She Never Thought…
Jessica looked at the appraiser, mouth agape and hands trembling. She never thought they would find answers. Yet, there she was, holding a clue.
Thirty years after her mom disappeared, they finally found something, and it was all thanks to the tiny box that was hidden in her attic. Would they finally be able to solve the case?
Only 2 At The Time
Jessica was only two years old when her mother went missing. And that was the day her life changed forever. Her mom was all she had. She was her only parent and the pillar of strength the little girl needed.
But now that she was gone, Jessica would have to fend for herself. She’d have to face the big bad world alone, and she wasn’t sure she could do it.
Last Known Location
Jessica’s mom, Evelyn Wilson, was last seen at a shopping mall where she went to buy her daughter a gift for Christmas.
According to reports, she was there with a few of her closest friends. They were the ones who called the police after seeing her being forced into an unmarked van. But sadly, Evelyn was never seen again.
The police pulled out all the stops. They searched every inch of the State of Montana, and when they were done, they searched it again.
They even went as far as getting the FBI involved as it was clear that the single mother was taken across state borders. They did all they could, but they couldn’t find a trace of the missing woman.
Not A Single Lead
The FBI got access to the mall’s security footage with the hope of finding some kind of lead. And even though they saw the entire incident occur, they couldn’t find a single lead.
The van was a common make with no number plates. And all the people involved were masked. There was nothing to point them in the right direction.
Months Had Passed
The investigation continued for months, with everyone trying their best to find the poor little girl’s mommy. But they could only keep her in their custody for so long.
In the end, Jessica was handed over to social services, who tried to reach out to any and all family she had left. Sadly, she only had her father, and he wanted nothing to do with the 2-year-old.
Placed In Foster Care
So Jessica was placed into foster care, where she spent the remainder of her childhood. She was moved from one home to another, but as she grew bigger, people stopped trying altogether.
But there was one person who still cared. Mrs. Parker, the keeper of the home, had always told her about her mother and how she ended up where she was.
Never Lost Hope
It was because of Mrs. Parker that Jessica never lost hope. She believed that her mom would be found one day.
And if she wasn’t, the young woman was willing to move forward. She had already resigned herself to her fate and was determined to make her future better than her past. If only she knew what the future had in store for her.
Years Had Gone By
As the years went by, Jessica grew into a beautiful, determined, hard-working young woman. She aced every single one of her school subjects and was preparing to leave high school with distinctions.
But she also knew what leaving high school entailed. Leaving high school meant leaving the place that had become her home. The place that had become her safe haven.
She Finally Turned 18
Jessica had been dreading her 18th birthday for as long as she could remember. But it had finally come, and there was nothing she could do to avoid it.
She was put out on the streets, where she was expected to fend for herself. But luckily, she wasn’t alone. A lawyer swept her up and provided her with a way out.
Everything She Inherited
The lawyer told Jessica that she was entitled to everything her mother owned, but getting it wasn’t easy. They would have to battle the system, and the chances of her winning were 50/50.
After fourteen years of struggling, Jessica finally won. She inherited everything just like the lawyer said she would. Now she just had to find out what exactly that was.
Old And Dusty
Jessica headed to the address the lawyer gave her, and what she found was a dusty old house that was on the brink of collapse. But she remembered it.
It was the house she was found in hours after her mother went missing. It was her real home. And now it belonged to her. Jessica took in the sight, wondering if it would ever be worth fixing.
It Could Work
At the end of the day, that didn’t matter, though. She had friends who would help her make the place livable, and if she were lucky, one of them would even rent out the spare bedroom.
She knew she could make it work one way or another. And it could become the home she had always dreamed of having.
Better Than Nothing
Having a decrepit old house that was worth fixing was better than having nothing, she told herself. And she was incredibly right about that thought.
She couldn’t rely on the generosity of the lawyer forever, and now she didn’t have to. But there was still one problem, and that could make or break her entire plan.
Only One Problem
Jessica was flat broke, and this house needed more than just a little TLC. She needed to get new furniture, buy all the things that would be needed to do the repairs, and she needed to survive until it was ready.
