The Hidden Figure | Teen Ink

The Hidden Figure

February 15, 2021
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                                               THE HIDDEN FIGURE

May 15th at 1:45 AM 

I can’t see. He had tied the red bandanna I was wearing earlier around my face, tightly, to cover my eyes. I am alone, in the pitch black darkness. I can hear the sound of tires screeching, as the radio hisses a melodic tune that seems to be in another language. My heart is surging rapidly through my chest, and I’m terrified I won’t get the chance to fight, or run away. I have a growing knot inside my stomach that threatens over and over, you're going to die. My thoughts are interrupted as I am yanked out of the backseat of the car. French. The music was in French.  My feet hit the cold, hard, concrete ground, sending a sharp sliver of pain up my right ankle. I don’t scream. I can’t. I feel numb. I am going to die, and all I can feel is the residue of dirt and dust coating my skin. 

_____________________________________________________________________________911 OPERATOR

July 19th at 3:06 PM 

“911 emergency operator 307. What is your emergency?” 

“I… I… I just got home. There’s a fire!” 

“Ma’am you're going to have to tell me where you are.”

“It’s not at my house, it’s at my neighbors!” 

“What’s their address?”

“I don’t know, but our house is 88 West Franklin Drive!”

“Two-seven-Charlie, respond to a 10-34. Fire in progress.”



July 19th at 3:15 PM

“My son, my son! He’s in there! You have to help him! Please, help him!”  a woman sobbed hysterically as she bolted from the blue sedan parked in the street. 

“Ma’am I’m Sergeant -” said the firefighter before he was cut off by the woman approaching him, having bolted from her navy sedan parked in the street. 

“I need my son...I only left him for a little could this have happened...please…please…” she pleaded as she grasped the sergeant’s hand. 

“We’re on it ma’am, but you’re going to have to calm down.” the sergeant assured her before she collapsed to the ground.

“Adams, Carey, kid’s still inside. Let’s move!” the Sergeant ordered as they rushed toward the house.

The firefighters split up to cover what was left of the ground floor before the house burned to the ground. 

“Searg, I found him!” Adams yelled. 

Carey and Sergeant Kay sprinted towards Adams, and saw the boy standing in the corner unable to move. He was petrified with fear. Sergeant Kay ran towards the child, while Adams and Carey attempted to put out the fire surrounding them. After scooping up the kid, the three firefighters sprinted from the house while the rest of the squad drowned it in water. 

“We need a medic!” Sergeant Kay hollered to the EMT’s nearby.



July 20th at 9:30 AM

10-year-old Mark Kinsley slowly opened his eyes as he awoke to the dimly lit hospital room. His brain took in the sound of monitors beeping, as an IV pumped clear solution into his arm. He turned to the side and saw his mother looking back at him, as teardrops slid down her face. Knowing that his mother had been by his side reassured the young boy, even though he couldn't remember the events that had occurred earlier that day. Unfortunately, it was only two hours before that all changed. As his mother returned to the hospital room with a cup of water, an image reappeared in the boy’s mind. One that would be ingrained forever. One that he would never forget.

 “BODY!!!” He screamed. 

His mother rushed hastily to his side, spilling the water everywhere. 

“What?!” She said, feeling both confused and terrified of what he would say next.

“There was a body in the wall mom! I saw it! It was a girl! When the wall burned down I saw her! She was wrapped In plastic... i.i.inside the drywall mom!” the boy yelled as he grabbed his mother’s arm. “I saw her face---it was horrible.” The boy whispered as he began to cry into his mother's arms.  



July 20th at 1:22 PM

“So, what do we have here?” Lieutenant Amanda Benson asked. She stood inside the morgue along with the coroner and a few other detectives working the case. 

“Young girl. Appears to be in her mid-late teens. Cause of death is asphyxiation; you can see the marks here. She was placed in a clear body bag post-mortem.” The coroner stated. 

“Whoever did this had to have worked for the construction company that built the house, or at least have been associated with it because she was buried on the ground floor, in the drywall.” Explained Detective Olivia Robins. 

