Janice listened to the phone ring again, before switching over to a message that told her the mailbox was full. She didn’t really need to leave a message anyway. The mailbox was full of all her other messages. She had been trying to contact Katherine for days, and it wasn’t like her not to call back. She hadn’t answered any of the e-mails she had sent or the facebook messages. She was starting to get worried. Should she call the police? She decided to try one more number first. Somewhere she still had the number for Audra Burns. Maybe she could tell her what was going on.
“I’m sorry, but this number is no longer in service.” Was the robotic message she got when she tried the number. She double-checked and tried again, but got the same message. So she looked up the main number for the Gulf Aquarium on the web site and called that one.
“Gulf Aquarium, we bring the ocean to you. How may I help you?” Said the representative on the phone.
“My daughter Katherine Jackson and her husband Allen both work for the aquarium. Could you please connect me to one of them?”
“One moment please.” Hold music played. “Ma’am, are you still there?”
“Yes, I am.”
“According to our records, Allen and Katherine Jackson no longer work for the aquarium.”
“What! They never told me they were leaving. Can you connect me to Audra Burns?”
“I’m sorry, she’s gone on a long business trip.”
“Oh, I see. Well I’m sorry to bother you then. Thank you.”
Something was definitely wrong. Janice went to her computer and looked up the number of the police department. She called and filed a report with a very helpful clerk who stayed calm and cool even when Janice got upset and wept. Once she had passed along all of the information she could, Janice tried to relax and wait for the police to do their job. After a sleepless night, she got a call from the police department.
“Is this Janice Jackson?”
“Yes it is.”
“Mrs. Jackson, my name is Gloria Osval, and I’m the officer assigned to the missing person’s case for your daughter and son-in-law.”
“Yes. Have you found them?”
“I’m sorry to say that I haven’t. You listed two addresses for them, an apartment and also the gulf aquarium mermaid quarters, is that correct?”
“Yes. They spend most of their time at the aquarium.”
“Well, the people at the aquarium said they no longer work there. They quit on May 17th. So we checked out the apartment. There was nobody home, and the landlord says it is a shared apartment used by a group of girls and one couple, but she hadn’t seen any of them for over a week.”
“Was their car in the lot?”
“I did check that out, with your description and our license plate records. Their car was not there or in the aquarium lot. The landlord let us into the apartment, but it was empty. There were no signs of a struggle or that anyone left in a hurry. Everything was neat and tidy. I’m having a hard time finding any clues in this case. Is there anyone else that might know where they are?”
“Their main friends were mostly the other mermaids that work at the aquarium. They are the people who shared the apartment with them. You could also try Audra Burns, the aquarium owner, and Fernando. I don’t know his last name or address, but he works at the aquarium as well.”
“Thank you Mrs. Jackson. I’ll go make some interviews and see if anyone knows what happened to them. I want you to know that we are doing everything in our power to find your daughter and her husband. We won’t stop looking until we find them.”
“Thank you. I appreciate your call.”
Once she hung up, Janice called her boss and told her that she would be taking several days off to go look for her daughter. Then she started packing for a trip. She couldn’t stand sitting and waiting. She had to go there herself and see what she could do to help find them.