I Found My Photo On A Missing Child Report, And I Don’t Know What To Do

Debra and I would catch up almost every night over late decaf coffees and her fireplace until I just started calling her mom.

My other mom was deteriorating rapidly. I was still visiting her daily, but our meetings felt weirder and weirder and I kept thinking about Debra waiting for me out in the hallway. My mother could barely string together two words that connected to each other until one day more than a month after I first received the news from the Debra.

However, the morning when I was about to give up, she started making sense.

I walked into my mother’s cold room with a floppy cluster of violet tulips resting awkwardly under my arm. No better way to say your last goodbye to the woman who raised you than dead flowers.

I sat down next to her bed and was shocked to see her looking over at me with shockingly-lucid eyes.


A sly smile spread out across her weathered face.

“Hi John,” she said softly, the way I always remembered.

Tears started to form in my eyes. I hadn’t seen my mom look and interact like this in months.

“This is really pretty bad, isn’t it?” She asked.

I didn’t even know what to say. My brain was telling me this woman was a fraud, an imposter who made my entire life an elaborate lie, but my heart still had that unbreakable connection.

“It is. I have to ask you something though.”


“Are you my real mother?”

The deflated look that spread across my mother’s face got my heart racing.

“I was hoping I would never have to have this conversation with you. It is why we are in this pitiful hospital, floating in the middle of nowhere on an island.”

She gave a long hard blink and took a deep breath of air. She was starting to fade back into the darkness.

“Please, what do you mean?” I pleaded and moved closer to her.

Her eyes now locked to the ceiling, I feared I may have already lost her.


“If she found you, it might already be too late,” she said ominously, still staring at the ceiling. “She probably never stopped looking. There is nothing she won’t do.”

“What do you mean?”

“She kidnapped you, back when we lived in North Carolina. It’s why we left.”



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