bold letters. Additionally, there is a “If you have any information, please report it” message, along with a hotline number provided.
Whenever Laura caught a glimpse of those billboards, a glimmer of hope would ignite within her. Her friends and family believed that the advertisements were intended to bring her a sense of peace. However, peace was not something Laura desired. She longed for her daughter.
Laura anxiously awaited news of Emily’s whereabouts, desperately hoping for a phone call that would bring her some relief. As time went by, she received numerous phone calls. However, it was only those individuals who wished her well.
One day, Richard completely lost control. “Laura, we’ve lost all of our savings!” Just because you displayed her photograph all over the city!”
“So?” Laura fired back. “What do you expect me to do, Richard?” Are you really going to neglect our daughter? I want to honor and preserve her memory!
A sudden knock on the door interrupted Laura and Richard’s argument. Breathless, Laura made her way to her front door and answered it. A young girl stood on the doorstep, and Laura instantly recognized her without a single word being spoken.
Laura hugged the girl with open arms, showering her with a warm hug. “Emily, oh, you’re back!”
“Sure, Mom!” I’m back! Emily responded while they embraced each other. Then Emily pulled away and proudly raised her arm to display the carpet she was holding. “This was all I had, Mom,” she said. And I kept it.”
“Who’s there?” Richard’s voice echoed loudly from within. His complexion turned ashen as he approached the front door and glanced at Emily.
“What’s wrong, Richard?” Emily scoffed. “Did you meet a ghost?” “Mom, he’s the one who caused my disappearance!” Emily gestured towards Richard.
“Huh?” That’s absurd! Richard passionately defended himself, tears streaming down his face.
“Step inside, Emily,” Laura beckoned. Emily walked in, and Laura quickly shut the front door. Her gaze shifted between her daughter and her husband. What was happening?
“She’s not telling the truth, Laura!” Richard raised his voice. “Don’t listen to her! She’s attempting to drive a wedge between us!
“Emily, please provide me with all the details!” Laura was adamant, disregarding Richard.
Laura was absent from home for a week due to a work commitment. After Emily arrived home from school, she found Richard lounging on the living room couch, engrossed in the television.
“Hey there, kiddo!” he greeted cheerfully as he sat up. “How was your day at school?”
“It was okay,” Emily responded and was about to go to her room, but Richard insisted that she join him for TV. “I could really use some company,” he expressed. “And it’s the show you absolutely love.”
Emily reluctantly sat down next to Richard. She didn’t think anything was wrong at first. However, her attention was drawn to Richard’s hand gently brushing against the hem of her skirt. “That’s a lovely skirt,” he remarked. Emily could feel her heart pounding in her chest. She expressed her gratitude.
She attempted to concentrate on the TV show, but the heat proved to be too much. She began unbuttoning her shirt when her fingers brushed against Richard. “Let me help you,” he offered, gently tracing his fingers along her neck.
“I’ve got it,” Emily exclaimed as she pulled away. However, Richard failed to grasp her subtle suggestion. He requested that she move closer to him in order to get a better view of the TV. “Let’s go, Emily. You’re different now, and you probably want me,” he told her.
Emily was extremely startled. “Get away!” she shouted. “Ugh, I have to do my homework.”
Out of nowhere, the neighbor’s Beagle let out a loud bark, catching Richard’s attention. Emily quickly seized the opportunity to flee and hurried to her bedroom.
Despite her fear and disgust, she found comfort in this place. However, her peace was soon disturbed.
Richard walked into the room with a wide smile on his face. “There’s no need to be afraid, Emily!” He had a smug expression on his face.
“What brings you here? Leave! This is my room!” she exclaimed. “Richard, you better leave right now or I’ll spill all the details to Mom!”
Richard couldn’t help but burst into laughter. “And who do you think she’ll believe?” Is it a grown man or her overly imaginative daughter?
“She will believe me! I know my mom!” Emily shouted with conviction. She glanced over at the cell phone sitting on her bedside table.
Richard’s expression twisted with fury. “No calls!” he shouted loudly. With a sudden burst of energy, he swiftly extended his arm to push her away from the phone. Emily was on the verge of grabbing it when she lost her balance.
Her head throbbed as the room spun around her. Emily was overcome with darkness when the wooden corner of the table struck her.
Upon discovering the pool of blood beneath Emily’s head, Richard was overcome with panic. He needed to come up with a solution quickly. Richard failed to verify her well-being.
He carefully concealed her body in the carpet, placed it in his trunk, and quietly left the town. Richard disposed of her body in a river, believing it marked the end of Emily. Afterward, he went back home and tidied up Emily’s room to avoid raising any suspicions.
“Mom, I was found by a couple of fishermen,” Emily continued. “I found myself in a nearby town. I was fortunate enough to find a warm and welcoming family who opened their doors to me. They made an attempt to locate my family, but my past remained a distant memory. It was when I came back to this place and saw my face on the billboards that all the memories came rushing back—my home, you, and that dreadful night!
“Please, Emily, stop it!” Are you really accusing me, considering everything I’ve done for you all? Richard let out a piercing scream.
Laura was fed up. She had grown tired of Richard’s deceit and was no longer willing to be fooled.
Laura contacted the authorities, and Richard was escorted to the police station. Additionally, a DNA test was performed to determine if the blood stain on the carpet was a match for Emily’s blood, which it was.
Richard ultimately admitted his true motives after the DNA results were revealed. He confessed to his desire for his wife’s money, which led him to fabricate the kidnapping scenario.
After a considerable amount of time, Richard was ultimately sentenced to prison by the court. Emily and Laura were finally set free and now they had each other.