Evidence: Missing Persons file for Mingxia Thomas
Name: Mingxia Thomas
Height: 5' 8"
Hair: Dark brown, long straight
Distinguishing marks: Scar on left knee from childhood accident.
Quite a fat folder of casework, including photographs, witness statements and reports from investigating officers. CID pursued pretty much all the leads they could find- the brother was indeed in the US, the parents have no record and were squeaky clean. Friends were questioned, the family gardener and maid grilled and neighbours canvassed. She didn't have a boyfriend, official or unofficial as far as CID could determine. Her best friend, Sarah, seemed particularly upset at her disappearance.
Mingxia was seen leaving the house by a neighbour at the time the family reported, turned the corner at the end of the street, and that's the last anyone saw of her. She didn't board the bus she said she was going to, which leaves a small time window for her to be abducted.
Her room was turned upside-down- letters and e-mails examined to see if she could have gone somewhere else, but nothing turned up.
The final note is a short addendum saying that the father said he heard his daughter's voice when he was asleep. The handwriting and brevity suggests that the note was added with some reluctance.
I think we should start tracking our leads, since we're at the point where I'm starting to forget things from way back. So, since this is the "Evidence Locker," I think we should write down leads here as we stumble on them. I'll start ...
BACKGROUND FROM REPORT
â€¢ Best friend Sarah Suen "particularly upset at her disappearance" says report.
â€¢ Others at residence include mother Yunru Thomas, father Aaron Thomas, and uncle James Thomas who lives abroad.
â€¢ Mingxia was seen leaving the house by a neighbor, and didn't make her bus, so the time of disappearance is verified.
â€¢ The father said he heard his daughter's voice when he was asleep: 'Someone, anyone, help. Please! I feel strange. I don't know what she's going to do to me'.
â€¢ A security tape from Mingxia's home exists, which our lab is working on since that date was taped over.
â€¢ Pendant we found in Mingxia's room, with Sarah's hair (or at least, the blue-flecked hair matches the photo of Sarah we found)
â€¢ Nic's vision using the pendant: Her location is being shielded by magic. She appears to be sleeping, in a slightly uncomfortable position, in a dark room with a wooden floor. She's lying on a dirty pallet. The walls are bare concrete.
â€¢ Mingxia's "secret" cell phone number, which records show was only used to call her friend Sarah. Sarah apparently has a land line and a cell phone, as well.
â€¢ Reporter, Benny Wei, who we found spying in the bushes and is now an information source.
â€¢ Mingxia's laptop, at our lab being processed.
SCENE OF DISAPPEARANCE
â€¢ The corner at the end of the street by her house is apparently the scene of the abduction. Located there are the general store and the self-storage garages.
â€¢ Sarah stopped by the shop looking for Mingxia.
â€¢ Shopkeepers' daughter Lin was abducted when she was 8, thirty years ago. Police found nothing.
â€¢ Lingering aura of influence magic radiating off of one garage in particular, caused Huang to skip it.
â€¢ Inside the garage: An eye-bolt screwed into the concrete floor. The end is attached to what looks like a dog's collar, unbuckled, with an open padlock still looped through one of the grommets. Nearby by is a filthy cot mattress, and the place smells of urine. It's not the location Nic saw briefly, when scrying, but it's very similar.
â€¢ Ming took epithelials from the collar.
â€¢ Attack by giant paper bugs and chimney monster.
â€¢ Nic's contacts in the occult underground said there's nothing much stirring right now.
Lab Tech: You do realise that it's practically impossible to restore taped over imagery from VHS? 'Course, I found a way to get at some of it. The tracking on their recorder is a little off, so I managed to reconstruct a thin strip at the top of the image. Am I good or what? We see the girl leave, as you expect, then about 10 minutes later someone else leaves the grounds. There's no way to tell who it is, or even if it's important. But there's no-one entering before or after. No cars passing or anything. I'm not saying it's definitive, but it's the best we can get.
Lab Tech: It's pretty clean for a kid's laptop- not much spyware. Nothing interesting has been deleted recently that we can recover. I did find a hidden folder with some password protection on it. I'm brute-forcing it now, but that could take a couple of hours.
EVIDENCE: LAB RESULTS
â€¢ Security video shows someone leaving the Thomas estate 10 min after Mingxia
â€¢ Laptop has a hidden folder that's password protected; lab is working on it.
EVIDENCE WE'RE HAVING THE LAB WORK ON:
â€¢ Epithelials Ming got off of the dog collar in the garage.