“Any leads on who this girl is?” Asked Benson. 

“Yes. Luckily her contacts were in her eyes when she was killed.I had the contacts analyzed and based on the prescription we can see that our victim suffered from Anisometropia. Due to the rarity of this condition along with the extra coating embedded in the contacts for light sensitivity, we can conclude our patient was pretty unique.” Answered Detective Robins.

“Please excuse me,” Detective Benson said with a nod as she stepped out of the room for a minute to take a call on her cell. 

“What are you getting at?” one of the other detectives questioned 

“Well, if we go to all the ophthalmologists within a 10 mile radius, and see if any of them have patient records matching our victim we can begin to narrow it down. If none of them check out then we can expand our search radius by--”

“ Fortunately, that won’t be an issue.” Detective Benson stated as she re-entered the morgue. “Forensics just matched our victim to a girl who went missing a couple months ago. Name’s Lori Cleary. She worked part-time at the tavern on Fletcher St. after school. She was last seen by her mother before she left for work on September 5th. Family said there wasn’t anything unusual the afternoon she left. Apparently the girl followed her schedule like clockwork. Always left the house at 5:00 PM sharp and returned by 8:15 PM.

”So, what’s our next step?” Detective Robins asked.

“Daniels, you and Robins need to look at all documented construction permits that prove there was a construction site on the route Lori took to her job the day she went missing. Report to me immediately if you find anything. Rogers and Kennedy, find out what construction company built the Kinsley’s house and what if any renovations were made since it was built. The rest of you get to work pulling up an employee list of construction companies within the search area. Let’s move!” Detective Benson instructed. 



July 21st 1:15 AM

“You’ve got to be kidding me!”  I have never been more frustrated in my life. This is the second time today I’ve been seconds away from calling a tow truck because my car won’t start.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my car. It’s the thing that has helped me through the all highs and lows of life since I was sixteen. Granted it’s been 8 years of highs and lows, but still. If I’m being honest I expected this car to run forever. Now, I’m starting to realize that may not be realistic. After spending 20 minutes turning the key to my car with my fingers crossed (instead of stopping for lunch) I decide to call it quits. I have to get back to work soon anyway. I dial the tow truck number and wait. Some receptionist answers the phone but of course, I can't hear a word she’s saying due to all the construction noise behind me. I guess this is just going to be one of those days. 

I start down the sidewalk, hoping it will be quieter around the corner. Just for the record, it’s not. I end up making the call on the other side of the construction site by a row of Porta-Potties. Just lovely right? Well I finally get a hold of the receptionist when I hear someone approach me from behind. I turn to see a man who grabs the phone out of my hand and slams it to the ground. He then pulls me in front of him and forcefully puts his hand over my mouth. This cannot be happening. I am furious, and to be frank, really pissed off. I rip his nasty, grimy, soot covered hand off of my mouth, kick him where he deserves it, and run for the hills screaming bloody murder. I eventually find my way back to my car, hoping that I lost that creepy man. I dig my car keys out from the depths of my pocket and silently pray the ignition will work. I shove my key in, but the sound that comes from my engine provides me with zero reassurance. Tears compromise my vision as I try to figure out what to do. I decide to run to the nearest building in hopes of finding a phone and escaping that man for good. I open my car door and pop my head to look behind me and make sure he hasn’t reappeared. As I do, my head is slammed against the door, and my world goes dark.



July 20th 4:12 PM

“Detective Benson, we have the permits you asked for.”

“Perfect. My office now. Bring the rest of the detectives on this case with you.” Detective Benson directed 

The detectives and lieutenant quickly shuffled into the office, eager to share their discoveries. 

“Okay. What did you find out?” Asked the Lieutenant. 

“Well, the only construction company working on Lori’s route to work was called Bennett Construction. They had permits authorizing a project on Main Street two years ago.  We also talked to the owner of the house, Mrs. Kinsley, who said she hired the same company to remodel her first floor a few months ago. ” Detective Robins stated.

“OK, is that all we have?” asked the lieutenant. 