That was more money than she could ever dream of earning. But she had to make do with what she had, and that was her house. And her house alone.
What To Do?
Jessica spoke to all her connections, hoping that some of them would help her come up with a plan. But they had something so much better in mind.
They would help her rebuild, and they would provide all the material on a pay-off basis. So all the young woman had to do was make sure that she had a hot plate of food on her dusty old table every night.
Selling Items Of Value
But with the house being as far as it was, Jessica now had to factor in an extra cost. She needed a mode of transport in order to get to work.
So she sifted through the remains of her past and found an old box filled with jewelry. She sold that jewelry and used the money to take care of all the essentials.
Didn’t Last Long
Even though Jessica managed to get a few thousand dollars for the jewelry, the money didn’t last long.
She bought a small car, stocked her cupboards with food, and managed to get a decent fridge before all of it was gone. If she planned on making it until payday, she would have to come up with another plan.
Looking Through The Attic
Knowing she’d come up empty-handed, Jessica made her way to the attic. There was bound to be something in there that she could sell to make it to the end of the month.
She looked through every dusty box she could find. But there was nothing there. That was until she stumbled upon something that was hidden within the attic wall.
Jessica carefully pulled the old box from its hiding spot and examined it. She could see that it contained a statue and wondered if there might be something special about it.
It looked like it was kept in good condition, which could only mean that someone expected it to have some value further down the line. Were they right?
An Ancient Dragon
The statue was that of an ancient dragon. It seemed to be of Asian origin and was painted with a bright golden hue. Jessica’s heart skipped a beat.
Could this be one of those things she had seen on TV? Could it be an ancient Chinese work of art that would be worth millions of dollars in its current state?
Breathing heavily, Jessica examined the box. Not only was it still in its original casing, but it was also incredibly well-preserved.
Sure, the box had a few dents and scratches, but it was the original. And the dragon it contained was in perfect condition because of it. Was this her way out? Was it the miracle she had been waiting for?
It Had To Be Worth Something
Jessica was sure that it had to be worth something. It didn’t have to be worth millions of dollars, even though she would’ve loved that. It just had to be worth enough for her to make it to payday.
If only she knew that this box contained far more than met the eye. Maybe then she would’ve been more cautious about who she took it to.
Going To An Appraiser
Jessica took the dragon to the nearest appraiser she could find. But she quickly learned that it was the biggest mistake yet.
This man wasn’t as innocent as he appeared to be. And he had no problem with trying to steal from a poor young woman who had nothing but that box and a broken house to her name.
From the moment the man saw the box, he was acting strange. There was a glimmer of deceit in his eyes. But he was going up against the wrong woman.
Jessica had seen it all, and she thought that he was trying to take her for a ride. But when he offered her $200 and tried to push her out of his store, she knew her suspicions were right.
Trying An Auction
Disappointed, Jessica made her way back home. But as she approached, she saw a sign that said there was an auction happening nearby.
Jessica decided to give it a shot, thinking that their auctioneers wouldn’t be as dodgy when it came to appraisals. Was she right? Or was she just putting herself in more danger than she could handle?
The moment the auctioneer saw the dragon, his eyes lit up with joy. He started explaining where it came from and praised Jessica for keeping it in such good condition.
But before he could give her an actual estimate of the statue, he’d need to remove it from its casing to make sure there was no damage that was concealed by the box.
There Was Something Else
Jessica was hesitant but understood the man’s point, so she allowed him to do what needed to be done. That was when something incredible happened.
As the auctioneer pulled the statue out, an envelope fell from the box. At first, Jessica wasn’t too phased as she thought it was just part of the original casing. But she was incredibly wrong.
Not Part Of The Original
The appraiser assured Jessica that the envelope was not part of the original set. He had seen dragons like that in the past, and none of their boxes contained an envelope.
Plus, it had her name written on it. Jessica was frozen in place, thinking about what it might be. Was it from her mother?
What Was It?
With shaky hands, Jessica tore the envelope open and saw that it contained a handwritten letter. It was an apology from her mother. Why would she apologize? And why would she hide the apology?
That was when Jessica realized that the letter was much more than just words on paper. It was a clue that could blow this case wide open.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.