â€¢ The hair sample Ming happened to grab from the brush in Mingxia's room for DNA comparison.
â€¢ The whole case file on the shopkeepers' daughter's disappearance from 30 years ago.
â€¢ Contact info for the owner/renter of the garage.
EVIDENCE FROM MRS. SUEN
â€¢ Her husband was killed in Kowloon ... we need to ask HQ for the file on this.
LEADS FROM SARAH
â€¢ A few of the boys at school are creeps, but always have been.
â€¢ A new teacher started a couple of months ago.
â€¢ The fire alarms have been set off more recently.
â€¢ There was this weird fire today a few streets over.
MORE LEADS FROM SARAH
â€¢ Sarah gave Mingxia the pendant we found in Mingxia's room as a good luck charm. "It's supposed to protect people you like."
â€¢ In her room, Sarah has some occult paraphernalia that's a cut above the usual mass-market stuff, including three coins and a copy of the I Ching open on the table, and a scrap of paper with a hexagram drawn on it.
â€¢ They got this stuff from a shop in Kowloon, and mail order.
SARAH'S I CHING READING
The hexagram is number 37 - Chia JÃªn (The Family), with the first and fourth lines moving. The reading is:
The Family. The perseverance of the woman furthers.
Wind comes forth from fire:
The image of the Family.
Thus the superior man has substance in his words
And duration in his way of life.
Nine at the beginning means:
Firm seclusion within the family.
Six in the fourth place means:
She is the treasure of the house.
Great good fortune.
THE SHOPKEEPER'S DAUGHTER'S FILE
Detail is sparse, but it tells a tale of a poor, missing girl a generation before Mingxia. Unlike the attention lavished on the Thomas family, the investigating officers did the minimum they thought they could get away with- not that there was much to work with. There were no witnesses, no previous attempts to run away and no compelling reason to suspect foul play. No whisper of any supernatural events, either. Just a total disappearance.
The file contains additional information about how a rookie officer was assigned to two more experienced policemen for a final evaluation. Their recommendation was 'Pass- but he was reluctant to accept it was time to move on to more important cases.'
The rookie was our superior, S. Richardson
Two images tried to occupy the same space. One seemed to be the room Nic saw earlier, or at least one very much like it, but empty. The second seemed like a supine figure lying on a bed. The mirror heated up and broke, cracking to resemble a cackling face.
The garage was rented by Aaron Thomas, Mingxia's father.
OUR INTERPRETATIONS OF THE I CHING
HUANG: Mingxia still has hope. "Family" could mean any kind of close-knit group, from an actual family to a police unit to a Triad or a witch coven. The only families we know are the Thomases, the Suens, and poor Lin's family. "Duration in his way of life" ... the goal of Chinese alchemy is indeed immortality. "Firm seclusion within the family" ... someone's had a falling-out with the family or group at some point in the past, or he or she left the family or group of their own volition. He thinks of James, who had just arrived in Hong Kong. The final passage ... Mingxia was indeed valued by the Thomases, as is Sarah to Mrs. Suen and her late husband. And Lin was valued greatly by the shopkeeper and his wife.
NIC: Mingxia is alive and holding on. Wind coming from fire is a reference to the truly magical ... demons, black magic ... it's all destructive like fire. The 'superior' man is an egocentric man gathering his power to sustain his nefarious goals, who considers himself superior. Seclusion and lack of remorse indicate that our foe is secretive and of course without morals. I don't think 'family' refers to Mingxia's actual blood family, but rather a select group of likely candidates, perhaps a group the perpetrator found suitable for kidnapping. The last line perhaps explains why Mingxia specifically was taken as most suitable; she's obviously powerful, either in what she is or what she can become. She's a treasure to her family, but clearly valuable to whomever stole her.
MING: Mingxia is still alive ... especially in relation to the Family. The only other woman involved is Mingxia's mother, or possibly the kidnapper. Wind and fire is the chimney and bugs. The superior man might be Minxia's father, especially since it's talking about the Family there. He's the head of his household, so "superior." So, what did he tell us of substance? Remember the voice he heard? Maybe that's it. Duration might mean an extended life through sorcery ... could it be possible that Mingxia's FATHER is the sorcerer? That would explain why, if he's the superior man, he's mentioned in between the chimney/bugs and unnatural longevity. Firm seclusion within the family ... Mingxia is being held captive by her own father. She is the treasure of the house ... she's being held in her own home!
SARAH: She's persevering so she's okay? Some family has her hidden?