“No, there’s more. We talked to the CEO of the construction company about any new employees, and he said that a man named Louis Moreau had signed a contract with his company this March. He said all of Moreau’s references checked out and he had worked for two companies prior to this one; Huyett Construction and Premiere Projects. However, when we called the companies again to cross-check the information both of the former employers said they had never heard of Moreau.” Detective Robins informed.

“So you’re saying he faked his references?” Asked Benson.

“Exactly. He must have had someone pose as an employee from each of these companies around the time of his interview. Additionally, when we went back to interview other employees who worked the same projects as Moreau recently, they remembered Moreau leaving at about 5 PM everyday. And get this, multiple of Moreau’s co-workers commented about how Moreau asked personal questions about a young girl who would bike past the construction site. If they knew her, where she was going, where she lived, etc.” Robins replied

“Did they report him?” Benson inquired.

“No. He stopped asking questions about her when a group of employees threatened to go to HR.” Rollins informed Benson.  

“He was stalking her.” Benson noted as the gears in her mind began to spin. 



July 21st 9:35 PM 

I quickly open my eyes and gasp for air. My head is throbbing. I feel around to try to get a sense of where I am. From a curved sliver of light and what feels like industrial carpet below me, I conclude that I’m in the trunk of a car. And of course, even from the trunk, I can hear an eerie french tune coming from the front of the car. As I look around, the events from this morning slowly return to my memory. I remember running from the filthy hand that grabbed me, and the face I saw before I ran. His face. The one that needed to kill me before I shared his identity. The one that was currently driving this car. I feel the car pull to a stop, and hear the car door open and slam shut. I assume he’s approaching the trunk, so I let my body go limp to make him believe I’m still unconscious. I hear the trunk pop open and through the corner of my eye, I am able to make out his silhouette as he grabs something from his pocket. If only I could see what it was. As he clumsily approaches me, I know I have to make a decision. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I do know that I’m running out of options. After all, this might be my last chance to save myself from whatever horrors await me. I take a deep breath in, and open my eyes. In that moment, every reflex in my body is heightened and adrenaline rushes through my blood. The man standing beside the car comes into focus, and I can finally make out the object in his hand. A syringe. I jump from the car and turn my abductor into a human punching bag. After two intense blows to the face, and one to the gut. I seize the opportunity to rip the syringe from his cold devious hands, and plunge it into his chest. He groans, and collapses in pain. As I run towards the front of the car, the city lights illuminate the construction site surrounding me. I jump into the front seat, press the gas pedal as hard as I can, and steer the car out of the parking lot. Even though my body is still shaking, I am comforted by the flow of traffic as I pull into the busy street. 



July 22nd at 8:19 AM

“Any luck locating Mr. Moreau?” Detective Benson asked. Even though it was early, she was wide awake and more motivated than ever to catch their suspect. 

“Not yet, but there is a young woman in interrogation room A who wanted to report a kidnapping. She looks very shaken up.” Detective Robins replied. 

“Has anyone spoken to her yet?” Detective Benson asked..

“I got her name and statement. But she’s waiting for you to question her.” 

Lieutenant Benson headed downstairs towards the interrogation room. Through the one-way mirror she saw the girl sitting in the chair staring blankly at the wall. Her eyes were bloodshot and puffy from crying, although the rest of her face remained white from fear. The swollen purple bruise engulfing the left side of her face did not go unnoticed. The Lieutenant entered the room and introduced herself. 

“Hi, I’m Lieutenant Benson, and I’m here to help you. But first, you need to tell me your story. What is your name?”

“My name is Emma.”

The author's comments:

The hysteria surrounding murderers is nothing new, their stories have attracted attention since the 19th century, because the horror of them is almost unbelievable. You would never think it was the person who committed the crime due to their ability to blend in. The subject of murder has always been interesting to me-- and before you go there, no, it's not because I want to commit one, it's actually because of reading. I absolutely love murder mysteries. What fascinates me most is how the crime was committed, how the victim was found, what victims survived or which luckily got away, and most importantly the investigation.

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